Merry Times for Atheism

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As Americans gather to celebrate Christmas, fewer and fewer actually believe they are celebrating the birth of a divine being who subsequently died and then rose from the dead. But if you look around during the holiday season, that doesn't seem to matter much.

Atheism continues to grow in America. That’s the clear message from a Harris poll released last week, which shows that God-belief is declining sharply. While 74 percent still say they believe in God, that figure is down from 82 percent in three previous polls in 2009, 2007, and 2005. The remaining 26 percent said they did not believe in God (12 percent) or were not sure (14 percent).

Almost all the numbers in the poll indicate that America is gravitating away from supernatural beliefs. Belief in miracles is down (76 percent in 2009, 72 percent in 2013), as is belief that Jesus was God or the son of God (73/68), or in the resurrection (70/65), survival of a soul after death (71/64), and several other supernatural religious concepts.

Belief in only a few supernatural phenomena actually saw increases when compared to previous polling. Belief in astrology was at 29 percent this year, up from 26 percent in 2009, and belief in reincarnation was at 24 percent, up from 20 percent.

Written By: David Niose
continue to source article at psychologytoday.com

14 COMMENTS

  1. ” Belief in only a few supernatural phenomena actually saw increases when compared to previous polling.”

    This is troubling. One set of irrational beliefs traded for another is not progress and some of these, the first one, astrology, are sillier than most religions. Though less violent and certainly mot as pushy as religion is.

    I see the Internet gets much of the credit for secularism’s rise ( the internet is where religions come to die—Thunderfoot ) but I also see much woo being promoted on the web. I wonder is that small increase is due to web activity?

    All in all a heartening report though!

    • In reply to #1 by Neodarwinian:

      ” Belief in only a few supernatural phenomena actually saw increases when compared to previous polling.”

      but I also see much woo being promoted on the web.

      very true. I recently had an ‘unfriend’ due to me posting a satirical news report on chemtrail wingnuts. they’re every bit as sensitive as the religious. i think all types of woo survive on the internet thanks to credulous minds that have an emotional investment in their belief but only as long as the dogma is eak enough to be able to bend evidence to fit. the creationist type of woo is doomed thanks to the amount of self-contradiction involved but lights in the sky, trails of condenced water vapour and corn field vandalism will always be proof enough of an alien-lizard-peoplewithmoremoneythanme conspiracy

    • In reply to #1 by Neodarwinian:

      ” Belief in only a few supernatural phenomena actually saw increases when compared to previous polling.”

      This is troubling. One set of irrational beliefs traded for another is not progress and some of these, the first one, astrology, are sillier than most religions. Though less violent and certainl…

      I predict that this is a temporary phenomenon, as people cling for a while to some form of magic or afterlife, before giving up on the idea completely. As far as I know, there is no dogma in astrology or reincarnation, so as a way-station, they seem OK to me.

  2. Christmas Eve has begun here in Belgium, and even though I consider myself a ‘strident, militant’ atheist, the day always feels magic to me. It is just the accumulation of memories I have of happy childhood Christmasses and of powerful fantasies of treking through snow to a manger in Bethlehem. Perhaps it is that kitschy fantasy that makes me love the kitsch of Christmas in general, the fake snow, the street decorations, the Christmas ‘sales’. I don’t care if it is pure commercialism, I respond to it, and even made a trip to my local mall to buy pretty socks for all my friends. I’ll be celebrating tomorrow in the Ardenne, where contrary to the postcard pictures, there is no snow and it is raining “comme la vache qui pisse.” Still, I will be with European atheists who know where the real spirit of Christmas is, in an evening with friends and a couple of bottles of champagne.

    My point being, that I want to wish all of my atheist (and theist friends, for that matter) a Joyeux Noël.

  3. Tahoeblue:

    If Jesus was such a miracle worker, why didn’t he invent the light bulb?

    How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb ?

    Three, – but remember that the Three are One !

  4. Merry Christmas to you all and the Happiest of New Years!!

    Let’s hope 2014 brings many more victories in the battle against ignorance and superstition all over the world.

    Take care everyone.

  5. If this is a stupid question, please don’t jump all over me for asking it; sometimes I am stupid. But why did Harris do this survey, and who paid for it? Just asking. And happy to see all these steps in the right direction.

    • In reply to #10 by 78rpm:

      If this is a stupid question, please don’t jump all over me for asking it; sometimes I am stupid. But why did Harris do this survey, and who paid for it? Just asking. And happy to see all these steps in the right direction.

      My guess is that no one paid Harris (this is of course the Harris polling agency not Sam Harris) to do the poll. That is what Harris does. How they make money is actually an interesting question, I hadn’t given it much thought, my guess is they work kind of like Gartner and Forrester in the IT world, they put out generic stuff to the general public to establish their brand and credibility and then give more detailed studies to political and corporate clients and also do commisioned polls for such groups. But my guess is no one paid for this study or it should have said something like “the poll was commissioned by…” in the article. Then again I didn’t read that carefully so I may have missed it.

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