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#1 Sharpshooter

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:15 PM

Atheism Rises In The U.S., Religiosity Declines

(RNS) Religiosity is on the decline in the U.S. and atheism is on the rise, according to a new worldwide poll.

The poll, called "The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism," found that the number of Americans who say they are "religious" dropped from 73 percent in 2005 (the last time the poll was conducted) to 60 percent.


At the same time, the number of Americans who say they are atheists rose, from 1 percent to 5 percent.
The poll was conducted by WIN-Gallup International and is based on interviews with 50,000 people from 57 countries and five continents. Participants were asked, "Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person, or a convinced atheist?"
The seven years between the polls is notable because 2005 saw the publication of "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris, the first in a wave of best-selling books on atheism by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and other so-called "New Atheists."

"The obvious implication is that this is a manifestation of the New Atheism movement," said Ryan Cragun, a University of Tampa sociologist of religion who studies American and global atheism.

Still, Cragun does not believe the poll shows more people are becoming atheists, but rather that more people are willing to identify as atheists.

"For a very long time, religiosity has been a central characteristic of the American identity," he said. "But what this suggests is that is changing and people are feeling less inclined to identify as religious to comply with what it means to be a good person in the U.S."

Another possible factor may be the number of atheists within organized efforts by American atheist groups to encourage those who do not believe in God to say so publicly. The Out Campaign, a project of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, was launched in 2007 and has since been endorsed by several national atheist groups.

The current poll confirms a declining religiosity -- both at home and abroad -- that's been detected in other polls. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that 15 percent of Americans said they have no religion -- different from being a "confirmed atheist," but nonetheless up from 8 percent in 1990.

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 'glacially.'"

Specifically, he points to the poll's finding that Vietnam, while showing a sharp 23 percent drop in religiosity since 2005, also shows no atheists. "Eight million Communist Party members but zero atheists?" he said. "That statistic makes me very doubtful of the accuracy of the survey overall and some of the international comparisons."

Other findings from the poll include:
  • Besides Vietnam, Ireland had the greatest change in religiosity, down from 69 percent to 47 percent.
  • China has the most "convinced atheists," at 47 percent, followed by Japan (31 percent), Czech Republic (30 percent) and France (29 percent)
  • The most religious countries are in Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya), South America (Brazil, Peru) and Eastern Europe (Macedonia, Romania, Armenia).
  • Countries with the same percentage of atheists as the U.S. are Poland, Moldova and Saudi Arabia.
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#2 pimpcurtly

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:23 PM

Proudly agnostic.
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#3 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:26 PM

More of us are beginning to throw off the shackles and be more courageous, taking a public stand and being proud of having freedom of thought, after a long long time of observing the corruption that's involved with the religious institutions and I'm damned proud to be among those not afraid to speak out against something I feel is slowing down the evolution of human intelligence. I encourage more and more of those who feel the same to lose their inhibitions and tell the world that they're not afraid to say they don't believe.
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#4 canucklehead44

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:34 PM

It seems I know a bunch of atheists and they all annoy me. They are on par, or worse, than self righteous christian right wing nut jobs.

Why can't everybody keep their beliefs to themselves or amongst their own group, it is really annoying. Nobody is right, nobody is wrong, beliefs are beliefs.
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#5 Sharpshooter

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:37 PM

It seems I know a bunch of atheists and they all annoy me. They are on par, or worse, than self righteous christian right wing nut jobs.

Why can't everybody keep their beliefs to themselves or amongst their own group, it is really annoying. Nobody is right, nobody is wrong, beliefs are beliefs.


Atheists don't have supernatural beliefs. It's really annoying when ignorant people can't keep their ignorance to themselves.

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#6 VICanucksfan5551

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:37 PM

Next thing you know, those heathens will be killing people in the streets en masse because there's no way for them to judge what's right and wrong without God.
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#7 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:38 PM

It seems I know a bunch of atheists and they all annoy me. They are on par, or worse, than self righteous christian right wing nut jobs.

Why can't everybody keep their beliefs to themselves or amongst their own group, it is really annoying. Nobody is right, nobody is wrong, beliefs are beliefs.


First of all...we don't have any beliefs...that is the point of atheism....we are without a belief system. Secondly, we don't threaten people emptily with eternal damnation or violence just because people don't agree with us. There is a HUGE difference between us and those "right wing christian nutjobs" you compared us with. Get a clue.
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#8 VICanucksfan5551

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:38 PM

Atheists don't have supernatural beliefs. It's really annoying when ignorant people can't keep their ignorance to themselves.

There are plenty of atheists with supernatural beliefs. I know some who believe in ghosts and psychic abilities, for example.
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#9 Squeak

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:38 PM

It seems I know a bunch of atheists and they all annoy me. They are on par, or worse, than self righteous christian right wing nut jobs.

Why can't everybody keep their beliefs to themselves or amongst their own group, it is really annoying. Nobody is right, nobody is wrong, beliefs are beliefs.



There are plenty of atheists with supernatural beliefs. I know some who believe in ghosts and psychic abilities, for example.



Mass generalization at it's finest.

Edited by Squeak, 14 August 2012 - 09:39 PM.

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#10 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:40 PM

There are plenty of atheists with supernatural beliefs. I know some who believe in ghosts and psychic abilities, for example.


No, see, actual atheists don't believe in any of that pseudoscientific horse manure. We don't believe in an afterlife, so naturally there would be no place for a belief in ghosts.

"Heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." - Dr. Stephen Hawking

Edited by Slaytanic Wehrmacht, 14 August 2012 - 09:42 PM.

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#11 stexx

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:42 PM

i just wish my church of atheism was exempt from taxes just like everyone elses as well. (my house)

#12 Sharpshooter

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:43 PM

There are plenty of atheists with supernatural beliefs. I know some who believe in ghosts and psychic abilities, for example.


Then give them this for me..... :picard:

And tell them to turn in their decoder ring....they're out.

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#13 VICanucksfan5551

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:43 PM

No, see, actual atheists don't believe in any of that pseudoscientific horse manure.

Actual atheists? Atheists are by definition people who don't believe in a deity. That's the one and only requirement to be an atheist. Imposing other rules to exclude people past that definition is a no true Scotsman fallacy.
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#14 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:43 PM

Then give them this for me..... :picard:

And tell them to turn in their decoder ring....they're out.


No Sh*t and their Lantern too. :P
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#15 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:44 PM

Actual atheists? Atheists are by definition people who don't believe in a deity. That's the one and only requirement to be an atheist. Imposing other rules to exclude people past that definition is a no true Scotsman fallacy.



Well...duh....if we don't believe in a deity...then logically we believe in no afterlife, and thereby no ghosts. try again.

Edited by Slaytanic Wehrmacht, 14 August 2012 - 09:45 PM.

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#16 elvis15

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:44 PM

Proudly agnostic.



Love that guy.

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#17 Sharpshooter

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:45 PM

Actual atheists? Atheists are by definition people who don't believe in a deity. That's the one and only requirement to be an atheist. Imposing other rules to exclude people past that definition is a no true Scotsman fallacy.


aka....Adeists.

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#18 Squeak

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:45 PM

There are plenty of atheists with supernatural beliefs. I know some who believe in ghosts and psychic abilities, for example.


Yes - because believing in a deity in the sky that no one has ever seen is very different from those 'supernatural' beliefs you are referring to.

Edited by Squeak, 14 August 2012 - 09:46 PM.

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#19 VICanucksfan5551

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:46 PM

Well...duh....if we don't believe in a deity...then logically we believe in no afterlife, and thereby no ghosts. try again.

Buddhists don't believe in a deity, but they believe in reincarnation. Atheism and belief in an afterlife isn't mutually exclusive.
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#20 Sharpshooter

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:46 PM

Love that guy.


Major brain-crush on him over here too.

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#21 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:49 PM

Actual atheists? Atheists are by definition people who don't believe in a deity. That's the one and only requirement to be an atheist. Imposing other rules to exclude people past that definition is a no true Scotsman fallacy.


When I say "actual atheists" I mean those who really, honestly do not believe in a deity...not the agnostics who are fence sitting just to cover their own asses. And actually, an "atheist" by definition is someone who rejects the existence of a deity, not just someone who doesn't believe in one.
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#22 Common sense

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:51 PM

First of all...we don't have any beliefs...that is the point of atheism....we are without a belief system. Secondly, we don't threaten people emptily with eternal damnation or violence just because people don't agree with us. There is a HUGE difference between us and those "right wing christian nutjobs" you compared us with. Get a clue.


"You" don't threaten people with damnation or violence, but some of "you" (and I stress that it's only some of the atheist population) comes off as a-holes.

I'm not saying that then all religious people are goody-two-shoes, but get a grip when you want to put yourself above theists. The fact is, you hold onto your ideals just as mush as theists do. Standing on a soapbox and telling someone to get a clue doesn't help.

We're human, and when one group attacks another group's belief system, that throws group A into a defensive system. Tell me how that helps.

Edited by Common sense, 14 August 2012 - 09:54 PM.


#23 VICanucksfan5551

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:51 PM

Yes - because believing in a deity in the sky that no one has ever seen is very different from those 'supernatural' beliefs you are referring to.

I'm not quite sure what you're saying. Are ghosts and psychic abilities not supernatural beliefs?
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#24 Sharpshooter

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:51 PM

Buddhists don't believe in a deity, but they believe in reincarnation. Atheism and belief in an afterlife isn't mutually exclusive.


True, but Buddhism is a religion organized around dogma......and religious dogma is something that most Atheists reject.

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#25 Squeak

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:54 PM

I'm not quite sure what you're saying. Are ghosts and psychic abilities not supernatural beliefs?


I am suggesting whats the difference between believing in that and 'god'?
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#26 VICanucksfan5551

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:55 PM

When I say "actual atheists" I mean those who really, honestly do not believe in a deity...not the agnostics who are fence sitting just to cover their own asses. And actually, an "atheist" by definition is someone who rejects the existence of a deity, not just someone who doesn't believe in one.

Atheism and agnosticism aren't mutually exclusive either. You have the wrong definitions. I'd consider myself to be an agnostic atheist.
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Even with your definitions, it's still entirely possible to be an atheist who believes in a non-theistic afterlife.
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#27 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:55 PM

Buddhists don't believe in a deity, but they believe in reincarnation. Atheism and belief in an afterlife isn't mutually exclusive.


Buddhists follow the teachings of The "Awakened One" who was known as the Buddha, they also believe in sentient beings and follow a set of tenets. This argument is moot.

Edited by Slaytanic Wehrmacht, 14 August 2012 - 09:56 PM.

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#28 Sharpshooter

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:56 PM

I am suggesting whats the difference between believing in that and 'god'?


There's about as much credibe evidence for all 3.

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#29 Squeak

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:58 PM

There's about as much credibe evidence for all 3.


If had to make a credibility argument - IMO - there is a LOT more credible evidence of paranormal (or 'ghosts') activity.
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#30 VICanucksfan5551

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:58 PM

True, but Buddhism is a religion organized around dogma......and religious dogma is something that most Atheists reject.

It's entirely possible to be religious and an atheist, like with Buddhists and other non-theistic religions. I can't say I know any religious atheists, personally, but there are ~1 billion Buddhists in the world, which is a sizable number just in that religion alone.

I am suggesting whats the difference between believing in that and 'god'?

They're all irrational beliefs in my eyes, if that's what you're getting at.
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