Religion to Die Out in 9 Nations
Mathematical model points to extinction in Australia, Austria, Ireland
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2011 3:25 AM CDT
Updated Mar 22, 2011 5:00 AM CDT
An Muslim imam, a Christian priest,and two Jewish rabbis join a prayer calling for rain in the West Bank village of Walajeh near Bethlehem.    (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Religion is bound for extinction in nine nations where it's already in decline, according to researchers using mathematical models. The researchers applied the principle of "nonlinear dynamics" to census data from the countries—Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland—and predicted that religion will die out completely in those countries as religious groups shrink and as becoming a member of a religion offers fewer and fewer social benefits.

"The idea is pretty simple," one of the researchers tells the BBC. "It posits that social groups that have more members are going to be more attractive to join, and it posits that social groups have a social status or utility," he explained. "It's interesting that a fairly simple model captures the data, and if those simple ideas are correct, it suggests where this might be going." One member of the research team used a similar mathematical model in earlier research to explain the decline of some languages. (Click to read about something that's already gone extinct.)

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Comments
Showing 3 of 129 comments
gonzales
Mar 25, 2011 9:45 PM CDT
and folks, because I like tradition I incline to religion. Traditional human religion without money taking structure. PAGANISM. Gods like Thunder,The Sun, Rain. I love Paganism
gonzales
Mar 25, 2011 9:43 PM CDT
What is religion of ruling class? $$$$$$ This is my religion as well. Shred bible and make green $$. There is only ONE universal religion and love on the planet earth. $$$$$$$$$$
BlairErickson
Mar 24, 2011 4:35 AM CDT
Read the headline and thought, "thank god."