Does Prosperity Entail the End of God?

Is religiosity beneficial in affluent first world nations? That is the question addressed by independent researcher Gregory Paul in the current issue of the journal Evolutionary Psychology. In his article, "The Chronic Dependence of Popular Religiosity upon Dysfunctional Psychosociological Conditions," Paul argues that evidence strongly shows that as socioeconomic conditions improve secularism/atheism increases. Paul is a thorough-going progressive who fully endorses the economic security policies found in most western European countries. According to Paul, religious belief remains more prevalent in the United States largely because of Americans experience higher levels of economic and social insecurity than do the citizens of other rich countries. Paul asserts that the fact that secularism increases with perceived economic and physical security undercuts the argument that religious belief is natural (genetic) to human beings. He concludes:

In view of the reduced levels of religiosity consistently extant in populations that enjoy secure middle class lives, it can be postulated that if socioeconomic conditions had been similarly benign since humans first appeared it is unlikely that religion would have developed to nearly the degree seen in actual human history, and atheism would have been much more widespread and possibly ubiquitous since the beginning. Materialism and language in contrast would still be omnipresent. Ergo, strong religiosity has all the signs of being a natural invention of human minds in response to a defective habitat, and is neither supernatural, nor genetically preprogrammed to the same extent as are more deeply set language and material desire. Because spirituality is a relatively optional attribute more comparable to writing which is not fundamental to the human condition, it is not consistently more difficult for humans to be spiritual than nontheistic (partly contra Boyer, 2008), under certain environmental conditions the opposite can be true.

It follows that the mass loss of 1st world theism contradicts a number of potential primary causes of popular religious devotion, including fear of death and hell complemented by a pleasant eternal existence, fear of societal chaos if the society is not sufficiently pious, desire for an uberfather figure or a universal companion, an explanation for the meaning of life or the existence of the universe, a social primate's desire for community and need for practical social support, a means to achieve political power, a "God Module" or some expression of brain structure and function that creates a deep set psychological need for spirituality, the ecstasy often associated with religious belief and activity, the excessive teleological tendency to perceive patterns where they do not exist, retention of childhood patterns of gullible thinking into adulthood, "God gene/s" in which religious belief imparts a survival or reproductive benefit to individuals or related groups, and "memes" that spread religious ideas like viral infections even if religious devotion is maladaptive to a given individual or group (Bloom, 2007; Boyer, 2008; Dawkins, 2006; Dennett, 2006; Fincher and Thornhill, 2008; Inzlicht et al., 2009; Kelemen and Rosset, 2009). Most French, Swedes and Japanese have spontaneously abandoned religion even though they face the same lethal fate as faithful Americans. Likewise, if need for social community is compelling then western Europeans, Australians should continue to flock to the churches. Political ambitions are not crucial because public expressions of deep piety have become an electoral detriment in the strongly secular democracies. Nor is the highly skeptical French population genetically or neurologically distinct from highly religious ones, so factors that potentially involve selective forces, including excessive pattern recognition and gullibility, are not predominant. There a no reason to think that the brains of the French and Canadians are more or less resistant to infectious memes. To the extent that any of the above factors are operative, they apparently do not fully function outside the context of the dysfunctional socioeconomic conditions that favor mass religiosity.

An outline scenario of the origin, evolution and decline of popular religion compatible with the results of this study is as follows. Endowed by the evolution of high level, flexible intelligence with imaginative minds influenced by dreams and perception altering drugs that appeared to provide a connection to alternative worlds, early humans were poorly informed hunter gatherers living impoverished and dangerous lives. These conditions were so ideal for the invention of supernatural entities that could be petitioned for aid and protection that it is difficult to construct a scenario in which primitive cultures would be rationalistic atheists. A genetic propensity driven by selective forces may not be necessary for the appearance of popular religion in this scenario. If genes are involved then they are strongly expressed only when the human environment is suitable, unlike the much more prevalent genetic programming for language and materialism. The lives of the great majority remained impoverished and insecure with the onset of agriculture and then civilization, the latter was accompanied and may have been partly driven by the appearance of priestly castes who invented organized religion as a means of maintaining sociopolitical control. In this dysfunctional context the promise of benign afterlife to all believers may have given Christianity and Islam a competitive advantage that led them to dominate half of the global population (Barrett et al., 2001). Dysfunctional socioeconomic conditions continued to favor mass religiosity, until the appearance of the most secure and prosperous middle class 1st world conditions in history allowed and encouraged the largest scale spontaneous secularization in history. The ancient evolution of a relatively weak and consequently inconsistent hold by religion on the human psyche allowed the modern instability of popular theism that made this study possible.

Ignoring Paul's arguments about social policy, he does seem to be correct that prosperity correlates with increasing secularization, even in the United States. For my take on the meaning of recent secularization trends in the U.S., see my April 2008 Reason article, "The New Age of Reason: Is the Fourth Great Awakening finally coming to a close?

Just in case you are still wondering, Paul's answer to the opening question is, no. 

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  • ||

    What a verbose way of saying "There are no atheists in foxholes". No kidding Ron.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Obama is religious. Thus this is a racist post!

  • ||

    Apparently I'm not well versed on religion as an evolutionary phenomenon. People believe that religious belief is genetically coded? Seriously? Wow.

  • Spartacus||

    Wow. I wonder if all the articles in that journal are this blathersome. They should get an editor. And some referees.

  • ||

    Correlation isn't causation blah blah....It's true that in many societies & subcultures religion can act as a substitute for intellectual inquiry, but that certainly does not have to be the case. How does he explain how the most religious of western nations is also the most dynamic & innovative?

  • ||

    Ronald Bailey,

    The only way this works is if the belief in the paranormal generally - as opposed to a drop in church attendance, etc. - drops. From what I have seen that is not the case in Europe.

    Human beings like to think about, believe in, etc. in fantastical things. Prosperity might change the range of forms that those things might come in, but the vast majority of people will continue to believe in such things as ESP, UFOs, acupuncture, Feng Shui, etc.

  • ||

    John,

    There are atheists in foxholes actually.

    http://www.maaf.info/

  • Tman||

    As an agnostic who doesn't believe in the Christian God, I do want to defend the Christian perspective from this essay.

    Two things jump out immediately:

    1.) Religious groups in the US are far -FAR- more generous than secular groups when it comes to donating time, money and effort to relieving causes of destitution and poverty.

    2.) The argument can be made that there is no "God Molecule" in the brain, but there is a deep fundamental inquisitive part of the brain that wants to know why we are here and what is the purpose for all of our daily efforts. Whether or not the answer can be measured remains to be seen, but religions of the world have attempted to answer the question with SOMETHING instead of NOTHING.

    I don't believe that religiosity can be measured as beneficial or harmful based purely on the measuring sticks used in this essay, primarily because everyone has their own different perspective about spirituality that will defy statistical analysis.

  • ||

    It's certainly an obvious idea, but Paul seems to be ignoring the corollary: an decrease in religiosity in a society by no means implies a decrease in rational thinking. Anybody who spends a little time in Japan or Scandinavia quickly realizes that, while perfectly pleasant, the inhabitants often sorta lag behind the average American in their grasp of basic reality (with Swedish leftists being the glass-case example). Asians in particular seem susceptible to even worse superstitions than the average trailer-park residents (witness the Chinese obsession with the number 8). So wave good-bye to religion, but don't expect it to be replaced with thought.

  • creech||

    Which political movement has more atheists than libertarianism? The liberals I know are all god believers or gaia worshippers, the conservatives are almost 100% religious, but libertarians are maybe 50/50.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I agree with that 50/50 split, creech.

    So that means, what, 107 libertarian atheists?

  • Uncle Joe||

    Which political movement has more atheists than libertarianism?

    Well, let me guess ...

  • ||

    "John,

    There are atheists in foxholes actually."

    Of course there are. I was just being a smart ass. But really, that is all this guy is saying; the more insecure and unstable your life is, the more likly you are to look to religion.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    I agree with that 50/50 split, creech.

    So that means, what, 107 libertarian atheists?


    If you include Cosmotarians the percentages change drastically.

  • ||

    Seriously cliche. Never heard the, religion is a crutch, point before.

  • T-Bag||

    "Does Prosperity Entail the End of God?"

    Oh ye of little faith...

  • ||

    Communism, like Nazism, does not create an atheistic society. It replaces the worship of God with the worship of the collective state/nation. Channeling the impulse toward religion to nefarious ends is not atheism, despite whatever they wanted to call it.

  • John Stossel||

    Paul is a thorough-going progressive who fully endorses the economic security policies found in most western European countries. According to Paul, religious belief remains more prevalent in the United States largely because of Americans experience higher levels of economic and social insecurity than do the citizens of other rich countries.

    GIVE ME A BREAK!

  • Brian Lockwood||

    Hasn't Western Europe pretty much just replaced traditional religion with a religion of the state? From my experience, they are just as dogmatic as any religious people, they just don't believe in an invisible man in the sky.

  • roo||

    camel, eye of needle, etc.

  • ||

    In western Europe (could be elsehwere; don't know), the churches are largely nationalized, and have product quality and customer service accordingly. Picture the post office or department of motor vehicles with stained glass and the counter help with priests collars.

    Religion in America is widespread because it is privately provisioned and entreprenurial. The author's inability to perceive this is because his economic theory suffers rather badly compared with, say, Tammy Faye Baker's grasp of theology.

    I am not a customer of the "Jesus = Personal Savior" product line and its competitors.

  • ||

    Apparently I'm not well versed on religion as an evolutionary phenomenon. People believe that religious belief is genetically coded?

    I don't know about genetic, but there does seems to be a portion of the brain the you can stimulate to induce religious visions.

    Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

    (That link may not work due to the fact I'm on a library proxy.)

  • ||

    I am not a customer of the "Jesus = Personal Savior" product line and its competitors.
    Love that line, may i steal it?

  • ||

  • ||

    "Communism, like Nazism, does not create an atheistic society. It replaces the worship of God with the worship of the collective state/nation. Channeling the impulse toward religion to nefarious ends is not atheism, despite whatever they wanted to call it."

    Yes. It is that whole, if people don't believe in God the danger is not that they will beleive in nothing it is that they will believe in anything problem.

  • Craig||

    I am not a customer of the "Jesus = Personal Savior" product line and its competitors.

    Ironic, coming from someone named Chris.

  • JB||

    People have a need for deeper meaning.

    If that isn't projected onto religious or spiritual experience, it is often channeled into more harmful projects such as government (see Stalin and Mao as gross examples).

    I think there are ways for atheists and others to channel that need into a healthy humanism, but that only tends to succeed when they acknowledge the need.

  • ||

    "the fact that secularism increases with perceived economic and physical security undercuts the argument that religious belief is natural (genetic) to human beings."

    Uhm, and the fact that entheogenic substances (like psilocybin) exist, just about proves the argument that religious belief is natural (genetic) to human beings.

  • Tony||

    People have a need for deeper meaning.



    "Deeper meaning" is vague. To me, the realities that the human enterprise of science uncovers are far more awe-inspiring and existentially satisfying than any number of religious or political fairy tales.

  • Attorney||

    People have a need for deeper meaning.

    If that isn't projected onto religious or spiritual experience, it is often channeled into more harmful projects such as government (see Stalin and Mao as gross examples).

    I think there are ways for atheists and others to channel that need into a healthy humanism, but that only tends to succeed when they acknowledge the need.


    Good point, JB. People have a need for "spirituality" (for lack of a better term). I don't know what the logic might be behind it, but it's there, like the need to be touched, the need to belong to a group, the need for periodic catharses, etc. People get cranky if it's denied for too long.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    People have a need for deeper meaning.

    I usually find deeper meaning attending services in places of worship that have brass poles for the women to swing on and lots of cheap wine.

  • jester||

    Old Testament Yahweh spends a lot of time proscribing idol worship because humans have a natural proclivity towards it. Whether its a dildo, David Koresh or Ted Kennedy, it doesn't matter.

  • Mad Max||

    'Ignoring Paul's arguments about social policy,'

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

    Paul 'blames' the high rate of religion in the U.S. on the absence of a powerful, caring government like the Europeans allegedly have. Americans are subject to economic insecurity - what else could you expect from Cowboy Capitalism? - and hence cling to God instead of to the State, as they do in enlightened Europe.

    Paul's statism and his atheism seem to be all of a piece.

    'Communism, like Nazism, does not create an atheistic society. It replaces the worship of God with the worship of the collective state/nation. Channeling the impulse toward religion to nefarious ends is not atheism, despite whatever they wanted to call it.'

    Of course not, because atheists who believe in nefarious things are not True Scotsmen, even if they deny the existence of and God.

  • ||

    Love that line, may i steal it?



    Go forth in peace. (It is kind of context-bound, though.)

    Ironic, coming from someone named Chris.



    Gets better: I was named after a "Christ" (short-i, as in "Krist"), but my parents thought better of it.

    And, I'm a Buddhist (Buddhism 6.0, without the full personal gods add-ins). My neighbor Bodhi, he's a Christian Gospel rocker.

    There are things I love about this country.

  • Mad Max||

    of any God.

  • ||

    I love how socialists have gone from "abundance" to "security". Notice how they have completely given up the pretense that socialism gets you more of anything, now they just say you get more security of it.

  • ||

    Oh Sky Cake, why are you sooooo delicious?

  • Mad Max||

    'Which political movement has more atheists than libertarianism?'

    I'm glad Uncle Joe responded to that, sparing me the need to return such an easy serve.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Gets better: I was named after a "Christ" (short-i, as in "Krist"), but my parents thought better of it.

    And, I'm a Buddhist (Buddhism 6.0, without the full personal gods add-ins). My neighbor Bodhi, he's a Christian Gospel rocker.



    I can't begin to comprehend the massive amount of irony in this. I agree with your sentiment that the above is an awesome series of coincidences.

    More things in heavan and earth...

  • Cliché Bandit||

    that should be "heavEn"

    KKKAAAAHHHHNNNNN!!!!!!

  • Zeb||

    "Hasn't Western Europe pretty much just replaced traditional religion with a religion of the state?"

    Religion in Europe has pretty much always been religion of the state. The religion part has just faded away more recently.

  • ||

    This is not surprising.

    There are sections in the Torah, IIRC, where God basically tells Moses and the Israelites that the purpose behind a lot of the rituals was to remind them of Him when they got into Canaan and were enjoying the fruit of the land and relative peace and ease.

  • jtuf||

    SugarFree | September 17, 2009, 1:17pm | #
    Communism, like Nazism, does not create an atheistic society. It replaces the worship of God with the worship of the collective state/nation. Channeling the impulse toward religion to nefarious ends is not atheism, despite whatever they wanted to call it.



    Agreed

    Brian Lockwood | September 17, 2009, 1:20pm | #
    Hasn't Western Europe pretty much just replaced traditional religion with a religion of the state? From my experience, they are just as dogmatic as any religious people, they just don't believe in an invisible man in the sky.



    Yes.

    ChrisH | September 17, 2009, 1:28pm | #
    In western Europe (could be elsehwere; don't know), the churches are largely nationalized, and have product quality and customer service accordingly. Picture the post office or department of motor vehicles with stained glass and the counter help with priests collars.

    Religion in America is widespread because it is privately provisioned and entreprenurial. The author's inability to perceive this is because his economic theory suffers rather badly compared with, say, Tammy Faye Baker's grasp of theology.

    I am not a customer of the "Jesus = Personal Savior" product line and its competitors.



    True

  • Abdul||

    Maybe this guy just rediscovered the "Protestant work Ethic and the Rise of Capitalism."

    Religious practice is often highly correlated with positive indicators such as longevity, health, etc. A lot of it may have to do with things that most religions prohibit (drinking, promiscuous sex, etc.).

    Religious belief also tends to make a person more satisfied regardless of income .

  • ||

    What force could unite joe, Fluffy, Episiarch, Elemenope, and me in common cause?

    Relive the most epic thread derail of H&R.

  • jtuf||

    The US is not seeing a rise in Atheists. It is seeing a rise in Nones. An Atheist attends Atheist meetings. A None skips both Church and the Atheist meetings. The rise in Nones started in started around the time congress approved funding for faith based initiatives.

  • Russ 2000||

    The only thing stupider than believing in the flying spaghetti monster is believing in government.

    Paul argues that evidence strongly shows that as socioeconomic conditions improve secularism/atheism increases.

    Yeah. And liberty decreases.

  • ||

    The freedom of doing as I'm told. Oh, how I miss it.

  • Russ 2000||

    The freedom of doing as I'm told. Oh, how I miss it.

    You think the explosion in the size of government has nothing to do with the increase in secularism?

  • ||

    It seems to me that secular gods such as the god of ecology or global warming has simply displaced the Christian god in the other rich countries and amongst a goodly portion of the US population as well. The author's theory only seems to hold up as long as he is talking about the Abrahamic religions.

  • ||

    You think the explosion in the size of government has nothing to do with the increase in secularism?

    That's beside the point. I want no master, not a choice of them.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Sugarfree,

    I am flabbergasted that you would recall that and pull it back out of the archives.

    It was an epic thread derail that went down several different tracks.

  • ||

    The religions in Europe and the US have very different histories, so why would anyone expect that the reasons for keeping or jettisoning them would be all that similar.

    Many people came to the US for religious freedom and practiced it freely for the most part, whereas in Europe, as was noted by others, it was tied to the state instead of separated from it. So, we have more variety here, and I think the atheists, agnostics, and nones in the US also have a greater variety of political flavor.

  • Russ 2000||

    That's beside the point. I want no master, not a choice of them.

    The point is what master your neighbors choose. I prefer they choose one without armed forces and prisons.

  • T||

    So, we can change the culture of an affluent nation and expect the nation to remain as affluent? Hmm. Somehow, I don't buy this thesis. Culture matters too much for the overall societal health.

  • ||

    Neu Mejican,

    It was his employment of the weak No True Scotsman argument yet again that reminded me. It did take a fair amount of googling, though.

  • ||

    Russ 2000,

    Then we may be talking past one another. It seemed to me as if you were arguing that more religion = more freedom.

    I think you are talking about it see-sawing between the two and I agree I'd rather have more people privately religious than publicly redistributionalist. But I don't think that's the choice. There's a correlation, but no causation.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    GOOD GOD!!! SF, that thread was intense. I missed it the first time around I guess (I was busy with election crap at the time and didnt have too much extra for the H&R comments sections). I loved the "define reality" portion. How many total comments was that?

    R-E-S-P-E-C-T

  • Russ 2000||

    It seemed to me as if you were arguing that more religion = more freedom.

    My point is we are no better off with dominant secularism than we are with domination by a religion. The most likely thing to keep secularism in check is religion, preferably lots of different ones. There may be many flavors of secularism, but as long as they all believe in the authority of the state they are distinctions without much difference.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Sugarfree,

    You've uncovered another one in that thread...

    BDB | September 30, 2008, 11:47pm | #
    Elemenope-

    If they lose, they blame ACORN as the bogeyman. You heard it form me, first.



    Must repost this on the ACORN thread.

    Synchronicity day.

  • ||

    An Atheist attends Atheist meetings.
    You have got to be kidding me.

    Religious belief also tends to make a person more satisfied regardless of income .

    "The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality." GB Shaw

    :-)

  • ||

    If the libertarian right wants to start actually reaching people, instead of being a fringe movement, they need to realize that one can believe in God AND want less government interference. That belief in a Creator deity does not automatically imply a nanny state. That observing sacred rituals does not demand one believe in censorship.

    I realize that a lot of this stems from the fact than Randites have a lot of sway in the libertarian movement since they were most involved in the creation of the Libertarian Party after Goldwater asked them to leave the Republican Party. However, you guys really have to realize that talking about dem der stoopid Cherstians and der Mooslim frends and teh Joows like this is incredibly offensive to them. It feels like a slap in the face to people of faith.

    Like it on not, but Reason is one of the major outlets of the libertarian movement. Start acting like it! Realize that this particular political philosophy is not part of one particular worldview, but that people from multiple worldviews can come to it, even if they come so diametrically opposed as fundamentalist Christian (yes, I've met libertarian fundamentalists) and Randite. If I didn't feel so passionate about (truly) smaller government in all forms and the inherent right of any man to pursue his own destiny (and yes, Virginia, even to deny God) without any other soul forcing him at gunpoint to do so, I would have left this movement long ago because of the inability of many of its followers to distinguish between the political and the personal, something that's dangerous in ALL political movements. Even though this article did, in fact, state that it was not true, you need to start realizing that running titles that are obviously loaded (hell, the title practically states that God is a social construct; it's nonsensical in any other context) automatically taints everything that follows simply because a title implies the nature of the discourse to follow. Even if *everything* afterward disproves the fact.

    Note: This does not imply this is a conversation not worth having. Rather, it is a conversation that should be held off on the side, not on a well-respected political site that's become an unofficial spokesmen for its brand of political ideology.

  • anonymous||

    I sort of hope prosperity doesn't entail the end of God. My theory is that zealous belief in an invisible dictator in the sky competes with zealous belief in real dictators on earth.

    Not everyone is inclined to believe in either, but for those with that tendency, religiousity is a less harmful outlet -- compare the body counts of cults of gods versus cults of emperors. It makes sense, since the imaginary dictators are usually idealized as morally perfect ("he would say what a just person would say"), while the real ones are twisted sociopaths ("what he said must be considered just").

    Of course, I've got no evidence one way or another whether Stalinists would have been crusaders in another life, it's just a hunch.

  • anonymous||

    "That belief in a Creator deity does not automatically imply a nanny state."

    The Bible (well, the Jesus part) tells you how to live your life, not how you should force other people to live theirs. This goes both for the "family values" assholes and the religious liberal "compulsory contributions = compassion" crowd.

  • Mike Laursen||

    What a verbose way of saying "There are no atheists in foxholes".

    Actually, what the guy is saying, "There are more atheists outside foxholes." Not exactly the same thing. But, yeah, whole lotta verbosity.

  • ||

    i doubt that any studies of religion/secularlism have looked at japan and korea. So we're looking at (post) christian peoples. Might this be relevant>

  • wayne||

    How does he explain how the most religious of western nations is also the most dynamic & innovative?

    Because the "security" (economic, social, etc) of the average American is not as guaranteed as it is in the other rich nations, Americans experience more of the selective pressures of life. Selective pressures force innovation. If you are sloshing around in a vat of rich nutrients with all needs satisfied there is no reason to change (innovate).

    I think this guy (Paul) is correct.

  • jtuf||

    I live in the only county in New Jersey that still has laws against buying things on Sundays. It is also rather secular. Practically speaking, this just means residents support blue laws due to their hate for capitalism instead supporting them out of any dedication to the Gospel.

  • Michael Blume||

    I sure agree with the empirical findings - but there is a twist ignored. Religious people tend to have more children, thus passing on their genes with bigger success. I am a European proud of our social networks - but most of our secularized societies are imploding due to the lack of children. At the same time, religions is coming back due to immigration and the higher birth rates of the (smaller percentages) of the higher religious. Religiosity is reproductively (and thus evolutionary!) successfull!

  • ||

    It's possible the explain the preference for religion in Darwinian terms, but to think of religion as a cultural phenomenon rather than a biological phenomenon. In this scenario, there is no "god gene" in the individual. Rather, up until now, natural selection at a *cultural* level has favored religion.

    However, advanced, post-industrial, highly-educated populations in Western Europe have created a new *cultural* environment that has never before existed on earth. Irreligion may be showing itself to be superior there not in an absolute sense, but in the environment that it now finds itself. So, if it turns out to be true over a period of centuries that religion does die out in advanced societies, that doesn't disprove the proposition that natural selection favored religion at the beginning of human culture. It only suggests that religion was always a cultural, not biological, phenomenon, and that like any other phenomenon subject to natural selection, certain mutations that had never before thrived may well show themselves to be superior when the environment radically changes.

  • ||

    (1) People who like to believe that non-belief in religious matters equates them to having a superior intellect to those who do. Is that reasonable?

    (2) The basic equation here, positive economic conditions balances towards negative religious feelings, requires a deep amount of anthropological research both from ancient and recent history in order to be anything more than one person's opinion. And any reasonable person know how much one person's opinion is worth (apparently enough to publically fund a professor or graduate student to write a paper directed towards an insular and self-congratulating intellectual circle).

    (3) In my personal opinion, which is free, religious feelings are expressions of something basic to human psychology, and when they're not funneled through organized religions, they're going towards something else: belief in athiesm and/or one's own inflated feelings of self-worth in the absence of faith in an all powerful God. Now if one person was to believe that their potential was so great that they didn't need to put god(s) into the equation of their world view... you read where I'm going with this one?

    Cheers.

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