A recent study, called “The Future of Secularism: a Biologically Informed Theory Supplemented with Cross-Cultural Evidence”, based on large samples of college students in Malaysia and the USA, used religiosity, religious affiliation, and parental fertility to find a link between fertility and religiosity. Results reveal that average parental fertility varied considerably according to religious groups, with Muslims being the most religious and the most fertile and Jews and Buddhists being the least.
An interesting thing the new study suggested is that atheism is doomed because religious people have higher rates of reproduction. Religious believers are having more children than atheists because they don’t believe in birth control. Birth control, also known as contraception and fertility control, is a method or device used to prevent pregnancy. Birth control has been used since ancient times, but effective and safe methods of birth control only became available in the 20th century and they are related with the secularization. Some cultures limit or discourage access to birth control because they consider it to be morally, religiously, or politically undesirable.
Some findings implied fewer and fewer people are religious nowadays but this research claims religion is actually at no risk of dying out and the reverse is in fact the case. Answers about religious beliefs and the number of siblings respondents have, showed that Malaysian atheists had 1.5 fewer siblings than the average. In the US that gap was smaller - students unaffiliated with any religion had 0.16 fewer siblings than average.
The question is whether the data obtained in this study are representative because number of children couldn’t only be determined by religious beliefs. It also depends on cultural and traditional heritage. On the other side, a new way of life, especially women turning to a career, changed some priorities in their lives. That’s why more religious women have less progress in business and have more children.
However, “research indicates that the individuals who were most successful in curtailing their fertility during this time were the most highly educated and the least religious,” the researchers explain. And it appears both nature and nurture play a role - it may seem obvious that how you’re brought up will influence your worldview, but it turns out there’s a genetic base too. According to some researches, there are even some genes that make someone more likely to be religious. This means that the future of religion depends on biology. Luckily, atheists believe in science.
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