The spread of atheism 8

We simply cannot understand how any intelligent and educated person can believe in God or gods.

We are pleased to learn that as more people world-wide become literate, many more are critically examining religious teaching (of any sort) and realizing its absurdity, and are willing to say so.

But as many still won’t “confess” to being atheists for fear of abuse and discrimination, it’s not really possible to set even a ball-park figure to the number of atheists in any particular country or, therefore, in the world generally.

Some attempt at numbering them has, however, been made.

From the Skeptic’s Dictionary, by Dr Robert T. Carroll:

How widespread is atheism? It is difficult to say with precision, since many people are afraid of admitting they are atheists. …

There are indications, however, that atheism is growing and is more widespread than the media and religious leaders would have us believe. A worldwide survey in 2000 by the Gallup polling agency found that 8% do not think there is any spirit, personal God, or life force. Another 17% were not sure. The American Religious Identification Survey of 2001 found growth in that segment of the adult population “identifying with no religion.” In 1990, 14.3 million or roughly 8% identified with this category. Ten years later the non-religious population had grown to 29.4 million, roughly 14.1% of the American community. This may be due in large part to the fact that in the 1990 survey the question asked was loaded: What religion do you identify with? In 2001, if any was added to the question. In 2008, the Pew Foundation published the largest, most comprehensive survey on religious affiliation ever done. About 16% say they are not affiliated with any religion. That translates to about 49 million Americans who don’t identify with any religion. Atheists make up only 1.6% of the adult population; that’s fewer than 5 million atheists in the U.S. and are outnumbered by Christians by about 50 to 1. In 2008, the American Religious Identification Survey found that since the last survey of its kind in 2001, the number of atheists has doubled from 900,000 to 1.6 million. The number of Americans claiming no religious affiliation is now at 15%.

The fact is that more than half the world’s population, and more than 90% of the world’s scientists, do not believe in a personal God … Worldwide, there are about 1.1 billion nonreligious people; only two religions have more numbers: Christianity has about 2.1 billion adherents and Islam has about 1.3 billion.

Dr Carroll writes of his own atheism:

If I had to sum up my own atheism, I think I would have to say that it amounts to this: I have no interest in the supernatural. I also have no interest in what others believe about the supernatural as long as their belief does not involve intolerance of those who disagree with them. Such people are a menace to society, a hindrance to social progress, and are unworthy of our respect. If we care about humanity, we have a duty to stand up to the intolerant of the world, no matter what god they claim commands them to behave inhumanely. We also have a duty to oppose those who claim immunity from the prohibition of abusing children because of their belief in some god. To claim that children should not be educated in science or in the religious beliefs of others — or that they should not receive proper medical care — because their parents believe God forbids it, is unacceptable.

We heartily agree.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Commentary, Islam, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tagged with , ,

This post has 8 comments.

Permalink
  • George

    I’m bringing this article up again just for a little inspiration for a change.  Perhaps there may be  hope after all.

  • Keith Williams

    I agree that Christians don’t think they are delusional but even Christians can’t answer how mankind was able to exist for thousands of years before Christianity was even a thought.

    as Thomas Jefferson said “question with boldness even the existence of god”.

    Here are a couple of quotes from famous atheists that get one thinking.

    “The assumption is, and it’s such an insulting assumption, I get people asking me all the time, ‘But if you don’t believe in heaven and hell, why would you live a moral life?’ What they’re really saying in that statement is ‘If I didn’t have to fear hell, I would steal, I would rape, I would assault, I would kill. I would do all of those things that I just LOVE to do to some people and under some situations. I’d get away with anything I could. But no, I fear going to hell and I want to go to heaven. Therefore, I go by the rules.’ I find that so insulting.”
    – James Randi
    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

    -Stephen Roberts

  • Katie

    Christians are not delusional, most you will find are kind, excepting, and hopeful people. Crazy people who call themselves Christians are just nuts. God said that as the world comes closer to its end less will believe.

    • George

      Your assertion makes NO sense. According to you Christians , GOD is an invisible ,indescribable, formless, non-material super-being , who no one has ever seen and is unable to be identified with by any of our senses and is described as being a mystery beyond human perception or understanding. According to the dictionary , the word “mystery” is defined as that which cannot be described or defined. Therefore Christians are lying to the world when they say they know god and know he exists and yet proclaim he is a mystery meaning (unknown). Why do you refer to god as “HE” which is a personal pronoun that denotes the male gender ? If god is invisible , then how can you tell what gender he/it is ? If god is a mystery as you Christians proclaim , then how can you prove this being’s existence ? Christians are always talking about GOD said this and GOD said that , and GOD said the other , blah blah blah ……… Say what ? How can a formless spirit talk when a spirit is not made of any matter , has NO vocal chords, or for that matter “woofers and tweeters” or a larynx or any type or vibrating diaphram to vibrate the airways to produce sound ? This is an impossibility. You go around insisting that other people must believe in YOUR ancient superstition of two thousand years ago and yet you do not believe in the ancient religions or the gods of Thor, Zeus, Appolo , Poseidon, Firebird, the Volcano God , etc. Why not ? They haven’t proven that their gods actually exist and you and your ilk haven’t proven that your alleged deity exists——— so what’s the difference ? You are therefore ATHEISTIC toward all other religious beliefs other than your own. Of all the religions that exist we atheists simply reject one more religion than you do— YOURS !!!!!! Your professed belief is based upon BLIND indoctrinated acceptance called “faith”. Your belief is a belief based upon a ” what if ” or a supposition only. How can you even discuss the subject of god when you can’t even define what god is ?
      A Christain once said to me —” Well, you can’t prove that there is no god” . I then stated in reply— ” So what ? You can’t prove that there is no Tooth Fairy either ” . So helllllllooooo !!! Duhhhh !! Christians are always saying that all other religions are false religions . Well, guess what—- many of these other religions say that YOUR religion is a false religion and neither of you can prove or disprove the other. In every generation Christians have been proclaiming the end of the world and we’re still here. Even if someone did prove to me that there is a supernatural being which you call GOD , I wouldn’t praise or worship such a tyrannical and monster of a being. If there is a being called GOD and this being is in control which you Christians proclaim , then your GOD is responsible for all natural disasters or ” acts of God” as they are known as. Your deity is therefore responsible for earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, snow blizzards, famine, all diseases and plagues , cancer deaths and other ailments . all miscarriages ( aka-God induced abortions ) , all birth defects, hurricanes, massive mud slides, meteors crashing into planets, and an unlimited host of other god caused sufferings and deaths. These ” Holy Horrors” are therefore the results or actions of your deity. Furthermore , where was your god during the holocaust of the Jews, the enslavement and near genocide of blacks in America for centuries and the other multitude of genocides and slaughters worldwide ? Where was your god during September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks ? Where was your god during hurricane Katrina, during the earthquake in Haitii , Chile and Japan ? Shall I go on ? Why didn’t your god intervene or intercede to prevent the massive lost of life and destruction nif your deity is supposed to be such a SAVIOR ? What sins did little children and babies commit who suffered and died at the hands of your ACTS OF GOD ? Currently it is Christians and Muslims who are the top two world radical proselytizers who are trying to force their beliefs upon everybody else. You and your ilk adamantly refuse to leave other people alone and then you have the unmitigated gall to accuse people of being anti-Christian or anti-Muslim when people stand up to you and refuse to be indoctrinated against their will.
      Where is YOUR tolerance for people who choose to believe different than yourselves ? Where is YOUR open-mindedness for accepting the right of others to believe as they choose ? People like yourself are NEVER happy unless you’re shoving your beliefs upon everyone else. People like yourself can always badmouth , ridicule, insult, denigrate, and criticize people of different beliefs than your own but you certainly CAN’T take any criticism of YOUR beliefs . Anybody that believes that a man who supposedly died two thousand years ago is going to come back alive and walk the earth like a mummyfied zombie and then take people up into the sky so that they can wear wings while sitting on clouds while playing harps for all of eternity ; or believe that a virgin woman gave birth without the sperm of a man and was impreganated by some ghostlike spirit, or a few morsels of bread fed an entire village, a man built a giant boat several times the size of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier with his bare hands and swam & walked around the world and forcibly wrestled lions, crocodiles, gorrilas, elephants, rhinoceras, grizzly bears , etc onto the vessel (ark) by himself is most certainly DELUSIONAL inspite of their denial. Does my saying this offend you ? Well too bad , because religious proselytizers and intolerant theologians offend us atheists. I will afford others the same respect and tolerance that they afford me. You have no more right to force or coerce your beliefs upon others than they have to force or coerce their beliefs upon you. Hmmmmmm -if I remember correctly , it’s called DOUBLE STANDARD HYPOCRISY !!!!!

      • George

        If only people would practice the Golden Rule. Pardon my typos in previous post. If people would treat others the way they would want to be treated and respected themselves then we would be a civilized world society ( in most respects that is ).

  • Bill

    This is heartening. Thanks for the article! I'm curious as to the number of conservative atheists or capitalist atheists (libertarian) out of the whole population of atheists. As I posted on another topic before, I don't assume we atheist conservatives have to agree with most or all of the social conservative issues, which seem to be based on the Bible. Abortion, pornography, traditional marriage, sexual preference, and so on. Those who think we have to agree with all the social conservative issues are actually evangelical atheists – those who follow the Bible, but do not believe in it.

    That said, I'm tired of conservatives who assume I'm a socialist when they find out I'm an atheist. I'm tired of socialists assuming I'm a Bible thumper when they find out I'm a capitalist.

    • Wegie

      Well said.

  • Ralph

    A good education will provide the knowledge needed for independent thought. Only independent thought or freedom of thought can led to atheism. Where logic and reason prevail atheists will increase in numbers.