FREEDOM AND SAFETY
Religion in developed countries is declining - but why so fast? It is estimated that soon 9 countries will be comprised entirely of non-believers.
In most other developed countries there has been recent significant decline. The UK for example took just 10 years to make a full u-turn and tilt the balance from being a country comprised mainly of religious believers to a country predominantly of non-believers.
As our societies change and develop, so too must our understanding of them. So why is it that our developed countries are seeing such a dramatic fall in religious adherence?
3. Bad Press
In recent times, the media has featured news relating to crimes that religious leaders and authorities have committed. Stories of catholic priests committing crimes of paedophilia and the pope opposing homosexual relationships make some people wonder whether religion really helps create morality and whether the beliefs are at all valuable. Ideas such as female circumcision and inequality of women in particular religious societies also throw up questions of whether being religious is at all valuable to a person or society.
4. It's Unnecessary/Counterproductive
Many people view religion as a burden on society or themselves. Ideas such as having to take time out to go to church every Sunday, praying regularly, not eating pork, sexual abstinence, fasting, circumcision, being against homosexual relationships and abortions etc. can seem like a waste of time or immoral to some people. Therefore, many people simply decide that since they do not know which religion and set of rules they should follow (and which one would mean they wouldn't be punished eternally for not following is the right one), religion is simply irrelevant to their lives.
Also, some people find religious people and organisations who try to convert them such as jehova's witnesses and religious programs irritating and think that religion is too forceful, making them reluctant to associate themselves with these religions.
5. Controlling Method & Wars
6. Free Thought & Logic
With the introduction of new rights and the encouragement to think freely and rationally, many people see religion today as something that is fundamentally irrational. In a literal sense, turning wine into water or healing people's ailments through touch may be seen as contradictory to modern science which can be said to have more proof/grounding.
Also, large problems arise with the very concept of God. The Abrahamic God (the one in Christianity, Islam and Judaism) is defined as having Omnipotence, Omniscience and Benevolence which many people argue is logically impossible.
To conclude, religion is declining because of the increase in choice, education, information, bad press, the idea that it is useless/counterproductive and the realisation that its fundamental principles are illogical.
Perhaps it is a natural progression of society to leave religion and begin instilling morality through education and understanding, rather than fear and fallacies.
Religion is like the scaffolding of a society - it has helped support us on our ascension into the modern era, but we must now let go of it in order to expand.