Atheism. It used to be a taboo word; a word people would whisper in horror, causing dropped jaws and deep frown lines on foreheads at its very mention. Atheists used to be such a tiny minority that it was nearly impossible to meet one. Any mention of the concept could conjure up images that scene from RoseMary’s Baby; the one where Ruth Gordon tells Mia Farrow how wonderful it is that she’s carrying Satan’s Baby: “He chose you, honey! From all the women in the world to be the mother of his only living son!” she said, an evil and disconcerting smile spreading across her face.
There are some people who still think that atheists worship Satan or participate in infant sacrifices. Little do they know that atheists don’t believe in Satan because they don’t believe in the supernatural, and most of them just adore babies. Now, some of those odd and misinformed stereotypes are being dispelled because social media is growing atheism by the millions. There’s strength in numbers, as they say, and atheism has been expanding massively over the last ten years.
Even more notable than the jump in atheism is the increase in people who say they simply don’t adhere to any religion. A recent PEW study found that 20% of Americans now say they are “unaffiliated” with any specific faith or set of religious practices. 20% of Americans is a huge number: over 63 million people. Out of that number, roughly one third are atheist or agnostic. That’s over 21 million non-believing “heathens.”
Such a large number has undoubtedly been helped along by social media, especially Facebook. A search of the words “atheist,” “agnostic,” “skeptic,” “God” and “secular,” reveals close to 100 atheistic Facebook pages ranging in membership from a few thousand to a quarter million people.
Written By: Rebecca Savastio
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