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Study Finds Religion May Be Heading for Extinction in Parts of World

Pope Benedict

March 9: Pope Benedict XVI salutes the faithful during the traditional Ash Wednesday mass in the St. Sabina church in Rome. (AP)

Parts of the world are literally losing their religion, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by the American Physical Society, finds that religion is dying out in nine countries.

The findings unveiled at an APS meeting in Dallas show that religion may become extinct in Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Canada, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The study, conducted by Richard Wiener of the University of Arizona, and Daniel Abrams and Haley Yaple of Northwestern University, took data stretching back 100 years for those nine countries.

"In a large number of modern secular democracies, there's been a trend that folk are identifying themselves as non-affiliated with religion; in the Netherlands the number was 40 percent, and the highest number was in the Czech Republic, where the number was 60 percent."

The study also found that "Americans without affiliation comprise the only religious group growing in all 50 states."

"In 2008 those claiming no religion rose to 15 percent nationwide, with a maximum in Vermont at 34 percent," the study says.

The study concludes that religion in these societies might one day disappear.

"The model predicts that for societies in which the perceived utility of not adhering is greater than the utility of adhering, religion will be driven toward extinction."

Click to read the study about the disappearance of religion from the American Physical Society.

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