Faith in America: A Consequence of the Declining Middle Class?

The rise of the so-called "New" Atheist movement in America and elsewhere has coincided with a decrease in religious adherence throughout the world. From an estimated size of 0.2% of the world's population in 1900, non-believers now number over 900 million. Yet how much influence has the "New" Atheist movement had in this increase? Or is the New Atheist movement just a symptom of growing non-belief? Belief has been on the decline in America and Europe for decades now, which seem to indicate the latter; the New Atheist movement is a response to the growing momentum of the non-beliver demographic. But why has non-belief progressed so far in Europe, yet continues at a much more plodding pace here? Gregory Paul and Phil Zuckerman have an idea, and it's a doozy; because Americans aren't as secure and content with their lives as their European bretheren.

The so-called "New" Atheist movement consists of what I have referred to as "atheists who refuse to know their place". By and large, the so-called New Atheists are not saying much new; most of their arguments have been around for decades to millenia. However, the novel feature of the New Atheist movement has been a distinct loss of meekness that previous generations of atheists have had to affect. Atheists have become more vocal, more outspoken, and less deferential to religion in their modern dialogues than previous generations. And it is undeniable that religious society is changing, especially here in the US. Biblical literalism has dropped from almost 40% in the mid-70's to less than 30% today, while Biblical skepticism (aka fableists) has increased from ~12% to over 20% over the same period. However, the rise of New Atheists seems to be more of a response to the loss of faith in America. For example, the proportion of people who thought religion was very important in their lives dropped from over 65% in the 1960's to just over 50% in the 70's and 80's. In their article, Gregory Paul and Phil Zuckerman argue that this loss in religion is also correlated with a loss in spirituality in general, and reflects a population that is more content and secure in their material lives, and therefore more materialistic. This conclusion builds on multiple studies that show that danger and insecurity increases affinity not only for religion, but for authoritarian systems in general.

Paul and Zuckerman argue that it is secure access to what are normally thought of as middle-class amenities like adequate health care, consistent food supply, employment, and egalitarian status with one's peers that drive the process of secularization. One of the most intriguing problems in the sociology of comparitive religion has been the question of why a wealthy democracy like the US has remained relatively religious, while other wealthy democracies have seen a steady decline in religion spanning decades, and are now overwhelmingly secular. What Paul and Zuckerman argue, with some merit I think, is that it is the insecurity of existence in America that supports religion. To compare, in Europe it is very difficult to lose the amenities of middle class. Health care in many cases is government-supported. Labor laws are much more weighted toward the worker. Food supplies and the means to obtain them are secure. There is relatively little gap between the wealthy and the middle-class, which reduces materialistic competition--the Jonses' are likely to be about as well-off as you are, and anyone in the middle class is fairly close to the apex of their society's socioeconomic status. These factors result in a society that is comfortable in their material lives, which causes them to forsake spiritual outlets.

In contrast, in America the hold on the middle class is more tenuous. Health care is not government mandated, and access to health care is readily revokable in cases of prolonged illness or loss of employment. Health care costs remain the number one cause of individual bankruptcy in America. Labor laws in America are largely weighted toward so-called "at will" models, where employee termination does not have to be justified by the employer. Access to adequate food is not secure for those not in the middle class (and recently not always for those IN the middle class--can anyone spare a tomato?) These scaricities have a two-fold effect. First of all, they render people insecure and amenable to authoritarian systems, including religion, that promise to alleviate their problems. Second, they open the door for well-meaning religious charities to attempt to fill in the needs of the underserved, bringing prosetylization (often second-hand, but there nonetheless) in their wake. (How many of you live in a town that has a large hospital? Of those that said yes, how many of those hospitals are run by an arm of a religious group? We have two hospitals, the largest of which is Catholic.) Unfortunately, even the largest religious group in America does not have the resources or the mandate to handle the needs of a large and shifting underclass (our healthcare system is a prime example), which leaves people insecure in their materialistic lives. Additionally, even among the middle class, the gap between wealthy and middle class in America is ENORMOUS and widening. Even those in the middle class who are secure in their material lives are very often not content, as they have not reached even close to the apex of socioeconomic strata in America.

The panic in America that followed 9/11 allowed for an excellent chance to look at the kinetics of insecurity-induced religion--how fast or slow do people as a whole turn to religion as a result of a short-term panic, and how lasting is that change. The results show that church attendence and religiosity surged briefly after 9/11...then quickly returned to pre-tragedy levels. I would argue that, while the 9/11 tragedy and the following attacks did shake our nation to the core and cause widespread panic, it did not have a lasting effect on our religiosity because it did not have a lasting effect on our security or contentment in our material lives. We still had the same access to medicine, food, housing, etc. Our jobs were just as secure as they were before.

Conventional wisdom has often stated that religion is a counter-materialistic phenomenon; it is a rebellion against the materialism that drives the culture of America, and its adherents tend to be less materialistic in nature. However, Paul and Zuckerman argue fairly convincingly that it is the other way around; spirituality is a reaction of our materialistic nature to a failure to securely acheive material contentment, and that in societies where material contentment can be acheived securely, spirituality inevitably peters out. It is not that the spiritual tend to be less materialistic by nature; it is that those that fail to acheive secure material contentment tend to turn to spirituality. While Paul and Zuckerman do not exactly put it this way, I envision it as a kind of "sour grapes" phenomenon; they can't get what they REALLY want, so they decide to want something else that will help them cope with their lack.

If this is true, then it suggests that all of this debating and rational (and sometimes irrational) argument and apologetics and proofs, etc., are all just a sideshow to the main event in deconversion. If we were honest about it, we would be able to admit this already; Europe has the same number of apologetics as we do, they have access to the same evangelists, they have churches of every variety, and yet they are and remain secular. Why are we different? China has a large atheistic class AND widespread materialistic insecurity, but they also very recently had atheism as an unjustly enforced state religion, and since loosening of religious restrictions are experiencing an upsurge in religious belief, especially among the oppressed female population. Face it; there is something about American society that acts to preserve religion, and I think the data are strong enough to entertain the hypothesis that materialistic insecurity is one major factor in sustaining a religious culture. Given that hypothesis, then the biggest blow we could give to religion in America is the establishment of a more egalitarian socioeconomic structure. If you make people happy and content in this life, they are less likely to blow up people looking to find contentment in the next life.


Anonymous said...

I did not read the original essay, just yours, and I'd say this is an amazing analysis and worthy of serious consideration. We would have to take a good look at what WWI and WWII did to European religious minds to see how that affected their beliefs. Remember, the German protestant church supported Hitler. One of the reasons there is a New Atheist Movement is because of 9/11, since Sam Harris began writing his book on that date.

But I think the atheist arguments have gotten better, especially when it comes to such things as biblical archaelogy, which has discounted to Exodus, the Flood, and discovered the other religious writings suppressed in the NT era, along with biblical criticism, which is tearing out the heart of belief in the Bible.

We also need to look at the reasons why more people are seeing things differently, and this essay is as good of an answer as any, although there are some other major alternatives.

The one I prefer is that with the rise and acceptance of modern science, people are less superstitious. Another factor when it comes to Christianity is the failed return of Jesus after 2000 years. And we cannot avoid the changing moral climate which condemns the ugly parts in the Bible and the Koran, like honor killings, witch burnings, gays bashing, anti-Semite discrimination, wars, capital punishment, eye for an eye justice, and slavery.

Globalization itself is doing the job, probably on its own, for we now have a world economy, the internet, Satellite TV, and intercontinental flights, all which present believers with the serious problem of religious diversity for their own faith.

So, given these other factors then the only thing left is for a people to be satisfied with life and BOOM religious faith will dwindle to little or nothing, as sort of an added bonus to what believers are confronted with around the world.

Shygetz said...

I edited the post to correct a few typos.

Most of my analysis ranges from an extension of to a simple reframing of Paul and Zuckerman's essay. If anyone is really interested in this line of thought, I urge them to read the original.

I agree that the arguments for non-belief have definitely gotten stronger, but I would argue that such arguments are not of interest to the majority of people. As we have mentioned here, people who want to believe will find a reason to ignore evidence. Better arguments WILL help in individual cases, and I am not saying that what we do here is worthless--we are a great resource for those people who are inclined to apply rationality to their entire lives. What I am saying is that people are more susceptible to belief (and resistant to evidences of non-belief, no matter how convincing) if they are insecure in their material contentment.

Of course, this is not the only factor--the embrace of rationality as opposed to faith as a solution to real problems is another essential facet. But large numbers of people have shown amazing ability to compartmentalize their lives, placing the mundane under rational governance but retaining a "spirituality" that is strictly held free from rational accountability, and these numbers are higher in the US than Europe. Additionally (and more dangerously), the numbers of people who flat-out reject rationality are greater in the US than comparably wealthy nations (view the YEC movement and the surprisingly resurgent modern geocentrism movement). Any explanation of the spiritual urge has to account for these differences.

Now, neither I nor the original authors would take the position that security in materialistic contentment is the ONLY factor in secularization, just that it is a MAJOR factor. As a social phenomenon, secularization is going to be highly complex and have many variables, rendering it quite resistant to standard empirical measurements.

D. A. N. said...

Like Catholics, Atheists have a community and you become the pawns of the masses. Stanford Prison Experiments explains it all. The Lucifer effect is in full swing. You are gathering, in an authoritative elitist manner, just like the RCC (Roman Catholic Church) did to those poor children. Only this time you are molesting the minds of children in the public school system. You are seeking drones to follow your dogma and God will not have it too much longer. You are doomed to fail if you think this world will become an atheist dream of Stalin's Soviet Union The Bible has declared War on the atheists, God help all of you.

goprairie said...

the latest from dan: "The Bible has declared War on the atheists, God help all of you."
and to think i claimed praying for us was the last refuge of the christian losing the argument. apparently threatening us is the actual last refuge.
threatening us that his mythical imaginary diety will get us for him. who is scared by this one?

Anonymous said...

Like I said, Shygetz, this analysis is worthy of serious consideration.

I think I've seen where America is also scientifically illiterate when compared to European countries, as evidenced by the YEC link. That too must be a factor.

Unknown said...

Thanks shygetz: your synopsis-assessment is excellent. The thesis makes sense. An example might be Detroit Michigan where the collapse of industry has forced a large part of the population to migrate elsewhere. There are literally hundreds of square miles of abandoned housing subdivisions and whole neighborhoods that are empty and decaying. Amongst the sad ruins in the roadside strip malls are many small churches that cater to those remaining. The lose of prosperity and the rise of poverty would appear to be driving the phenomena.

Unknown said...

Dan: "The Bible has declared War on the atheists, God help all of you."

Your bĂȘte noire is the courage of a coward.

Jesus, if he ever existed, is now dead. He isn't coming back. Your not going to spend eternity in summer camp. God is only a fantasy in your troubled mind.

Life is what you make of it.

Rotten Arsenal said...

"threatening us that his mythical imaginary diety will get us for him. who is scared by this one?"

Hey goprarie... Dan isn't even threatening us with a deity... he's threatening us with a BOOK! He said "the BIBLE has declared on War on the atheists"! Wow... I knew that book was dangerous but I had no idea it had the powers of the United States Congress! That's pretty cool!

I have several Bibles on and around my desk (and I keep one in my Hellboy messenger bag so I can refer to illogical, contradictory texts when in conversation with criss-cross-cultists). I have yet to hear one of the say it has declared "War" on me... not even that NRSV copy that was improperly bound and so Psalms through 111 are difficult to read (guess God wasn't watching that day... silly God and his poor quality control). I would imagine that this particular copy of the NRSV would love to declare war on me since it's currently sitting underneath "the Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck" and Alan Moore's "From Hell"... I think "Misquoting Jesus" is touching it too. Oh, and there's the Father's Day card from my dogs.

Seriously... the Bible declared War? That's ridiculous. And why is it just the atheists?

Jason Long said...

I've always thought Europe had less belief because the church was controlling the people for so long. Freedom of religion in America makes us attend on our own free will. It's all psychological, perhaps.

Matt Talamini said...

What percent of the current world's population is 900 million?

You should be careful not to compare a percentage with a straight number - Many people will simply ignore anybody who uses statistics this way, because it seems like you're trying to trick us.

Anyway, as Jesus said: "It's harder to get a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven."

D. A. N. said...

I will more then happy to back up what I said with proof, if you wish. Yes God's Word has declared war on you. I can logically point out each verse to you to show you exactly how that is. As a tease I will give you just one. John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

The Bible declared War on atheists.

Either you are all wrong or God is. Either you will all just die and not exist anymore or that God will send you to hell forever and ever and ever. Look I fully understand that truth alway is confrontational, there is always someone on the wrong side of truth. This is a very serious and real subject for you and I. If I didn't love you enough to tell you the truth, then I wouldn't.

To clarify before hand as to not be accused of plagiarizing again this was taken from a debate between Matt Slick and Edwin Kagin on "Does God Exist?" AND I QUOTE from Matt Slick.

"A simple logical principle. If there are only two possibilities to explain something and one of the possibilities is incapable of explaining it, then by default the other is validated. Let me illustrate.

Let's say that there is a man named Frank who has a small room in his house in which he keeps valuables. This room is encased in thick metal, has no windows, no vents, and only one light with one table inside. The door has a very strong lock which can only be opened by a keypad that requires a sequence of numbers that only Frank knows. There is an alarm, a heat detector, and a motion detector. Now Frank has just acquired a bag full of rare coins. He puts them inside the room on the table, exits, and immediately locks the door behind him.

Frank then goes directly to his car, drives to a meeting, and returns 3 hours later to inventory his currency. But to his surprise, after he disables the alarms, unlocks the door, and enters the room, he finds the coins are not in the bag where he left them. Instead, they are neatly stacked on the table. Upon further examination he discovers that the stacks of coins are in separate piles in sequences of prime numbers from 2 through 31. Frank wants to know how this happened. He calls the police.

When they arrive they find no physical evidence that anyone else besides Frank had been in the room. For all they know, he arranged the coins. There aren’t any fingerprints, shoe prints, or traces of DNA other than Frank’s.

But Frank knows he did not arrange the coins and the coins didn’t arrange themselves. Frank is bewildered and refuses to believe that someone got into the room. His criteria for proof necessitate that there be some finger-prints, shoe prints, pry marks, or the alarms having gone off. But none of these evidences are there. So, he refuses to believe the obvious because his criteria for proof doesn’t include the possibility that someone intelligent arranged the coins logically without also being detected in the manner that he chooses.

Now, we can see that the proof is there. Obviously, someone arranged the coins. But Frank is not persuaded. Why? Because proof is different than persuasion.

Okay, so let me reduce this illustration to a simple proposition: Either an intelligence or non intelligence arranged the coins. There aren’t any other options. we have only two options: there either is a God or there is not. Since there are only these two options we can take a look at them and ask a question.

Which position, the theistic or atheistic, can account for the existence of logic? One of them has to be able to, otherwise we have no rational reason for the existence of logic at all."

So please any atheist out there ponder these points. Either you are right or wrong, Either logic has always been or not. Which is the case I would love to hear from each of you. Publicly or privately, however you want it.

With love,

goprairie said...

dan, here is your answer. apples are not oranges yet they are fruit. does pink appear anywhere in a rainbow? Mark 87: 12-63. boxers or briefs? itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout. 4949706. la fer quidatada boo le bafge?
what? this makes no sense to you? now you know how i felt reading your last comment. it made no sense whatsoever. are you sure it was written in english? did it seem like it was making sense when you wrote it? i wonder of a couple shots of absolute would help you.
there is no god. it will be hard for you to accept this, but you probably already know that deep in your brain somewhere. you have invested so much in it that it will embarrass you to admit it. but it will feel so much better to finally be freed from trying to explain it all, not just to us but to your own self. when you look at a leaf, you will be able to just ENJOY it instead of twisting your brain into thoughts of how and when it was created and why genesis has 2 different stories of creation that cannot possibly both be true so therefore the whole bible cannot all be true. you will be free of such mind-bending torturous thoughts and can just look at the pretty leaf and purely enjoy it. it will be hard to give up the whole twisted contorted illogical myth, but it will be worth it. trust me on that.

Unknown said...

Hey Dan.

You'll forgive me for being slightly less than afraid of your book. Although i agree it isn't fond of atheists, it really really hates other faiths, but Islam, Buddhism and the Hindu's seem to be doing fine at the moment. When your book leaps up and slaps them all out of existence, i'll get concerned but since its not done much for the last two millenia i'm not holding my breath.

So on to your analogy. Actually if there are two explanations for something and one is invalidated, it DOESN'T mean the other is correct. It might also be false.

A better test is to line up all the explanations you have and empiracally test them.

Of course, as i complained about in another thread, you've gone and simply said god. You should really say, the Judeo-Christian god. God in a vague deistic way is very hard to debunk, but also totally irrelevant. God in a judeo-christian way is easy to debunk, since all we have to do is prove that the holy book, the sole source of knowledge of that god, is a load of rubbish. As you might note from this website, John and Co. are rather thorough in that regard.

So back to your explanations. Either there is a judeo-christian god or there isn't. Well, in what ever way you want to look at it, your position is weaker. Biologyand physics are firmly on the side of "no judeo-christian god". So is archaeology which has been totally unable to prove many of the biblical events, such as the exodus. In fact the dearth of archaelogical evidence rather makes many of these events more unlikely than likely. Historical analysis also seem to point pretty firmly to the falsehood o much of the bible. Where as and comparative religious sociology shows us that far from being divinely inspired earth shaking events of revelation, most religions descend from other, older religions, such as the Jews pilfering much of their faith from the Babylonians and the christians and Muslims borrowing much of judaism.

Your judeo-christian god on the other hand, requires that all this counter evidence and analysis be discarded in favour of "God did it". A singularly unhelpful belief that makes us no better off at understanding our world.

Face it, your religion had 2000 years to make this world better, and almost every great advance in the condition of man was made by secular science and humanism.

As this excellent article points out, as life has got better (despite primitive religions trying to hold us back), people believe less and less in religion. Its become ok to criticise religious belief now. And with that final great taboo broken, i think we will see a steady stream of the only-just religious leave the church. leaving only the true believers. With a decline in numbers we can expect the church to become ever more irrelevant.

One thing i will mention on the article is that due to heavy muslim immigration into Europe we find that as christianity wanes, islam may become much more of a potent church here. I'm not a believer in the "muslim hoards" right wing nonsense, but many immigrants live on the breadline, where religion can flourish. And while christianity in Europe has lost its teeth, Islam is likely to be a bit more aggresive in defending itself, as we have seen in Denmark and the Netherlands.

Rotten Arsenal said...

Well said, Oli. It is interesting to note that a big reason why Islam continues to spread and remain strong (and also why christianity did so well for so long) was out of fear. Not fear that some god wouldn't love someone if the didn't follow the religion but fear that the human leaders of the religion, here on Earth, would torture or kill (or at least make life unbearable) for anyone that didn't subscribe to the religion.
Aren't you supposed to be a "god-fearing" person? Why fear a person that is all about love?

And Dan, you can't make a black & white statement that there either is or isn't a god (atheists are right or wrong) and expect anybody to come over to your side. There might be a god, but that god might be the Islam god in which case, all you christians will be burning in Hell with the rest of us.

Personally, I find more evidence that if god did exist, he finds christians to be ridiculous. Further, I would have to guess that god enjoys letting children suffer, judging by everything I learn that goes on in the world.

If there is a god, and there isn't, I couldn't worship the thing. Why should I? Why should I worship the asshole that took my father from me when I was 15 and now, in my early 30's, is taking my mother (an ordained minister who devoted her life to that jerk's service). My mom has a few months to live after battling cancer for the last 7 years.

Screw god.

Shygetz said...

I've always thought Europe had less belief because the church was controlling the people for so long. Freedom of religion in America makes us attend on our own free will. It's all psychological, perhaps.

The authors of the original post thought of this, and looked at Eastern Europe. As we know, most of Eastern Europe was oppressed religiously for decades, but recently has experiences a resurgence of religious freedom. They found that religious belief was still struggling in these places where governmental religion has been absent for so many years.

One thing i will mention on the article is that due to heavy muslim immigration into Europe we find that as christianity wanes, islam may become much more of a potent church here...many immigrants live on the breadline, where religion can flourish.

IF this hypothesis is correct, the solution to Islamic integration in Europe is to get the Muslims OFF of the bread line and integrated into the European middle class. Once this occurrs, the appeal of religion (not to mention fanatical religion) will be greatly reduced.

Dan, god does not equal Yahweh. In fact, Yahweh is by far in the minority as far as gods are concerned. So, there are not just two choices; the choices are infinite, and while there is only one potential god that would look more kindly on you than me, many potential gods would look much more kindly on an humanist atheist than a Christian infaticide apologist like yourself. Those gods that would approve of infaticide apologetics not do not deserve the worship of any moral being. So, I'll take my chances, as they are considerably better than yours AND I don't have to sell my morals down the river in the process.

And I will ask you in the future to stay on topic when you are commenting on a thread. Dissenting views are encouraged, but do not derail the discussion. If you have something to add to the question of insecure materialistic contentment contributing to the embrace of spirituality, please feel free. If you want to spout off random crap, don't bother.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Shygetz said:
IF this hypothesis is correct, the solution to Islamic integration in Europe is to get the Muslims OFF of the bread line and integrated into the European middle class. Once this occurrs, the appeal of religion (not to mention fanatical religion) will be greatly reduced.

Exactly! I completely agree, and if you look a Indian immigration to Britain (my home) this is exactly what has happened (indian immigration to England generally was from an earlier period than the more recent Muslim Pakistani immigration).

I do wonder though that as religion fades, will it become more liberal or more fundamentalist? Will the diminishing numbers finally give the fundies that persecuted feeling they've been longing for?

Shygetz said...

oli said: I do wonder though that as religion fades, will it become more liberal or more fundamentalist? Will the diminishing numbers finally give the fundies that persecuted feeling they've been longing for?

My guess is that what you will see is a bleeding off from all sects of Islam, but that the zealous fanatics (I hesitate to call them fundamentalists, because a subscription to literal inerrancy is not what sets them apart) will bleed off more slowly and will gain a relatively small number of converts as a backlash to secularization, similar to what is occurring in the European Catholic Church today. So, the net result will be ALL sects reduce in numbers, but the proportion of European Muslims that are zealous fanatics will increase.

Shygetz said...

matt talamini said: What percent of the current world's population is 900 million?

You should be careful not to compare a percentage with a straight number - Many people will simply ignore anybody who uses statistics this way, because it seems like you're trying to trick us.

Current world population is about 6.7 billion. So, 900 million is 13.4% of the current world population. So you're looking at an increase from 0.2% to 13.4% since 1900. Wasn't trying to mislead you; I thought current world population was common knowledge.

ZAROVE said...

So, basiclaly, the road to Atheism is to erect large socialist societies...

I'm sorry but this is the sort of shotty thinkign that Gregory S. Paul and Phil Zuckerman are famous for, and suffers the same fatal flaws.

Look at Venuzuala, for example. CHavez is not an Athiest, neither are the majority of Venuzualans, yet Socialism is clealry beign Implemented. The same is true of many South and Central American nations.

The truth is, there are cultural factors at play in the reason EUropeans have lost Christianity, that has nothign at all to do with the material prosperity or level of Educaiton. In fact, the truth is the average Ateist in Europe is not particualry highly educated. They have attaiend only an average educaitonal status.

Europe has long had a tradition of attacking Christianity, though, which began withthe Enlightenment, and continued thrugh the 19th century, and the socialist idealoues largley adopted it along with Secularisaiton thesis becuse of th einfleunce of the Early socialists who in turn where inspired by Marx.

This is why Socialism and Atheism are highly linked in Europe, and since the majoriy of Educaitonal outlets in Europe are scialistic, they also tend to be heavily critical of Christianity.

The reason the US is immune isn't insecurity, either. In fact, I find that laughable. The Average European has more worries than the Average American. The Free Health Care and Government Provisions aren't that great in Europe an famously peopel comlain abou the Government. (Just read any Comments page on a UK newspaper, you'll see the NHS or other publiclaly funded services routinely panned by the public,a nd frequently the usbject of articles.)

Americans tend to beleive in God and attend CHurhc mroe because of cultural factors, as well.

Socialism never took root in America as it did in Europe,a nd until recently was not taugh tin schools. Meanwhile, American freedom fo speech has allowed Chruchs to propogate messages to a far greater degree than is possbel in Europe, where Govenrments often quell them if they speak agaisnt the Govenrments agenda. (IE, Pastors can be jailed for beign critical of Homosexuality in Canada or Europe, but not hte US.)

Peopel in Europe are basiclaly indocternate dinto a socialistic and humanistic worldview because hti is what the acadmeic elite and Governmetns have adopted and because the Government sin Europe are far more capable of enforcing its ideologie son tis people than in the US.

Its nothign to do with economic prospeity, and it only has ot dowith educaiton in that pepel ar taught ot baiclaly think in Humanistic terms. If they all attended Cahtolic Schools that where run by TRaditional Cahtolics, and the state officially pushed Catholic teahcign Im sure the majority woudl be Cahtolic.