posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:12 AM
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
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.
(visit the link for the full news article)
edit on 8/15/2012 by silent thunder because: (no reason given)