Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Changing numbers on religion

The 2008 American Religious Survey was just released, with little surprising therein. The rate of religious identification has tumbled over the last 18 years nationwide, and the numbers of Catholics have grown significantly in the South and West (hm...wonder why!).

I do want to point out one line, thought, that shows how successful hucksters have managed to scaremonger Americans about atheism:

Only 1.6 percent of Americans call themselves atheist or agnostic. But based on stated beliefs, 12 percent are atheist (no God) or agnostic (unsure), while 12 percent more are deistic (believe in a higher power but not a personal God). The number of outright atheists has nearly doubled since 2001, from 900 thousand to 1.6 million. Twenty-seven percent of Americans do not expect a religious funeral at their death.

This explains a lot of the braying mismatches between theists' views of their communities and the reality. Through this ongoing campaign of intimidation, lies, and harassment, theists have successfully made Americans reluctant to self-identify as theists, for now. However, it certainly hasn't kept Americans from becoming more and more atheistic. In the way that counts, atheism and agnoticism are sweeping across this country.

If you want to play with the data and see just how godless the northeast is, hit up USA TODAY. One odd stat: the states that experiences the greatest jump in "no religion" as a response since 1980 are in order: Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts...and Wyoming.

(H/T Pharyngula)

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