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I’m Back With Good News & Bad News

March 11, 2009

Alright, so first off, I’m not dead. I’ve just been in a really bad funk. In case you didn’t manage to catch it on my Twitter account, a few days before Easter my employer decided to lay a bunch of people off, I was one of them. I just want to thank George Bush and his enablers for their great work over the last eight years on our economy. Since then I’ve been spending frugally and job hunting, no luck yet. I hope you’ll all forgive me for my absence but hopefully I’m at least out of my funk now.

Now on to some good news.

“Many people thought our 2001 finding was an anomaly,” Keysar said. “We now know it wasn’t. The ‘Nones’ are the only group to have grown in every state of the Union.”

That is an excerpt from a press release by Trinity College on their American Religious Identification Survey (PDF here). The real gem to take from this survey is this:

“Only1.6 percent of Americans call themselves atheist or agnostic. But based on stated beliefs, 12 percent are atheist (no God) or agnostic (unsure), while 12 percent more are deistic (believe in a higher power but not a personal God). The number of outright atheists has nearly doubled since 2001, from 900 thousand to 1.6 million. Twenty-seven percent of Americans do not expect a religious funeral at their death.”

This is great and important information. Thirty-six million American atheists/agnostics. 36,000,000. I speculate that there are many more than that, but I could be wrong. A more important number to me is the next one. Seventy-two million Americans are now what I like to call “practical atheists”. What this means is that for all intents and purposes these people behave like an average atheist would, whether they actually are or not isn’t that important. These are the kind of people who are more likely to vote based on rational reasons instead of some tribal meme. These are people who aren’t likely to let their children die from too much prayer and not enough penicillin.

This report states what we atheists have been saying for a while now. Christians are losing ground and we are gaining it. This means that the “New Atheists” haven’t hurt our progression, and we may have even helped it, but we can’t be for sure. The question Christians need to be asking themselves is: Why are we losing so much ground and why is atheism becoming so popular? The cop-out answer is that Americans want to lead a more hedonistic lifestyle. We know this is untrue because of the obvious implications made by surveys done showing the number of atheists entering prison (very underrepresented) and divorcing (less than Christians). We are a people who are moral without any god, this is a fact they will have to accept eventually if they want to sit at the adult table. I think that the decrease in Christians is due to the extremists and the damage they’ve done globally and to our own nation, that they’ve turned the moderates off and made them think about if they really believed in the faith their parents forced on them and the answer is very obviously “No”.

What are your thoughts on this? Let’s try and keep this from turning into a flame war and I hope you all enjoy the new comment threading system WordPress has released!

  1. March 11, 2009 1:35 am

    Seems promising. Now imagine if every one of 36,000,000 atheist/agnostics were willing to speak out about it.

  2. March 11, 2009 4:49 am

    I hope the trend continues in leaps and bounds.

    Good luck on the job search. I know how you feel, I was lucky to find a job quickly but it was a pay cut and that has been depressing.

  3. March 11, 2009 7:09 am

    I’m amused by your idea of spending frugally.

    I don’t know that I would count all deists in with “practical atheists.” I have met some deists that don’t like the idea of atheism at all and would be opposed to the atheist “agenda.”

    – Schev

  4. March 11, 2009 4:26 pm

    Good to see you back, good luck with the job hunting.

    It’s always difficult to know exactly how many atheists/agnostics there are, census taking and questionnaires are often skewed to the religious. It is promising to see this latest survey (especially as it was done by a religious organisation) shows a marked rise in people willing to identify as atheists/agnostics. I would hazard a guess that the rise in vocal atheism has enabled people to identify as atheist.

  5. Tory permalink
    March 12, 2009 12:35 am

    Hard times. I’m with you in the jobless realm. Going to school to hopefully weather out the economy and secure a better job on the other side. As for the increase in Atheists. All I can say is YEAH!!! I don’t know what’s doing it. But it needs to keep doing whatever it is till we are at the very least a majority.

  6. March 12, 2009 9:00 am

    I promise to do everything I can for my child’s health and life, all the way from conception. :)


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