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Millennials are dumping religion for witchcraft, not science

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Image result for witchcraft symbols public domainIt’s not a new story. We’ve covered it here, here, and here within the last year or so. People don’t seem to be ditching traditional religion for science as much as for witchcraft:

Interest in spirituality has been booming in recent years while interest in religion plummets, especially among millennials. The majority of Americans now believe it is not necessary to believe in God to have good morals, a study from Pew Research Center found. The percentage of people between the ages of 18 and 29 who “never doubt existence of God” fell from 81% in 2007 to 67% in 2012.

Meanwhile, more than half of young adults in the U.S. believe astrology is a science. compared to less than 8% of the Chinese public. The psychic services industry — which includes astrology, aura reading, mediumship, tarot-card reading and palmistry, among other metaphysical services — grew 2% between 2011 and 2016. It is now worth $2 billion annually, according to industry analysis firm IBIS World. Kari Paul, “Why millennials are ditching religion for witchcraft and astrology” at MarketWatch

It’s curious how this trend and the current war on math and science in education garner so little attention among pop science commentators. Both trends will have devastating effects on the ability of members of the public to judge propositions in science, effects they would certainly not have derived from reading, say, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, or G. K. Chesterton.

But what we won’t recognize, we must live through anyhow, just without the means of dealing with it effectively.

Hat tip: Heather Zeiger

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See also: John Gray: New Atheists don’t acknowledge their myths and beliefs

Why do we think technological progress is inevitable? Historically, plateaus and declines in technological development have been quite common. There is no “must” about it. And the role of religion is varied.

And

Which side will atheists choose in the war on science? They need to re-evaluate their alliance with progressivism, which is doing science no favours.

Comments
SA @41 What do you mean by "proof"? It certainly isn't part of the implements of science. Science and the establishment of "laws" are about the (overwhelming) preponderance of evidence, not absolute certainty. Whatever kind of proof you want, the request probably is a rhetorical stratagem and impossible to furnish. Dictionary.com gives a long list of definitions of the word "proof". These are the most relevant ones: (1) Evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth. (2) Anything serving as such evidence. (3) The act of testing or making trial of anything; test; trial: to put a thing to the proof. (4) The establishment of the truth of anything; demonstration. (5) In mathematics and logic a sequence of steps, statements, or demonstrations that leads to a valid conclusion. To a determined skeptic, (1) and (2) are a logical impossibility since the skeptic can always decide to change exactly what evidence is considered "sufficient", and move the goal post. The same applies to (3) and (4). He can always decide that whatever test result is presented, it is insufficient, and demand more. It's impossible to logically prove a negative by evidence, testing or demonstration, since a determined skeptic can always demand more evidence or another test and set of conditions and so on ad infinitum. Is the kind of proof you want the mathematics and logic kind, (5)? I invite you to prove your own proposition in this way. That is, prove in this way your own proposition that mediumship is evil. It's a form of proof that isn't applicable to the subject. Going back to science and its methodology, the proposition that mediumship is not evil has a large body of evidence, consisting of innumerable psychic medium readings that help the clients. What evidence can you furnish that mediumship is evil? It's a matter of the preponderance of evidence. doubter
SA, Yes, to be sure, I don't believe yours is a consensus view among IDists. daveS
daveS I hope you do not draw the wrong conclusion from my views on this. For example, to think that my opinion reflects a consensus among IDists would be incorrect. I believe my view is based in rationality and a natural moral law argument extended to prove the existence of God, the reason for the creation of humanity, and concluding that human beings are sacred. From that, we must act in accord with our rational nature - and to respect the gift of reason, and the gift of sexuality. For abortion - the sacredness of human life is linked to our creation by God. Silver Asiatic
SA, Thanks for the very clear answer to my question. daveS
doubter
In general, there is strong evidence for the existence of psychic phenomena, but of course both materialist adherents of scientism and strong Christian believers denigrate it as either superstition or evil influences.
Christians oppose it for religious reasons. How would it be proven that mediumship is not evil? Silver Asiatic
"Millennials are dumping religion for witchcraft, not science" "The psychic services industry — which includes astrology, aura reading, mediumship, tarot-card reading and palmistry, among other metaphysical services — grew 2% between 2011 and 2016." Oh well, so you think mediumship is witchcraft. Such typically complacent and arrogant denigration of a phenomenon of parapsychology that has a long history of successful verification in the investigations of the British and American SPR and others. In general, there is strong evidence for the existence of psychic phenomena, but of course both materialist adherents of scientism and strong Christian believers denigrate it as either superstition or evil influences. doubter
daveS Yes, I believe Griswold v. Connecticut should be overturned and contraception should be illegal everywhere. Silver Asiatic
OldAndrew (and others),
So I wonder if some people feel that contraception should be illegal. I’m imagining young couples going off to prison because they don’t want to have children yet and they’re caught with birth control. And then the judge tells them they can get the sentence commuted if they do it without contraception. That’s the logical progression. This discussion is off-the-rails bizarre, but that’s disturbing.
That's an interesting question. I don't follow this issue at all, but I gather there are those who believe that (in the US), the supreme court's ruling on Griswold v. Connecticut should be overturned, and the issue of access to contraception should go back to the states. Or something along those lines---I don't know anything about the law. Therefore, I'll ask: Does anyone here believe that this ruling should be overturned, and that states should ban all contraception? One clarification: As SA pointed out, many consider some methods of contraception to actually be abortion already, for example the morning after pill, and presumably those should definitely be banned, so let's leave them out of the current discussion. daveS
Finally, I was waiting for someone to mention Onan. What took so long? When Onan's older brother died without children, Onan was told to marry his brother's widow so that she could have children to receive his brother's inheritance. This was at odds with his own interests. If his brother's widow had children, the inheritance of the firstborn would pass to them. If she had no children, Onan would himself receive that inheritance. So,
But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.
What was "wicked" was that he acted selfishly to prevent his brother from having offspring. Notice how the account focuses on the motive. If 'spilling his semen on the ground' was by itself "wicked," then why was no law regarding this given to Israel? If it was that important, why wasn't there a command given? There was such a thing as contraception even back then. Let me save time and insert your next argument for you:
It was self-evident moral law. They didn't need to have it spelled out for them.
Murder and fornication were pretty obviously wrong. So was having sex with animals, and all sorts of other stuff. But those were all spelled out. The law didn't hold back from addressing matters related to sex. If something less obvious was a serious violation, there would have been more reason to spell it out. The account of Onan provides no basis to claim that contraception is wrong according to the Bible. Something that important which affects the lives of millions of people would be spelled out. It's Catholic dogma. It wasn't invented until about 100 years after the Bible was written. The book of Tobit was apocryphal. (Read the odd first paragraph of your own citation, as well as the rest of the book.) It was written in the 3rd century. Its contents are of no concern. OldAndrew
The condemnation came from the scripture in Genesis - the sin of Onan. Also, in the book of Tobit (Tobias):
Tobias 6:17, 6:22 [Tobias becomes afraid because he has heard that Sara has been married seven times; every time on her wedding night each husband was killed by a devil. The Archangel Raphael then says to him:] “Hear me and I will show you who they are, over whom the devil can prevail. For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power.” He then instructs Tobias to “…take the virgin [his wife] with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust: that in the seed of Abraham thou mayest obtain a blessing in children.”
It condemns those in matrimony who reject children in marriage and instead give themselves to lust. Tobias is urged to marry "for the love of children" rather than for lust. Silver Asiatic
daveS
But they didn’t spend a lot of time wringing their hands about the sexual practices of married heterosexual couples, however.
A lot of abortions come out of that particular demographic, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was never or only rarely any preaching on it. Some birth control is abortifacient. So called "emergency contraception" - or morning after pill, aborts a child after conception. Morally there's a continuum that slides downhill - eventually to late term abortion, then infanticide (which some atheists promote). If human life is sacred, then we can't afford to be too laid back about it. Even without religion it is a crime to kill an innocent person. Wikipedia:
The doctrine of Protestantism from the Reformation until 1930 strongly condemned contraception.
The leaders of the reformation all condemned birth control as immoral. Their disciples then overturned that idea at the Lambeth Conference in 1929. Catholicism has simply remained consistent in this belief. Silver Asiatic
SA, They definitely accepted birth control, but absolutely not gay marriage or abortion. They are Conservative Baptist. Edit: I should clarify that I was being a bit facetious when I said they were relatively "laid back". But they didn't spend a lot of time wringing their hands about the sexual practices of married heterosexual couples, however. daveS
daveS
This thread is making me feel that the congregation at the Baptist church I used to attend was incredibly laid back.
Most Protestants accept birth control. Some Baptist congregations support gay marriage and abortion rights. If that means laid back then yes, shouldn't be a surprise. Silver Asiatic
daveS, It's a little scary. There have been comments in some threads suggesting that natural moral law is the proper basis for secular law, or something to that effect. So I wonder if some people feel that contraception should be illegal. I'm imagining young couples going off to prison because they don't want to have children yet and they're caught with birth control. And then the judge tells them they can get the sentence commuted if they do it without contraception. That's the logical progression. This discussion is off-the-rails bizarre, but that's disturbing. OldAndrew
SA,
You skipped over the idea that to eat the cookie for pleasure alone – then artificially inhibit the effect of the cookie both for nutrition (and adding carbs) — requires vomiting.
No, I was careful not to skip over that. I said that the cookie was after dinner. Therefore, while eating was for the purpose of obtaining nutrition, I was eating it for pleasure, not for nutrition. No one said anything about vomiting. We could replace the cookie with a piece of candy that has no nutritional value. The point is the same. If you feel that separating a biologically necessary behavior from its purpose is a violation of natural law, then isn't eating, when separated from the need to obtain nutrition, also a violation of natural law? Isn't it greedy and selfish, just like separating the enjoyment of sex from the function of procreation? For fear the point of the illustration is lost, I'll repeat: A reasonable person would conclude that obtaining nutrition isn't the only reason why we eat. It's also a gift for us to enjoy within reason. To say that we eat to obtain nutrition is accurate. To say that we only eat to obtain nutrition is not accurate. Similarly, you point out that the purpose of sex is procreation, which is correct. Then you reason based on the assumption that the only purpose of sex is procreation. That's a huge assumption, especially since so much of what we naturally do appears to serve more purpose than just biological necessity. It's almost like God likes us or something. If you are so certain that procreation is absolutely the only reason for sex, and you're so certain that you feel you can derive a moral law from it, then please share why you are so certain. It sounds like a baseless assertion in support of Catholic dogma. OldAndrew
SA, I wasn't talking about which individual is responsible for the abortion. I was just pointing out that you referred to abortion, masturbation, and contraception as "effeminiate acts for men." If you hadn't used the word "effeminate" then I might have concluded that by "men" you meant people. But "effeminate" excludes women, or at least isn't derogatory when applied to a woman. I assume that you wouldn't call any of them 'effeminate acts for men.' So it sounded like you were applying all three to men and not women, which sounded odd. I was just pointing that out. It's not a significant point. Neither is mentioning that while effeminate can mean "unmanly," it has the connotation of being feminine. So to say that men who masturbate are effeminate is a little weird, maybe derogatory. I assume you didn't mean it like that. Saying that a man who is somehow involved in an abortion is effeminate doesn't make sense at all. OldAndrew
Whew. This thread is making me feel that the congregation at the Baptist church I used to attend was incredibly laid back. daveS
OldAndrew
I think God wants me to enjoy the cookie. I think the cookie and the capacity to enjoy it are gifts. You’re saying that it’s gluttony and that I should beg forgiveness for enjoying the cookie.
You skipped over the idea that to eat the cookie for pleasure alone - then artificially inhibit the effect of the cookie both for nutrition (and adding carbs) -- requires vomiting. It's an unnatural act. Extracting just the pleasure from an act that has pleasure only as one aspect. Stripping pleasure from food, then vomiting to avoid getting full (gluttony) is similar to extracting pleasure from sex and blocking the possibility of a child by contraception (lust). Silver Asiatic
OldAndrew
I wonder if SA realizes that men don’t have abortions ...
In our culture today there is the belief that "abortion is a woman's choice". That's the marxist-feminist rhetoric that has created enormous damage on a global-scale. Men are essential to family life and to the life of children. Women who believe that the choice to kill the child is theirs alone - without regard to their husband and father of the child are merely the destructive symptoms of atheistic-materialism. By nature (and God's order) fathers are to be leaders in the family. That is an anti-feminist sentiment. But feminism gives us women who choose abortion in spite of what their husband may think or want. And that's irrational and selfish. In cases where men pay for abortions, urge their spouse to have abortion, or actually perform abortions themselves -- the idea that "men don't have abortions" is merely another attempt by effeminate men to escape responsibility for their actions. And that's what society is cursed with today. Males who want to be little boys - having sex for fun, pleasing themselves and running from responsibility. Feminism contributes to this, of course. Crisis of manhood - there's a lot of interest in this topic lately, and also some good antidotes to the problem (and not-so-good attempts also). Silver Asiatic
Andrew
I don’t think so. I’m taking a philosophical position that aligns with available evidence.
The only evidence I've heard so far is that sex makes babies. There's a logical chasm between that fact and saying that contraception is a violation of "natural moral law" or otherwise wrong. It's one thing to make a personal choice. But to proclaim that only our choice is moral is a serious matter. We have to be a little more thorough about connecting the dots. I haven't seen that. Darwinian evolution aligns with some of the available evidence, but doesn't hold up to scrutiny. The same is true here. What we're talking about coincides with the fact that sex makes babies, but that's not enough to derive some moral law. OldAndrew
asauber,
There really isn’t an act that is of the same kind as making baby humans. Comparisons thus fail.
I understand what you mean. I really do. But I'm in full-tilt logic mode now. Comparisons are almost never between things that are the same. By that reasoning, all comparisons fail. :) (I need to use more emojis.) But there is a valid comparison between eating and sex. Both are necessary for biological reasons. Both are enjoyable. If we're religious, we likely believe that in both cases the enjoyment was added deliberately, even though it's not necessary. It's a gift. And, in both cases, it's physically possible to do them beyond when it's strictly necessary for their biological purposes. SA understood the comparison, and concluded that eating a cookie just to enjoy it is gluttony, just like married people having sex with contraception is masturbation.
Contraception, abortion and masturbation are means of obtaining selfish pleasure — they are anti-child, anti-responsiblity. They are childish – very effeminiate acts for men. They’re pleasure-seeking and addictive – cowardly.
I wonder if SA realizes that men don't have abortions, and that when a married couple uses contraception, one of them is a woman. OldAndrew
You’re begging the question.
OldAndrew, I don't think so. I'm taking a philosophical position that aligns with available evidence. Andrew asauber
There really isn't an act that is of the same kind as making baby humans. Comparisons thus fail. Andrew asauber
asauber
Sexual intercourse IS the act of making babies.
You're begging the question. OldAndrew
Sexual intercourse IS the act of making babies. You know, live little people. If you can grasp that, the rest follows naturally. Andrew asauber
I was expecting you to explain why sex with contraception was not the same as eating a cookie when we’re not hungry.
OldAndrew, Eating cookies doesn't make more cookies. Andrew asauber
There's another reason why all of this makes no sense: Why would God make sex pleasurable in the first place if it was strictly for procreation? People would do it anyway. Why give us different types of food that we enjoy? We'd eat anyway. Animals do. Some spend their whole lives sucking slime off rocks. We could do that. Many people believe that God makes some things enjoyable because, well, he loves us and wants us to be happy. He sets rules as fences around wrong, hurtful behaviors, leaving us plenty of room to enjoy what he gave us. That's how most people are with their children. Doesn't that sound nice? It also happens to be what the Bible teaches. Many people believe that in addition to procreation, sex provides additional intimacy and affection between married couples so that they're more than roommates. The Bible goes along with that as well. In fact, I'm going to have to get graphic. I don't like talking about sex any more than the next person, but honestly, these questions are raised: If a man ejaculates before his wife is satisfied, shouldn't they stop immediately because her gratification is unnecessary for procreation? Isn't it selfish for her to desire more? Think hard and reason on it. At that moment, what does God want the man to do, and why? Or we can go with some post-Christian dogma which says that God is staring judgmentally from heaven when we have sex to make sure we don't do it twice, because once is enough. (Or can we do it twice? Is there a rule for that? If there's not, shouldn't there be one?) If there is a "natural moral law," making people feel guilty for enjoying what God gave them within the limits he set is an egregious violation of it. OldAndrew
SA, OK, I was expecting you to explain why sex with contraception was not the same as eating a cookie when we're not hungry. But you went the other way. Eating a cookie when I'm not hungry is gluttony. It's comparable to gorging myself and vomiting. (BTW, the Romans built vomitoria so that people inside a building could leave.) I'm sorry, but what you are saying is disconnected from reality. I think God wants me to enjoy the cookie. I think the cookie and the capacity to enjoy it are gifts. You're saying that it's gluttony and that I should beg forgiveness for enjoying the cookie. I'm actually eating lunch right now. Now I'm worried because I don't know which bite of food is one too many. And supposedly God is staring down at me, counting the calories. I suppose I should go a little hungry to be on the safe side, because at any moment I could cross the line. Or I suppose I could just feel guilty every time I eat. Why did Jesus turn water into wine? The account says nothing about people being thirsty. And if they were, why not drink the water? Did Jesus then stand over the wine and ask everyone if they were really thirsty and if they really needed more wine? This is the sort of reasoning that makes people hate God and become atheists. None of this reflects what the Bible says about God. OldAndrew
SA,
Those aspects can be enjoyed without contraception.
Yes. They can be enjoyed with or without contraception. daveS
daveS
Likewise, a couple using contraception wishes to enjoy the non-procreational aspects of sex.
Those aspects can be enjoyed without contraception. Silver Asiatic

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