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Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century
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Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Dawkins and Hitchens have convinced many western intellectuals that secularism is the way forward. But most people don't read their books before deciding whether to be religious. Instead, they inherit their faith from their parents, who often innoculate them against the elegant arguments of secularists. And what no one has noticed is that far from declining, the religious ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 25th 2010 by Profile Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  76 ratings  ·  15 reviews


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Kevin K
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, futurology
In much of the first world, we live in an era of triumphal liberalism, so it's hard to imagine how anything could turn the tide the other way. This eye-opening book points out liberalism's Achilles heel: it's failure to produce children. Indeed, the core of liberalism is structured around anti-natalist "sacred cows" like birth control, abortion, homosexuality, and working women. So liberal dominance faces a serious demographic challenge from fundamentalist religions meeting two conditions: 1) a ...more
Rivka Sinowitz
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I would recommend this book to anyone who feels passionately about religion. The tone is scholarly, the writing is excellent, and I learned so much that I did not know before!

I gave the book only four stars because it errs where many thought-provoking books that touch on religion err. Three examples. First, (p 44) the author cites a rubric for ascertaining the religiosity of a subject based on three factors: affiliation, belief, and attendance. I puzzled over this for a time, until I
...more
Scott Kennedy
Apr 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
As a Christian, I often feel that in the West at least, we are a dying breed. Kaufmann's analysis suggests otherwise. The higher fertility of conservative/fundamentalist religious compared with secular, and the low rate of defections from these groups suggests that over time, the religious will have a larger chunk of the population of the West. Plenty of research has gone into this book. Perhaps it is a little too long. Read the introduction and conclusion and one would get the key thrust of the ...more
Edward Brynes
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Stydents of religious sociology

This book answers the question of its title with a loud clear YES. It’s about demography, the statistical study of human populations. This is a complex subject. Author Eric Kaufmann has written other books in the field, including the recent ‘Whiteshift’ which I’ve reviewed for Amazon.

The basic question of demography is, “How do numbers of a population change?” The obvious answer is that women have babies, people emigrate out of the population, migrate into it, and die. For most of human history
...more
Peter Mcloughlin
The wave of secularization that has washed over the west for the past 300 years has reached its high water mark and is likely to recede as the religious will inherit the future. Simple demographics may seal secular liberalism's fate. The reason is differential birth rates of highly religious vs. Secular people. People do not always recognize that fundamentalism is as modern a phenomenon as secular liberalism. Secular liberalism tried to weed out religion like a spray of DDT. Nominal believers fe ...more
Jason Reese
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it
This book contained many interesting facts, but the author's commentary consistently was off putting. In the end, I have rarely so enjoyed written by someone who obviously despises me and all of my people.
Ronald
Jul 31, 2019 rated it liked it
In the interests of full disclosure I did not read this book in its entirety, just the first few chapters and the last chapter as my interest in the topic of religious/secular demographics is confined primarily to the United States. The thesis of the book is that increasing differences in fertility between secular and religious people, especially between secular and extremely religious people, will lead to a relatively more religious future than one would otherwise predict based upon the secular ...more
Abu Dhabi
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
There is an old joke:

Two Jews are talking in a bar.
"I notice you had the Daily Stormer on your phone, Chaim," says one. "Why do you read that Nazi drivel?"
"You know, Moshe," replies the other, "when you read the NYT, all you hear about is how the Jews are assimilating, that we're being driven from Europe by anti-semites, that Israel should give up all that land to Palestine, and so forth."
"Yeah, so?"
"But when I read the Daily Stormer, it's a completely differe
...more
Adam Langham
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Eric Kaufmann has produced a work of seminal importance for anyone interested in the futures of the Western societies. He postulates the case that as women are more religious their birthrate increases. The most religious women thus produce most babies in any given society, the most secular women the least. The more religious the community the person is brought up in, the more likely the person is to remain highly religious, this means the amount of highly religious people expands rapidly while t ...more
Willy C
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Re-read:

I continue to be surprised by how relevant this book is for today's world and how under discussed the issues it raises are-- the massive divergence in fertility rates between the secular and the religious, the demographic war that religious people all over the world are winning (without secular people even knowing there's a battle going on!), and the self-conscious separation many groups, like Quiverful Christians, Old-order Hutterites, and Haredi Jews, utilize to maximize fe
...more
Diane
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book has an interesting thesis; that because religious people consistently have larger families than non-religious people, all societies, including those of seemingly secular Western Europe, tend to become more religious over time. Unfortunately, the author does not really provide enough facts to demonstrate his thesis. The only religious groups that he can demonstrate are actually expanding in this way are Mormons and Orthodox Jews; for all of the other groups, he relies on anecdotal evide ...more
Michael Wallace
May 25, 2011 rated it liked it
An interesting overview of demographics and the challenges faced by liberal democracies in the face of this disparity in birth rates between the secular and moderately religious with orthodox, fundamentalist, and tribal cultures. I did feel that the book didn't cover as much ground as it could have, and there was a fair amount of material that wasn't new to me or, I suspect, to the type of reader who is likely to pick up this book.
Villate
May 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Repetitive, condescending, bigoted, scare-mongering. There was plenty of very interesting information about demographics and the way populations grow, change, and decline, but the author's snobby tone and snarky asides about "the religious" really grated on me.
Fred R
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Is this a standard historical cycle? I wish he'd done a little more historical analysis to go along with his predictions.
James
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fascinating statistics and a novel argument, if slightly disorganised and repetitive. Some of the philosophical asides are also somewhat facile.
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“if current immigration and fertility trends persist, the United States will be almost three-quarters pro-life by 2100, up from 60 percent today.” 1 likes
“When the ordinary thought of a highly cultivated people begins to regard “having children” as a question of pro’s and con’s,’ Oswald Spengler, the German historian and philosopher, once observed, ‘the great turning point has come.’2” 0 likes
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