INTERESTING: Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie writes in the Huffington Post What Atheism Lacks: Humility, Imagination, Curiosity:
As standards of living improve, religious belief will give way to atheism, and atheism’s victory over religion will be complete by 2038. So argues Nigel Barber, writing on June 5 in the Science section of the Huffington Post.
Relying on what he calls the "existential security hypothesis," Barber claims that people turn to religion to calm the fears and insecurities caused by economic deprivation. But once their basic needs are assured and they are protected from early death by violence or disease, they become more secure in their daily lives and their need for religion fades.
Mr. Barber professes to offer proof for his thesis, most of it drawn from his own writings; although many HuffPost readers liked what he had to say, I did not find it convincing. My reaction can be divided into three parts.
It is worth reading: What Atheism Lacks: Humility, Imagination, Curiosity
I read Rabbi Yoffie’s item in the link above, and am in two minds about it. While he says he advocates the liberalist approach, I also had the impression that his views are a little to relativistic for me, and possibly even post-modernist (truth cannot be known as an objective reality). I obtained the impression that his primary motivation was a “feel good” approach, his internal satisfaction he felt at the family shabbat prayers or table. I think that approach is not really good enough!
One would not live and die for the cause of relativism, as one might do for a strongly motivated religious belief. Take the case of say a modern Islamic fundamentalist, or the situation that the Maccabee martys found themselves in under Antiochus Epiphanes, of the early Christians under Nero. One could also cite 20th century persecutions quite easily, as Rabbi Yoffie would appreciate only too well.
Here were believers ready to die for their beliefs, their culture, their religion, their God. From the deaths of these martyrs grew trees of strong religion, conviction and belief. Relativism is a fairly weak and watery substitute for this much stronger cup. Which one has in it the elements of long-term survival I wonder?
In the least worse perspective, it is not so much strong than enlightened religions that are badly needed to avoid more future bloodsheds in the name of…
There is a waxing and waning of Faith in every age. One only need to look into the Old Testament to see this. This is nothing new. Atheism believes it will eventually triumph and that claim, also, is nothing new. It’s the eternal struggle restating itself in this age. Pride will always make it’s empty claims, Faith will always endure.
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