Survey: Religion decline, afterlife belief up

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Nice article on a blog I found this morning. It addresses the findings and interpretations of a survey taken in the USA on religious and spiritual beliefs. The numbers seem to suggest a decline in religious belief but an increase in the numbers of those professing a belief in the afterlife.  Here's an interesting point made in the blog post:

SDSU Study: Religion Down, Afterlife Belief Up Among Millennials; Reason? Feeling “Entitled” to get “Something for Nothing”

Quote:However, Professor Twenge puts forth a somewhat disturbing opinion for this “paradoxical” belief even as she admits that “current data make it difficult to determine the cause of rising belief in the afterlife” (emphasis mine):

“In comparison to those from earlier years and generations, American adults in recent years and generations were slightly more likely to believe in an afterlife. Combined with the decline in religious participation and belief, this might seem paradoxical. One plausible, though speculative, explanation is that this is another example of the rise in entitlement – expecting special privileges without effort (Campbell, Bonacci, Shelton, Exline, & Bushman, 2004; Twenge & Foster, 2010). Entitlement appears in religious and spiritual domains when people see themselves as deserving spiritual rewards or blessings due to their special status (e.g., Grubbs et al., 2014). Entitlement centered on afterlife beliefs could be seen as a modern rendition of Pascal’s wager, in which the individual observes that believing in God and a positive afterlife has few downsides, but not believing has the major possible downside of condemnation to eternal suffering (Hájek, 2003). However, the current data make it difficult to determine the cause of rising belief in the afterlife.”

The biggest offense of this viewpoint is the inherent suggestion that all millennials believe that one must ‘earn’ acceptance to the afterlife and yet feel ‘entitled’ to acceptance without religious affiliation. This accusation presupposes that religious affiliation is somehow required for afterlife belief, and that one must earn their place in it through religious devotion.  Furthermore, Professor Twenge has suggested that young people feel that they deserve “something for nothing” and should receive “special privileges without effort”.

Professor Twenge has failed to recognize the emerging belief that life after death is simply the continuation of consciousness, not a “privilege” bestowed by a judgmental god who determines if we’ve earned it.  Her opinion is an artefact of religious belief systems and should not be attributed to any motive on behalf of an entire group of people.
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
(This post was last modified: 2018-10-25, 11:11 PM by Kamarling.)
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