More on Census 2010

Here's some excerpts from The Straits Times, 14 Jan 2011, as well as some of my comments.

The decline in Buddhism over the past decade may be traced to the rise of churches, more people wanting to their own faith or the lack of one, and greater clarity between Buddhism and Taoism, said scholars and faith leaders yesterday. That may explain the increase in the proportion of Christians and people with no religion here.

With 97% of the non-religious being Chinese, an ethnicity traditionally associated with Buddhism/Taoism, this comes as no surprise.

Dr Lai Ah Eng, a researcher who has studied religious trends here, said a reason may be the growing prominence of Pentecostal and Evangelical Christian groups here, which was a "reflection of a larger trend around the world".

Not to mention, worrying trend. Religiosity is one thing we don't want to import from America.

The other group to gain new followers was those with no religion - from 14.8 per cent in 2000 to 17 per cent last year.

What an unusual way to describe the non-religious... followers? of what? no religion?

Sociologist Daniel Goh, an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore, said the increase could have be due to overall higher education levels and the loosening of kinship ties in society. "Higher-educated people are more likely to look to a de-ritualized way of life. They want to be able to choose freely a belief system that works for them."

Yet another unusual phrasing - "choose freely a belief system".

We don't choose beliefs - We believe when we're convinced by the evidence (though evidential standards vary between individuals).

Morals not to be found in a book
Mr Eugene Tay, 23, is used to asking questions. It is something his parents have encouraged him to do since he was little.

"I was encouraged to use basic tools - logic, science - to analyze our world. If something isn't right, we ask why," said the third-year engineering student at Nanyang Technological University.

His spirit of inquiry and his leaning towards logic and science have built in him a non-faith. He calls himself an "atheist-agnostic, secular humanist".

Simply put, he does not believe in God.

About organized religion, he said: "Having a religion to me would seem like I'm forcing myself to a certain dogma that tells me what to do, what is morally correct or incorrect.

"There are ways to think about morals - and they don't all come in a book."

This seems like the first time I've seen, in the news, someone who explicitly identifies as an atheist-agnostic and secular humanist. Looks promising for one who hopes that more people become rational/skeptical atheists.

I take issue with the capitalization of "god" in the article. "God" when capitalized usually refer to God of Abraham - which is not the case here, here it should be "any gods" not "God".

I do love the swipe made against the authority of scripture - and the bookish religions.