The Secret [movie]

So a better comparison might be between cultures. Do we see this extension of life and improvement in health among the more strongly theistic cultures, compared with the less? Do the populations of countries more strongly believing in the efficacy of prayer and the physical effects of mental attitudes enjoy positive physical - measurable by observer - benefits?

Sure, lets weigh in the confounding variables by comparing two equivalent cultures, one largely theist, one largely atheist.

I'll pick Russia as the atheist one, since Russians seem particularly resistant to religious indoctrination and have a strongly atheistic society. Which theistic culture do you consider as equivalent and comparable to it?

Also, what the hell happened to this thread? I just realised its the one about the movie :confused:
 
I'll pick Russia as the atheist one, since Russians seem particularly resistant to religious indoctrination and have a strongly atheistic society. Which theistic culture do you consider as equivalent and comparable to it?

Wow, you really know nothing about them, do you?
 
Wow, you really know nothing about them, do you?

Actually I'm surprised you haven't moved there:

Are there still atheists in Russia?
Submitted by webmin on 14 March, 2005 - 20:28.

* Russia
* IHN 2005.1 February
* International Humanist News

Russia

When I visited Moscow on behalf of IHEU before the collapse of the communist regime, I was the guest of the Institute of Scientific Atheism and was taken to atheist museums and ceremonial palaces for atheist weddings and other atheist celebrations. At the institute a large staff of competent atheist scholars did research in the history of freethought and the shortcomings of all the world religions. Every person I met claimed to be an atheist, which really was astonishing for someone coming from the Western side of the iron curtain – where you in a mixed company usually would find different attitudes to religion and beliefs.

"Are there no religious people in the Soviet Union?" I asked one of the leading atheists at the Institute.

"No", he answered. "May be in some of the Muslim republics, but not in Moscow, except for a few old women".

What a misconception! On a train journey in Russia 20 years later – a few months ago – I talked to a group of young students, and none of them looked at themselves as atheists. Most of them had some kind of supernatural leanings and some were churchgoers. On TV and in newspapers priests are regularly quoted on ethics and existential matters.

"Actually the situation is not that bad", said the leader of Russian Humanist Association, Valerii Kuvakin, a well known professor of Philosophy at Moscow University and the author of several books, also translated into English. "The situation for atheists, freethinkers and humanists is approximately the same as in Western Europe. Not more than 15% of the population are religious believers. Since the concept of atheism was so closely connected to communism and the old regime, we were afraid that freethought would be wiped out in the new society. But there is no doubt that Russia today is a secular society, and we have 14 groups of organized humanists in the country, mainly connected to the universities".

Russian Humanist Association, a member of IHEU, publishes a high quality quarterly magazine, with summaries in English. Valerii Kuvakin is mainly working with Humanism as an academic subject, lecturing and writing textbooks for students. Quite surprisingly for me Russian Humanist Association and Moscow State University have together published a textbook called Basics of Contemporary Humanism, which is formally recommended by the Union of Russian Universities and used in the curriculum for students of Philosophy.

"But is this the same kind of ‘Humanism’ that IHEU stands for, Humanism as a conviction, a life stance without beliefs in the supernatural?", I asked. "Absolutely", answered Professor Kuvakin.

"What about the school system, is there compulsory religious instruction?"

"This has become one of our main targets. The school authorities have succeeded to introduce a subject called The Basics of Orthodox Culture, where pupils have to learn dogmas and prayers, even if they are not expected to pray or take part in religious services. We are now trying to introduce Humanism and non-dogmatic moral education as an alternative choice".

"What are your strategies?"

"We send letters to the authorities and write articles in the newspapers. Some Christians become very upset, and one of our honoured members, the Nobel prize winner Vitalii Ginzburg was reported to the police for ‘attack on religious people’".

http://www.iheu.org/node/1213

Sounds like your kind of country
 
I'll pick Russia as the atheist one, since Russians seem particularly resistant to religious indoctrination and have a strongly atheistic society. Which theistic culture do you consider as equivalent and comparable to it?

The communists did their best to root out Christianity, but even then most Russians privately held silly superstitions. My parents were just there a couple of years ago and they say it's stark raving mad now. The Russians have all these creepy traditions, like kissing coffins with saints in them. My parents were visiting one cathedral and there was a saint there behind a glass case whose face and body had been "miraculously preserved" for hundreds of years. Oh, the body and face were covered in a burial shroud though, so one couldn't exactly check to see.
 
You could say quite the equivalent for atheism in say, the US.You could check out St Francis at the Basilica Bom Jesu in Goa, India.
 
Actually I'm surprised you haven't moved there:

Sounds like your kind of country

I lived in the Soviet Union for almost a year on an exchange program. I couldn't live there for a number of reasons. Most everything in certain cities, especially the one I stayed the most, was destroyed in the Victory War (WWII) and rebuilt under Soviet regime. Terrible workmanship in most buildings with the worst hot water and electrical systems you could imagine.

We used to call the building we lived in "Tarakan Hotel" (Coachroach Hotel)
 
Anyway, if Russia is taken as the atheist country, a comparable theistic country would be Iran right next door. Ok, despite everything bad I've ever said about Russia, no matter how far you go down on the food chain, there's always lesser detritus lying further down the pyramid. Russia is bigger, more powerful, more educated, more free, more innovative, richer, and healthier. Atheists win!!! :yay:
 
You've clearly never met any Iranians. :p

But its quite telling that you consider Iran, a country with no nuclear weapons and under 30 years of international sanctions, as equivalent to the Russians with a permanent seat in the security council and a stature as one of the top five most influential nations in the world.
 
I've met lots of Iranians, and they're very smart and successful. But almost all of them were already among Iran's class of elite before they even came here. I have no doubt if every Iranian had western-style education and freedoms, they would leave Russia behind in the dust.
 
Anyhow, Russia's not even close to atheist anymore in any sense. Maybe Putin is, but supposedly he's done a dandy job hasn't he? The Russians certainly think so. If you want to pick a country with a very large atheist composition, let's go with... I dunno... Sweden. Yes, lots of prosperous theocracies we could throw against Sweden, right?
 
Sweden?

The Church of Sweden (Swedish: Svenska kyrkan, Northern Sami: Ruoŧa girkui) is the largest church in Sweden. The Church of Sweden professes the Lutheran branch of Christianity, and is a member of the Porvoo Communion. With almost 6.9 million members, It is the largest Lutheran church in the World. Until 2000 it held the position of state church. As of 2006 75.6% of the Swedes were members of the church. However, only approximately 2% of the church's members regularly attend Sunday services.[1]

Nope, I don't think so.
 
Going to church once a year means you're a theist? You think atheists take scalpels to their brains and cut out the whole part that remembers upbringing and family traditions? Your article says 2% of Swedish churchgoers regularly attend Sunday services, and Sunday services I presume are the most attended. No, counting people as religious because they hold membership in some church doesn't cut it, I know lots of atheists who go to religious temples now and then for community functions. Wikipedia says 23% of Swedes believe in God, 53% believe in a spirit or life-force, and 23% basically don't believe in anything supernatural whatsoever.

It's hard to collect demographic info on religion, and they're still not very rigorous about it. For starters, there's no such thing as an atheist country anywhere on this planet. Anywhere you go in the world, including communist China, you will find most people subscribe to a healthy dose of superstition in one form or another. In North Korea, for instance, Kim Jong Il is God. So all we can conclude is that in societies like Sweden that lean closer to atheism than nearly every other country in the world, quality of life standards are also very high.
 
Maybe they could edit that wiki so the rest of us could also know about it, from what I have seen of the Netherlanders, its not that they call themselves atheist [most do NOT], its that they just consider God and religion as private issues. They get baptised, they get married in church, they rarely or never talk about it in public. But they don't define themselves as atheists.\\\\\
Going to church once a year means you're a theist?

Sure. How many Muslims you think pray 5 times a day everyday? How many Hindus follow all the rituals? How many Christians attend mass every week? How many theists follow religion when it interferes with their work or family schedule?

You guys need to get out more.
 
Sure. How many Muslims you think pray 5 times a day everyday? How many Hindus follow all the rituals? How many Christians attend mass every week? How many theists follow religion when it interferes with their work or family schedule?

How many muslims don't pray at all, and only go to mosque maybe 3 or 4 times a year?
 
Maybe they could edit that wiki so the rest of us could also know about it, from what I have seen of the Netherlanders, its not that they call themselves atheist [most do NOT], its that they just consider God and religion as private issues. They get baptised, they get married in church, they rarely or never talk about it in public. But they don't define themselves as atheists.

Well I can tell you wouldn't find that to be the case in Denmark or Sweden. I have yet to meet one that believed in god, taught their children about god or went to church. They are the most completely atheist people especially those from the age of 50 down. Danes and Swedes have no nothing of discussing religion or god...only to find it silly.
 
Quite a few, there were many in Saudi Arabia itself who never bothered with rituals.

You know, they still get officially counted as muslims by their government even if they're nonbelievers, right? In Saudi Arabia you can't even legally leave the religion.
 
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