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Atheism on the upswing in America - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

The slow inexorable march to rationality. When I was ten years old an article like this would have never appeared in a major newspaper, not so much because everyone was a faith head but because there would have been no story to print on this subject. Change is!

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 19:06:34 UTC | #873667

Jordan Wilson's Avatar Comment 2 by Jordan Wilson

This is good to hear. I hope the same is happening here in the UK, but I worry about the growing Islamic presence here.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 19:11:21 UTC | #873668

SheerReason's Avatar Comment 3 by SheerReason

Well, this is good news. Unfortunately I'm surrounded by nothing but foaming at the mouth southern baptists mostly.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 19:14:39 UTC | #873669

Jay G's Avatar Comment 4 by Jay G

I think religions will be sticking around for a while, at the very least. The road to the atheist "paradise" will be a long and difficult one.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 19:15:57 UTC | #873670

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 5 by Rich Wiltshir

This essay is enlightening and revealing. Thanks for posting it. Though not stating so directly, is it reasonable to infer that the churches are misrepresenting the popularity of their cults?

Elsewhere on RD.net I've read that 100 bn humans have been born. Gregory Paul estimates that over 50% died in infancy: quite a damning extension of Hitchens' "where was heaven for the first 94,000 years of human history?"

I must read more of Paul's work. I first heard him being interviewed by Matt Dillahunty on "The Atheist Experience."

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 19:17:42 UTC | #873672

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 6 by Atheist Mike

If this advance could become apparent in the kind of leaders the Americans get it'd be a good change.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 19:23:30 UTC | #873674

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 7 by KenChimp

Comment 6 by Atheist Mike :

If this advance could become apparent in the kind of leaders the Americans get it'd be a good change.

Unfortunately only one of the candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination accepts the veracity of evolution by natural selection and anthropogenic climate change. He isn't really even in the running at present and that isn't likely to change.

And that candidate, John Huntsman, is a faith-head (Mormon).

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 19:41:37 UTC | #873682

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 8 by rod-the-farmer

Fascinating reading - check out the other links.....

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 20:02:06 UTC | #873693

nancynancy's Avatar Comment 9 by nancynancy

Great news and article. However, I wonder how the growing presence and activism of devout Muslims will affect the trend towards secularism in the West.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 20:08:45 UTC | #873695

Linda Ward's Avatar Comment 10 by Linda Ward

So what will happen to American society as it too becomes as non-theistic as, say, Canada?

Gosh, doesn't everyone aspire to be Canadian?

The citizens of the USA would do well to model their nation on that of Canada and cut out the stupidity and fear that their weird religious beliefs and politicians promote.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 20:12:25 UTC | #873697

Aztek's Avatar Comment 11 by Aztek

"The WCE concludes that atheists from committed to agnostic currently number about a billion."

Yeah...I don't like these kind of statements. It gives the image that agnosticism is somehow on the scale between atheism and theism. Atheism and theism deal with the theological question of whether you believe in a god or not. Agnosticism and gnosticism deal with the epistemological question if there is knowledge about god, or if it can be discovered.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 20:19:57 UTC | #873698

Paul the Pretentious's Avatar Comment 12 by Paul the Pretentious

In America, the estimates are that there are around twenty five to thirty million atheists.

Herding cats jokes aside, if we really could rally together, we could affect some seriously beneficial changes. We need desperately to do this. How much could we accomplish with a group thirty million strong and growing?

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 20:28:32 UTC | #873702

hemidemisemigod's Avatar Comment 13 by hemidemisemigod

It seems to me that the best way to promote the idea of atheism is to ban it - to tell teenagers that it is a dangerous concept that will corrupt their morality...like rock and roll.

I'm going to be as forthcoming as I can, Mr. Christianson. You're here because we need your help. We know that you've been contacted by a certain individual, a man who calls himself..."Professor Dawkins". Now, whatever you think you know about this man is irrelevant. He is considered by many religious authorities to be the most dangerous man alive. My colleagues believe that I am wasting my time with you, but I believe you wish to do the right thing. We're willing to wipe your soul clean, give you a fresh start, and all that we're asking in return is your co-operation in bringing a known atheist to justice.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 20:53:13 UTC | #873711

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 14 by rod-the-farmer

That would probably work.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 20:59:46 UTC | #873716

scottishgeologist's Avatar Comment 15 by scottishgeologist

There is of course a type of foaming-mouthed fundagelical, for whom, this is actually OK. It means that the bible-prophesied "great apostasy" is taking place and that Jesus will be coming back REAL SOON NOW!!! They will refer to:

"Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being assembled to meet him ... Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion [in the original greek: apostasy - 'great falling away'] comes first, and the lawless [one] is revealed, the son of perdition..." 2Thess 2:1,3

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils..." 1Timothy 4:1

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord..." Amos 8:11

So really, this is all part of the plan, better get those nukes out and help hasten Armageddon.....

sigh....

SG

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 21:15:25 UTC | #873720

mjs31's Avatar Comment 16 by mjs31

Not real sure about the whole "varying degrees of atheism" part of the article. The overall results are what matter.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 21:16:23 UTC | #873721

mysticjbyrd's Avatar Comment 17 by mysticjbyrd

I don't know why we limit atheism by the inclusion of some position on gods.

What is wrong with just, "The absence of theism"?

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 21:25:08 UTC | #873723

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 18 by Mr DArcy

Is Jesus losing His lustre in the USA? Oh dear, what a shame!

ISTM a case of reality interfering with "deeply held" beliefs.

Well come on Americans, Jesus isn't going to pay your mortgage , is He? (DOH).

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 21:27:32 UTC | #873724

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 19 by Steve Zara

Comment 4 by Jay G

I think religions will be sticking around for a while, at the very least. The road to the atheist "paradise" will be a long and difficult one.

I don't think so. I really don't. We live in a time of rapid change; technological, social, political. In Western Europe faith is fading, and in the UK it's doubtful that Christianity will survive a generation or two.

Atheism is now talked about in the USA. That was never really the case before. I would not be surprised if things changed dramatically in the next decade or two.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 21:38:05 UTC | #873729

mysticjbyrd's Avatar Comment 20 by mysticjbyrd

I read a statistic the other day that 25% of young adults in the US, 18-29, are now nonreligious. This is considerably higher than the general public at 16%. If this trend continues, which I believe it will, than it is pretty clear that each generation will become less faithful than the previous. Thus within just a few more decades we could easily be the majority.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 21:44:06 UTC | #873732

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 21 by alaskansee

@Comment 13 by hemidemisemigod

It seems to me that the best way to promote the idea of atheism is to ban it - to tell teenagers that it is a dangerous concept that will corrupt their morality...like rock and roll.

As infantile as religious beliefs are, and crazy, I still can't compare them to fashion trends, it won't work - indoctrination does and it's harder to get past than last years jeans.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 21:50:04 UTC | #873734

Billions and Billions's Avatar Comment 22 by Billions and Billions

Comment 13 by hemidemisemigod It seems to me that the best way to promote the idea of atheism is to ban it - to tell teenagers that it is a dangerous concept that will corrupt their morality...like rock and roll.

Unfortunately, teenagers instead turn to the occult as a way of defying their parents, or being different. (Blame "Harry Potter" and "Twighlight" for making the supernatual cool.) If our schools were doing a better job of teaching science and critical thinking, and not worrying about offending overtly theistic parents, then teenagers would more likely reject their parents religion as fallacy.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 21:50:08 UTC | #873735

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 23 by Sean_W

Please note the Google Map on the right side of the page. Fingers crossed, I hope the wind at our back is a gale.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 21:56:30 UTC | #873739

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 24 by KenChimp

Comment 19 by Steve Zara :

Comment 4 by Jay G

I think religions will be sticking around for a while, at the very least. The road to the atheist "paradise" will be a long and difficult one.

I don't think so. I really don't. We live in a time of rapid change; technological, social, political. In Western Europe faith is fading, and in the UK it's doubtful that Christianity will survive a generation or two.

Atheism is now talked about in the USA. That was never really the case before. I would not be surprised if things changed dramatically in the next decade or two.

I must concur with Steve. And one of the concerns I have about the current (and predicted future) turmoil in the world is that many people are only an "Amen" away from selling every ideal of liberalism they ever had for the promise of security. All it would take for the U.S. to have a theocratic meltdown is for grave disaster to strike a good bit of the land while some vile televangelist "Janus" such as Perry is in the White House.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 22:00:36 UTC | #873740

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 25 by Atheist Mike

Comment 10 by Linda Ward :

So what will happen to American society as it too becomes as non-theistic as, say, Canada?

Gosh, doesn't everyone aspire to be Canadian?

The citizens of the USA would do well to model their nation on that of Canada and cut out the stupidity and fear that their weird religious beliefs and politicians promote.

As far as I know the American culture seems to be afraid or intimidated by intellectual accomplishment and that since... forever maybe, or since the cold war. I wasn't around a hundred years ago so I can't tell. In any case I don't think they'd want to model their nation on Canada or Europe for that reason. That might be also be why American atheist campaigns aim for the 'trendy' aspect of Atheism rather than the intellectual one.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 22:14:22 UTC | #873742

mysticjbyrd's Avatar Comment 26 by mysticjbyrd

Comment 25 by Atheist Mike :

Comment 10 by Linda Ward :

So what will happen to American society as it too becomes as non-theistic as, say, Canada?

Gosh, doesn't everyone aspire to be Canadian?

The citizens of the USA would do well to model their nation on that of Canada and cut out the stupidity and fear that their weird religious beliefs and politicians promote.

As far as I know the American culture seems to be demonizing intellectual accomplishment and that since... forever maybe, or since the cold war. I wasn't around a hundred years ago so I can't tell. In any case I don't think they'd want to model their nation on Canada or Europe for that reason.

I don't know who "they" are, but it sounds like a great idea to me.

[Textspeak converted into real English by moderators!]

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 22:17:16 UTC | #873743

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 27 by Atheist Mike

Comment 26 by mysticjbyrd :

Comment 25 by Atheist Mike :

Comment 10 by Linda Ward :

So what will happen to American society as it too becomes as non-theistic as, say, Canada?

Gosh, doesn't everyone aspire to be Canadian?

The citizens of the USA would do well to model their nation on that of Canada and cut out the stupidity and fear that their weird religious beliefs and politicians promote.

As far as I know the American culture seems to be demonizing intellectual accomplishment and that since... forever maybe, or since the cold war. I wasn't around a hundred years ago so I can't tell. In any case I don't think they'd want to model their nation on Canada or Europe for that reason.

I don't know who "they" are, but it sounds like a great idea to me.

Truth is I don't know either. It just seems like the 'american mentality' if I may put it that way is not enthusiast in promoting intellectualism. Which is pretty odd because some of the greatest scientists and scientific achievements of the 20th century came from the US.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 22:23:04 UTC | #873745

vsanti86's Avatar Comment 28 by vsanti86

I feel that more and more people are using reason and therefore they are starting to accept atheism with more and more respect maybe I am dreaming a bit, but I certainly hope I am not, I don't know if everyone here will agree but I feel some of the media in the U.S. are trying to create this hate towards atheism saying there is no morality in it, they often mention Hitler being an Atheist, he was not he used Christianity to brainwash a country, it's ironic cause some of the media that make use of this argument do the same as Hitler did brainwash the masses with their "christian values" Again not everyone will agree but I used to think different when I was following the teachings of the bible, now that I have opened my eyes I see that religion is just a form of control based on fear and guilt over a society. I now respect life more because knowing this is the only life we get it's precious and I also have a closer relationship with my family. The most important of all things is that being an Atheist does not mean to believe in social Darwinism a world ruled on that principle would be cruel, that's why we have evolved into Homo sapiens to not act on merely instinct like most other animals.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 22:40:21 UTC | #873755

Rara192's Avatar Comment 29 by Rara192

I listened to Dr. Jon Dickson (at my university the other week) have a bit of a go at trying to demonstrate that Christianity isn't responsible for a lot of historical violence that it's claimed to be, and that society is still better off with Christianity, mainly because many Christians are better people with their Christianity than they would be without it: apparently research shows they're better neighbours, and more friendly in general. He said we could all think of that certain someone, like an aunt, with which the World is better off because of their faith. It sounded so cheesy and pathetic that I kept asking myself, "Isn't that what alcohol does to people? Is that really a reason for keeping Christianity — to say it makes many people behave as happy drunks?"

He concluded that this new atheism fad would die down shortly.

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 22:59:43 UTC | #873766

M69att's Avatar Comment 30 by M69att

How very encouraging:-)

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 23:16:06 UTC | #873769