Aids to help freethinkers choose debating priorities
There is no such thing as a 'part-time freethinker', but since we cannot all afford to be 'full-time debaters', we need some way of deciding which debates are really urgent and worthwhile to engage in. The Google Ngram viewer, introduced here, promises to be a useful aid here, to somewhat gauge which of the manifestations of religion are prevalent and on the upswing, and thus deserving of increased critique.

1. Lest we lull ourselves into think that 'religion' with its literalism and explicit theism is now largely a spent force, and it is the fairly benign-seeming, denatured variants of 'mysticism' and 'spirituality' that freethinkers must now debate, we must take a look at this plot to see how religion still overwhelming dominates literary discourse among these three.

[Image: chart?con‌tent=spirituality%2Creligion%2...r_end=2000]

So, notwithstanding the high visibility of the 'spiritual-but-not-religious' brigade, this might mean that while freethinkers grapple with new-age woo, they cannot afford to do this at the expense of grappling with more old-fashioned religion.

2. If we think that the New Atheists are unduly pre-occupied with Christianity when they ought to frame their stances in opposition to religion in general, this plot may serve to suggest that this pre-occupation of theirs is very much in proportion to the requirement. Notice how the generic 'shrine' hardly makes its presence felt, while 'church' predominates.

[Image: chart?con‌tent=shrine%2Cchurch%2Cmosque%...r_end=2000]

Having said that, an unmistakable recent trend of interest in Oriental faiths can indeed be found in these plots, where Dharma enjoyed a spell of ascendancy over the Bible and the Buddha outruns Christ!

[Image: chart?con‌tent=bible%2Cdharma%2Cislam&co...r_end=2008]

[Image: chart?con‌tent=jesus%2Cchrist%2Cbuddha&c...r_end=2008]

As an aside, the ordinary, human-sounding 'Jesus' seems to be catching up with the anointed, deified 'Christ'.

3. Apologists of Islam of late have begun an endless lament of how 'Islamophobia' has begun to dominate and vitiate the discourse about Islam. The below plot, where the words 'Islamist' and 'Islamofascist' hardly make their presence felt, seems to suggest no grounds for such a lament.

[Image: chart?con‌tent=islamic%2Cislamist%2Cisla...r_end=2008]

A very different and disturbing picture emerges in the following two plots, where 'jehad' has taken a life of its own, outgrowing Islam itself! This plot ought to raise several questions to apologists, accommodationists and other commentators alike.

[Image: chart?con‌tent=islam%2Cjihad&corpus=0&sm...r_end=2008]

[Image: chart?con‌tent=muslim%2Cmujahideen&corpu...r_end=2008]

There is a much-touted, ostensible effort in the Western World to 'learn about Islam' and counter misconceptions, since 2001. To gauge how much headway this has made, let us check how often the Muslims' preferred spelling, 'Quran' used vis-a-vis the earlier spelling of 'Koran'.

[Image: chart?con‌tent=koran%2Cquran&corpus=0&sm...r_end=2008]

Well, 'Quran' has caught up, but this plot seem to reveal such a disinterest in the foundational text of Islam, that it calls into question the veracity of the West's claim that it is making a serious effort to learn about Islam.
I'm an atheist and here is my proof... ( Signature )
[Image: cw_zpsc1036163.jpg]

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)