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Zuckerberg – not the only atheist story January 9, 2017

Posted by P, J, or J in Uncategorized.
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Mark Zuckerberg’s declaration that he is no longer an atheist had me wondering what other ex-athiest stories might be breaking at the start of 2017.

I was interested to spot the Hindustan times running an article on the growth of Christianity, predicting “Atheist China could have largest number of Christians in the world by 2030“.

Meanwhile the Big Think suggested Norwich as the most Godless city in Britain and pointed to biopsychologist Nigel Barber’s belief that most countries will pass the “Atheist threshold” by 2038 stating “cities tend to be more prosperous, and as such their inhabitants will feel less need for religion”.

Personally I suspect that there will continue to be a significant number of urban poor feeling a need for supernatural intervention, and that there will also continue to be those with higher levels of wealth and access to education and resources who feel that material prosperity is still not enough to satisfy all life’s longings.

Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the first to discover that wealth offers some pleasant distractions, but that answers need to be looked for in something more. Here are some words from the book of Ecclesiasties:

Riches are meaningless

If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still. The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields.

10 Whoever loves money never has enough;
    whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
    This too is meaningless.

11 As goods increase,
    so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
    except to feast their eyes on them?

Ecclesiastes 5:8-11New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

Ecclesiastes was a book I found helpful during my first read through of the Bible (now many years ago). It is a book full of questions and searching from a rich ruler who constantly declares his human attempts at meaning as meaningless.

Atheism has often been the response of people who reject overly simplistic ‘religious’ answers, or heavy handed religious indoctrination, but as it has gained popularity it has often been adopted unthinkingly by people who assume religion has been debunked and replaced by science, economics or something more fun.

Atheism is not over yet but neither is Christianity or the other world’s religions. Rich and poor will continue to search for help and meaning.

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