Saturday, March 31, 2007

3% Atheists

The latest Newsweek poll shows that 91 percent of American adults surveyed believe in God—and nearly half reject the theory of evolution.

The good news:

one-third (34 percent) of college graduates say they accept the Biblical account of creation as fact. Seventy-three percent of Evangelical Protestants say they believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years; 39 percent of non-Evangelical Protestants and 41 percent of Catholics agree with that view.

The oddly encouraging news:

Just 3 percent of the public self-identifies as atheist, suggesting that the term may carry some stigma. Still, the poll suggests that the public’s tolerance of this small minority has increased in recent years. Nearly half (47 percent) of the respondents felt the country is more accepting of atheists today that it used to be and slightly more (49 percent) reported personally knowing an atheist.

I know two other atheists personally. The rest are Internet friends. In the last year I have met 0 atheists, 1 agnostic, and a bunch of theists and polytheists. I am an out of the closet atheist, I have never tired to hid my atheism. When people meet me and find out that I am an atheist, the responses are still negative. Are things getting better? I don't really see it.

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beepbeepitsme said...

It's much easier in other countries to say that you are an atheist or an agnostic, or sletocal about the existence of gods. It seems quite difficult to be able to do this in the US.

NO one I know on a personal level here goes to church. (Of course there are australians who do, but in the fairly diverse group of people I know, none are church goers except for the weddings, births and funerals part.)

Lots of Australians probably say they believe in god or a god, but it is less likely to be a specifically christianised version. Probably more like a deist or pantheist position.

"It is estimated that the proportion of Australians present in Anglican, Catholic or Protestant churches each week has decreased from 9.9 % in 1996 to 8.8% in 2001"

I duno what the latest figures show, or if there are any.

Anonymous said...

Here in Sweden, the majority of the population are atheists (some studies suggests that the percentage is as high as 85%) and Sweden was among the top countries in the comparison of public acceptance of evolution which was published last year (available at ). The U.S. has a long way to go.

vjack said...

Even if these results are underestimates due to the powerful stigma and fear of identifying as an atheist, it is clear that we Americans still have a long way to go. At the same time, I find that this fuels my drive rather than causing me to give up. There is just too much at stake here.

Outside the Box said...

I've been living in Taipei for almost 6 years now and one of the first things I noticed about the other foreigners was that the ratio was reversed. I would guess only about 10% that LIVE and WORK here believe in some sort of deity. (I'm not counting the missionairies.) I find most of them don't give it much thought, which I think most of the populace falls under that, and the rest are what I call reasonable people.

jamon said...

Like the above, my experience is quite the opposite to you. In the UK, the majority admit to being either agnostic or atheist.

In the past year, I've met two people socially, who identify as religious.

You're always welcome in the UK ;)

Sacred Slut said...

It doesn't surprise me actually. If you spend a lot of time online, you can get the impression that things are changing dramatically. And in some ways they are. There is a lot more public dialogue about the god question than there ever has been before. But bottom line, most people I know are theists and would be horrified to learn we are atheists.

I do know there are a few atheists in my area since I wrote a letter to the editor and got phone calls from a couple. It's still rare, though. One of the "agnostics" I know believes in god.

Jordan said...

99% Polish people are christians and catholic (me too)

98,9% believe in their 'mesiah mission' not looking that they should save unity between everyday life christians standard and bible indications ( 98,9% but without me)

what this means ?

for me
that we have in Poland 99.8% of atheists

that's all

- so you see Joe , can be much much 'worse'

Anonymous said...

Most polls are suspect, though I am astounded by the disconnect of my fellow Americans (and specifically, my fellow Texans) who feel intellectually and culturally superior to all other nations yet seem to be myopic about their irrational beliefs in the supernatural and are supremely prudish to boot. This is illustrated by an interesting phenomenon where the volume of speaking is inversely proportional to the speakers grasp of logic and reason. -J

aidan said...

Most God belief is really belief in the group and the reassurance that comes from handing your brain over to collective certainties - however fantastical. In not needing group worship to get by, atheists come off as irreligious and unnatural in the eyes of some. Last time I checked, Conservapedia, the "born-again" Wiki, includes in its defnition for atheism - a propensity to pedophilia and bestiality. Andy Schlafly the founder, clearly needs to read some of Mojoey's Baptist minister posts.

Johnny Crow said...

Here in Vegas I have had a good mix of both. I still get the occasional nutball that is just freaked out by the fact that I am an Athiest and won't even talk to me. Yet I also find a lot of people, especially my age group have become less apathetic about religion and either don't believe in anything (though not proclaiming athiesm) or going headstrong into some religion. The interesting thing is that I can usually have quite a decent conversation, and though I do not conduct myself like a Christian and seek to convert those people. I do pose questions that tug at their beliefs and faiths. I often ask them simple questions and slowly build to a more complex idea. The thing is, that even if I show them that they really don't have a belief but rather a want or need to feel apart of the status quo or to be a part of the "group"; that they admit it and that even if they have reservations they would not change "who they were".

I see it a lot more often now, but I even did it for a short time, where you choose to live with the knowledge that you don't believe but tell everyone you do. People are just afraid to upset their happy little lives. Yet now it seems that more and more (in the U.S.) are being more open and vocal about their atheism. I have struggled with it myself. Am I an athiest, an agnostic or what? I don't really know, but I fall somewhere between the two.