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Posted: 14 May 2009 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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According to the latest American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) of more than 54,000 adults, between 2001 and 2008 the number willing to identify themselves as atheist and agnostic has gone from under 2 million to 3.6 million. Small numbers compared to the whole, of course, but most notably it’s a rise of 85% of those willing to describe themselves as living without God during the years of our most overtly religious presidency!

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Posted: 17 May 2009 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Andrew - 14 May 2009 03:45 PM

According to the latest American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) of more than 54,000 adults, between 2001 and 2008 the number willing to identify themselves as atheist and agnostic has gone from under 2 million to 3.6 million. Small numbers compared to the whole, of course, but most notably it’s a rise of 85% of those willing to describe themselves as living without God during the years of our most overtly religious presidency!

Source

Perhaps more importantly

Even more newsworthy, when the widely-scorned labels “atheist” and “agnostic” are replaced with specifics about beliefs (“There is no such thing” as God, “There is no way to know,” or “I’m not sure,” and added to those who refused to answer) it turns out that over eighteen percent of Americans do not profess belief in a God or a higher power.

According to ARIS, then, there could be as many as 40 million adult nonbelievers in the United States!

And

Does this mean the United States is on track to become a nation of the godless? Not at all. As Gary Laderman pointed out in his recent feature here on RD, religious change is far too complex to be captured in a single sociological study or perspective. Surely this is the case with the growth of the “nones” in America. What complicates the issue is that few of the “nones” self-identify as atheists or agnostics.

In the ARIS survey, over 12% of respondents said they either did not believe in God or were uncertain about God’s existence, another 12% said they believed in a higher power rather than a personal God, but only 1.6% chose the atheist or agnostic label. The 2008 Pew Forum survey showed that about half of the “nones” actually considered themselves religious. In other words, it appears that most of the unaffiliated individuals are not atheistic or anti-religious in any activist sense, but are rather apathetic toward organized religion and reluctant to join any particular denomination or sect. Perhaps an appropriate term to describe such individuals is “apatheist,” a person who is not interested in trying to prove or disprove God’s existence or any other religious dogma.

To complicate things even further, the alleged decline of Christianity is largely occurring within mainline denominations, while many of the theologically conservative evangelical and Pentecostal churches are thriving. If this trend continues, the American society may find itself increasingly polarized between evangelical Christians and the “nones,” creating a fascinating, albeit potentially explosive, cultural dynamic.

Source:
http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/mediaculture/1245/godless_america_say_hello_to_the_‘apatheists’

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Wotansson

[ Edited: 17 May 2009 05:35 AM by Wotansson]
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Posted: 17 May 2009 07:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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To complicate things even further, the alleged decline of Christianity is largely occurring within mainline denominations, while many of the theologically conservative evangelical and Pentecostal churches are thriving. If this trend continues, the American society may find itself increasingly polarized between evangelical Christians and the “nones,” creating a fascinating, albeit potentially explosive, cultural dynamic.

I’ve suspected that for a long time. Moderates tend to excuse the bible as being written at a time when such practices were common and they acknowledge the bible was written by men who only interpreted what they received from god. They’re not what I consider true believers and are not really a danger to society as a whole.

Then you have the true believer crazies. Those are the ones who take the bible as the literal word of god and are apt to support laws that are based on OT commandments—and their punishments! Your dominionists and reformationists are examples of these groups. The scary thing is, we have a few of those wackos in our government. Check out the Special Focus section of Talk to Action in the left column for more info.

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Posted: 18 May 2009 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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rab - 17 May 2009 11:04 AM

To complicate things even further, the alleged decline of Christianity is largely occurring within mainline denominations, while many of the theologically conservative evangelical and Pentecostal churches are thriving. If this trend continues, the American society may find itself increasingly polarized between evangelical Christians and the “nones,” creating a fascinating, albeit potentially explosive, cultural dynamic.

I’ve suspected that for a long time. Moderates tend to excuse the bible as being written at a time when such practices were common and they acknowledge the bible was written by men who only interpreted what they received from god. They’re not what I consider true believers and are not really a danger to society as a whole.

Then you have the true believer crazies. Those are the ones who take the bible as the literal word of god and are apt to support laws that are based on OT commandments—and their punishments! Your dominionists and reformationists are examples of these groups. The scary thing is, we have a few of those wackos in our government. Check out the Special Focus section of Talk to Action in the left column for more info.

I fear that you understate the danger posed by the moderates. Sam does a nice job of of showing how the moderates enable the crazies. The moderate apologists tend to excuse the crazies with statements like “well they are one of us - just a little misguided”. So abortion clinics get bombed and the apologists may not approve but they do understand. Then there are the moderates which “knuckle-under” to authoritarian church dogma. So the spread of disease and poverty is promoted by the prohibition against contraceptives with the de facto approval of the moderate sheep. Until the moderates pull the purse on religion, I don’t see too much hope.

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Wotansson

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Posted: 18 May 2009 04:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Wotansson - 18 May 2009 10:13 AM

Then there are the moderates which “knuckle-under” to authoritarian church dogma. So the spread of disease and poverty is promoted by the prohibition against contraceptives with the de facto approval of the moderate sheep. Until the moderates pull the purse on religion, I don’t see too much hope.

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Wotansson

You do have a point there. It’s time for them to join the unhooked generation.

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