Poll shows atheism on the rise in the U.S.

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posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:12 AM
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Poll shows atheism on the rise in the U.S.


www.washingtonpost.com

Religiosity is on the decline in the U.S. and atheism is on the rise, according to a new worldwide poll.

The poll, called “The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism,” found that the number of Americans who say they are “religious” dropped from 73 percent in 2005 (the last time the poll was conducted) to 60 percent. At the same time, the number of Americans who say they are atheists rose, from 1 percent to 5 percent.

(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:12 AM
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I put this in the Breaking News forum because its, well, breaking news. It also has social and cultural implications that take it beyond a theological discussion per se, IMHO. But if the mods want to move it to the religion bin, I won't object.

Anyway, the thing that I found the most interesting here is that the poll shows an extremely sharp drop in religiosity and an extremely sharp rise in atheism since the last poll, in 2005. In fact, the drop has been so sharp that some are questioning the validity of the poll:


Barry Kosmin, the principal investigator for the ARIS report, said he’s skeptical of the new study. "The U.S. trends are what we have found and would expect, but the actual numbers are peculiar to say the least,” he said. “The drops in religiosity seem too sharp for the time period — people just don’t change their beliefs that quickly. Most of the trend away from religion has demographic causes and demography moves ‘glacially.’”


Assuming for the moment that the poll is accurate, what could be behind such a rapid and sharp change? Some suggest that the "New Atheism" movement has been particularly successful. Another possibility raised is that the actual numbers have not changed but rather people now feel more comfortable "coming out of the closet" as atheists, as it were.

In addition to the atheist/thiest contrast, there is also a sagging of people saying they are "religious." Note that this is not exactly the same thing as an increase in atheism. Maybe more people are having doubts. Or maybe more people consider themselves "spiritual but not religious" (I hear this one a lot). Perhaps organized religion is getting a bad name while people still believe. The article is a little unclear on this.

Are the soft economy, political woes, and general social malaise to blame? I have a hunch that such factors may be part of the picture. Perhaps people are feeling more dispair and doubt as the fabric of society groans under the relentless impact of an economy in decline and an America on the ropes. Maybe as old beliefs crumble in the face of new uncertainties, faith is one of many previously-strong convictions to take a hit.

What does ATS think? To me, as I noted, this is every bit as much a social issue as a matter of theology, so I'm curious if we can identify some wider change in society in general that might be reflected in these eyebrow-arching results.

www.washingtonpost.com
(visit the link for the full news article)
edit on 8/15/2012 by silent thunder because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:20 AM
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Religion as a whole is having a hard time holding onto the younger generation in america, pre-25's if I remember the stats.

It is my belief this will only increase with time.



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:24 AM
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That's an interesting article, and like you say the drop in religiosity is very large, in a relatively short period of time.

Also found this bit interesting.


Countries with the same percentage of atheists as the U.S. are Poland, Moldova and Saudi Arabia.


www.washingtonpost.com... d=pm_national_pop


I wouldn't have thought there were too many athiests in Saudi Arabia.



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:24 AM
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reply to post by silent thunder
 

I think the "sharp" rise from 1 to 5 percent just occurred because people have access to more information online. They can easily research whatever religious dogma and read criticisms of it. If a religious leader tells them something they can research it themselves. People do not have to take things at face value anymore. They can even examine the philosophical questions if so inclined and decide what works for them. I don't think it has many implications as of yet, because we atheists are still a very small minority, but growing! We have a few billboards up here and there, most cities have places where atheists can meet and mingle, so people probably feel less conflicted about coming out of the closet.

But this is just one more thing America is still behind on, lol. A lot of other first world countries find it amusing how religious America is.
edit on 15-8-2012 by acmpnsfal because: (no reason given)


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posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:27 AM
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Good. The human race is becoming more intelligent.



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:31 AM
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Of course faith is suffering in the present world. Think about it... previous generations were not only forced to study religion ( whether they liked it or not ) and were forced to publicly agree with whatever religious convictions their family ( or community ) held ( whether they liked it or not ) but they also had a LOT of time and very little to distract them. Books weren't readily available - other than the good ole' King James. So religion would prosper in that world.

Fast forward to today and familial and community pressures towards religious beliefs are almost nil and kids today have so many distractions that you can scarcely get one to look away from the monitor, cell phone, or TV long enough to even acknowledge that they've been addressed. There's very little motive for them to read a book that is difficult, in archaic terminology, and which takes a great deal of patience to understand. They are more interested in the next installment of whatever movie series is big at any given moment than they are about deeper issues.

BUT... having said all that... Gen-Text will begin to age - and as they do they'll begin to fear mortality and I would bet dollars to doughnuts that many of them become religious later on in life. Right now there's just too much fun to be had to worry about such esoteric things.

My .02 cents at least.

~Heff


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posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:34 AM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


I was forced to study religion but still came to the conclusion that it's BS. I think it's more down to our discoveries about how we and other animals evolved and our ever increasing understanding of the universe.



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:45 AM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 

Thats not entirely true though. Religion has attempted to keep up with the times. There are tons of different translations of the bible. When I became a teenager, my grandmother gave me a bible specifically written for teenagers. I believe it was written with NIV of the bible, but it had tons of footnotes and activities to relate to the life and struggles of a teenager. There are apps to download the bible, quran, etc onto your cell phone. Apps for confession, lol. I have religious friends who never even thought to stray from the church even with all the distractions we had.


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posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:56 AM
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This is great news for the USA.

There are people that are against stem cell research because it is against their "religion". All they do is block scientific advancement and brainwash people.



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:59 AM
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reply to post by RealSpoke
 


I totally agree and, personally, separate things into three categories:

1) Faith
2) Religion
3) Zealotry

I personally avow faith. I don't judge ( or do my best not to ) and I accept others as they are.

Religious folks tend to be a bit more conservative and are tied to dogma that can become problematic if pushed too far.

And Zealots... Well they just make life hard for the rest of us.

~Heff



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:59 AM
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I wonder if the drop in self identified religious people represents a shift away from traditional religions and toward more individual belief systems?

Because religious dropped 15%, but only a small portion of them converted to atheism, poll shows that most still either believe in God...

Or maybe they're just apathetic? Atheism is in some ways a bigger intellectual commitment/assertion than any form of religion.

Lately my thinking has been in the trend of seeing God as more of a scientific law relating willpower and attitude to changes in reality, not sure where that puts me on the spectrum, but with an ever changing thought complex maybe I'm best described as skeptic? Agnostic? But then I'm often interpreting the world as all God?

Blah.


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posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:59 AM
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Atheists have overtaken the ultra religious on my annoying meter.

[removed OT Picture]

Always seem to somehow insert the atheism into conversations. Why? If you don't believe in God, why make a religion out of it?

edit on 8/15/2012 by tothetenthpower because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 04:18 AM
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I'm glad my parents didn't force me to be indoctrinated with religious dogma and brainwashing. I consider myself a deist who doesn't have the faintest clue what "God" is. But, I certainly do believe that there is a higher consciousness where humans derive theirs from.

I hear a lot of atheists say that they were raised with strict religious upbringing and then they realized it was all just BS so they became atheists. I can definitely see how someone could come from strict religiousity, self-realize it as BS and then jump to "there is no God". But, it's not that easy. There is no evidence either way and there never will be, for the living.

Origin is the great mystery and it always will remain so. No amount of scientific inquiry, examination, experimentation or theorizing will give us the answers that, deep down, are the most important ones to all of us.

Now we find our collective mind in the psychological shackles made by truly wicked humans who claim to have domain over the entire earth and all beings on it. From banking to the church pews and everywhere in between, humanity is being manipulated and controlled to a certain end dictated by truly evil men. To what extent you are manipulated and controlled is up to you to determine. Whatever "isms" you find yourselves identifying with are just more of the mind control methods these psychos hope you fall into.



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 04:19 AM
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Atheism is not on rise, the truth is those people who once called themselves Christian who were not Christian are now telling the truth.
Those who claimed Christianity as their religion but exercised no faith or changed lifestyle or genuine Christian attributes are now just telling the truth.
They dont believe, never did.
The truth is probably the opposite, Christianity, real Christianity is on the rise.
Those who just ticked the box because they always have, just arnt ticking the box anymore.
Thats a good thing
edit on 15-8-2012 by borntowatch because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 04:28 AM
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The force of hate and discontent flows strongly in this room..(yoda voice)

The vast and I mean VAST majority of the world is Religious and that is flat out statistical fact. By the Billions...many times over. I'm not Christian, but they represent the majority in the world, again by far and within them....the Catholic Church.

However religion may change for view in the big cities and such, I doubt much changes from the small towns of America to the villages around the world...and a couple minutes out on google tends to show it fairly quick in stats. I have quite a lot in common with Atheists in that way... Wicca seems to be in the same very low %'s.

Just my two cents...

*The structure and "corporate" underbelly of the Catholic Enterprise doesn't mean everyone who gets a lot from their Faith is as corrupt as I think the core has become.
edit on 15-8-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)


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posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 04:31 AM
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Originally posted by Domo1
Atheists have overtaken the ultra religious on my annoying meter.

[SNIP]

Always seem to somehow insert the atheism into conversations. Why? If you don't believe in God, why make a religion out of it?



That's a bad stereotype, it's not wise to bring stereotypes in to this when defending Christians.
edit on 8/15/2012 by tothetenthpower because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 04:37 AM
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reply to post by SpearMint
 


I'm not defending Christians. Christians irritate me too. Atheists are starting to irritate me more than Christians.

'As an atheist' and then they continue on... Annoying people. Not all, but many are getting worse and more preachy than the religious.

Any indication you believe in a higher power and it's 'LOL, well as an atheist I think you're stupid because religion. LOL!'

I know some great atheists, but they're like the wonderful religious people I know. They don't hate you or think you're an idiot for your beliefs.

I don't even know what I'd class myself as. Confused works for now.



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 04:38 AM
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Originally posted by SpearMint

Originally posted by Domo1
Atheists have overtaken the ultra religious on my annoying meter.

[SNIP]

Always seem to somehow insert the atheism into conversations. Why? If you don't believe in God, why make a religion out of it?



That's a bad stereotype, it's not wise to bring stereotypes in to this when defending Christians.


Atheist stereotype meme! GREAT IDEA! LOL
edit on 8/15/2012 by tothetenthpower because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 04:45 AM
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Originally posted by Domo1
reply to post by SpearMint
 


I'm not defending Christians. Christians irritate me too. Atheists are starting to irritate me more than Christians.

'As an atheist' and then they continue on... Annoying people. Not all, but many are getting worse and more preachy than the religious.

Any indication you believe in a higher power and it's 'LOL, well as an atheist I think you're stupid because religion. LOL!'

I know some great atheists, but they're like the wonderful religious people I know. They don't hate you or think you're an idiot for your beliefs.

I don't even know what I'd class myself as. Confused works for now.


Fair enough, sorry for the assumption. I don't actually class my self as an Atheist because claiming that there is no God without evidence is almost as bad as claiming there is, but I strongly believe that organized religions are a creation of man and full of crap.





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