Atheists often imagine that their way of thinking will eventually win out over religious ideas – but could the reverse be true?
A controversial study has argued that atheism could actually die out – simply because atheists use contraception more than religious people, and have fewer children.
The study published in Evolutionary Psychological Science involved interviews with 4,000 students in America and Malaysia.
The students were asked about their religious beliefs – and how many siblings they had.
In Malaysia, atheists had 1.5 fewer siblings than religious people – while in America, the difference was less stark, with atheists having 0.16 fewer siblings.
The researchers write ‘It is ironical that effective birth control methods were developed primarily by secularists, and that these methods are serving to slowly diminish the proportional representation of secularists in forthcoming generations.
‘To the extent that secularization is occurring, we hypothesize that religiosity should be inversely correlated with parental fertility, and we expect this to be the case across countries and religious groups.’