Atheism is on the rise

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Atheism is on the rise

 

http://news.yahoo.com/rise-atheism-america-110700315.html

 

The rise of atheism in America

 

 

The number of disbelievers is growing, but they remain America's least trusted minority. Why?

How many atheists are there?
It depends on your definition of the term. Only between 1.5 and 4 percent of Americans admit to so-called "hard atheism," the conviction that no higher power exists. But a much larger share of the American public (19 percent) spurns organized religion in favor of a nondefined skepticism about faith. This group, sometimes collectively labeled the "Nones," is growing faster than any religious faith in the U.S. About two thirds of Nones say they are former believers; 24 percent are lapsed Catholics and 29 percent once identified with other Christian denominations. David Silverman, president of American Atheists, claims these Nones as members of his tribe. "If you don't have a belief in God, you're an atheist," he said. "It doesn't matter what you call yourself."

Why are so many people leaving religion?
It's primarily a backlash against the religious Right, say political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell. In their book, American Grace, they argue that the religious Right's politicization of faith in the 1990s turned younger, socially liberal Christians away from churches, even as conservatives became more zealous. The dropouts were turned off by churches' Old Testament condemnation of homosexuals, premarital sex, contraception, and abortion. The Catholic Church's sex scandals also prompted millions to equate religion with moralistic hypocrisy. "While the Republican base has become ever more committed to mixing religion and politics," Putnam and Campbell write, "the rest of the country has been moving in the opposite direction." As society becomes more secular, researchers say, doubters are more confident about identifying themselves as nonbelievers. "The collapse of institutional religion in the first 10 years of this century [has] freed so many people to say they don't really care," said author Diana Butler Bass.

How are nonbelievers perceived?
Most polls suggest that atheists are among the most disliked groups in the U.S. One study last year asked participants whether a fictional hit-and-run driver was more likely to be an atheist or a rapist. A majority chose atheist. In 2006, another study found that Americans rated atheists as less likely to agree with their vision of America than Muslims, Hispanics, or homosexuals. "Wherever there are religious majorities, atheists are among the least trusted people," said University of British Columbia sociologist Will M. Gervais. As a result, avowed atheists are rare in nearly all areas of public life. Of the 535 legislators in Congress, for example, only one — Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) — calls himself an atheist. Few sports stars or Hollywood celebrities own up to having no religious faith.

 

Why so much distrust?
Many Americans raised in the Judeo-Christian tradition are convinced that atheists can have no moral compass. Azim Shariff, a University of Oregon psychologist who studies religious thinking, sums up how believers view nonbelievers: "They don't fear God, so we should distrust them. They do not have the same moral obligations as others." The antipathy may have actually grown with the recent emergence of "New Atheist" writers such as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, who have launched impassioned attacks on organized religion. Dawkins has encouraged his followers to "ridicule" anyone who could believe in "an unforgiving control freak" and "a capriciously malevolent bully" like the God portrayed in the Old Testament. Dawkins's harsh approach, said Barbara J. King, an anthropologist at the College of William and Mary, has confirmed "some of the negative stereotypes associated with the nonreligious — intolerance of the faithful, first and foremost."
 

How have atheists responded to this negative image?
A coalition of nonbelievers is out to make atheism more acceptable, starting with last month's "Reason Rally" on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where thousands stood up for their right to not believe. Silverman of American Atheists, who helped organize the rally, said it was intended to give heart to young, "closet atheists" who fear the social stigma of being "outed," in much the same way closeted gays do. "We will never be closeted again," he said. Some within the movement advocate taking a more conciliatory approach to believers, too. Alain de Botton, the Anglo-Swiss writer of the new book Religion for Atheists, assails Dawkins as being "very narrow-minded," and praises religions as "the most successful educational and intellectual movements the planet has ever witnessed."

Will atheism ever be accepted?
If growth continues at the current rate, one in four Americans will profess no religious faith within 20 years. Silverman hopes that as nonbelief spreads, atheists can become a "legitimate political segment of the American population," afforded the same protections as religious groups and ethnic minorities. But he's not advocating a complete secular takeover of the U.S. — nor would he be likely to achieve one, given the abiding religious faith of most Americans. "We don't want the obliteration of religion; we don't want religion wiped off the face of the earth," Silverman said. "All we demand is equality."Atheists in foxholes
Atheists are barely visible in politics and entertainment, but they are clamoring for recognition in another area of public life — the military. The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers estimates that 40,000 soldiers identify as nonbelievers, and counts the most famous casualty of the war in Afghanistan, former NFL star Pat Tillman, as one of its own. In attempting to secure the same rights and support enjoyed by religious soldiers, the association lobbies against the idea that "there are no atheists in foxholes," and wants "atheist chaplains" made available for the ranks of the armed nonbelievers. Jason Torpy, the association's president, says that nonbelievers outnumber every religious group in the military except Christians, yet receive no ethical and family counseling geared to their own nonbeliefs. "These are things that chaplains do for everybody," he said, "except us."

 

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


harleysportster
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Maybe

Maybe people are starting to wake up after all.


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No one talks about it

 

 

but I think 9/11 played a huge part in the growing rejection of religion. That and the open window we have to the Christian and Muslim worlds nowadays.

We can see the violence, moral inconsistency, double standards, the hypocrisy, the fundamental power struggles that lie at the heart of these morality cults.

Evidence clearly shows atheists have a higher level of personal integrity than the godly and cannot simply 'get forgiven' after a mistake. Instead they suffer guilt and shame without relief.

Among other things, Jesus is a get out-of-gaol-free card for those unwilling to suffer for their mistakes permanently, and through natural mental suffering vow to never, ever make the same mistakes again. 

 

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 We are still winning.  Good job everyone!

 

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I believe people are getting

I believe people are getting sick of all the bullshit religion offers.

 

 


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My evil plan is working.

My evil plan is working. Soon we will have kitten farms and piles of mattress tags to burn to fuel our worldwide barbecue kitten party. MUEHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!

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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

 

but I think 9/11 played a huge part in the growing rejection of religion. That and the open window we have to the Christian and Muslim worlds nowadays.

We can see the violence, moral inconsistency, double standards, the hypocrisy, the fundamental power struggles that lie at the heart of these morality cults.

Evidence clearly shows atheists have a higher level of personal integrity than the godly and cannot simply 'get forgiven' after a mistake. Instead they suffer guilt and shame without relief.

Among other things, Jesus is a get out-of-gaol-free card for those unwilling to suffer for their mistakes permanently, and through natural mental suffering vow to never, ever make the same mistakes again. 

 

Not to mention the ridiculous bullshit "eternal life" promises they offer for doing  absolutely NOTHING even if you're the laziest bum on earth!  I agree 9/11 helped in that sense but it's also just common sense that the MYTHICAL  Jesus doesn't have any influence in day to day life and he doesn't respond any more than Zeus or Medusa does!

Click here to find out why Christianity is the biggest fairy tale ever created!! www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm www.JesusNEVERexisted.com


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Rant

I had to little rant I had to vent somewhere. This is probably not worthy of a thread so I'll put it here.

If atheism is on the rise, then I sure as hell don't understand why I had this experience today. Quite a few threads ago I asked if anyone knew of any good children's books on evolution for a friend of mine.

Well I was out today shopping and I needed to get a birthday gift for a little girl who is like a niece to me.  Her Mom said she loves to read and is a good 2 grades ahead in her reading level.

So I thought I would get her some books instead of more shitty toys which she has plenty of.

So I go to Barnes and Nobles to browse(didn't have those recommendations with me) and head to the huge kids section. I got her a couple neat mystery, general educational books, and a journal.

I went to find some on evolution and came to a big, two sided shelf. One side was science and the other side religion.(although I had already noticed many, many religiously themed books apart from this big shelf)

After about an hour of random speed reading i had come up with 3 good science books about dinosaurs, space, and biology. But not one did I find anything that even touched on evolution.

So I go to the desk and have the girl look in the computer. As she scrolled  she said "huh, well, uh, humm- I don't see any at all but I can order you one".  I had to facepalm.

I said " I find it impossible that you don't have a single one".  She replied " our computer is set up pretty thorough and their is nothing except for adult reading like 'Origin of Species' "

I won't bore you with my whole argument after this but it came down to her telling me that they don't keep books on the shelves that don't sell.  She sincerely pleaded that they were not a christian or religiously biased company.

I spoke with the manager and she said that she was well aware of this. They had put quite a few books on the shelves over the years and they just won't sell.

Looks like the kids gonna get her books late as I will have to shop online. 

I just found this troubling.

 

 

"...but truth is a point of view, and so it is changeable. And to rule by fettering the mind through fear of punishment in another world is just as base as to use force." -Hypatia


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~~~~

tonyjeffers wrote:

I said " I find it impossible that you don't have a single one".  She replied " our computer is set up pretty thorough and their is nothing except for adult reading like 'Origin of Species' "

I won't bore you with my whole argument after this but it came down to her telling me that they don't keep books on the shelves that don't sell.  She sincerely pleaded that they were not a christian or religiously biased company.

I spoke with the manager and she said that she was well aware of this. They had put quite a few books on the shelves over the years and they just won't sell.

The first book I thought of is what x suggested, The Magic of Reality, by Richard Dawkins.  Anyway, in New York they had lots of books on the shelf on evolution at Borders.  I know they're out of business now, and I haven't been shopping for books in a while.  I don't know what our Barnes & Noble would have. 

I remember there was a whole shelf dedicated to just atheist & agnostic literature, and Dawkins' God Delusion, Dennett's Breaking the Spell, etc., were there, plus many more!  The biology shelf was loaded with evolution books.  Are you from the south?


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~~~~

It's good to see that the "nones" are on the rise.  I hope this means more real atheists.  I'm a little pessimistic about atheists being in the majority within my lifetime.  It's a reasonable pessimism -- the religious are desparately clinging to their psychosis.  I guarantee that in a million years, Christianity will be listed as one of the psychotic disorders in the DSM; maybe DSM 5000.  With our effort, it can be sooner  Smiling


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Philosophicus wrote:Are you

Philosophicus wrote:

Are you from the south?

Hey!  I'm in the South and our local bookstores have lots of books on evolution.

The nerve of some people...

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


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.

tonyjeffers wrote:

I spoke with the manager and she said that she was well aware of this. They had put quite a few books on the shelves over the years and they just won't sell.

Looks like the kids gonna get her books late as I will have to shop online. 

I just found this troubling.

Yes, won't sell not a conspiracy. Search Amazon books on evolution for children and find a mess of them if still interested -- and her mother won't damn you.

 

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Phil and X

I appreciate your suggestion, but I would think Dawkins' book would be too advanced for her as it is rated at 12. I'm sure that  with those previous recommendations I mentioned and a lititle web browsing I will have no problem.

Now, this girl is only 7yrs old, and some might argue that she would not be able to grasp the concepts of evolution, but I would disagree. Children can be amazing little learning sponges. She is clearly advanced and is close to a 9yr old level, which is a very critical time in my opinion.

The church is very aggressive with their early indoctrination. By the time these children are even presented with the idea of evolution they have already been brain-washed with the delightful fairy tales of all the cool animals on Noah's ark and the warm fuzzy feeling of a God watching over them that will answer all their prayers as long as they are 'good' or they have to live in fear that the devil will get them. And even if they haven't been to church, little Suzy is sure to tell them all about it or draw them some nice pictures to prove it when playing in the coloring books together.

I think sometimes we forget that it is not just the religious fanatics and realized atheists walking around out there. This is case in point. My friend (the mother) is a very laid-back passive woman. She is a great parent and will let this girl make up her own mind about this world. She is one of those who will probably always call themselves 'agnostic' if she had to label herself at all.

If it were her set out to the bookstore, she would go to the kids section and pick up whatever they offered in the science section-leaving with a few books that name all the dinosaurs and only details like they lived a long time ago. She is certainly not going online to seek out kid's books just for evolution lessons. Like most parents she would just pick out what the average mommies are buying for their kids.

This is one of those occasions where that bad word 'atheism' comes in. Evolution and atheism are not necessarily all inclusive for all intensive purpose here.

She would almost assuredly be leery about giving her kid a book that even had that bad word 'atheist' in it. But on the other hand, because of the conditioning of society, would not see any harm in letting grandma take her to sunday school.- the thinking being that if her kid decided not to accept religion then that's just fine, but no harm done -she was a good Mom that gave her kid the option. These parents seem to be cornered into thinking that if they present their child with any ideas of evolution that they are trying to raise their kid to be a firm atheist. Or if they refuse to let grandma or Aunt Betty take them to church then they are the bad guy.

This whole thing has to be reversed. It's only logical that science comes first, and if one does not accept it then we have fairy tales and prescription medication as an option.

"The children are our future" is not a new concept, but it doesn't seem to be grasped when it comes to atheism.  Otherwise people would be buying children books with beginners lessons on evolution.

And as to your question Phil -"am I from the south?". No,  I am from central Illinois. We are known as the 'Average Americans' in almost every way.

Maybe I shouldn't have posted this in this thread, as I don't wanna rain on anybody's parade. Am I just being pessimistic here? I've always been the kind of guy who likes to dig in to the heart of the problem and see what I can try to do to fix it. 

"...but truth is a point of view, and so it is changeable. And to rule by fettering the mind through fear of punishment in another world is just as base as to use force." -Hypatia


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tonyjeffers

In "Dolittle and Darwin," an essay by Richard Dawkins, he talks about how much of an influence Doctor Dolittle had on him in becoming a scientist.  He mentions the one twist of reality, that Doctor Dolittle can talk to animals, as tolerable.  When Dolittle was captured by bad guys, they thought he had witchcraft, but, as Dawkins put it, "... we, the child readers, were privy to the simple and rational explanation.  The simple salutary lesson was rammed home again and again through these books.  It might look like magic, and the bad guys thought it was magic, but there was a rational explanation."

Dawkins didn't learn evolution from Dolittle, but the idea that humans are in a continuity with animals, that humans are not special like the Bible teaches.  Dolittle, like Darwin, narrowed the gulf between humans and animals.  Dawkins said that Dolittle paved the way for his mind to embrace Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle, and he imagined parallels between Darwin and Dolittle.

He goes on in the essay painting parallels between Darwin and Dolittle, talking about how much influence Dolittle had on his young mind.  Maybe it's worth a read for today's children, too. 

 

 


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Philosophicus wrote:In

Philosophicus wrote:

In "Dolittle and Darwin," an essay by Richard Dawkins, he talks about how much of an influence Doctor Dolittle had on him in becoming a scientist.  He mentions the one twist of reality, that Doctor Dolittle can talk to animals, as tolerable.  When Dolittle was captured by bad guys, they thought he had witchcraft, but, as Dawkins put it, "... we, the child readers, were privy to the simple and rational explanation.  The simple salutary lesson was rammed home again and again through these books.  It might look like magic, and the bad guys thought it was magic, but there was a rational explanation."

Dawkins didn't learn evolution from Dolittle, but the idea that humans are in a continuity with animals, that humans are not special like the Bible teaches.  Dolittle, like Darwin, narrowed the gulf between humans and animals.  Dawkins said that Dolittle paved the way for his mind to embrace Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle, and he imagined parallels between Darwin and Dolittle.

He goes on in the essay painting parallels between Darwin and Dolittle, talking about how much influence Dolittle had on his young mind.  Maybe it's worth a read for today's children, too. 

Interesting.  I had never read that about Dawkins.

Dr. Dolittle was the first book I ever read and I remember loving it.  I never thought about it in terms of evolution though.

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


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Philosophicus wrote:It's

Philosophicus wrote:

It's good to see that the "nones" are on the rise.  I hope this means more real atheists.  I'm a little pessimistic about atheists being in the majority within my lifetime.  It's a reasonable pessimism -- the religious are desparately clinging to their psychosis.  I guarantee that in a million years, Christianity will be listed as one of the psychotic disorders in the DSM; maybe DSM 5000.  With our effort, it can be sooner  Smiling

Even if they aren't totally atheist is is VERY CLEAR people are losing intererst in Christianity and that's what matters!  More an more people either don't go to church or  only go for the social atmosphere or refreshments!

FYI, on the Mcglaughlin Report on PBS they actually said they thought we'd have an atheist president by 2070 or 2080!  Even I don't think it'll happen that soon unless you count Obama as mostly atheist.  I mean his mom was a secular humanist and some people think so is Obama.

Click here to find out why Christianity is the biggest fairy tale ever created!! www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm www.JesusNEVERexisted.com