'Coming out' can be a trial for atheists and agnostics
By THE NATIONAL
Added: Wed, 13 May 2009 23:00:00 UTC
During the eight years that George W Bush, a born-again Christian, was in the White House, the United States appeared to be a nation tilting towards deeper religious faith.
But appearances can be deceiving. In fact, a recent study has found that about one in every five Americans either no longer believes in God at all, or doubts that a higher force exists.
Once considered a silent minority, atheists and agnostics are increasingly making connections on college campuses and through internet sites such as MySpace and Facebook, and becoming ever more emboldened to make their beliefs, or lack thereof, known.
There have been recent hits in the mainstream media, including the satirical documentary Religulous by comedian and TV show host Bill Maher that earned US$13 million (Dh47m) at the box office, and the best-selling book, God is Not Great by the Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens.
Barack Obama, the president, even reached out to non-believers in his inauguration speech, indicating that Washington may recognise the potential for this segment of American society to become a potent political force in the future.
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