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宗教究竟会不会消失?
录入: 哲学网编辑部 发表时间: 2015-01-30 点击: 4235 次 我要收藏

 

Atheism is on the rise around the world, so does that mean spirituality will soon be a thing of the past? Rachel Nuwer discovers that the answer is far from simple.A growing number of people, millions worldwide, say they believe that life definitively ends at death – that there is no God, no afterlife and no divine plan. And it’s an outlook that could be gaining momentum – despite its lack of cheer. In some countries, openly acknowledged atheism has never been more popular.

世界上无神论呈上升趋势,是否意味灵性即将成为过去?瑞吉尔·努尔发现答案复杂得多。全球范围内相信生命终会以死亡结束的人以数百万计地增长——他们不信奉神明、不相信来生、不觉得神灵计划着世上诸事。尽管缺乏支持,这种趋势恐怕蓄势待发。一些国家公开承认无神论从未如此流行。

“There’s absolutely more atheists around today than ever before, both in sheer numbers and as a percentage of humanity,” says Phil Zuckerman, a professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, and author of Living the Secular Life. According to a Gallup International survey of more than 50,000 people in 57 countries, the number of individuals claiming to be religious fell from 77% to 68% between 2005 and 2011, while those who self-identified as atheist rose by 3% – bringing the world’s estimated proportion of adamant non-believers to 13%.

加州克莱蒙特匹兹学院社会学与世俗学教授、《活出世俗生活》一书作者菲尔·祖克曼说:“如今周围的无神论者绝对比以前多多了,纯数量上的和人类中所占比上都是。”据盖洛普国际一项涵盖57个国家、超过5万人的调查显示,2005至2011年间自称有宗教信仰的个体数从77%跌至68%,同期自认为无神论者的个体数则上升3%——使得世界的坚定非信徒估量比例上涨至13%。

【注:盖洛普公司由美国著名的社会科学家乔治·盖洛普博士于1935年创立,是全球知名的民意测验和商业调查/咨询公司。】

While atheists certainly are not the majority, could it be that these figures are a harbinger of things to come? Assuming global trends continue might religion someday disappear entirely?

虽然无神论者的确是非主流人群,而这些数字可否预兆未来之事?假设全球性趋势持续下去,某天宗教会彻底消失吗?

It’s impossible to predict the future, but examining what we know about religion – including why it evolved in the first place, and why some people chose to believe in it and others abandon it – can hint at how our relationship with the divine might play out in decades or centuries to come.

未来无法预测,但研究我们对宗教了解的部分——包括宗教最初为何演化、为什么有人选择信仰有人选择放弃——能提示未来数十年或数百年中人神关系怎样走向终结。

Scholars are still trying to tease out the complex factors that drive an individual or a nation toward atheism, but there are a few commonalities. Part of religion’s appeal is that it offers security in an uncertain world. So not surprisingly, nations that report the highest rates of atheism tend to be those that provide their citizens with relatively high economic, political and existential stability. “Security in society seems to diminish religious belief,” Zuckerman says. Capitalism, access to technology and education also seems to correlate with a corrosion of religiosity in some populations, he adds.

学者仍在尝试梳理出让个体或国家倾向无神论的复杂因素,找到的共同点却寥寥无几。宗教的部分吸引力在于它为一个世事难料的人间贡献了安全感。因此那些报告出无神论倾向率最高的国家同为向自家公民提供相对较高的经济、政治和生存稳定性的国家便不足为奇。“社会保障似乎削弱了宗教信仰,”祖克曼说到。他还补充说资本主义、技术与教育的收获好像也和某些群体中的宗教衰败有关。

Crisis of faith

信仰危机

Japan, the UK, Canada, South Korea, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, France and Uruguay (where the majority of citizens have European roots) are all places where religion was important just a century or so ago, but that now report some of the lowest belief rates in the world. These countries feature strong educational and social security systems, low inequality and are all relatively wealthy. “Basically, people are less scared about what might befall them,” says Quentin Atkinson, a psychologist at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

一百年前,宗教在日本、英国。加拿大、韩国、荷兰、捷克共和国、爱沙尼亚、德国、法国、乌拉圭(本国多数居民有欧洲祖先)这些国家还备受重视,而今其中部分国家却报出变成了世界宗教信仰率最低的地方。这些国家的鲜明特点就是强大的教育和社会保障系统、高平等、相对富裕。新西兰奥克兰大学心理学家昆廷·阿特金森表示:“基本上这些国家的人都不害怕自己身上会发生什么。”

Yet decline in belief seems to be occurring across the board, including in places that are still strongly religious, such as Brazil, Jamaica and Ireland. “Very few societies are more religious today than they were 40 or 50 years ago,” Zuckerman says. “The only exception might be Iran, but that’s tricky because secular people might be hiding their beliefs.”

而信仰衰落像是正全面呈现,包括在一些宗教信仰虔诚的地方,例如巴西、牙买加、爱尔兰。“极少有哪个团体今天还比他们四五十年前更虔诚,”祖克曼说到。“唯一的例外恐怕是伊朗,但世俗的人可能隐瞒自身信仰这点就很微妙。”

The US, too, is an outlier in that it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but also has high rates of religiosity. (Still, a recent Pew survey revealed that, between 2007 and 2012, the proportion of Americans who said they are atheist rose from 1.6% to 2.4%.)

美国也是个例外,作为世界上最富裕的国家之一并且高宗教信仰率极高。(近来一项皮尤研究中心的调查仍显示出2007至2012年间,美国人中自称为无神论者的比例从1.6%上升至2.4%。)

Decline, however, does not mean disappearance, says Ara Norenzayan, a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and author of Big Gods. Existential security is more fallible than it seems. In a moment, everything can change: a drunk driver can kill a loved one; a tornado can destroy a town; a doctor can issue a terminal diagnosis. As climate change wreaks havoc on the world in coming years and natural resources potentially grow scarce, then suffering and hardship could fuel religiosity. “People want to escape suffering, but if they can’t get out of it, they want to find meaning,” Norenzayan says. “For some reason, religion seems to give meaning to suffering – much more so than any secular ideal or belief that we know of.”

《大神灵》一书作者、加拿大温哥华英属哥伦比亚大学社会心理学家艾尔拉·罗伦萨扬认为,衰落并不意味着消失。生存保障比它本身看上去更易犯错。世间万物,瞬息万变:醉驾司机害死深爱之人;龙卷风毁灭城镇;医生下达临终诊断。未来几年内,气候变化报复肆虐世界、自然资源潜在短缺,病痛和苦难会刺激宗教信仰兴起。“人们想逃避痛苦,但若无法从中脱身,他们就想找到受苦的意义,”罗伦萨扬说到。“出于某些原由,宗教仿佛给痛苦赋予了意义——远远超出任何我们所知的世俗理想或信仰能办到的范围。”

This phenomenon constantly plays out in hospital rooms and disaster zones around the world. In 2011, for example, a massive earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand – a highly secular society. There was a sudden spike of religiosity in the people who experienced that event, but the rest of the country remained as secular as ever. While exceptions to this rule do exist – religion in Japan plummeted following World War II, for instance – for the most part, Zuckerman says, we adhere by the Christchurch model. “If experiencing something terrible caused all people to become atheists, then we’d all be atheists,” he says.

这类现象在医院病房和世界各地的灾区中不断上演。比如在2011年,一场大地震侵袭了新西兰的克莱斯特彻奇—一个非常世俗的社会。那次地震的经历者中信徒数量激增,但该国其它地区的人依旧世俗如初。这条规律确有特例存在——比如二战后的日本宗教暴跌——祖克曼认为,多数情况下人们都会遵循克莱斯特彻奇的模式。“如果是经历可怕的事情把人全变成无神论者,那我们就都是无神论者了。”

The mind of god

神之心

But even if the world’s troubles were miraculously solved and we all led peaceful lives in equity, religion would probably still be around. This is because a god-shaped hole seems to exist in our species’ neuropsychology, thanks to a quirk of our evolution.

即使奇迹般地解决了世间烦恼,人人都过上安宁平等的生活,宗教仍可能伴随着人类。这是因为进化中的偶然急变使人类在神经心理学上有了一个神形的孔。

Understanding this requires a delve into “dual process theory”. This psychological staple states that we have two very basic forms of thought: System 1 and System 2. System 2 evolved relatively recently. It’s the voice in our head – the narrator who never seems to shut up – that enables us to plan and think logically.

要想了解这点,钻研“双过程理论”很必要。心理学主要内容说明了人类思维的两个基本形式:系统一和系统二。系统二进化出的时间比较较近,是我们脑海里的声音——好像永远不会住口的解说员——让我们能够从逻辑上计划和思考。

【注:双过程理论在心理学上对“两种不同方式发生同一现象/两种过程产生同一结果”做出了论述,通常两种过程包括直接/间接、无意识/受控制的意识过程。根据该理论,直接过程、态度和行为随信念和教育而变化;间接过程或态度往往消耗大量时间并随新习惯的形成而变化。双过程理论涉及社会心理学、人格心理学、认知心理学和临床心理学,并与经济前景理论、行为经济学相关联。】

System 1, on the other hand, is intuitive, instinctual and automatic. These capabilities regularly develop in humans, regardless of where they are born. They are survival mechanisms. System 1 bestows us with an innate revulsion of rotting meat, allows us to speak our native language without thinking about it and gives babies the ability to recognise parents and distinguish between living and nonliving objects. It makes us prone to looking for patterns to better understand our world, and to seek meaning for seemingly random events like natural disasters or the death of loved ones.

另一方面,系统一是直觉性的、本能的、无意识的。无论出生地,这些能力在人类中有规律地产生,是生存机制。系统一让人天生厌恶腐肉、使人说母语不假思索、令婴儿辨识双亲,区分活物和死物。系统一让人类倾向于寻找更好理解世界的模式、寻求表象看似随机事件背后的意义,比如自然灾害或亲人离世。

In addition to helping us navigate the dangers of the world and find a mate, some scholars think that System 1 also enabled religions to evolve and perpetuate. System 1, for example, makes us instinctually primed to see life forces – a phenomenon called hypersensitive agency detection – everywhere we go, regardless of whether they’re there or not. Millennia ago, that tendency probably helped us avoid concealed danger, such as lions crouched in the grass or venomous snakes concealed in the bush. But it also made us vulnerable to inferring the existence of invisible agents – whether they took the form of a benevolent god watching over us, an unappeased ancestor punishing us with a drought or a monster lurking in the shadows.

一些学者认为系统一除了帮助人类应付危险并找到伴侣,还使宗教得以演化和延续。比方说,系统一令人类本能地利用生命力——名为“高敏度施为感知”的现象——不管我们去哪儿、他们是否在那儿。一千年前,这种趋势或许帮助人类避免潜在的危险,像草丛里蜷伏的狮子、灌木中隐蔽的毒蛇。但系统一也让人类容易作出存在无形施为者的结论——采取的表现形式则是注视着我们的仁慈神明、未安息的祖先、蛰伏在阴影中的怪兽。

【注:施为感知,即在某些可能涉及自身情况下,人或动物预感到具感知力或智慧的施为者(人或其它存在, 通常指人类、其它活物或宗教灵魂意识)有目的的干涉。】

Similarly, System 1 encourages us to see things dualistically, meaning we have trouble thinking of the mind and body as a single unit. This tendency emerges quite early: young children, regardless of their cultural background, are inclined to believe that they have an immortal soul – that their essence or personhood existed somewhere prior to their birth, and will always continue to exist. This disposition easily assimilates into many existing religions, or – with a bit of creativity – lends itself to devising original constructs.

同样地,系统一支持我们二元地看待事物,也就说人很难将身体和思维看成独立单元。这种趋势早就出现了:忽略掉文化背景,小孩子更相信自己有不朽的灵魂——即本质或人格在出生前就有了,且一直存在。这类情形很容易同化作多种现存宗教或者——带点儿创造力地——形成宗教原始结构。

“A Scandinavian psychologist colleague of mine who is an atheist told me that his three-year-old daughter recently walked up to him and said, ‘God is everywhere all of the time.’ He and his wife couldn’t figure out where she’d gotten that idea from,” says Justin Barrett, director of the Thrive Center for Human Development at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and author of Born Believers. “For his daughter, god was an elderly woman, so you know she didn’t get it from the Lutheran church.”

加州帕萨迪纳富勒神学院人类发展繁荣中心主任、《生为信徒》一书作者贾斯汀·巴雷特说:“我一位斯堪的纳维亚的心理学家同事是无神论者,他告诉我自家三岁的女儿最近走到他跟前说‘每个时空神明无处不在。’他和妻子搞不懂这说法是女儿从哪儿学来的。在他女儿眼里,神明是老年妇女,所以她可不是从路德教会那儿学来的。”

【注:路德教会根据其教义又译为“信义宗”,相信“因信称义”,即认为人凭信仰蒙恩而得称义和救赎。而天主教则认为人要蒙恩必须得到代表上帝的教会接纳和足够的善行。】

For all of these reasons, many scholars believe that religion arose as “a byproduct of our cognitive disposition”, says Robert McCauley, director of the Center for Mind, Brain and Culture at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and author of Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not. “Religions are cultural arrangements that evolved to engage and exploit these natural capacities in humans.”

佐治亚州亚特兰大埃默里大学思维、头脑和文化中心主任兼《为何宗教属于本能而科学不是》一书作者罗伯特·麦考利认为,许多学者因为各种理由相信宗教崛起是“认知情形的副产品”。“宗教是文化的安排,用来保证和开发人类这些天生的能力。”

Hard habits to break

积习难破

Atheists must fight against all of that cultural and evolutionary baggage. Human beings naturally want to believe that they are a part of something bigger, that life isn’t completely futile. Our minds crave purpose and explanation. “With education, exposure to science and critical thinking, people might stop trusting their intuitions,” Norenzayan says. “But the intuitions are there.”

无神论者必须同全部文化和进化包袱对抗。人类本能地要相信自身是某个更大事物的一部分,相信生命并非毫无价值。我们的思维渴求目的和解释。“有了教育带来的科学和批判性思想,人可能不再相信自己的直觉,但直觉还是在。”罗伦萨扬说到。

【注:进化包袱是一个种群基因组的组成部分,对过去的个体有益但在当今物竞天择的压力下有弊端。 】

On the other hand, science – the system of choice that many atheists and non-believers look to for understanding the natural world – is not an easy cognitive pill to swallow. Science is about correcting System 1 biases, McCauley says. We must accept that the Earth spins, even though we never experience that sensation for ourselves. We must embrace the idea that evolution is utterly indifferent and that there is no ultimate design or purpose to the Universe, even though our intuition tells us differently. We also find it difficult to admit that we are wrong, to resist our own biases and to accept that truth as we understand it is ever changing as new empirical data are gathered and tested – all staples of science. “Science is cognitively unnatural – it’s difficult,” McCauley says. “Religion, on the other hand, is mostly something we don’t even have to learn because we already know it.”

此外,科学——大量无神论者和非信徒用来理解世界的选择系统——可不是易于接受的认知事物。麦考利认为科学在于纠正系统一的偏见。我们必须承认地球自转,哪怕从未亲身体验到。我们必须接受进化的绝对中立性、接受宇宙没有极限设计或目的的观念,哪怕直觉告诉自己的不同。我们也发现承认错误、抵制自身偏见并接受随新数据采集和测试千变万化的真理很难——全是科学之基本。“科学不是本能上的认知——它很难,”麦考利说到。“而宗教则主要是一些根本用不着去学习的事物,因为我们了解。”

“There’s evidence that religious thought is the path of least resistance,” Barrett adds. “You’d have to fundamentally change something about our humanity to get rid of religion.” This biological sticking point probably explains the fact that, although 20% of Americans are not affiliated with a church, 68% of them say that they still believe in God and 37% describe themselves as spiritual. Even without organised religion, they believe that some greater being or life force guides the world.

巴雷特还补充到:“有证据表明宗教思想是阻力最小的途径。去除宗教得从根本上改变一些人性上的东西。”生物学上的关键或许能解释这个事实。尽管20%的美国人和教堂没关联,68%的美国人表示自己仍然相信上帝,37%的人自称具有宗教精神。即便没有组织性宗教,他们仍相信是某个更伟大的存在或生命力支配着世界。

Similarly, many around the world who explicitly say they don’t believe in a god still harbour superstitious tendencies, like belief in ghosts, astrology, karma, telepathy or reincarnation. “In Scandinavia, most people say they don’t believe in God, but paranormal and superstitious beliefs tend to be higher than you’d think,” Norenzayan says. Additionally, non-believers often lean on what could be interpreted as religious proxies – sports teams, yoga, professional institutions, Mother Nature and more – to guide their values in life. As a testament to this, witchcraft is gaining popularity in the US, and paganism seems to be the fastest growing religion in the UK.

同样地,世界上很多人明确表示自己不信神却抱有迷信意向,比如相信鬼魂存在、占星术、因果报应、心灵感应或转世轮回。罗伦萨扬说:“在斯堪的纳维亚半岛多数人说自己不信上帝,但超自然信仰或迷信倾向却比你能想到的高得多。”此外,非信徒通常依赖能理解成宗教取代物的东西——运动队、瑜伽、专业机构、大自然等等——指导他们的人生观。巫术如同圣经般在美国日益流行,异教信仰好像也成了英国增长最迅速的宗教信仰。

Religious experiences for non-believers can also manifest in other, more bizarre ways. Anthropologist Ryan Hornbeck, also at the Thrive Center for Human Development, found evidence that the World of Warcraft is assuming spiritual importance for some players in China, for example. “WoW seems to be offering opportunities to develop certain moral traits that regular life in contemporary society doesn’t afford,” Barrett says. “People seem to have this conceptual space for religious thought, which – if it’s not filled by religion – bubbles up in surprising ways.”

非信徒的宗教体验也可通过其它更离奇的方式表现。同在人类发展繁荣中心就职的人类学家瑞安·霍恩贝克发现证据显示,魔兽世界对部分中国玩家具有精神上的重要性,比如巴雷特说的:“魔兽好像给发扬一定道德品质提供了机会,而这种机会是当代社会常规生活所没有的。似乎人对宗教思想都留有这类概念空间,而若装满宗教,空间便会以令人诧异的方式呈现。”

The in-group

信者其内

What’s more, religion promotes group cohesion and cooperation. The threat of an all-powerful God (or gods) watching for anyone who steps out of line likely helped to keep order in ancient societies. “This is the supernatural punishment hypothesis,” Atkinson says. “If everyone believes that the punishment is real, then that can be functional to groups.”

另外,宗教促进了群体凝聚与团结。远古社会中,用全能的上帝(或神明)注视着胡作非为者当威胁有助于维持秩序。阿特金森认为:“这是一种超自然惩罚假说,如果大家都相信惩罚是真的,那宗教就适用于所有群体。”

And again, insecurity and suffering in a population may play a role here, by helping to encourage religions with stricter moral codes. In a recent analysis of religious belief systems of nearly 600 traditional societies from around the world, Joseph Bulbulia at the University of Wellington, New Zealand and his colleagues found that those places with harsher weather or that are more prone to natural disasters were more likely to develop moralising gods. Why? Helpful neighbours could mean the difference between life and death. In this context, religion evolved as a valuable public utility.

通过更严格的道德准则来积极引导宗教,人的不安和苦难又发挥了作用。新西兰慧灵顿大学的约瑟夫·保尔利亚及其同事在近日一项面对全世界范围内近600个传统社会宗教信仰体系的分析中发现,气候越恶劣或者越容易遭受自然灾害的地方越可能形成教化式的神。为什么?乐于助人的邻里可能意味着生死之别。在这样的背景下,宗教由一种利于大众的公共事业形态得以进化。

“When we see something so pervasive, something that emerges so quickly developmentally and remains persistent across cultures, then it makes sense that the leading explanation is that it served a cooperative function,” says Bulbulia.

保尔利亚认为:“当我们看到某个十分寻常的事物形成发展之迅速、始终保留在各类文化中,那么宗教拥有团结功能的主流解释也说得通了。”

Finally, there’s also some simple mathematics behind religion’s knack for prevailing. Across cultures, people who are more religious also tend to have more children than people who are not. “There’s very strong evidence for this,” Norenzayan says. “Even among religious people, the more fundamentalist ones usually have higher fertility rates than the more liberal ones.” Add to that the fact that children typically follow their parents’ lead when it comes to whether or not they become religious adults themselves, and a completely secularised world seems ever more unlikely.

最后,宗教盛行的窍门还包括一些简单的数学。从跨文化来说,更虔诚的信教者也比不信教的人更多子。“有强力证据支持这点,”罗伦萨扬说到。“即使在信教者里,原教旨主义信徒生育率通常比自由主义信徒更高。”再加上在自己长大后要不要信教这件事上孩子往往遵循父母为榜样,何况一个完全世俗化的世界恐怕更没可能。

【注:原教旨主义也称“基要主义”或“基要派”,一般提倡对宗教的基本经文或文献做字面的、传统的解释,认为宗教内部出现的自由主义神学使信仰世俗化、偏离了信仰的本质。原教旨主义反对现代主义,保守性、对抗性、排他性、战斗性极强。】

Enduring belief

信仰长存

For all of these reasons – psychological, neurological, historical, cultural and logistical – experts guess that religion will probably never go away. Religion, whether it’s maintained through fear or love, is highly successful at perpetuating itself. If not, it would no longer be with us.

出于全部原因——心理学的、神经学的、历史的、文化和逻辑的——专家认为宗教永远不会消失。无论由恐惧或爱来维持,宗教在让自身长存这方面相当成功。如若不然,它将离人远去。

And even if we lose sight of the Christian, Muslim and Hindu gods and all the rest, superstitions and spiritualism will almost certainly still prevail. More formal religious systems, meanwhile, would likely only be a natural disaster or two away. “Even the best secular government can’t protect you from everything,” says McCauley. As soon as we found ourselves facing an ecological crisis, a global nuclear war or an impending comet collision, the gods would emerge.

而即便我们遗忘了基督教、伊斯兰教和印度教诸神以及所有其它神明,但几乎能肯定迷信和唯心主义仍会兴盛下去。同时,造就更正式的宗教体系很可能仅需一两场自然灾害的影响罢了。“即使最好的世俗政府也无法处处保护你。”麦考利说到。一旦人们发现自己面对一次生态危机、一场全球核战争或者濒临彗星撞击,对神的信仰就会出现。

“Humans need comfort in the face of pain and suffering, and many need to think that there’s something more after this life, that they’re loved by an invisible being,” Zuckerman says. “There will always be people who believe, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they remain the majority.”

祖克曼说:“人类面对病痛和苦难时需要慰藉,很多人相信今生之外还有更多;相信有个无形的存在爱着自己。世上总有人信的,对多数人信仰神明我毫不诧异。”

 

 

译文来源:龙腾网

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