Until the latter 20th Century, practically every human belonged to one superstitious cult or another, as Sam Harris points out in his book. Today, however, various estimates of the numbers of religious nonbelievers fall into a ballpark of 800 million to 1 billion. These numbers are comparable to, if not greater than, the entire human population alive about 200 years ago, so by the demographic standards of the early 19th Century CE, the world is full of "infidels."
The implosion of religious belief even in countries where people are free to study and practice any religion they want (e.g., much of the European Union) should cast considerable doubt on recent claims that we have "god genes" which predispose us towards religiosity. Ironically the levels of religious belief in Israel, a country which figures so prominently in American fundamentalist imaginations, are more in line with secular-humanist Europe's than Jesus-loving America's.
I think many more people are irreligious as well… I think they are afraid to break with the pack.
I think Sam Harris has succeeded somewhat in disabling the internal censor that inhibits the secular humanist in us all. By openly saying what many of us really think about religion, he has encouraged others to speak their minds as well.
Fundamentalists themselves acknowledge that religiosity isn’t normal when they witness manifestations of it in others that strike them as absurd or creepy. The same christians who practically become orgasmic over Jesus’ physical ordeal in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ would likely be horrified if they witnessed the real-life, voluntary, self-inflicted tortures in the Shia Muslim holiday of Ashura. (Shia Muslims even slice the skins on their children’s heads during this holiday. Ugh!)
(Shia Muslims even slice the skins on their children’s heads during this holiday.
Sorry to say this, but some kids should have their heads sliced. I mean, who if us hasn’t thought…...