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(RNS) Religiosity is on the decline in the U.S. and atheism is on the rise, according to a new worldwide poll. The poll, called "The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism," found the number of Americans who say they are religious dropped from 73 percent in 2005 to 60 percent. By Kimberly Winston.

9 Comments

  1. American Secular Census

    This poll’s wording of the question about belief is a good example of our motivation for launching the American Secular Census. “Convinced atheist” will be seen by many nontheists as too strong a claim, similar to “There couldn’t possibly be a god.” Yet “not a religious person” is too weak a choice for many others. I suspect many nonbelievers wouldn’t have known how to self-identify in this survey, so I agree with Barry Kosmin’s cautions about it. On the American Secular Census we ask not just what label people choose but what they mean by it, whether they belong(ed) to religious congregations, and whether they participate in secular organizations as well, for a more nuanced understanding of those with a secular worldview.

  2. This might be the reflection that pulpits are becoming more atheistic without knowing it? We need more preachers like Billy Graham to wake up the USA? His son will never fill the shoes of his father; or so it seems to me. Is is the fact of life also, that our USA today in its actions at home and abroad insults the Almighty God as has never been done by previous nations! When one considers that all its actions are always followed by asking God to Bless America, when in reality it is the devil that has a feast. Look how many innocent people in many parts of the world pay the ultimate price with our horrendous war machinery! Yes, and when one also brings up the Founding Fathers hopes and dreams; these men would immediatly wish to go back to their graves were they to rise and see their America. The above are my own opinions and conclusions on the matter at hand. Scripture is very clear that soon God Almighty will make and end and will take us to a place where we will never grow old, where happiness will reign forevermore! I am ready, are you?

  3. I would like to echo the American Secular Census’s comment. The qualifier of “confirmed” puts an extra burden on atheists. It would be like asking if someone is absolutely convinced of the claims of Christianity vs. just asking if someone identifies as a Christian. A better wording would be simply to ask if someone believes in any deities and if so, which ones?

  4. I haven’t found any empirical evidence for any of the gods Man created.Beliefs are simply opinions,but facts are facts.Science is really all we have,not Bronze age beliefs.Religion and religious beliefs are for those people who are afraid of death,hence an afterlife was created,but that too offers no scientific evidence,just a silly infantile superstitious belief.

  5. Like too many polls of this type (along with many political ones), the questions and categories seem malformed and designed to force an answer. It should not be that hard to craft a question on religious stance that allows respondents to choose a reasonably natural, unforced option.

    The other problem is that the pollsters have fallen into the trap of treating atheism as an alternate or peer to religion, instead of a “none of the above” opt-out. There should be no difference between “atheism” and “no religion” unless you make the latter choice more specifically “I have not made a religious choice of any kind.” There is a difference between “None” and “I don’t know (or haven’t really thought about it).”

  6. Also, the poll should take into consideration that many Buddhists are also atheists. There are some religious beliefs that don’t have a belief in deities.

  7. It seems that in the interest of full disclosure the Religion News Service should include a statement that they have received a grant of $50,000 from an activist atheist for the sole purpose of generating “better coverage” of the atheist “movement.” To date, it appears all of these related articles have been written by the same RNS author. Whether that directed “donation” affects the article is then left to the reader.

  8. “Convinced atheist” will be seen by many nontheists as too strong a claim, similar to “There couldn’t possibly be a god.” Yet “not a religious person” is too weak a choice for many others. I suspect many nonbelievers wouldn’t have known how to self-identify in this survey

    I wouldn’t know how to identify. If I had to give odds I’d say the existence of God was less than 50-50, but I’d still consider myself a religious believer. Anyway, I’ve been asked to post because some of us are getting error messages and they’re trying to fix it. So…here goes…