Dermed er det bare å lene seg til siden når egg og tomater begynner å hagle.
Det hele handler denne gang om et svar på et spørsmål om det har vært gjort religionssosiologiske undersøkelser i UK. Og svaret er pussig nok ja.
Last year we at Theos, the public theology thinktank, commissioned a large survey (2,000+ respondents) looking into attitudes to evolution, a/theism and a whole host of related topics.Resultatet er at det ikke overraskende synes å være et klasseskille - bl.a. knyttet til utdannelse - når vi ser på livssynsmessig tilknytning.
The results can be read here but in summary the study found that lifelong theists ("I have always believed in God") are disproportionately from lower socio-economic grades (DE: semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers or those unemployed or on state benefits), whereas lifelong atheists ("I have never believed in God") are disproportionately from upper social grades (AB: higher or intermediate managerial or administrative professionals).Det som imidlertid kan overraske ved undersøkelsen, er at de som konverterer til teisme (for å si det på faglig) har høyere utdannelse enn de som konverterer til ateisme.
No surprise there. The default position in the UK (and seemingly in humans themselves) has long been belief in God, so you would expect theism to be a mass movement and atheism a more select one.
What is interesting – and surprising – is that "converts" to theism ("I believe in God now but have not always done so") are disproportionately from upper and upper-middle social grades (ABC1: as above plus supervisory, clerical, junior managerial or administrative professionals), whereas "converts" to atheism ("I used to believe in God but I no longer do so") are disproportionately from lower social grades (DE).Nå kan man selvsagt ikke bruke slike tall til å konkludere med at det krever mer intelligens å bli gudstroende, men polariseringen er ganske interessant. Gudstro ser ut til å svekkes i "middelklassen" (unnskyld uttrykket), og muligens styrkes blant akademikere.
Samtidig som tallene kan tyde på at ateisme begynner å bli mer folkelig.
In short, the data seem to be showing two things. First, atheism has historically been a minority movement of better educated and higher-social grade individuals whereas theism has more affinity with the lower and lower-middle class and the less well educated. Second, this is changing, with new theists coming from a higher social grade and being better educated than new atheists.Det hører også med at Dawkins og Hitchens kan ha gjort ateisme en bjørnetjeneste ved å dumme seg såpass ut blant det som ofte kalles intellektuelle, skal vi dømme ut fra mottagelsen av deres massive misforståelser.
There are a number of ways of explaining this, none of them very satisfactory. The grand theory would be that atheism is finally becoming a mass phenomenon, in the way that theism always has been and, in so doing, is acquiring some of theism's demographic characteristics. It sounds persuasive but the fact that converts to atheism and converts to theism almost perfectly balance out (8.3% vs 7.7%) rather undermines the idea. The actual size of each constituency is staying largely constant. Only the composition is changing.
On a less grand scale, the data suggest that the effect of vocal atheism over the last decade has been to reach successfully into previously uncharted demographic territory (witness The God Delusion's sales figures) but at the cost of losing some of its intellectual credibility (the critical review of The God Delusion in the London Review of Books, for example).Noe som igjen kan føre til at ateisme antar mer religiøse (unnskyld uttrykket igjen) trekk.
If this is happening, we might expect to see atheism become increasingly "religious" in its composition if not in its size. In a sense, that was precisely what the atheist bus adverts earlier in the year were attempting. As the Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood commented "'I understand that in Britain recently, some people paid to put atheistic slogans on buses – someone paid! That's religion! Once you're paying money to put slogans on things, well it's either a product you're selling, a political party or religion."Hvilket reaksjonene i kommentarfeltet antyder til fulle.
If atheism does succeed in breaking out of its higher-class, intellectualist confines, it is likely to do so at the cost of becoming more like a religion than its adherents would like.
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