Factors responsible for the decline of religion in 19th and 20th century Europe?

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Rrobba
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What are the main factors responsible for the decline of the power of religions in 19th and 20th century Europe?

Darwin's publication of on the 'origin of species' causing conflict with various Biblical stories and fuelling the science/religion debate is an obvious one, but what other events/people/scientific discoveries in this period do you feel were responsible for the decline of the power of established religion in Europe?
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ageshallnot
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Wider education, leading to more people thinking for themselves.
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scrotgrot
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People got richer because of exploitation of the colonies and the industrial revolution. Comfortably-off people don't revolt, so religion was less necessary to keep them in check. Also, the French and American revolutions showed how you could separate church and state and make the state the official "religion" with a constitution as its holy book. Naturally kings and politicians thought this was quite a good idea as it meant they got to usurp God as the supreme authority.
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Seathestars
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People became better educated and also the change in philosophy.
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fred292
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The Enlightenment
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AdamskiUK
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Education. People learnt that they were being lied to by increasing their intelligence.
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Jjj90
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Liberty + equality = secularism
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DanB1991
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people use religion to fill in the gaps of what they do not know.

As such as science explains more and more things in depth without the use of speculation (ie ancient science) people move away from religion.

But you have to remember science is technically just another belief system. The whole nature of existence means no matter how much science you have to back something up, something tiny and insignificant beyond human comprehension could effect it.

Also "most" scientific theories are just that... theories.... most of the time we know things simply because when you combine certain variables we get certain results and thus use them to explain things, however we do not know why.

My lecturer told me of a researcher in america who's sole job is to test science text books or check they are right. Apparently the amount of experiments in such books used all the way up to university level which simply do not work is shocking. Also many theories in such textbooks, when tested, actually turn out to be false. While this usually happens to obscure and uncertain fields, some quite well known and accepted theories in the scientific community also suffer from this on occasion.

Whats agreed to be science basically is the same to what is agreed to be true in religion. You have a group of powerful or experienced people in their field/religion who look at the evidence and agree whether or not it's true or not. As I said to my lecturer "religion and science both are decided by a bunch of powerful old men who try and decide for the rest of us what is fact or fiction".
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by DanB1991)
people use religion to fill in the gaps of what they do not know.

As such as science explains more and more things in depth without the use of speculation (ie ancient science) people move away from religion.

But you have to remember science is technically just another belief system. The whole nature of existence means no matter how much science you have to back something up, something tiny and insignificant beyond human comprehension could effect it.

Also "most" scientific theories are just that... theories.... most of the time we know things simply because when you combine certain variables we get certain results and thus use them to explain things, however we do not know why.

My lecturer told me of a researcher in america who's sole job is to test science text books or check they are right. Apparently the amount of experiments in such books used all the way up to university level which simply do not work is shocking. Also many theories in such textbooks, when tested, actually turn out to be false. While this usually happens to obscure and uncertain fields, some quite well known and accepted theories in the scientific community also suffer from this on occasion.

Whats agreed to be science basically is the same to what is agreed to be true in religion. You have a group of powerful or experienced people in their field/religion who look at the evidence and agree whether or not it's true or not. As I said to my lecturer "religion and science both are decided by a bunch of powerful old men who try and decide for the rest of us what is fact or fiction".
Except that in science, what you would describe as the 'belief system' actively encourages people to challenge the existing order. New theories, evidence, methods and techniques come through all the time. In religion, such challenges are generally regarded as heresy.
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DanB1991
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(Original post by ageshallnot)
Except that in science, what you would describe as the 'belief system' actively encourages people to challenge the existing order. New theories, evidence, methods and techniques come through all the time. In religion, such challenges are generally regarded as heresy.
Challenging the existing order often rely's on support from the existing order. If it is not there it does not change.

While there is no such thing prohibiting such things in both religion and science, science tends to be less against it. However some theories do fail to pass recognition because even though they are more correct (not necessarily totally correct) compared to the old theory the community fails to accept it.

You are right that science tends to embrace such challenges from the outside, but on occasion it can be much darker. Especially if drug companies or well known and powerful academics have something to loose via new studies. However as I said most religion's never stipulates change is wrong.

Certain religions also can accept changes albeit it does differ religion to religion. Early Christianity evolved massively with many different teachings and sects, even after the creation of the catholic church this continued to a degree until the end of the dark ages. In fact the catholic church used to update the bible on multiple occasions, thus a library in Rome dedicated to all the old additions. Aggressiveness to opposition and change are different things. There was aggressiveness originally against Darwins theory of evolution, just as there is aggressiveness against scientists who's results question the whole man made global warming hypothesis.

Ancient paganism was another example of a religion that rapidly changed. Roman paganism pretty much expanded every time they conquered a new area.
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Kallisto
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(Original post by Rrobba)
What are the main factors responsible for the decline of the power of religions in 19th and 20th century Europe? (...)
People begin to explore the causes of different things on earth, that is to say they begin to think about the circumstances instead of believe in something. Another reason could be that people became more critical in the following centuries.
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TurboCretin
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Who knows. Education probably had something to do with it, but in more ways than one. Through public education you get greater social mobility. Through greater social mobility you get something to pin your dreams on besides a paradise in the next life. You get a new source of hope.

Yes, a generally more critical mind would be more likely to question religious beliefs. But, to be honest, the level of critical ability and intellectual honesty required to shake off such deeply held beliefs just doesn't tally with what we see in the population. Added to that, we know that scientists themselves can be religious. I think that a decline in religiosity is more likely to be linked to a decline in its relevance to people's lives than it is an intellectual 'awakening' of some description. People don't subscribe to religion because it's a truthful belief, supported by solid evidence. They do so largely because it's somehow psychologically useful to them.
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Kallisto
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(Original post by fred292)
The Enlightenment
No doubt it was the beginning, but not the end. Consider there were even some scientists in the 18th century who are trying to explain some things in science with religous dogmas.

(Original post by Jjj90)
Liberty + equality = secularism
I guess liberty and equality were decisive steps why religion decline in 19th and 20th century.
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