Is America losing faith? Atheism on the rise but still in the shadows

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American Way: Atheist activists' numbers are growing in the US as they take on Big Religion, but many keep quiet for fear of alienation in one Bible-minded Virginia town

At first glance, the group of scruffy-looking students could be attending a meeting of any old debating club, but as they begin to speak it soon becomes clear that they all share the same secret.

A shy young woman is among the first. She admits she is still a long way from telling her parents the truth about herself. “My closest friends know,” she says, “but where I come from, I only know one other person like me, who was a teacher. I will tell my parents in the end, I can’t now; at least, not until I am financially independent.”

Going around the circle, each member shares their story and says whether or not they are “out” of the closet.

But while they use the lexicon of the gay and lesbian movement they are not speaking of their sexuality: they are not gay or lesbian, but atheist and agnostic.

A decade ago, a group non-believers meeting publicly on a university campus like this one at Virgina Tech would have been rare, but over the last five years the number of student “freethinker” groups in the US, has begun to snowball: from 100 in 2007 their number has leapt to more than 350 today, according to the nationwide Secular Student Alliance.

Written By: Peter Foster
continue to source article at telegraph.co.uk

9 COMMENTS

  1. There will likely be a coming battle in America over the slow but steady rise of so called nones. The non-believers would do well to get ready for the obvious scare stories from the religious, such as any problems the US gets in future being blamed on the godless.

    • In reply to #1 by Miserablegit:

      There will likely be a coming battle in America over the slow but steady rise of so called nones. The non-believers would do well to get ready for the obvious scare stories from the religious, such as any problems the US gets in future being blamed on the godless.

      Let battle commence!

      S G

    • In reply to #2 by Aber ration:

      “they are not gay or lesbian” What there are no gay or lesbian atheists? And how does the writer know this?

      I don’t think the writer means this. They mean “they speak like gay or lesbian activists but they are atheist activists”.

      Michael

  2. “My closest friends know,” she says, “but where I come from, I only know one other person like me, who was a teacher. I will tell my parents in the end, I can’t now; at least, not until I am financially independent.”

    It’s all that “Xtian tolerance and love”, we keep hearing about!
    People bullied into the closet by aggressive discrimination against rational faith-free thought! -
    Egged on by demonising rationality from the pulpit!

  3. For their own peace of mind, these people must ‘come out’ and speak honestly; no reason why they should not call themselves secular, avoiding the dreaded A-word. Non-belief in religion is far more important than a personal belief in god; so many don’t understand the difference.

  4. It’s tragic that in the 21st century, young people in the US cannot openly say they don’t believe in the utter nonsense of the Bible and Iron-age Christian doctrine for fear of being punished and/or stigmatized by their family and community. I admire their courage though. It’s an uphill battle for them.

    Let’s hope that common sense prevails and that the US can finally become the secular society its founding fathers had meant it to be. Those kids are probably more patriotic than they know.

  5. With religious groups firing dishwashers for being gay…they expose themselves as who they truly are. …From out of the shadows and into the light. Religionists live in the dark ages and are being exposed as being backwards. Unfortunately, these stories are not common knowledge with most people and they get overlooked. The nones will come out of the shadows into the light of truth. Interesting, isn’t it? The truth shall set us free. Little do the religionists know that they are the ones who have it backwards.

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