Statistical study: percentage of non-religious people increasing

Discussion in 'Politics and Society' started by Nick the Pilot, May 25, 2014.

  1. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Atheists have their number: How the Christian right is hastening religion’s decline - Salon.com

    "...Every piece of social data suggests that those who favor faith and superstition over fact-based evidence will become the minority in this country by or before the end of this century. In fact, the number of Americans who do not believe in a deity doubled in the last decade of the previous century according to both the census of 2004 and the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) of 2008, with religious non-belief in the U.S. rising from 8.2 percent in 1990 to 14.2 percent in 2001. In 2013, that number is now above 16 percent.

    "If current trends continue, the crossing point, whereby atheists, agnostics, and “nones” equals the number of Christians in this country, will be in the year 2062. If that gives you reason to celebrate, consider this: by the year 2130, the percentage of Americans who identify themselves as Christian will equal a little more than 1 percent. To put that into perspective, today roughly 1 percent of the population is Muslim.

    "The fastest growing religious faith in the United States is the group collectively labeled “Nones,” who spurn organized religion in favor of non-defined skepticism about faith. About two-thirds of Nones say they are former believers. This is hugely significant. The trend is very much that Americans raised in Christian households are shunning the religion of their parents for any number of reasons: the advancement of human understanding; greater access to information; the scandals of the Catholic Church; and the over-zealousness of the Christian Right.

    "...Ironically, the rise of the Christian Right over the course of the past three decades may well end up being the catalyst for Christianity’s rapid decline. From the moment Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority helped elect Ronald Reagan in 1980, evangelical Christians, who account for roughly 30 percent of the U.S. population, identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. Michael Spencer, a writer who describes himself as a post-evangelical reform Christian, says, “Evangelicals fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith. Evangelicals will be seen increasingly as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.”

    (cont.)
     
  2. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    All and good. And I am all for it! However. Statistics means never having to say you're certain.
     
  3. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai

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    Just God's way of thinning the herd...:rolleyes:
     
  4. Marcialou

    Marcialou We are stardust

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    What I have to say will make more sense if you read the full article by C. J. Werleman. Click on Nick’s link if you want to.

    Although I’m an atheist, I don’t share the author’s apparent glee over the prospect of the end of religion. Not all religions, not even all of Christianity, should be confused with the radical Christian Right and its repugnant “effort to transform America’s secular state into a tyrannical theocracy.” Religion has its flaws but at its best it provides believers with hope, meaning, compassion, a moral compass, and community. Atheism, in and of itself, offers none of these.

    There are secular humanist groups like the Ethical Culture Society, which offer some of these benefits for non-believers. Other organizations, like the Unitarian Church and the Society for Humanistic Judaism reinterpret religion to find secular meaning. And as the author notes, many younger people are turning away from the more dogmatic, narrow minded, and divisive brands of religion in favor of “blends.” Others could find a place in the more progressive religions which value spiritual diversity.

    The author predicts a grand future in which a poorly defined “Spirituality Full Force” replaces religion. I prefer a world in which a variety of religious and non-religious ideas flourish. Even if I might roll my eyes at some of them, I would rather live in a diverse marketplace of ideas. The author’s eagerly awaited time when Christianity “is only whispered about in secretly guarded places” would be as tyrannical as any theocracy.
     
  5. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Marcialou,

    It sounds as if you have been giving this a lot of thought. :)
     
  6. DavidMcCann

    DavidMcCann Hellenist

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    Proportion of non-religious people increasing? Really? Then I read the post and find out it refers to the USA. What proportion of the world's population lives in the USA? And what proportion of the rest of us cares what USians think or do, except when they park their tanks on our lawn?
     
  7. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    But we want you to pay attention to us! Can't you see this has all been about getting your approval? for over two hundred years all we ever wanted was for you to tell us you were proud of us! Why couldn't you just love us for who we were?
    Now... all we have left is our empty narcissism and broken illusions of superiority which we impinge upon the rest of the world as we pathetically strive for more and more power and wealth.
    It's really a cry for help when you think about it.:cool:
     
  8. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I'm pretty sure Americans want to read about what's going on in the US, so let's assume it was written for an American audience? Then we can focus on the actual article.
     
  9. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    As it states right at the very beginning "Research suggests Americans raised in Christian households…" I believe it is a fairly safe bet you are right, Tea.
     
  10. Marcialou

    Marcialou We are stardust

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    I'm trying an experiment. I just had a post flagged for moderator approval. Since there was nothing inflammatory in it I thought perhaps the link caused it. Here it is without the link. I'll see if it goes through.

    I draw different conclusions from the Slate author about religious trends in the United States. According to a Gallup poll, the percentage of Americans identifying as Christian in their sample declined steadily from 97% in 1963 to 74% in 2013.

    The percentage of Americans identifying as unaffiliated rose from 2% to 15% in the same time period.

    The percentage not believing in God increased from 2% in 1965 to 11% in 2013.

    The question about whether respondents identify themselves as born again or evangelical Christians does not show so clear a trend. In 1992, the first year the question was asked, a low of 36% responded "yes". The number rose to 41% in 2013. However this is a decline since a high of 47% in 1998. The decline from 47% to 41% is fairly steady.

    The decline in the percentage of Christians might be slightly offset by an increase in the number of Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists entering the country. "Other" religions increased from 2% in 1963 to 5% in 2013. It will be interesting to see if this small trend continues.

    If the decline in evangelicals continues, one consequence may be a corresponding decline in the influence of the Tea Party, an extreme conservative movement within the Republican party. The culture wars that have increasingly divided Americans since the early 70s would likely diminish.

    If the number of non-believers continue to increase, we will move towards a more secular society, but I see no evidence that the unaffiliated and non-believers will become more spiritual.

    YES!! It was the link. I will now add the link in disguised form.
    www . gallup . com / poll / 1690 / religion . aspx
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2014
  11. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that "religious" is a dirty word to many people. I think there are a lot of people out there who we would call religious, but the word "religious" has such a bad reputation that many of these "religious" people refuse to use it to refer to themselves.

    Look at the terrible things people do in the name of religion. Look at how many people use the word religion to justify engaging in toxic behavior. It's no wonder that the word "religion" has such a bad reputation.

    Many people think religion justifies toxic behavior, these people want nothing to do with toxic behavior, and so they describe themselves as non-religious. I say we can't blame them for feeling this way or acting this way.

    Do you know anyone who has ever used religion as a pretext for engaging in toxic behavior? I do.
     
  12. Marcialou

    Marcialou We are stardust

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    Not personally, but I've sure seen plenty of examples on the news. I do have friends who are inspired by religion to commit random acts of kindness.

    David, in my earlier post I meant to ask you how this compares to what is going on in the UK. I guess I edited it out by mistake.
     
  13. DavidMcCann

    DavidMcCann Hellenist

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    The English are one of the least religious peoples in Europe. What more can one say?

    To me, the interesting trends happen outside the West. A few years ago, the Chinese government asked the University of Shanghai to determine the extent of religious activity in China — not vague belief, but actual regular worship. The project proved difficult, as many who agreed to answer a questionnaire bolted when the heard it was about religion — they remembered the persecutions of the past too well. But of those who did answer, 60% were regular worshipers. The investigators said they suspected that the real figure was closer to 80%, and that after years of discrimination.
     
  14. Irene

    Irene New Member

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    Marcialou, THANK YOU. :)
    You are one of the most intelligent, good-hearted atheists I’ve ever witnessed.
     
  15. Marcialou

    Marcialou We are stardust

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    Well, thank you, Irene. I like to think there are more like me. They're just keeping their mouths shut, because, for the most part, the subject just doesn't come up.

    Welcome to the Board.
     

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