A study has used census data to show that religion and religious affiliation is moving towards extinction.
The study reviewed census data from nine countries to find a steady increase in the number of people who claim to have no religious affiliation.
The data was researched as far back as a century ago and was collected from countries like Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.
The results have been reported at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, US, and claim to show that eventually religion will die out in these countries.
Dr Richard Wiener, from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement at the University of Arizon, spoke at the conference saying, “In a large number of modern secular democracies, there’s been a trend that folk are identifying themselves as non-affiliated with religion; in the Netherlands the number was 40%, and the highest we saw was in the Czech Republic, where the number was 60%.”
They used a nonliner dynamics model to assess the responses and found the parameters were similar across the countries. Ultimately they found an indication religion is heading for distinction in all the countries analysed.
However, Dr Wiener went on to say the results are suggestive, “It’s interesting that a fairly simple model captures the data, and if those simple ideas are correct, it suggests where this might be going.”
“Obviously much more complicated things are going on with any one individual, but maybe a lot of that averages out.”
Another study on 58,893 Americans between 1972 and 2014 also reports similar findings. They discovered that in 2014 almost five times the number of people admitted to never praying than those who answered in the 1980s.
Twice as many people do not believe in God, and Dr Jean Twenge argues that this is because Americans are becoming more secular.
The Daily Mail report Dr Twenge says, “It might be part of a growing entitlement mentality – thinking you can get something for nothing.”
The study finds the biggest declines in religious belief and affiliation are among the younger generations, 18 to 29-year-olds.
“The large declines in religious practice among young adults are also further evidence that Millennials [people born between 1980 and 2000] are the least religious generation in memory, and possibly in American history,” she says.