Medical Tuesday Blog
Does Liberal Agnosticism cause a loss of Moral Certitude? Atheism is about belief or, specifically, what you don’t believe. Agnosticism is about knowledge or, specifically, about what you don’t know. An atheist doesn’t believe in any gods. An agnostic doesn’t know if any gods exist or not.
The six countries in the world with the most ‘convinced atheists’
Yet despite a trend towards fewer people believing in God around the world, it appears only a few countries have more than 20 per cent of citizens who are comfortable about rejecting the notion of a deity entirely.
China has by far the highest percentage – and even then, not quite half – of convinced atheists out of all the world’s countries.
Communism, in which name the ruling party of China has governed since 1949, regards religion as a means of oppressing the proletariat, with religious movements suppressed under Mao Zedong throughout his 27-year reign until 1976.
One of the country’s oldest philosophical worldviews, Confucianism, is also noteable for its lack of a belief in a supernatural deity.
China’s neighbour is another of eastern nations with many people committed to a worldview without God in it.
Between 30 and 39 per cent of the people on the Japanese islands say they are “convinced atheists”.
Religion in Japan has historically been centered around Shintoism, which is based on ritual and a mythology surrounding the ancient past of Japan, rather than an all-seeing god.
However, it remains spiritual in nature and could not be called atheistic. Yet Shintoism, like Buddhism in Japan, has seen a decline in followers in recent years.
A perhaps surprise third contender for least religious countries in the world, the Czech Republic has some 30 to 39 per cent of citizens who classify as atheists.
Catholicism was seen as an Austrian import and was discouraged by the state, with Protestantism never really managing to fill the gap, according to historians.
The country’s communist past also suppressed the revival of any religion, spanning from 1948 to 1989.
The land of romance stands out from many of its European neighbours with at least one fifth of citizens saying they are “convinced atheists”.
Similarly to China, France has a history of the state seeking to reduce the power of religious institutions within its borders. The French Revolution in 1789 overthrew Roman Catholicism as the state religion and a law was brought in in 1905 to formally separate the church and the state.
In the UK, by contrast, the head of state is also the head of the Church – the Queen.
Some 10 to 19 per cent of Australians say they are “convinced atheists”, perhaps unsurprisingly for a country with a strong tradition of secular government.
A legal framework guaranteed religious equality within a few decades of colonialists first arriving in 1788, deposing the privilege of the Church of England.
Many other religious peoples joined the trade opportunities in Australia, including both Muslims and Jewish people.
Today, however, the majority belief in Christianity is in steady decline and more citizens identify as having no god.
Catholicism was outlawed in the northern European island in 1550, and religious freedom became a legal right in 1874.
Although many Icelanders consider themselves Lutheran, a small proportion follow folk religions, and the rest consider themselves “convinced atheists”.
This is only some 10 to 19 per cent of the population, but it places Iceland among some of the most atheist countries in the world.
The above indicates that the world is becoming more agnostic, less religious and more secular.
In the Western Hemisphere, religious observers consider Uruguay is the most atheistic country. It is also the home to one of the highest depression and suicide rates in the world. This would suggest that atheism may be a factor in mental illness such as depression with its concomitant moral behavior of personal suicide.
Political observers consider Uruguay the most secular country in the Americas. Uruguay’s secularization began with the relatively minor role of the church in the colonial era, compared with other parts of the Spanish Empire. The small numbers of Uruguay’s indigenous peoples and their fierce resistance to proselytism reduced the influence of the ecclesiastical authorities.
After independence, anti-clerical ideas spread to Uruguay, particularly from France, further eroding the influence of the church. In 1837 civil marriage was recognized, and in 1861 the state took over the running of public cemeteries. In 1907 divorce was legalized and, in 1909 all religious instruction was banned from state schools. Under the influence of the innovative Colorado reformer José Batlle y Ordóñez (1903–1911), complete separation of church and state was introduced with the new constitution of 1917.
Uruguay ranks high on standardised tests such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) but compares unfavourably to the OECD average, the worldwide study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Uruguay is part of the One Laptop per Child project, and in 2009 became the first country in the world to provide a laptop for every primary school student, as part of the Plan Ceibal. Over the 2007–2009 period, 362,000 pupils and 18,000 teachers were involved in the scheme; around 70% of the laptops were given to children who did not have computers at home. The OLPC programme represents less than 5% of the country’s education budget.[123
For the first half of the twentieth century Uruguay and Argentina had the most advanced standards of medical care in Latin America. Military rule from 1973 to 1985 adversely affected standards in Uruguay. More resources went to military hospitals, which were open only to relatives of the members of the armed forces. Total health care spending in 1984 was 8.1% of GDP,
In the United States healthcare, it is becoming more socialized with private medical care heading towards extinction. However, there are moves afoot to restore private health care in the United States with organizations such as the American Association of Physicians & Surgeons spearheading the reversal. MedicalTuesday also considers privatization as part of its mission in healthcare. HealthPlanUSA is an incubator which is developing a private healthcare plan which will reduce healthcare cost by 40% to 50% of the current government/private plans. Progress in this area can be followed by Subscribing to the HealthPlanUSA Review for continuing information on cost-effective Health Plans: http://www.healthplanusa.net/
Uruguay is the most atheistic nation in the western hemisphere.
Correlation of data from other nations would also suggest that these conditions may be related.
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