October 23, 2013

5 facts about atheists

Estimating the number of atheists in the U.S. is complex. Some adults who describe themselves as atheists also say they do believe in God or a universal spirit, according to Pew Research Center surveys. At the same time, some people who identify with a religion (e.g., say they are Protestant, Catholic or Jewish) say they do not believe in God.  The debate over the definition and identity of atheists came up recently during Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Diana Nyad, a self-identified atheist who recently gained attention for her Cuba-to-Florida open swim.

Here’s what we know about self-described atheists and their beliefs:

FT_5-facts-atheists1 The number of people who identify themselves as atheists in the United States has been rising, modestly but steadily, in recent years. Our aggregated data from 2012 show that 2.4% of American adults say they are atheists when asked about their religious identity, up from 1.6% in 2007.

2 Atheists, in general, are more likely to be male and younger than the overall population; 67% are men, and 38% are ages 18-29 (compared with 22% of all U.S. adults). About four-in-ten atheists (43%) have a college degree, compared with 29% of the general public.

3 Although the literal definition of “atheist” is “a person who believes that God does not exist,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, 14% of those who call themselves atheists also say they believe in God or a universal spirit. That includes 5% who say they are “absolutely certain” about the existence of God or a universal spirit. Alternatively, there are many people who fit the dictionary definition of “atheist” but do not call themselves atheists. More Americans say they do not believe in God or a universal spirit (7%) than say they are atheists (2.4%).

4 Not all atheists see a contradiction between atheism and spirituality. A quarter (26%) say they think of themselves as spiritual people, and 3% consider themselves religious people. Four-in-ten atheists (41%) say they often think about the meaning and purpose of life.

5 Among atheists, 82% say they either often (52%) or sometimes (30%) feel a deep connection with nature and the earth; among all American adults, 85% either often (58%) or sometimes (26%) feel such a connection.

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Religiously Unaffiliated

  1. is Editor at the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.

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268 Comments

  1. Jack Hitch7 days ago

    I could nit pick each point but I only feel like doing one of them.

    Let’s take #3 “Although the literal definition of “atheist” is “a person who believes that God does not exist,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary,”

    As an atheist, I ask the writer of this article: Which god are you speaking of? To believe “God does not exist” implies the Jewish/Christian God, and that somehow atheist only reject that god. Quite an Euro- American view. There have been countless gods and goddess throughout known history. To say the definition of atheism is the rejection of “God” misses the point. Atheists reject ALL gods, not just your “God”.

    And guess what! Michael Lipka COMPLETELY left out what Merriam-Webester says the definition of atheism is. Per Merriam and I QUOTE : “One who believes that there is no deity”. The writer obviously cherry picked a definition of atheist that he thought represented HIS predetermined view on atheism. Total lack of journalist integrity. Which is quite typical of the America media.

    merriam-webster.com/dictionary/a…

    Reply
  2. Ohio Atheist1 week ago

    It should be noted that these are not facts. They are survey results, which are not facts.

    Reply
  3. rebecca french1 week ago

    Gods not dead watch the movie!

    Reply
    1. Ohio Atheist1 week ago

      Why?

      Reply
  4. some12 weeks ago

    I think the whole confusion is definition. Atheism is the idea of “there is no god(s). If someone is an atheist, they don’t believe in god(s). “Atheists” can change their view. If someday god is proven to exist. They can then be a theist if they believe in a god(s). But atheism can never change.

    Reply
    1. some12 weeks ago

      Forgot to add, science and atheism are two different things. One can be an atheist and not believe in science at all.

      Reply
    2. KnowledgeDropper1 week ago

      Atheist means “anti-theist” – or more clearly that a person does not believe any religion to be true. It is more common for people who fit this definition to call themselves agnostic, but that is more about society’s (lack of) acceptance of atheists than it is about actual definition. It is quite possible for people to believe in some ‘higher power’ or ‘universal spirit’ and still correctly identify as atheist.

      The actual belief that there is no god(s) is technically adeist, or anti-deist. Naturally, the people who fall under this heading are also atheist, and more commonly identify this way.

      Not to be nitpicky – but as a recent study showed that atheists are viewed about as trustworthy as rapists, it is good to use these correctly to try and lift that ridiculous stigma.

      Source: Christopher Hitchens

      Reply
      1. Ohio Atheist1 week ago

        I don’t know if your entire comment is a Hitchens quote, but I’m going to have to disagree on a number of things.

        1. Atheism does not mean anti-theist. Atheism, etymologically, means “without gods,” or more colloquially, a lack of belied in gods. Anti-theism means “against theism.” You can lack belief in gods and not be against theism. “A” means “without.” “Anti” means “against.” Not the same thing.

        2. Agnostic is not a middle term of indifference between atheism and theism. It is the response to a completely different question. Theism is about belief. Atheism is without belief. Gnosticism is with knowledge. Agnosticism is without knowledge. I am an agnostic atheist, because I lack belief in any gods, and I do not claim knowledge of that belief. I don’t believe that a god exists, but I do not know that one does not exist. You can be –

        Agnostic atheist (no belief, no knowledge claim)
        Gnostic atheist (no belief, knowledge claim)
        Agnostic theist (belief, no knowledge claim)
        Gnostic theist (belief, knowledge claim)

        3. Lack of belief in a god can be atheism or a-deism, depending on whether you’re talking about a personal god (theism – the religious type), or a creator god that has no influence on the world we live in (deism – irreligious).

        Reply
    3. Judy Weismonger1 week ago

      95% of the 30,000 PhD scientists who are members of the National Academy of Science state they are ATheists.

      Where was THAT in your opinion piece?

      How about quote some famous ATheists who have impacted all of modern society: Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Mark Zuckerburg, and Warren Buffet.

      Reply
  5. Spread the Pansy4 weeks ago

    Just to remind you that “atheism” only points out the absence of theism in an individual.
    It is a misconception to say that they believe he doesn’t exist. “a-” points out the absence of such, which is why it is perfectly possible to have no stance over theism and be an atheist.
    And when I say “theism”, I mean it in the broad sense; as in a belief in a god (whether it is a certain type of vodka with a certain percentage of ethanol and certain ritualistic steps to summon such, a pandeistic one, a panentheistic one, a deistic one, a theistic one – we would refer to a believer in such as a theist, in the specific sense -, a pantheistic one, et cetera… Whether the belief would be polytheistic, henotheistic, kathenotheistic or perhaps monotheistic.)

    Hard atheism or gnostic atheism is what you meant rather (well, the Merriam-Webster dictionary).
    Weak atheism is any other views that are atheistic still.
    Exempli gratia agnosticism (and all its categories), ignosticism, freethought, some schools in buddhism, agnostic atheism (ok, found 2 definitions for this one, the first is agnosticism, since it is atheistic; the other is the reverse of agnostic theism rather. As you see here, “atheism” is used in your definition, which would a rather specific definition, which isn’t used among most atheists nowadays to my knowledge. This could occur in a scientific mind, something impossible by nature, id est magic and so on, doesn’t exist until ANY kind of proof to consider even a little has been shown), some types of transtheism would fit here too (though such are only defined in a blog to my knowledge, they reflect views of many and I would like it to be defined more largely), scientific skepticism, existential nihilism and so on.

    In the scientific world, some will say themselves spiritual and so on, as Einstein refered to reality as God in a poetic sense, sure it’s rather an atheistic view if you think about it; but the awe and all… “The poetry of reality” as Dawkin said, rather spiritual :)
    And yes, there is alot of room for spirituality for people who aren’t theists, take absurdism for a great example :) And buddhism, taoism, et cetera.

    Post Scriptum
    omnipotence+omniscience is not really a good combo when you give that to an ignostic, so that is a pretty big cause for that stance. Agnosticism and so on are, to what I’ve seen, triggered by more of reason, of “toxic environments” in religious households or scientific convictions.
    Which sums it up aha

    *Reply personally or not by mail if you didn’t accept this comment; clearly explain why. Thank you :)*

    Hope this clarifies!
    Much love and peace be upon your day <3

    Reply
  6. SeeUh1 month ago

    Just mere youth whims!
    Revolutionist and hippie movements have once been in vogue, and now they’re fading away, to leave room for others.
    Once, in a recent past, being or claiming to be atheist was in vogue. Nowadays, proliferating religious discourses, makes you a believer and a staunch defender of the religion you embody, and ready to die for it. Maybe in a few decades to come, we’ll be facing some completely different types of claim that would be, themselves, in vogues.

    Reply
    1. Oliver Jon Cross4 weeks ago

      The mere youth are the ones that have grown up in a vast database of free information also known as “The Internets”.

      We no longer have to believe in stories told in old books. I recently checked Google for the age of the earth which turns out to be 4.54 billion years. It was quite a drast claim to that of the bible. A mere ten thousand years. I then continued my search on Youtube for humans that could walk on water, part seas, come back to life etc. I was quickly greeted by a concession of thumbs down and “fake” comments.

      All sarcasm aside; the youth seek the truth and will continue to do so.

      Reply
      1. Kay3 weeks ago

        The age of the Earth isn’t reported in the bible. The earth has been there even before God created the first human pair. The more than 6,000 years is the age of human.

        Reply
        1. KnowledgeDropper1 week ago

          No. It’s not.

          The beautiful thing about facts are that they are true regardless of whether or not you believe in them.

          Reply
        2. Ohio Atheist1 week ago

          I don’t think most creationists see it that way. According to genesis, God created man on the 6th day. Biblical historians than use the lineage in the Bible up the Jesus, then add 2,000 years or so to get to today.

          Some creationists will argue that Biblical days are really more like thousands or millions of years, but it still doesn’t change the fact that humans have been around for far more than 6,000 years. We know Biblical claims to be scientifically false.

          Reply
  7. Us1 month ago

    Many things regarding God, religious beliefs and positions, I’d say even reaching out to phenomenon that no doubt have occurred but can’t exactly be understood no reenacted (not the parting of the Red Sea, FYI) is argued about with such furocity (is that a word?) that people are losing sight of anything of importance. Seeing ghosts, communication through means not involving the five senses, feeling the touch of an angel during a near death experience, so on and so forth. Who knows what the reality of all these things and more are and frankly who cares. Why does it matter so much that we start fighting amongst ourselves and treat people like they’re lesser or stupid. I don’t know who or what God is, how everything works, any of that to prove that anyone is right or wrong. I came to God by accident because I was so disabled at the moment all I could do was speak. So I prayed and screamed and did everything. I can’t describe nor explain what followed that moment but I’m convinced someone is there and they do care. But going back to people that were taught God was real and bible school etc (for a good 20 years I argued god didn’t exist) it’s not something worth getting hostile over. Throughout history people have fought over these things, many lives have been taken from these conflicts and it’s so very counterproductive to any cause beyond population control. And while minor bickering on this website may seem incomparable, it’s really not. I don’t care who believes what. Do your thing. Have fun. God cares about what’s in your heart. The law has a huge emphasis on proving the intent to commit. And if someone “wrongs” me and is able to apologize for it then everything is golden. There is no purpose in religion, society, evolution, philosophy, anywhere that truly wants us to be divided and malicious towards each other…

    Reply
  8. Litesp33d2 months ago

    Although the literal definition of “atheist” is “a person who believes that God does not exist,”

    What an awful definition. It takes the presupposition that God exists but and atheist is in denial about that. Whereas the reality is that an atheist can see no evidence that supports the proposition that gods exist and until such evidence arrives it is sensible and rational not to believe gods do exist.

    Reply
    1. Ohio Atheist1 week ago

      Agreed. And etymologically, the prefix “a” means “without.” Without belief in gods and knowledge claims that god does not exist are two very different things.

      Reply
  9. Ron Wall2 months ago

    One of the problems is that religious people simply do not understand atheists or what it means to be an atheist. This seems apparent if there are really people who say they are atheists but believe in God or “universal spirit,” whatever that is supposed to mean. You are an atheist only if you do not believe in gods or universal spirits. If you say that you do not know if there are such things, then you are by definition an agnostic, not an atheist. Atheists are not different that other Americans. They can hold a wide variety of opinions on every subject you can immagine. There are atheists who believe in ESP and ghosts. They belong to every political movement in the country. Because of this simple fact, and the fact that Pew included those who claim to be atheists but still believe in some sort of creator or universal spirit, tells me that the poll takers were not too careful about definitions when they surveyed their respondents. The fact that we atheists are a discriminated minority simply means that we will we probably be the last civil rights issue in America. Some Christians claim that no atheist has ever been elected to Congress. While that may be true, I would wager that there have been. But knowing that it would be political suicide to admit it, they remained in the closet. Not unusual in a society of theists who go so far to say that atheists should be killed (based on Biblical law) and those who would as a minimum ostracize us. The U.S. is one of the most religious developed nations in the world. Islamic fundamentalists have no monopoly on bigoted and violent believers.

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  10. Christian2 months ago

    The way I see it nobody would even know the concept of a god or spirit if they hadn’t been informed of the idea. It makes sense that the bulk of Americans believe in a god considering the “fact of its existence” is really the first sort of fact you’re told. The understanding of the scientific method isn’t presented until much later in life, and isn’t fully understood, if ever, until much later.
    I would wager my own life that if a population were isolated from such ideas and children were instead taught how the scientific community operates and all the things they’ve learned that they would see no need for a higher being. Indeed if one of the children raised in this hypothetical scenario were told that the majority of people believe there is a man in the skies that controls everything I believe they would be dumbfounded that such a belief could be so ingrained in a society as advanced as ours.

    Reply
    1. Atheism2 months ago

      Thank you for such a witty and intelligent remark

      Reply
    2. Irene2 months ago

      While I agree that kids brought up without the notion of God would find it preposterous, I don’t believe they would find it unnecessary. Keep in mind that children brought up in an entirely atheist community would be so fed up with deceit by their fellow children brought up as atheists that they might see the need to invent a God in the sky to watch everyone and make sure everyone behaved themselves, stayed married and supported their offspring, didn’t steal things, didn’t cheat on exams, etc. After all, this has already happened once. Why do you think religion was invented in the first place? Also, who do you think are the religious atheists this article speaks of? My wager is those are the atheist parents who bring their kids to a Christian or other type of church, hoping that the concept of “God” will fill in the blanks for all of the ethical reasoning that children, and many adults, could never fully grasp without a God.

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      1. God2 months ago

        Man, I sure do love the ‘religion teaches morality’ while ‘atheists breed immorality’ statements.

        If you are only doing the right thing and not doing horrible acts against your fellow man because you fear backlash from your imaginary friend, you, by definition, are a paranoid schizophrenic and you need to see a professional right away because you are moments away from becoming the Son of Sam.

        Doing the right/moral thing is common sense. You don’t need a god or higher power to know that.

        How many serial killers can you come up with that were atheists? How many religious? Nearly all have been religious. In fact, Jeffrey Dahmer converted (odd word for that) to atheism AFTER he was caught claiming “the devil” made him do it. However, claiming “the devil” made him do it is not atheism nor satanism, it’s christianity. Ah, all those moral god fearing serial killers.

        Oh, how about pedo priests? Atheists? Nope, moral god fearing pedophiles.

        Wait, every married couple that’s religious is still together? Man those statics are so wrong!

        I guess all those kids with deadbeat dads are atheists, according to to the author. However, I’m willing to bet 9 out of 10 are religious. Maybe they’re just atheist when it comes to taking care of their children.

        Nobody, not a single person who believes in god, has ever cheated on a test. EVER.

        I’m so sick of atheists declaring war on other people for their beliefs and trying to kill them for being different.

        Listen, I know I’m being sarcastic. I’m just being as jerk because I’m sick of people with their blinders on pointing their finger at atheists for all the immorality and wrong doings in the world, when it’s quite clear it’s the opposite.

        God is a fairytale told to children to make them fear. End of story. “Do this or else!” “Do this and you’ll go to hell!” “If you do this, you’ll get into heaven….don’t do it and you’ll suffer for all eternity!”

        If I had children, I’d teach them about loving their fellow man, and not with fear or retribution. You see, teaching morality comes from the parents, not from fearing God. Teaching your child fear makes you the monster in their closet.

        Reply
      2. Tom2 months ago

        @Irene – say what? Are you saying atheists are immoral, stealing, lying, cheating bastards (literal meaning of the word here)? I kind-of take offense to that, if that’s what you mean to imply :)

        Atheists are – as a general rule – very moral people. Morals are not born of religion – they exist in spite of religion.

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      3. Tess4 weeks ago

        Irene,
        You need to find some atheist or agnostic friends before you make any more woefully uninformed and insulting comments about people you know nothing about.

        And to answer your question, religion was invented because humans became aware of their mortality and needed to comfort themselves about what happens when we die.

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      4. Ohio Atheist1 week ago

        What makes you think that children brought up in an atheistic community would be fed up with deceit? Where is this deceit coming from?

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    3. James Palen2 months ago

      There’s a problem I see with your view. People are still as dumbfounded today about certain physical properties as they were when discussions about God first came to be. That’s why the discussions came about in the first place, because there are certain things in the universe we just can’t explain. This still hold true. My brother is an agnostic with a very intelligent, mathematical and physics-based mind (he’s spent his 33 years studying biochemistry and physics), and has a theory that, for instance, we’ll never know what makes up the so-called “dark matter,” just as there are other things he theorizes we’ll never know. You could stick people in an isolated environment with nothing but the science of today, and there will still be unanswered questions, thereby leading to their own inquiries about a higher power that built all of this amazing universe but that we’re never able to figure out fully. You don’t need to be told from a young age of a concept of God. Life itself — its mysteries and its inexplicable tendencies are the reason people believe in God, not something that someone was told when he/she was a child. And that would still be the case in your isolation theory. There would still be unexplained things, which would still lead them to question.

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    4. Litesp33d2 months ago

      Take a trip to almost any country in Western Europe and you will find, with some exceptions, that is the case but being non-religious is strong especially in the Czech Republic, most Scandinavian countries especially Norway and England.

      Reply
  11. bret2 months ago

    Science is fascinating for what is does, great medecines, and technological improvements. However don’t kid yourself it is nothing to base ones lack of faith on. Science is based on as many assumptions as any fairytale atheist’s refer to when speaking about scripture. First of all science assumes the external world is real and it assumes the laws of physics are constant accross time and space. Wow those are gigantic assumptions but great assumptions that Einstein and Hawking were happy to point out. Hawking will not refer to science as showing us reality only model dependent reality. If science is taken to its natural conclusion one carbon based life form extinguishing another carbon based life form on an obscure planet in the milkyway is no big deal. However us Christians call it murder. Atheists do not beleive things outside the material world. In other words hope and love are not real because you cannot measure them. In fact atheists would dismiss ideas and concepts as unimportant ramblings from a nerve center in the brain of an earth mammal. Wow, and Americans have not elected a single one of these geniuses to our current congress to represent us, what a shock.

    Reply
    1. Atheism2 months ago

      In response to your comment Bret…Love and hope can both be measured they’re hormones. Just because we are smart enough to realize that there’s no mythological mysterious presence that forgives us of evil demons in our soul does not mean that you can insult us and say things that are not true about what we (don’t) believe. The Bible is a STORY that has been stretched and fabricated over 2000 YEARS! We also haven’t elected any Atheists into congress because America is full of fascists who try to suppress anyone who thinks differently than what they want, because they think what they believe is superior even though it’s inferior. America was founded on religious tolerance even though if your not Christian you’re persecuted… THAT’S a shock.

      Reply
      1. Facepalm2 months ago

        If you’d like to provide me with the specific unit of measurement for either love or hope, I’m listening. I’m completely unaware of their existence – not that I am dismissive. I just find that a rather large claim, but perhaps I’m just ignorant.

        Based on what I know, fMRI evidence suggests that consciously changing your thought patterns changes your neurochemistry and can even change the physical structure of your brain (a phenomenon called “neuroplasticity.”) This means, in terms of the brain, thought trumps physicality. So, by all means, correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears scientifically evidenced that consciousness – whatever that is – is technically more powerful than the physical brain.

        I hate the very condescending tendency of atheists to over-estimate their own intelligence. It is a big reason I wouldn’t vote for the average atheist, experientially speaking.

        Reply
    2. rationalist2 months ago

      This is a gross mischaracterization of atheist beliefs, and as such is no more than a strawman argument. For instance, model-dependent reality is a highly controversial position that is philosophically based, *not* scientifically based, and to call it such reflects the writer’s ignorance. In addition, you’d be hard-pressed to find a serious atheist who believes that ideas and concepts are unimportant; indeed, it is ideas and concepts that fuel science and any other human endeavor ever undertaken. I would advise that the writer of the above comment take some time to do research into the things he/she is criticizing next time before criticizing them.

      Reply
      1. Facepalm2 months ago

        Science *is* philosophically based.

        Reply
    3. Irene2 months ago

      Einstein was also happy to point out that the Big Bang theory was “atrocious physics”, that the universe “has always been a steady state” and “is not expanding”. Hawking appears to disagree with Einstein about that, instead siding with the Catholic priest who first theorized about the Big Bang, whom Einstein and the rest of the scientific community at that time was insulting.

      Also, the reason atheists don’t become President, etc. is because a democracy naturally elects the most popular person, who is somebody that will meet the interests of the most common person in that society. Democracy has even been criticized by another famous atheist, Adolf Hitler, for the fact that the most common person is not necessarily the smartest person or the kindest person, but rather just somebody whom most people can relate to. For any democracy to elect a member of a minority group to power requires a great deal of external pressure in favor of that minority group, which also actually negates the true purpose of a democracy. For instance, when most Americans voted for Obama, twice, it was partially because he made several promises that sounded better than what McCain or Romney offered, which would actually benefit the majority of the American people, since most Americans are not corporate CEOs. Whether Obama has kept those promises, or attempted to, is a matter of opinion. However, it also didn’t hurt that there was a great deal of social pressure at the time to elevate black people to positions of power, even if it meant whites might permanently lose power, such as the resulting changing racial demographics of this nation. Obama favors gay marriage and his church pastor was, if anything, not at all the kind most Americans would listen to or approve of, yet they still voted him into office. However, this is, and should be, the exception in a true democracy, not the norm. Natural democratic results don’t represent fascism by the majority, but simple self interest. Democracy was initially designed to meet the interests of the majority of the people through their votes. An atheist representative would never put policies in place that fulfilled the desires of the majority of people in a religious nation. This is also why Americans also have minority protections to prevent minorities from being trampled.

      Reply
      1. William Noonan2 months ago

        Another famous atheist? Hitler was a Catholic. The red scare movement by the religious right hooked atheism and communism together. Back to who’s lying

        Reply
        1. Facepalm2 months ago

          Atheism was fundamental to Marxist philosophy.

          Hitler wasn’t a Catholic, nor was he an atheist. Hitler studied many strange and “occult” topics, noteworthy amongst them being the “Hollow Earth.” He attempted on a few occasions to get Aleister Crowley to take him on as a student, but even the self-proclaimed great beast rejected him.

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    4. P2 months ago

      I am in fact an atheist. But yeah, love and hope can be measured. They, like all emotions, are physiological phenomenon that scientists are getting closer to learning how they work or what they really are. Hell, a the feeling you get when around your lover is just an excess release of dopamine in your brain. As I see it, at least science has helped the world (for the exception of advanced weaponry) while religion and money cause more conflicts than any scientific theory or hypothesis ever will.

      Reply
  12. -L3 months ago

    yes its called a conscience

    Reply
  13. Caleb Fox3 months ago

    “Although the literal definition of “atheist” is “a person who believes that God does not exist,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, 14% of those who call themselves atheists also say they believe in God or a universal spirit.”

    Then they are not atheists, that is Agnosticism.

    Reply
    1. Apocryphon2 months ago

      Agnosticism would suggest that they do not know whether there is a supreme being/universal spirit.

      They have some sense of spirituality, regardless of the technicalities.

      Reply
  14. Greg3 months ago

    Can there be a right or wrong without God? Can there be good people without God? Can there be good decisions about the state of the world or any country or it’s environment, economy, people or resources without God? Of course there can. And it should be that way. Agenda driven decisions are not free thoughts or what is right for the free world. Believe what you wish, but don’t ask for special privileges, or treatment due to your religion or lack there of.

    Reply
  15. john decker3 months ago

    Adding-I believe that i time(60 million yrs per se)anything and everything that can happen,will happen and has happened. The “Theory of Evolution” is a Scientific Fact and the “Fact of God and Creation” is a theory. Religion is a facet that gives people Hope,Faith and something to Believe in. Heaven and Hell are fictional places created in Theory of making people believe that if they live their lives Morally their “souls” wil live in eternal peace in “Heaven,if not they will burn in Hell eternally. The Bible is the best story ever written by the “followers of God.” Religion is the oldest and most profitable business ever,in the world. Life is what we make of it then you die.

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    1. stevn carter3 months ago

      I would bet you that most preachers live at or below the poverty level!So much profit!

      Reply
      1. Barry3 months ago

        The average income of pastors of Mega-Churches is $147,000 with a rare few hitting the $1M mark. The average including small churches is $28,000. With that said the Catholic Church was the wealthiest entity in Europe for over 1000 year and organizations such as the Church of Latter Day Saints and Scientology are still ran in a corporate manner today.

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        1. Irene2 months ago

          And yet still most preachers live below the poverty mark. There can be rare exceptions without affecting the facts regarding the majority.

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          1. God2 months ago

            T.J. Jakes-$18 Milion
            Eddie Long-$1 Million annual salary
            Creflo A. Dollar-$60+ Million
            Rick Warren-$40+ Million
            Pat Robertson-$30+ Million
            Charles Blake-$1 Million annual salary
            Benny Hinn-$1 Million annual salary
            John Hagee-$1 Million annual salary
            Kenneth Copeland-$1 Million annual salary ($17 million jet/$6 million home)
            Joyce Meyer-$3 Million annual salary

            That’s just a small list. Man it must suck to live so far below poverty level.

            An LDS Bishop I lived by had a much nicer house, pool and two completely restored 1966 Mustang’s. So so poor.

            A guy I worked with who was also studying to be a priest told his congregation that his family needed food and bill money (not true), they gathered just over $1300 and gave it to him. He went and bought a $1200 guitar with it.

            Small tidbit fact, only 12 cents per dollar of the christian childrens fund ever went towards the children. Even then, those who were helped were forced to change their name to a “christian” name and convert before they were given aid.

            The church is a business. I may just start my own, dupe a ton of people. Gather millions and then just close the church. Why not? I am, afterall, an immoral atheist, right?

        2. Facepalm2 months ago

          “The average including small churches is $28,000.”

          That would make it true that most live … well.. technically just above poverty level.

          Reply
    2. Facepalm2 months ago

      There really is no such thing as “scientific fact.” All it would take is one instance of something falling up to “disprove” the law of gravity (a phenomena which, while it does work nicely, has still not been explained I might add.)

      The sciences find their root in philosophy, tracing their way back to Socrates, who taught Plato, who taught Aristotle….. and then you go through natural philosophy, Descartes, the British Empiricists…. and then you pretty well get Modern Science.

      You’re over assuming its power, however. The actuality is that the scientific method is a toolset to provide (material) evidence to support a logical conclusion. It is still all philosophy, like it or not.

      While there is some pretty good logic to evolutionary theory (until you get into evolutionary psychology, anyway… at which point it is probably the most laughable school of psychology) I, myself, will remain agnostic until you can show me that complete fossil record you’ve got there…

      Oh… wait…. you don’t. You do have all the explanations to support your faith, though.

      It is just another “religious philosophy” in all truth. Maybe a true one.. maybe not… maybe partially so. It has not been proven, and a pet peeve is people who claim that.

      One way or the other, I myself will stand by the prefrontal cortex being the most advance/evolved portion of the brain whether God did it, whether it evolved, whether some mixture of the two (as Darwin originally believed before his daughter died and he got pissed off at God), whether we were designed by aliens who evolved, or whether we were designed by extra dimensional beings who spawned from a brain fart by some divine source consciousness…

      There is some evidence for evolution. It is a logical philosophy. It has not been proven (the very fact that it is called a theory should directly tell you it is only commonly accepted, not undisputed.) To suggest it has, really only shows the ignorance of the person pushing that claim.

      Reply
      1. P2 months ago

        Science is more than just the study of space. It is a fact that most plants produce energy through photosynthesis (with the exception of Venus Fly Traps and other related insectivorous plants). It is a fact trees are plants. It is a fact that everybody was at one point a fertilized egg. All of those are scientific facts and cannot be proven otherwise.

        Reply
  16. john decker3 months ago

    I enjoyed the 5 facts about Atheists and the percentages were informative. Thanx.

    Reply
  17. William3 months ago

    I dont believe in a god for shear fact thers no proof of him besides a book written by man heaven hell those are just myths hopeful thinking humans want to feal special to have purpose for there suffering and meaningless lives there is no meaning no purpose sept to just live and enjoy it while you can for you only get one ther is no after life

    Reply
    1. Atheism2 months ago

      so true

      Reply
  18. William F. Weigel3 months ago

    What shocks me about all this is how poor a job the supposed master pollsters of Pew Research have done here. When a significant number of people self-identify as atheists who believe in God or a universal spirit, or when a lot of people self-identify as Catholic and atheist, well, then, something important is going on that the poll is simply not picking up on. Are we simply to assume that the respondents were stupid? In my experience, this is where you switch gears, do some in-depth interviews, and then redesign your poll.

    Reply
  19. The truth hurts4 months ago

    Christianity and religion are the leading causes of problems in the world whether it be war or the fact that we are destroying our environment, but the majority don’t care because they believe a magic man in the sky will send his magic son to fix everything that we destroy. There is no magic man in the sky however there is an amazing, beautiful and wonderous universe out beyond our skies and in our skies as well

    Reply
    1. Facepalm2 months ago

      Not really.

      Humans were doing vile things to one another far before there was a Christianity or they had a need for any explanation other than, “We want their stuff.”

      Atheist socialists were responsible for the largest amount of death and suffering of the past century.

      This is just patently false.

      Reply
      1. P2 months ago

        The amount of death is relative to the intricacy of the tools used. In the past hundred years there have been nuclear weapons, automatic weapons, ICBMs, nerve gasses, etc. Any of those would kill faster than say; a musket, a broadsword, a bow, or hot tar. Plus, to say the past hundred years is quite an exaggeration. Sure, Atheism is engrained in Marxism. But there are plenty of communist countries that are still theists. Vietnam, China, North Korea (even if it isn’t a technical god they worship), hell maybe even modern day Russia. The most aggressive people in the world in the past few decades have been Americans and the different sects of Muslim extremists that are ravaging central Africa and the Middle East.

        Compare the time atheists have supposedly caused deaths to the time other, let’s just call them philosophies, have caused deaths. 100 years compared to nearly 2000.

        Reply
  20. Gabriela Diaz4 months ago

    I find it funny (and frankly a bit offensive) that anyone would be surprised at the awe and appreciation atheists have of the world. I’ve recently become obsessed with studying astrophysics and stellar evolution. When I look at the nigh sky, I sometimes become breathless because of how amazing I know the universe is. In fact, now that I understand how it works…how complex and elegant it is…I feel even more of an appreciation than when I was religious and the answer to everything was that “God created it.” The universe IS amazing. And no God is needed to make sense of it and admire it.

    Reply
    1. Noah4 months ago

      Beautiful universe isn’t it, it’s a wonder how it all came uncaused, and out of nothing, isn’t it?

      Atheists do some research, real professionals(cosmologists, physicists, etc.) know that there has to be a creator.

      Intelligent Design

      Reply
      1. P2 months ago

        Provide proof of such “real professionals” that believe there to be a creator. There is a theory that a creator exists, but there is also a theory that our entire universe is just the result of a point that is infinitely small and infinitely dense that began a rapid expansion.

        Reply
    2. P2 months ago

      Nobody understands how the Universe works. Nobody understands how complex it is. Odds are, nobody will ever understand.

      Reply
      1. Litesp33d2 months ago

        But regardless of that the answer to I do not know is I don’t know but will keep looking not well the answer must be the ‘magic man’ did it so I can stop looking.

        Reply
  21. John4 months ago

    The fact remains that there is NO conclusive evidence to prove NOR disprove the existence of a god. Although modern science certainly nods in the direction that a god doesn’t exist. Any sensible person with a basic knowledge in science knows that evolution is a fact; The Big Bang is still presented as a “theory,” but most scientists accept The Big Bang as fact; most scientists (except for a select esoteric few on the fringe) subscribe to the absurd idea of “creationism.” I accept the idea that the universe was born at random. All life and everything around us is sourced from the universe. Amazing it is. I also accept with great certainty that other intelligent life forms exist upon advanced or perhaps not so advanced civilizations (than ours) in other galaxy’s. I don’t buy into the tabloid rot of “alien abductions” and the numerous bogus paranormal stories regarding UFO sightings. Some people will do anything for attention an $$$.

    Reply
  22. Gloria4 months ago

    I believe many atheist keep silent about their (lack of) belief because there are repercussions, especially in small towns where the majority of people attend some church. But I think we are emerging like the gay population who have come out of the closet in droves or the acceptance of ‘living in sin’ no longer is relevant. I recall a statement that Americans can accept a murderer before they accept an atheist. Is it a coincidence that all of our presidents are Christians?

    Reply
    1. John4 months ago

      Thomas jefferson wasn’t a christian. He was a Pantheist.

      President Obama claims that he’s a christian, but he’s more than likely an atheist. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

      I support President Obama with all my heart. President Obama’s ideals and ideas are very much like Thomas Jefferson’s.

      I feel that President Obama is one of our nations greatest leaders ever. His progressive administration is taking America to new heights.

      Obama’s administration is really about hope and restoration for a nation that succumbed to the wicked pleasures under the reign of the crazed cowboy from Texas, Bush’s egregious reign of terror.

      Reply
      1. David3 months ago

        Okay, Atheists, help me out. If Atheists don’t believe in god because scientists say there isn’t one, then do all Atheists believe in Global Warming because science says it exists?

        Reply
        1. ace3 months ago

          There is empirical EVIDENCE that climate change exists. There is absolutely NO empirical EVIDENCE that God exists. How are you confused?

          Reply
        2. Atheism2 months ago

          David in response we aren’t Atheists because scientists say there is no god but because we’re smart enough to realize that there is none

          Reply
        3. Litesp33d2 months ago

          David, you are coming at this from the wrong direction. It is the religious that believe there is a god because they are TOLD there is one, usually before the age of rational thought. In addition subliminal controls are put into your head (you are special, don’t mix with people from other religions, don’t go to their churches, don’t challenge anything you are told by the clergy, that sort of thing) under the threat of eternal punishment for you and all your family if you don’t believe. Because of this it is difficult for a religionists to look at their beliefs rationally. If you could would any adult, who was not exposed to this as a child believe such nonsense.

          Most people who live in religious societies often do not get exposed to alternate thoughts on this issue. However you will find most people who reach the conclusion that gods are man made will have thought about it a lot more than most people who claim to be religious.

          Reply
  23. darren4 months ago

    Maybe a belief in god is the illusion or maybe a belief in the lack there of is the illusion. I do not know. Direct observation just has not been enough for me to decide on that one. Desire is the only compass I have found to follow with regards purpose and meaning in life and I’ll see where that takes me in the long run I suppose. But observationally speaking I would have to say that the idea, the feeling nay the belief espoused time and again in opinion after opinion that we as a specious have any clue whatsoever about anything with any certainty at all is the bigger illusion that needs addressing. But then what do I know. Just a few more empty words for my part. Peace.

    Reply
  24. Cheri dieter4 months ago

    Wow Opera! She was describing a religious point of view, ‘being in awe of the living and the dead, plants, animals, oceans!” I am a Christian and we believe our bodies turn to ash, yet our spirit lives on because we lived a life of awe and had/ have a powerful influence during our lives. I was raised Lutheran, yet pass no judgement on other religions, it was their upbringing and culture. Maybe I’m too liberal in my Christian beliefs, but contrary to your interview, you guest describe Christianity in a beautiful way, to be in awe. To live a strong moral life. To me she is describing Christianity and living in respect and awe of the Ten Commandments. Our bodies are a shell, but our spirituality is strong and in living with morals, we will strive spiritually in this life and the promises of life ever after.
    I live with teenagers that, because God has been taken out of the schools, believe this gives them the right to destruct or be destructive and verbally and physically harm others. I believe God, or some dispute, a higher Being, is the basis of choosing right or wrong moral standards. I’ve stood visiting with Jews, I also have a Muslim doctor, while they might not label themselves as Christians, they live by the Ten Commandments. They believe God will cure ailments, educate doctors, teachers, and employees etc. and is Devine. Regardless of what religion one calls their spirituality, they will not be judged on this earth, nor should we. To be a believer in any faith, is a spiritual belief. I enjoyed this interview, your questions, and the kindness, non defensive answers your guest answered. She laid no judgement, and showed no negativity to others religions.
    I cannot express enough how this interview touched me. Yes, I’m attending Palm Sunday today with my 7 year old son, my teenage daughters exclaim it’s a shame I ‘shove God down his throat’. The sadness in my heart is I failed to plant the seed in their hearts of God and our Lord and Savior who was persecuted for our sins. These chapters in the most read Book in all of history is NOT being shared in the schools, yet all other religions are?!
    In God we trust, where has it gone Opera? One needs not to publication pronounce their faith of Christianity or other religion, to act morally. Socrates was in spence a preacher, educating good and evil. This in itself is a religion, living in the good.
    Thank you for sharing your interview,
    God bless you:)
    Cheri Dietet

    Reply
    1. Robert Jory4 months ago

      Half of the ten commandments are just ego. Don’t worship other gods, don’t say my name in a bad way, don’t work on my holy day. Those have nothing to do with morality.

      As for the guest being in awe. Sure, two different people can be in awe and that might sound like Christianity but that doesn’t mean she believes as you do. I’m in awe of a really good magic trick. I’m also in awe of the beauty of nature. You may as well, but that’s probably where our common ideas end.

      As an atheist I don’t believe in a god or any supernatural being of any kind that governs or intervenes in human life. I think religion(including Christianity) is a corrupt system to control people through their hopes and fears to gain power and wealth. In no way do I believe our morality comes from the bible. Our morality comes from the fact we are social animals and we cooperate in order to increase our chances of survival. This means understanding and supporting the well being of other humans.

      Spirituality to me is just emotions. Nothing magic or mystical about it. You feel something towards something. Nature gives me an immense sense of connectivity between living things and the stars make me feel insignificant in the big picture. Those are just emotions.

      But those are all just my opinion. The same as you think Oprah’s guest was describing Christianity.

      Reply
  25. george crispen5 months ago

    There are only two kinds of people in the world atheists and non-atheists.. if you believe in any form of God, spirits, a soul, the supernatural, voodoo or magic then you are not an atheist.. an atheist is only concerned with truth and understanding…

    Reply
    1. nate mathan4 months ago

      Agreed 100%.
      The nonsense of ‘soul’ and ‘spirituality’ (spirits) and ‘afterlife’ is wishful thinking.
      Accepting without evidence is politely called ‘belief’, but is accurately called ‘delusion’.

      You are either scientific or superstitious. If you are superstitious, don’t use the internet – which is purely a product of science. Spread your magical thinking via smoke signals or jungle drums.

      Knowing you get one chance – this life – means you must make the most of it. Do good on Earth now because there are no ‘do-overs’. Thinking you get more swings at the bat makes you immoral. There is no incentive to fix things here and now.

      In the above video, Oprah manipulated her guest, hoping she would accept the voodoo that Oprah does. Winfrey has made millions of dollars peddling superstitious wishful thinking. Like a drunk, she wants others to drink with her. Diana Nyad took the diplomatic road and didn’t confront Oprah.

      Americans are dumbed-down by TV personalities like Oprah and Depak Chopra. Other countries are eating our lunch. America ranks 37th in science, right above Turkey. America must trade superstition for science and reality for wishful thinking.

      Personally, I find the knowledge that every atom in my body came from a star that exploded billions of years ago to be awe-inspiring. I am not just IN this universe…. i AM the universe! I belong here. YOU belong here! That proven scientific fact should be worth more to you than all the religious mumbo-jumbo in all the holy books in all of the history of the Earth. If it’s not… go back to eating Fritos and watching Oprah.

      Reply
      1. olorin4 months ago

        Good argument. The Internet is clearly a monument to reason and rationality…

        Come to think of it, the Internet was built by DARPA, so really the only people who should be using it are Americans in the defense industry.

        Thank you for showing us all why only proponents of science can be trusted to hold the right beliefs, use flawless logic, and come to the right conclusions.

        Reply
        1. Facepalm2 months ago

          Amen!

          Reply
  26. george crispen5 months ago

    The “SOUL” is nothing more then an evolved brain over millions of years that has developed consciousness memory the ability for pattern recognition and an amazing capacity for creativity fantasy and destruction.. Open your eyes and see the creative animals that we have become the fantasy of “god” that holds us back and the destruction that we have caused!

    Reply
  27. george crispen5 months ago

    The “AWW” that is being referred to as a spiritual feeling is nothing more than ignorance for the understanding of what is being preceived around them.. a deeper knowledge and understanding will always reveal the truth and this is only attainable through the scientific method and no other way..”GOD” is nothing more then an easy explanation for things that in the past couldn’t make sense to us and had no explanation until science caught up and could provide us with facts.. So why does most of the world still believe in “God” after science has provided an explanation?!

    Reply
  28. true story6 months ago

    I was an atheist, and I didn’t believe in anything supernatural until a spirit tried to possess me. I saw some supernatural stuff then, and now I believe. Thank God for Jesus! He is real! He saved my life!

    Reply
    1. StephanieWarMaiden5 months ago

      Me to!!!! He was a shadow demon and I got an ouija board, asked him to stop in the name of Jesus Christ and he did! I also prayed to God to keep my home clean of evil spirits and keep me safe. The next day after Halloween I found thin bloody scratches on the inside of my bed room door. I have not been bothered since by that demon, but I have seen more ghost since then.

      Reply
  29. Lau Vmp7 months ago

    @Jason, I know!! Tell me about it! I’ve lived in the U.S. for half of my young life, and I just had this argument with my boyfriend over the weekend. His mom and dad are not very religious at all, and my boyfriend does not believe in God, but calls himself Jewish. I told him he wasn’t and explained the definition of atheist, Jewish, etc., and he got all offended that I dared to say that he really isn’t Jewish. And, I would at least understand him wanting to identify himself as Jewish because his family members are straight descendants from the men of Judea, but he is extremely blond and has really light blue eyes, and his features do not resemble any Middle Eastern features. And yes, he became extremely mad at me for pointing it out.

    Reply
    1. Spaz6 months ago

      I can see where your boyfriend is coming from. It is not uncommon for Judaism to be considered a more spiritual than theist belief. Your boyfriend probably uses the Torah as a sort of moral guideline, a way to make the world a better place, and a cultural part of him. This does not contradict with his opinions about a god in his own mind, and that is where his opinion’s really matter.

      Reply
    2. It’s a race and religion.6 months ago

      You can be Jewish and be atheist.

      Reply
      1. Litesp33d2 months ago

        Of course you can be Jewish and atheist. You are born Jewish. That is a birth matter. A culture matter. But you might reach an understanding that god and religion are man made matters about power and control. The same applies to Islam although the Jews will not put an automatic death sentence on your head if you become non religious. However if you convert to Judaism or Islam then you probably would have issues being atheist at the same time.

        Reply
    3. William3 months ago

      Jewish isnt atheis they believe in god just not that jesus was gods son learn your religion s

      Reply
  30. Jason7 months ago

    well, this shows americans are very confused, lol

    Reply
    1. Dude5 months ago

      Only the religious ones.

      Reply
  31. Larry8 months ago

    Newton also spent his time delving into alchemy, it does not mean we need to follow his lead into superstitious nonsense–we KNOW so much more now. Einstein did NOT believe in a personal or creative deity; he said as much in many of his writings. He may have been a cultural Jew, but you cannot honestly claim him for the theist camp. Regardless, no one (regardless of intelligence or scientific brilliance) has special insight into supernatural realms. To think for one second that just because some renowned scientist claims some opaque belief in a higher power does not make it true. When it comes to religious beliefs in gods, ALWAYS count the evidence and NOT the number or quality of believers. Peace.

    Reply
    1. Jack5 months ago

      You also really can’t claim him for the atheist camp either, he was closer to a pantheistic agnostic, which in many ways is more of a polar opposite to atheism than mono/polytheism, I really wish people would just live and let live.

      Reply
  32. Con Sterling8 months ago

    Why is it that some group of Atheists take this time of year to attack ‘believers’?? What pleasure or joy comes to them for poking fine at them with their ‘take Christ out of Christmas’ campaign?? Why don’t they come forth with a positive campaign on the benefits of their atheistic beliefs rather than attacking the ‘believers’?? You hear all these statements about Atheists having higher IQ and being more educated. If that is true take those attributes and develop a benefit campaign for being an atheist and attracting people to your way of thinking. I’m feedup with negative campaigns that try to belittle people just because they don’t share some one’s philosophy on life or religion. To paraphrase MLK, judge a person not only by the content of their heart as well as their actions and not by their religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual performance or political ideology.

    Reply
    1. David A.7 months ago

      One of the big problems is not that a person wants to believe in, and have an imaginary friend, (god), but that they want to pass laws based upon their beliefs.
      Christians also cannot keep their delusion to themselves, they want to instill their insanity upon the rest of the world.

      That is why we MUST speak against the insanity of Christianity, as it has had its reign of terror on mankind for far too long now, the insanity must stop.

      We Atheists don’t generally have a problem with Buddhists, or Jaine’s for example, because they keep their beliefs to themselves, they don’t try to instill their beliefs on the rest on humanity!

      Reply
      1. Jack5 months ago

        Ah yes, you appear to be one of those confused souls (yeah, I know, souls aren’t real) who believe Christianity still reigns. How would you define Christianity as insane exactly? I myself am not a man of the word but people like you make the general population of atheists look like the equivalent of the westboro atheist church.

        Yes, that is true, but think about it, all laws are based on belief, if we didn’t believe murder was wrong, we would allow it. And don’t tell me with a straight face that Atheists on a daily basis don’t attempt to cram beliefs down everyones throats, I have had just as many people and ads directed at me telling me NOT to believe in a god as there are TO believe in a god, and atheists are the minority, let that sink in.

        The primary problem between atheist/theist groups is that they misunderstand what they are. Atheism commonly claims to be born of science, that is not necessarily true, you can be an atheist because you don’t see any evidence for a gods existence, but ultimately that is just as philosophical as theism is. Science is there to explain in cold statistics HOW stuff works, philosophy is there for people to think about WHY. So don’t taint my science with your philosophy please.

        Reply
    2. Ryan Arko6 months ago

      You are aware that Jesus wasn’t born in the winter, right? So the concept of his birth being in December would be wrong. And you know, I’ll see what you mean when you say December 25th is just the day chosen to celebrate Jesus’ birth and not the assumed date of his birth…except history shows that many of the traditions (feasting, decorating trees, gift giving, singing) were assimilated traditions of pagans and even the date was proven to be an effort by the church to compete with the birthday celebration of Sol Invictus.

      Then we delve into the modern depiction of the nativity story that would only take a reading of the beginnings of the four gospels to debunk. It’s likely that there was no manger, Mary wasn’t a virgin, and the wise men (or Magi, depending on the book) were guided by a star sent by Satan.

      Lastly, there are numerous denominations of Christianity who do not observe Christmas because of it’s ties with pagan worship and celebration. They instead choose to honor the birth of Jesus as they would honor any day they believe their God created for them.

      So, as it turns out, Atheists who come out around Christmas to say there is no point seem to be better at biblical understanding (already proven) than most Christians including, apparently, yourself.

      Reply
      1. Litesp33d2 months ago

        You are aware that Jesus wasn’t born in the winter,…….

        You are aware that Jesus was not born at all and is a complete myth.

        nobeliefs.com/exist.htm

        Reply
    3. Dude5 months ago

      Because christians hijacked pagan holidays.

      Reply
  33. Charles Purdy8 months ago

    Oh, the freedom of breaking the shackles imprisoning your mind! Yeah, I used to be a “believer” turning my back on logic and reason to follow that book of Jewish folklore. Then I read the harder books and later had all the world’s scientific knowledge at my fingertips with the Internet.

    The strides made in the Sciences completely washes out the mind poison of revealed religions. Right now, as we post, there are organisms being created in labs. Take the ingredients found in the Universe’s “soup”, add water, throw in some electrical discharge, and VOILA…simple celled organisms. Watch the evolutionary growth to more complex organisms over large expanses of time. We are complex organisms that grew from this recipe, and are merely groupings of atoms, molecules, cells and chemicals experiencing existence on a spinning rock we could have made a paradise, but chose instead to create mind locks and beliefs to comfort our fear of death, and have pulpit puppet masters spin tales of an afterlife where we see our dead Aunt Tilly and Spot the dog once more. Rubbish. The world would be a better place if everyone realized life is a magic moment we experience for a brief time and to make the most of it.

    Just have to read the harder stuff: dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2012/0…

    Reply
  34. Ben9 months ago

    Research shows that most atheists 1. Have a higher IQ than believers 2. Therefore that earn more. 3. Because they earn more than tend to be more moral, 99.7% of federal prisoners are believers, less than .30% are nonbelievers. 4. Nonbelievers stay married longer, not sure why. We have been married 57 years.

    Reply
    1. Jack8 months ago

      “Therefore that earn more”?
      “Because they earn more than tend to be more moral”?

      Take English 101 and try again, sir.

      Reply
    2. Real Common Sense6 months ago

      “1. Have a Higher IQ”
      By three points…
      With all of the outliers considered, all of the lower class Americans and prisoners that remain uneducated, yet identify as religious, a whole three point difference in IQ is made, even though IQ does not correlate with all forms of intelligence. Congratulations.

      “2. Therefore that earn more.”
      About 1/6 of the variation factors, less important than family background, location, and too many other factors, you propose is the cause for more wealth, assuming that Atheism is in fact a factor that causes higher IQ (rather than the other way around or a simple correlation rather than causation)?

      “3. Because they tend to be more moral”
      Because crime and morality are totally the same concrete concepts, correct? Because nothing that could ever be considered immoral, such as evicting a family or outsourcing production of a factory, resulting in the loss of many jobs, could also be considered illegal, am I right? Because with population scaling, the non-believers are represented equally in prison, right? Because even with all of these, nobody converts in fear of their life in prison, right? Because the economic distribution, one of the most important factors in deciding where the general for locations for crime occurs, never overlaps the general trend for less wealthy peoples who tend to be religious, right?
      Obviously most of these are rhetorical, because a causation is proposed on your end that simply doesn’t explain the scenario.

      “4. Nonbelievers stay married longer”
      You would have me here if it wasn’t for the fact that this correlates more heavily with liberal ideals, as in liberals divorce less often. Liberalism, you know, the party that often correlates with atheism, but also includes lose religion (which, unsurprisingly, liberal religion experiences lower divorce rates, furthering the proposal that this isn’t an issue caused strictly by atheism).

      The lines you’ve drawn between everything typed are no different than a connect the dots for children. Unfortunately, you’ve tried to make an airplane where the puzzle attempts to point out a giraffe.

      Reply
      1. Ryan Arko6 months ago

        I wont defend his use of the English language, but I’ll argue two points he makes.

        Atheists tend to have higher IQs. Regardless of IQ points, intelligence through study and observation open the door to atheism. That’s why Christian lawmakers want to defund public schools and argue that higher education is indoctrination. When you see that the world is billions of years old, that evolution is supported by mountains of evidence despite not being the method of biblical creation, that many of the laws of nature disagree with the biblical depiction of the universe, you can only reject the silly notion that the Abrahamic texts are truth.

        So being intelligent makes you more likely to become an atheist, but being an atheist has no effect on one’s intelligence. There are plenty of idiots in the atheist community, just at a smaller rate than among Christians.

        Point two is morality. You have two people. One doesn’t kill because it’s not something he wants done to him. The other doesn’t kill because a book told him he wont get a reward if he does it.
        The first person doesn’t rape because violating a person is wrong. Doesn’t steal because it’s an awful feeling to have it done to him. He uses his personal views toward actions as a compass for morality.
        The second person doesn’t rape because a book told him he’d burn for eternity if he did. He doesn’t steal because a looming character he’d been taught since birth to fear told him not to. His morality comes from a book.

        Enjoy your views on morality when I ask “which do you think is more moral? Which is the better moral compass?”

        To add, a third person, a friend and congregant of the second person, rapes, steals, and kills because he was told all he has to do is ask an invisible being he’s never met for forgiveness and anything bad he did is forgotten and he still gets his reward just for believing. He gets his morality from the same exact book as person number two.
        Now we see that biblical morality is just as subjective as morality devised without god. Turns out even God’s morality isn’t objective.

        Reply
        1. Jack R5 months ago

          Honestly I think one day it will all average out to fifty fifty ratio of believers to non-believers. The old 6000 year old religions will probably either have to adapt or shrink. But when you break it down to the most basic levels of the question, is there God. Even if there was a 100% complete scientific model of progress from the beginning to now that could be rigorously tested and proven one question remains. You can ask “Why?” someone else can respond “Why not?”

          Personally it appears to me that these debates delve into the wrong questions, this is philosophy, not science. You may draw the connections, but I think ultimately it is up to things not written in stone for you to determine why you think you are here. Higher education won’t eliminate religion more than likely, it will just bring it to the 50/50 level I would presume.

          Reply
        2. Dave5 months ago

          You are wrong.

          The book says we are all sinners. The book is a guidance how to do things in a right way but people have free will and decide by themselves.

          Plus… ateists do not come from a different planet.

          One doesn’t kill because it’s not something he wants done to him. Well.. it comes straight from the Bible.

          Reply
        3. Facepalm2 months ago

          This isn’t true at all.

          I’ve been through “higher education” and can point out a very specific event in which I was docked a grade for arguing a non-socialist position and, when I addressed the professor and crushed her in debate, I was still told to accept her position or suffer the loss of the letter grade. Needless to say, my grade was not what it should have been. *Evidence* of indoctrination is monumental. Some people are just so unwilling to see that there perspective is flawed to accept that it is precisely what is being done.

          A simple illustration is your own argument. Most religions offer some variation on the theme of the golden rule. “Do unto others.”

          You really think that marginal IQ difference is enough to differentiate between two people that religious people will only be moral due to a fear of punishment?

          Clearly, if atheists are so smart, you should perhaps be able to effectively rethink things.

          Reply
  35. Maynard9 months ago

    If the info in this article is true, people simply don’t know what the definition of Atheist is when applying it to themselves. Atheism is about doubt because of insufficient evidence. If you believe in any kind of intellectual higher power as the reason the Universe exists, you’re NOT an Atheist. If you’re on the fence, you’re NOT an atheist. What is so hard to understand about this? It’s quite simple, really.

    Reply
    1. Agnostician9 months ago

      Actually, no. An Atheist is one who, above all else, believes that there is absolutely no ‘higher power’ of any form whatsoever; there never was and never will be anything to change that fact. How the universe and life came to be is a matter of scientific debate, not spiritual belief. Agnostics, however, are the ones who are the more ‘agree to disagree’ types; the ones who say that there is not enough evidence one way or another to say whether or not there is such a thing as a ‘higher power’. An Agnostic is the one who has doubt; whether they sit on the more scientific side or other. If you asked an Atheist if there is a god, their only answer is ‘no’. They believe in the utter lack of religious belief or spirituality. There is no debate. If you asked an Agnostic if there is a god their answer would more likely be ‘not sure, but want to explore more options and/or data’. Depending on which side of the fence the Agnostic is sitting would also depend on where they lean on the subject. I, for example, lean on the ‘there’s no scientific evidence to support creation-by-design and that all life is random biology.. but that doesn’t mean I am right.’

      Reply
      1. eb ward9 months ago

        We are all Atheists. Some just include one more in the list. Ask another question. How many believe with 100% certainty that no gods of any definition could exist = 0 Atheists. How many for the great Juju = 100% Atheists.

        Reply
      2. Katie9 months ago

        Yes Atheists are not “on the fence” I am an atheist and I believe that there are NO higher spiritual powers. plain and simple. This basic answer does bother some people but that is what Atheism is.

        Reply
      3. Michael5 months ago

        For some reason people think Atheism and agnosticism are mutually exclusive. You can be atheist and still say “I don’t know”. I do not believe there is a god, but could I be proven wrong someday? Sure. But for now, it’s just a silly assumption with no backing to it whatsoever therefor I will regard it as false until proven otherwise.

        Reply
    2. Illya Yagiyayev9 months ago

      I think an Atheist is one who explicitly rejects teachings (truth-claims) of all religions as false, not only God or gods. Atheism also requires a naturalistic worldview: there are nothing beyoud the physical world. Buddhist, Taoist non-theist Hinduist is not an Atheist, even if he does not belief in God/gods.

      Self-label as an Atheist and scientific definition of Atheism should not be mixed.

      Reply
      1. Carlos4 months ago

        Did you even study your roots in middle school?

        “These ROOT-WORDS are THE & THEO which come from Theos meaning GOD. There has not been room on the list for names like Theodore and Theodora which have the gracious meaning of “gift from God.””

        english-for-students.com/theo.html

        theo- means God. Atheist mean one who doesn’t believe in gods.

        Buddhists who don’t believe in Gods are atheists by definition.

        Reply
    3. Hamsa9 months ago

      Atheist is a 4th grade vocabulary word…what is there to (not) understand?

      Reply
  36. Cindy10 months ago

    Too many people get lost in the definition of atheist…some even make the claim that all babies are born atheists…this is not so. Babies cannot choose to deny the existence of god. they are simply uncatechized — and one can only be catechized when one has some understanding, even if just a small amount.

    Reply
    1. Jimbo9 months ago

      You don’t have to deny the existence of a god to not believe in a god.

      There are a great many gods I have never heard of. I don’t believe in any of them and yet have never denied their existence.

      Reply
      1. Ben9 months ago

        Jimbo, sorry to tell you but you just did

        Reply
        1. Cory Gage9 months ago

          No, an atheist simply lacks the positive belief in any god or gods. It is not the positive disbelief of such. There is a difference.

          Reply
          1. Katie9 months ago

            No an Atheist does not believe in god, I am an Atheist and I do not lack anything. I do not do good things for fear of persecution nor do I do them in hopes of a reward. I do not believe that after I die there will be either. I do nice and good things because I chose to, ME no one else. I choose to be a good person because that is how I want to live. I do not judge people who believe differently than I, just as I do not judge people who are different than myself. I choose to love because I want to. I do not love or hate in the name of ANY god, I have no fear of the afterlife just as I was not afraid before I existed, I do not fear death nor do I spend great amounts of time thinking it. My life is about living, it is about knowledge and my fellow humankind. I think religion brings a great deal of comfort to those that need it, I however do not. I am not sure why the question of someones personal beliefs or lack thereof are anything but their business.

    2. Jen9 months ago

      Cindy, I’m not sure you are exactly right. I can only use myself as an example, but I don’t think being an atheist actually requires the denial of anything. I never received any indoctrination as a child and have never had the impulse to ‘fill in the gaps’ of my understanding by chosing to believe in the supernatural. There’s no critical analysis underlying my atheism, I simply do not recognize the bible as any sort of authority. After all, it is of unknown authorship and dubious translation- so, why would I give it a moment’s consideration? I very much doubt that anyone undertakes any sort of critical analysis to determine whether leprachauns, unicorns or Zeus are real. But, we don’t question anyone’s unbelief in those things.

      Reply
      1. george canlas5 months ago

        Are atheist stay atheist forever?what can u say about an atheist who turn down their beliefs?I know some.

        Reply
    3. John Patrick Galliher9 months ago

      Exactly, why does no one understand this, Atheism is simply the choice to not believe, and it (for me) is nothing to piss off Christians, or Jews, or Muslims, it’s simply my choice and I am happy with it, i’m not tying to impress anyone, or offend anyone. I don’t hate people who believe in God(s) and I never will hate people beause their beliefs. I wasn’t born Atheist, It’s not being gay, you’re not just born that way, Atheism is a choice.

      Reply
    4. Hamsa9 months ago

      I attempt to explain that very point often…usually to no avail.

      Reply
  37. Judy Van Ert10 months ago

    Jesus loves me this I know, because the Bible tells me so

    Reply
    1. Johnathan Walton10 months ago

      Superman saved the Earth this I know, because his comic tells me so

      Reply
      1. Hamsa9 months ago

        Do you know even one single soul which considered SM to be true? Then your analogy was truly inept.

        Reply
        1. Joe8 months ago

          Soul…No. What is that? But people, yes. Lots of kids do. Kids will believe in any good story, especially if it allows them to flex their imagination. Luckily, there’s usually an adult there who’s able to explain reality.

          But what happens when the adults in this scenario feel so entitled to an afterlife that they just continually feed into the first program that promises them one? Until they die. Forever.

          Reply
  38. Jerry Southard10 months ago

    After a lifetime of Bible centered churchgoing on autopilot, it became clear I needed to do a religious reality check. After a dozen years of science and theological study my findings thus far are (1) it is evident we humans have evolved and are hardwired as individuals who care for each other. (2) for our species to endure and individuals to reach a level of personal contentment the prime directive (consilience?) is to treat others the way one would like to be treated…all the time and no matter what. (3) this can be cultivated through inclusive social groupings using music, sport, dance, art, oratory, and good works as in certain metaphorical religious traditions.

    I still “do” church and think it a necessary institution as are social, civic, government and education institutions. We will always have the 5% crazies at both ends of any distribution. For me the living definitions have changed dramatically. Finding an inclusive religious group can be challenging; but change is afoot.

    Reply
    1. Joe10 months ago

      Oh really huh. And could you clarify what about your delving into science and theology convinced you that we humans have evolved. Please take along on your chain of logic from basic elements to single cell amoeba to human beings.

      Got my popcorn and soda… carry on.

      Reply
      1. Jerry Southard10 months ago

        Sorry, no time. But I can give you many sources to read if you are truly interested and not just gigging this very old man.

        Reply
      2. Gary Williams9 months ago

        Scientists do not claim to know that they “know” exactly how the first life-form came to be, or how it evolved into the forms we see around us today. And considering mankind didn’t know much about anything a couple thousand years ago, that would be an exceedingly rational stance for them to take. This, in contrast to those who insist that despite not knowing whether the earth was a few thousand years old, what/where fossils came from, or what the Sun, Moon and stars even were, they nevertheless knew exactly where all of it came from. This obvious bit if irrationality is nevertheless insisted on by theists who somehow believe that if science admits it doesn’t know exactly what happened several billion years ago, and yet religious clerics do (despite each religion claiming vastly different things), that this somehow makes religion superior to science.

        Well. I suppose if you really don’t care about the accuracy or factual basis underlying Biblical (or Vedic, Gnostic, Coptic, etc) claims; but rather the whole point is simply to /think/ you know rather than /actually/ know, then you may have a point.

        Incidentally, a Need for Closure (or NFC Scale) was designed to assess how strongly an individuals desire for an answer comes as a matter of wanting to end any further need for information requiring additional processing and judgment, even if that answer is *not* the correct answer. IOW, people high on the NFC scale will grasp at information they believe “settles” or closes the issue, even if that info lacks credibility re: logical, rational than do people who score less on the NFCS.
        People high in religiosity consistently score more highly on the NFCS than do others.

        Reply
    2. Carson10 months ago

      A well-thought-out perspective of life, Jerry.

      Reply
    3. Matt Begley10 months ago

      Crazies? It seems that you are speaking of atheist as crazies. 93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences are atheist… as are the vast majority of brilliant minds on Earth. I feel that I’m in good company. If requiring evidence before committing to something as absurd as magical beings in the sky makes me crazy in your uneducated view… all I can say is that I’m not surprised… most people are stupid.

      Reply
      1. Tammy10 months ago

        Okay educated crazies!!!

        Reply
        1. Katie9 months ago

          calling something that you do not agree with crazy seems a bit narrow minded

          Reply
      2. Jerry Southard10 months ago

        No offense, Matt. I was referring to the “know-it-all’s” who don’t listen or question at the extremes of the normal curve. One definition of a crazy is a fundamentalist whether as a theologian or an atheist. Some say I am an atheist because I do not acknowledge the existence of a deity or spirit world or afterlife… that is my cognitive domain speaking. My affective domain feels a kinship or commonality with all kind. It has been said that the idea of a personal (G)god is whatever one’s mind imagines. I frankly can’t find an appropriate label. I’m just me…a work in progress.

        Reply
        1. Jimbo9 months ago

          There is no such thing as fundamentalist atheism. What fundamentals would a fundamentalist atheist be fundamental about?

          Reply
          1. Hamsa9 months ago

            Once a Fundie…ALWAYS a Fundie. Unless you are referring to the old-school types, all atheism in 2013 is FUNDAMENTALISM. Uneducated,bottom-line, and it tends to attract the lower dregs of society, and those lacking in education. Just another kind of Fundie.

        2. Gary Williams9 months ago

          You should be careful not to confuse atheism with anti-religionists or anti-Christians; people whose stance as a Satanist (eg.) nevertheless uses all the same imagery and language that Christians use to describe man’s /non-corporeal existence/plane/ whatever….after death…. all concepts that betray their deist beliefs in supernatural entities.

          Atheism rejects the entire notion of supernatural beings with the ability to effect the natural world in ways that defy the laws of physics, quantum physics, or any other natural “laws” not yet perceived by man, but that are, nevertheless, natural.

          Reply
      3. Bob9 months ago

        The greatest men of science have expressed their faith in God, including Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

        Reply
        1. Hamsa9 months ago

          Indeed.

          Reply
          1. Alex6 months ago

            That’s clearly a misquote of Einstein, Bob.

        2. Christine4 months ago

          They had to. They lived in a time that to admit atheism was self persecution.

          Reply
      4. Jack R5 months ago

        Thats a nice and balanced outlook on life. Lets make the correlation that if I am not atheist then by default my chances of achieving any form of intellectual success are nil.

        Reply
    4. eb ward9 months ago

      I sincerely appreciate your eloquent take on religion. That being said, how can you set and listen to “Hell Fire and Damnation” being taught to children and not speak up. If your other social group told your children they would burn for all eternity for not getting a merit badge, I would imagine you might have something to say. Call me the 5% crazy but, I feel those with rational minds do have a responsibility to not only shine the light on bad ideas but to call out those that are promoting nonsense. I understand you may not tithe and may not attend an active church but your mere attendance gives a license to those who do real harm in the world in your name. I miss the social aspect but, could never bite my tongue that hard.

      Reply
  39. Mike Schwager10 months ago

    According to Wikipedia, “A German census in May 1939, completed more than six years into the Nazi era and incorporating the annexation of mostly Catholic Austria into Germany, indicates that 54% of Germans considered themselves Protestant, (including non-denominational Christians) and 40% considered themselves Catholic.”

    That means that 94% of Germany’s population during Hitler’s regime tolerated Hitler’s anti-semitic pronouncements and policies, which led to the Holocaust and the slaughter of six million Jews, along with other minorities.

    There were a few German clergymen who stood out to take exception to Hitler, one of them the great Dietrich Bonhoeffer – but he and others were executed for their exceptionalism. So only a scarce minority acted as true Christians who lived the tenets of their faith with honor and integrity.

    I do not think religious affiliation necessarily means that people practice what they preach, especially when push comes to shove. Ethical and moral behavior must be judged on an individual basis, irrespective of religious affiliation or non-affiliation; or one’s professed spiritual inclinations. It would be nice to think otherwise, but to paraphrase the slogan of the State of Ohio: “SHOW ME!”

    Reply
  40. Cynthia10 months ago

    ….those that believe in the possibility of the existence of God.

    Reply
  41. Cynthia10 months ago

    I find it interesting that those who are college educated, consider themselves atheists instead of agnostic.

    Reply
    1. Cory Gage9 months ago

      I find it interesting that people still think that atheism and agnosticism are exclusive of one another.

      Reply
  42. Benjowo10 months ago

    Sorry, typo in my previous post, I meant check out origin-of-religion.com for an explanation of what “spirit” really means.

    Reply
  43. Benjowo10 months ago

    I cannot understand that “SKAN” can be an “atheist” but still believes in Ghosts etc. I am an unbeliever and that means I do not “believe” in anything supernatural. If there is ever “proof” that ESP exists or that prayer alters the outcome of an event then they are natural happenings and not supernatural anymore but “no proof” means that any conjured up explanation is just not acceptable. The most misinterpreted idea is “spirit” (from latin: spirare), It means “breath”. Check out origin-of-religion:The caveman knew that breathing was life. The great Spirit was the air (wind) invisible but powerful and breath was the small spirit, considered the life-force, which entered the body at birth and rejoined the Great Spirit at death.
    I do not call myself an atheist, agnostic or secular humanist since these concepts carry too much baggage, and mean different things to different people. Unbelievers have as many different opinions or political views as the religious people except they do not believe in a god.

    Reply
  44. afterallthat10 months ago

    God/Source/Creator/Universal Mind dwells from within each of us. Man created god in his own image. Most religions have as their roots, what we call pagan beliefs and traditions. What we all need to understand is that each of us—all of us—are connected whether we believe it or not. Religion is divisive—us against others.

    Reply
  45. Edward Baker10 months ago

    I think the number would be higher ,but atheists are usually shunned or bullied by the religious .We are looked upon as not good People.We represent only .02% of the Prison population ,with mostly non violent crimes. Atheists are however slowly becoming a force to be treated equally .The Agnostics are more Atheist than they admit to .Im sorry to dispell the rumors of being evil ,but Ateists are the kindest and most humane people I have met ….

    Reply
  46. Clark Bennett10 months ago

    No God, no spirit and no supernatural. You may believe whatever you wish but i will not honor or respect it in any fashion.

    Reply
  47. Mendal McEwen10 months ago

    One can fully know our Creator God personally when EVERY thought demands a decision. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast___” Isaiah 26;3

    Our Creator God is more then able to micromanage each and all who put each and all who put their trust in Him.

    “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4;7 It’s a unique peace. I weep a lot experiencing it.

    “Submit to God and be a peace with him:in this way prosperity will come to you” Job 22;21

    Most atheists are invariably among the intellectually elite. They, in effect worship their mind.

    Reply
    1. skeptic10 months ago

      “Most atheists are invariably among the intellectually elite. They, in effect worship their mind.”
      This is a nonsensical statement that displays a certain amount of ignorance when it somes to knowledge of atheism and the definition of “worship.”

      Reply
    2. Edward Baker10 months ago

      Why do you need to refer to a book with questionable ethics ,nunerous authors and has been edited and changed over 2000 years .???

      Reply
      1. Turk10 months ago

        Because they have nothing else as a frame of reference. They subjectively interpret natural phenomena as something unnatural in an effort to further their own delusion and use that book as unequivocal evidence of their claims, completely disregarding that a book is nothing more than a book. If their same logic were applied to an issue of Spiderman, it could be construed that he existed as well.

        Reply
    3. Lee Salisbury10 months ago

      Many believers like to quote bible verses as if to prove they are Christians not like those elitist rebellious atheists. Yet the alleged words of Jesus give little assurance that is the case, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say in that day, Lord have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name and done many wonders in your name? I will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from me you who practice lawlessness?” Mt 7:21-23
      As pointed out above, 94% of Germans were Christian and supported Hitler. May I suggest believers not throw their shoulders out of joint patting themselves on the back because they can quote a bible verse. Is it any wonder America is moving with Europe toward a secular worldview?

      Reply
  48. Alice10 months ago

    You can believe what you wish. But The Bible tell us Salvation is in Jesus Christ alone.
    He makes the rules. His death and burial and resurrection paid for all or sins. How sad for all the deception in the world.

    Reply
    1. Dan10 months ago

      Who cares what some book written by iron-age prophets who were just trying to make sense of their world in the absence of the scientific breakthroughs and technology we have at our disposal today had to say about salvation?

      Reply
    2. John10 months ago

      The Bible also says it’s ok to own slaves, and that eating shellfish, cutting your hair, and wearing garments of different materials are punishments worthy of death.

      Reply
    3. Humanist10 months ago

      Biblical citations are merely fictional stories to some. If one were to replace the words ‘Jesus Christ’ with ‘Invisible Pink Unicorn’, and read the citation again, one may begin to understand how ridiculous this fiction sounds to some ears. If this citation is intended to ‘frighten’ the non-religious into submission, one must understand how little meaning, and therefore how little fear, these citations invoke.

      Reply
    4. eb ward9 months ago

      I agree, How sad about deception. If only there was a way to determine truth. We should come up with some process or method if you will that gathers up knowledge, organizes that knowledge into guesses, tests those guesses and determines truth. What should we call it?

      Reply
  49. Jim Swayze10 months ago

    From a fellow in his 70s who has been through the religious wars: When pressed, I say as simply as possible that I am not a believer; if that’s not sufficient, I acknowledge that I am a non-believer. I don’t like being labeled in general, and atheist in particular has an antagonistic flair to it, in the ears of one who is a believer. I don’t want that because the polarity it creates accomplishes nothing. Faith is not a logical construct and therefore can’t be argued, fruitfully, at any rate.

    When I was young, I naively, and happily, thought the gods would disappear in my lifetime as people learned of Darwin and scientific explication of naturally occurring phenomena, and I took up the flag and charged into the fray. Only to learn it doesn’t work that way. We humans’ evolutionary makeup is such that we’re constantly “drawing a line in the sand.” “You’re either with us or against us,” as President W puts it as opposing camps erect their breastworks. Unless you’re into rape and pillage, pitched battles don’t accomplish much.

    Most thoughtful, reasonable people come to realize in their heart there are no gods actively interacting in human affairs. But most still maintain their faith because of its relationship with hope, and hope is a very natural emotion. Personally, I see such faith as a derogation of personal responsibility, but it does no good to say that. It’s negative. Better is a calm discussion of personal moral values; how to live a life well lived, to put it philosophically.

    Surveys like this, no matter how well conducted, grossly understate the true number of non-believers. Society devalues atheists (Reagan thought we shouldn’t be allowed to vote); people understandably don’t want to be looked down upon as something less, and so they are less than forthright in answering the survey questions. We change that, not by showing what good warriors we are but what good people we are.

    Reply
    1. John C. Willis10 months ago

      Very nicely put Mr. Swayze; very nicely put.

      Reply
    2. Christopher Chessum10 months ago

      I agree with much of what you say, but I don’t really follow why it’s antagonistic to call yourself an atheist. An atheist is simply someone who has no belief in a deity. If there are any negative connotations to the word “atheist” then that is largely due to the way the atheism has been misrepresented, and it’s all the more reason why rational people should claim the term back. I’ve never been ashamed of being an atheist. I have many religious friends; Christians, Muslims and Hindus among them. They know that I’m an atheist. It’s not a problem for them. We disagree on religion but agree about lots of other things. Such is life.

      Reply
      1. Jim Swayze10 months ago

        Certainly my intent was not to infer shame, and hopefully no one understood it as such. My concern is not shame but a desire to be heard, and I don’t want any label blocking that possibility.

        The label “atheist” causes me no problem other than it being a label, something I don’t enjoy because every label carries with it connotations, some which I can accept and some which I find distasteful. Connotations arise in the ear of the beholder; they are there before I arrive. That is, after all, what language means.

        My wording was that declaring oneself as atheist has an antagonistic flair about it, and I’ll stand by that. To believers, such a declaration initiates defense mechanisms, a call to battle stations, one might say, which closes out meaningful discourse. That’s human nature. The common ground we may have shared is gone and, in the believer’s eyes, we find ourselves in opposing camps. In this scenario, I knew the connotations associated with the label and yet chose to place myself, again in the believer’s eyes, against him. If my objective is to be heard, why would I choose such a course?

        As you imply, Christopher, wrong and misplaced connotations of the term, atheist, are misunderstandings in need of elucidation, to put it mildly. It’s frustrating. But this isn’t a math problem where a correction produces the desired response, “Oh, now I see.” That’s something we all must live with.

        We all feel our own missions in life, and if yours is reclaiming the term, atheist, then Godspeed (a little joke there, if you don’t mind). Personally, believing or not believing is not as important as simply living one’s life in accord with good moral principles. My objections lie with religious leaders who dupe people into immoral acts. That for me is of far greater concern than connotations associated with any labels. In speaking out against these religious leaders, I want to be heard. (I’ll add that being heard usually results in a dent in the believer’s armor, and that doesn’t bother me a bit.)

        Reply
        1. Cory Gage9 months ago

          What you speak of us exactly why I decided to embrace the term atheist. I avoided it for so long because I didn’t want to have that negativity hanging on me. In the end the only way I could help change that perception was to embrace the term and work towards creating a better image of it. I still hold at idea and work roars that end.

          Reply
    3. Kan8210 months ago

      Jim Swayze, I thoroughly concur with your points, especially the issue of faith as a “derogation of personal responsibility,” adding what I see paradoxically as faith/religiosity’s causing such a tragic lack of appreciation of personal strength, resilience, and appreciation of humanity’s beneficial achievements in alleviating or coping with the most challenging and tragic situations. Give yourself credit for surviving, rebuilding, living, aiding others rather than a deity which manifests nothing.

      Reply
    4. eb ward9 months ago

      Jim Swayze, Thank you for your struggle. Your words are inspiring, but there has to be a line in the sand. I am in my 40′s and in my lifetime my non religious parents have passed and left behind a legacy of six died in the the wool born again Christians, one that won’t say and poor little old me (a biologist). Of the thirty or so grand children (with the exception of mine) including the two doctors, are tea-party candidates. I have three family members that literally have constructed dooms day bunkers in preparation for end times as told in Revelation. I have family members educated in public schools where science teachers casually inform the students that science is all lies but you need to know it for the tests. I read Thomas Payne and think Oh, how far we have fallen. I wish the struggle was over but, in my little corner of the world I’m standing alone.

      We humans do, when the cause is sufficient, spend our lives. We throw ourselves onto the grenade to save our buddies in the foxhole. We rise out of the trenches and charge the entreched enemy and die like maggots under a blowtorch. We strap bombs on our bodies and blow ourselves up in the midst of our enemies. We are, when the cause is sufficient, insane.
      Orson Scott

      Reply
  50. Christopher Chessum10 months ago

    As an atheist myself, one of the main problems I encounter when discussing atheism with religious people is one of semantics. By and large, it suites religious people to define atheism as “the positive assertion that God does not exist.” That way, they can assert that atheism is a kind of faith. However, most atheists that I’ve encountered do not define atheism in those terms. Theos is the Greek word for God. Theism is the belief in God. The prefix “A” in front of the word “theism” simply denotes the absence of a belief in God. That is not the same as agnosticism, which is another misconception largely spread about by theists. Agnostics claim that one can have no knowledge of God. In terms of God’s existence, the agnostic position is that you just as well toss a coin. You have a 50% chance being right either way. The atheist position is not one of sitting on the fence in that way. Neither does atheism claim 100% certainty that a deity does not exist, since it is impossible to prove non-existence of something. However, in lieu of the lack evidence of existence, or of any sensible rationale for existence, the absence of a belief remains the default position. That is how I define atheism and it is how the vast majority of atheists I’ve encountered define atheism. Please let atheists define atheism for themselves.

    Reply
    1. Steven LOWE10 months ago

      Well said. i agree completely with what you say. I wish Pew knew and stated this instead of finding and citing that incorrect definition of atheism.

      Reply
    2. Dan10 months ago

      Yes.

      Reply
    3. Cory Gage9 months ago

      Agnosticism, when looking at the term and its place in philosophy, is more of a stance on knowledge, as in can we know if there is a god or not. The vast majority of atheists that I know state that thou can not know with absolute certainty that there I’d not a god of any kind, thus giving then an agnostic standing. Everyone falls into either the category of theist or that if atheist. Agnosticism of merely the level of certainty they have.

      Also, just to point out, looking at a 2004 copy of the marriam-webster dictionary gives the definition of atheist as one who Denny’s the existence of God (note the capital g).

      Reply
  51. skan10 months ago

    I am an atheist as i do not believe in god, however it does not mean i do not believe in ghosts, spirits, demons, angels, reincarnation, an afterlife, parallel universes, or any things such as these. There is way more to life than that which we perceive for me to say these things don’t exist. I think this is way a lot people that don’t believe in god still don’t identify as atheists as they think that atheism is a rejection of anything of a supernatural nature. I know it’s why I was hesitant to do so for quite a few years. I also do accept the idea that all we get is one life and that’s it but I think it’s as unlikely as the existence of god.

    Reply
    1. TallySkeptic10 months ago

      The problem is that the term “atheist” conveys ambiguous meaning on two dimensions — a certainty dimension and a breadth dimension.

      In terms of certainty, we have definitely, probably, and undecided positions.

      In terms of breadth, we have God (a particular god), all gods, or all supernatural phenomena.

      We need new standardized terms which are more precise with respect to these two dimensions.

      Reply
  52. Rick10 months ago

    I believe religion is that which keeps the poor from murdering the rich, as Ambrose Bierce noted.

    Reply
  53. Keith C.10 months ago

    How can you define an atheist as not believing in god then say there are “atheists” who do believe in god (and spirits)?? When you do the polls on bachelors will some be married too??

    Reply
    1. TallySkeptic10 months ago

      The problem is that “atheist” was not precisely defined in the survey itself.

      Reply
  54. Randy10 months ago

    Thinking about the meaning and purpose of life has nothing to do with spirits or spirituality. Don’t label me with false labels.

    Reply
    1. TallySkeptic10 months ago

      Maybe you are “philosophical” rather than “spiritual.”

      Reply
  55. David Dorn10 months ago

    One can be an atheist and still be spiritual without believing in a God. However, one cannot be an atheist and believe in a supreme being, or God. Bhuddism, Taoism, and Confuciionism all meet the criteria of spirituality without a supreme being. Being one with all does not make a supreme being, but simply unifies all that exists spriritually and physically.

    Reply
    1. TallySkeptic10 months ago

      I prefer the definition of “spirituality” which entails some belief in supernatural phenomena. There would be much less confusion if we just adopted a standard definition along those lines.

      Reply
  56. Felix10 months ago

    I would like to see a study done about people who believe in a God who were not brainwashed into belief as children. I doubt that many people as adults begin believing in imaginary characters. Religion would die out if the religious would stop brainwashing kids.

    Reply
    1. TallySkeptic10 months ago

      I doubt that it would die out, but my guess is that the percentages of believers and nonbelievers would be flipped from what they are now.

      Reply
  57. gpadanny10 months ago

    I think; I don’t believe. Prove it !

    Reply
    1. TallySkeptic10 months ago

      “Prove” is not a very useful concept in philosophy, unlike the case with geometry and symbolic logic. Better to say “rationally demonstrate…”

      Reply
  58. What needs to be heard!10 months ago

    I am a Christian, not a perfect one by any means, but a Christian nonetheless. Although I would love to downgrade the majority of you on your unquestionable stupidity, my religion tells me that “Thou shall not judge.” As a result, I will not call anyone out or explain to you why the things you believe are ignorant. However, it baffles me that anyone can call this majestic planet we live on and the things in it a coincidence. Things do not just pop out of thin air, there is a greater being behind it. I say this to help you, maybe it will turn your life around. God is real, heaven is real, and after we die we will be judged by the way we lived our lives on this planet. So heed my advice my friends, be kind unto others, and always live your life in a holy manner. May God bless you all.

    Reply
    1. Justin10 months ago

      So… I guess your religion tells you it’s OK to judge people as long as you do so in the most passive aggressive way possible?

      Reply
    2. Garth10 months ago

      My compliments for not calling us out (presumably “us” atheists) as ignornant, althought it sure sounds like you just did!

      So because your’e not educated and/or smart and/or interested enough to understand the origins of our majectic planet and the life it holds, that allows you to concude that God is real? That’s a mighty big leap! Are you interested in the truth, no matter what you have believed to this point. Could you handle it if you’re wrong?

      If living ones life in a “holy” manner has anything to do with the bible I want no part of it. If you do, you either haven’t read it or you’re not be honest with yourself.

      Reply
    3. Jay L10 months ago

      Earth is indeed special, or for us Earth-bound beings, even “majestic.” There is, however, mounting evidence that our rocky water world is not unique. And if it’s not unique, there’s no cause to resort to a higher intelligence to explain its existence.

      Reply
    4. what?10 months ago

      We are to believe that God just popped out of nowhere?

      Reply
    5. Gerry10 months ago

      “(It) baffles me that anyone can call this majestic planet we live on and the things in it a coincidence. Things do not just pop out of thin air, there is a greater being behind it.”

      A lack of understanding as to how things came about does NOT argue in favor of a “greater being”. It simply indicates that we don’t have most of the answers. Your claim has absolutely no validity in supporting your belief in God. You believe. That’s fine. But you don’t have the right to claim that something is too incomprehensible for most non-scientists to understand and use it to say “I WIN!!”

      It isn’t enough to claim that God exists. You have to prove it.

      Reply
      1. TallySkeptic10 months ago

        Not “prove it,” but “rationally demonstrate it.” Proving is not required in this domain. But, nevertheless, you have correctly pointed out that the other commenter is making a “God of the Gaps” argument, also known as “argument from ignorance.”

        Reply
    6. Torch2k10 months ago

      And I am an atheist – no more or less perfect than fellow-travelers like yourself, but doing the best I can. And it’s not only tempting to rebuke you for your passive-aggressive post regarding your membership in a superstitious cult, I believe it’s necessary. Just like you, I’m awestruck by the beauty and majesty of the cosmos that surrounds us; unlike you, however, I see no reason to resort to magic to explain it, especially when inquisition and reason pay such great dividends. Nothing just pops into existence, it’s true; least of all, inscrutable, illogical entities more unlikely than the phenomena they’re invoked to explain. I say this to help you, too, and hope you’d at least consider that if this temporal existence is the only life we have, it’s even more important that we live it well and share it judiciously with others; it’s too precious to waste. Be kind to others, yes. Live your life in a humane manner, I’d ask. And may all your efforts prosper.

      Reply
    7. skan10 months ago

      There’s this thing called science…

      Reply
      1. Stan10 months ago

        Science is only a tool that can reveal how things happen, not why

        Reply
        1. TallySkeptic10 months ago

          It depends on what you mean by “why.” Science helped to answer why the Challenger shuttle was destroyed and why rain falls. However, sometimes “why” pertains to motives of persons or intelligent agents. The “why” question is often irrelevant or inapplicable if a super person or intelligent agent does not exist. Science is also a tool to help determine what really exists.

          Reply
    8. TallySkeptic10 months ago

      Given the idea that “things don’t just pop out of thin air,” as you say, an eternal ordered and changing universe without any gods is perfectly compatible with that idea. The burden of rational demonstration is on you to show that there is a god added to that.

      Reply
    9. DB10 months ago

      Amen.

      Reply
    10. Humanist10 months ago

      I doubt many ‘Atheists’ out there think anything on this ‘majestic planet popped out of the thin air.’ Many would describe the countless millions of years of evolution that this planet and all life on it have experienced to be anything but a ‘pop’. ‘Believers’ cannot see the mountainous pile evidence of evolution before their eyes, yet blindly accept that their ‘God’ (who has yet to pile ‘His’ evidence) ‘exists’, and endlessly tell others that they ‘just have to believe’, as a child does in Santa and the Tooth Fairy.

      We do not ‘need’ help to ‘turn our lives around’, as many of us are well-educated, productive members of society, who are financially secure, emotionally stable, and living happy lives without the emotional crutch of ‘washing away sins’ and the ‘promise of an eternal afterlife’ to live as whole people. We are next to you at the soccer game, in line behind you in the grocery store, and driving beside you on the highway. We are no different than you, we simply have no need for external moral guidance. We can guide ourselves, with very well calibrated moral compasses, thank you very much. We are capable of owning our mistakes, we bear them on our own backs, without the need for the weak-willed, ‘Hail-Mary-please-wash-away-the-guilt’ down on our knees. We are strong.

      We have no need of cultish doctrine, supplication to a dominator, dogma, or ‘help’ from ‘imperfect’ (i.e. judgmental) believers. Believers so often assume that non-believers are living lives that are ‘so different’ from their own, and that we must all be immoral rapist, murdering, pedophile, thieves.

      I do not ‘heed’ advice from those who blindly follow and never question the immorality of brainwashing infants, the killing countless millions in the name of a fictional deity, mutilate the genitals of babies, ‘marry’ second graders to ‘God’, pile on needless guilt, judge others, threaten and coerce those who do not agree, insult the intelligence of others, toss around the label of ‘SINNER’ like petals on the wind, prey on the hopes, hearts, and minds of the weak and damaged, and flaunt their ‘moral superiority’.

      I would venture a guess that the reason that any believer would even read this thread would be in an effort to more firmly justify their ‘belief in god’, in a juvenile attempt to silence an inner questioning of their own ‘faith’, that remains unspoken (due to all that fear of fire and brimstone), but is naggingly tugging at foundations of their certitude in that tuneless mantra that ‘GOD IS REAL’.

      Heed MY advice- or don’t, as I really don’t mind what you do, but your ‘God’ just might, right?

      ‘Do not judge, lest ye be judged.’ Isn’t THAT how it goes?

      Reply
    11. Rachel Macdonald10 months ago

      If you replaced Jesus christ with Santa clause and Kingdom with North pole secret hide away, you would understand how absurd you sound to us. Unquestionable stupidity is certainly what you display. As an atheist I do feel very certain that God does not exist. I honestly feel that many priests believe he does not exist either, but they play along because of tax exemptions, perks, and for some, an endless supply of blind parents with blind faith that hand over their children to be molested. What God fearing man would Molest a child? I realize I have opened a can of worms there, but if your own priests don’t fear the all powerful god, why should we?

      Reply
    12. eb ward9 months ago

      I’m so glad you spoke up, I hadn’t heard that the world is not a coincidence. Thank you for sharing the news. Now I can stop all this Science stuff and pick up the book with all the answers. Which one is it again?

      Reply
  59. Leslie10 months ago

    To believe “IN” anything is nonsense to me. I believe evolution. I believe climate change. I believe the universe. All of those I believe and more because I experience and can know them everyday.

    People start believing “in” something when they find little to believe about themselves and see themselves separate from everything else.

    People I know say there is little in common about religion and being religious and their beliefs of a god, or gods; or no god, or no gods.

    Reply
    1. Joe Ransel10 months ago

      You don’t understand grammar.

      Reply
    2. Zadok10 months ago

      You contradict yourself from the start.
      You do believe in things that are being debated like climate change, evolution and the universe. Not all scientists are in total agreement on any of these things, so why believe in those things you just mentioned? Religion, like science, is always being debated. Therefore, it’s no more silly to study it. Of the things you believe in, views of climate change and Darwinian evolution are happening right now. For example, recent advances in the human genome project cast some doubt on evolution, just as there’s new evidence that suggests that global warming is in it’s end phase. Thing is, since we can never know enough about the physical or spiritual world, it’s best to keep an open mind.

      Reply
      1. Leslie10 months ago

        An open mind looks for questions, not answers.

        Reply
        1. Jimbo9 months ago

          An empty mind resorts to meaningless rhetoric.

          Reply
      2. Gary Williams9 months ago

        Your assertion that there is still a debate regarding AGW or biological evolution reveals one HUGE difference between the two camps of science and deism. Deists tell each other, tell themselves, and tell anyone who will listen blatant falsehoods on a regular basis, knowing full well that what they are claiming as “scientific beliefs” do not exist outside their own (deist) circles.

        Go take the NFC Scale. I guarantee your score will be higher than the average of scientists, of the more educated, and of atheists.

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        The NFCS was designed to assess individuals’ “motivation with respect to information processing and judgment.” Need for cognitive closure is defined as a desire for an answer in order to end further information processing and judgment, even if that answer is not the correct answer.

        5 sub-scales of NFC
        :
        Desire for predictability
        Preference for order and structure
        Discomfort with ambiguity
        Decisiveness
        Close-mindedness

        Reply
    3. TallySkeptic10 months ago

      To “believe in” is not nonsense. When people say that they “believe in God” they usually mean that they believe THAT God exists. This is beside the point that they are very probably mistaken.

      Reply
  60. Jo Unrau10 months ago

    I’m not American, I’m Canadian but I’m a 67 year old atheist. I’ve sampled different religions & read a lot & my conclusion is people invented religion because they are full of fear & can’t accept the fact that when they die that’s the end for them. They want to believe they won’t really die but go some place where there are no more problems or pain. Religion doesn’t make any sense, evolution does.

    Reply
    1. 4everateo10 months ago

      Jo-I’ll b 67 in about 3 weeks and I to believe in your theory. I understand the fear when religions were created, but we now have the knowledge to understand. When we see comets, eclipses, and tsunamis we now know either their origin or cause. Well most of us anyway.

      Reply
      1. Garth10 months ago

        I agree that fear was one of the original drivers that help establish religion. People liked the answers someone provided and soon a cult turned into a religion. Why we, as intelligent, educated people in the 21st century continue to believe, is simply because we were told to believe. Not one, but effectively thousands of times and in our youth when we are most vulnerable. Most of us under estimate how difficult (or for some virtually impossible) it is to shake this kind of mind control, however non-malicious it was when administered.

        Reply
    2. Zadok10 months ago

      You can’t really escape God in the sense that humans have a major tendency of putting authority figures before them, be it the State or a spiritual type deity. A totally God-less culture tends to rely exclusively on government for sustenance, and government ends up enveloping the whole person while it whittles away on human rights and democratic principles. Allowing religion to exist within a secular culture helps both believers and non-believers who appreciate living in a free society. In other words, a totalitarian society is detrimental to democracy, no matter what your belief system is.

      Reply
      1. Felix10 months ago

        That makes no sense at all, people don’t replace belief in imaginary gods with government. What a load of mental tripe.

        Reply
      2. TallySkeptic10 months ago

        In a society without a God belief, I don’t really see why government could not work for the common good without whittling away on human rights and democracy. Why could it not promote the latter?

        Reply
    3. skan10 months ago

      Not believing in an afterlife has little to do with atheism. I really wish certain atheists would stop pushing this idea. To be an atheist is to not believe in god, that’s it.

      Reply
      1. TallySkeptic10 months ago

        Actually, one definition of “atheism” is lack of belief in any supernatural phenomena, and that would include an afterlife. Again, there is a lack of standardized definitions of the different types of atheism.

        Reply
    4. Mike Strom9 months ago

      Jo, My maternal grandmothers family name is Unrau, I wonder if we are related. Well, I guess I can answer that, we are related, we certainly share a common ancestors. But I wonder if we share a family history in a time frame of the last couple hundred years :-)

      Reply
  61. Robert10 months ago

    Buddhism is an example of a religion which expressly rejects any personified god or “god-head”, although many popular/vernacular forms of the tradition incorporate otherworldly beings, demons and ghosts into the pantheon.

    Reply
  62. patrick venton10 months ago

    To me, atheism takes away the need for a cultural emotionalism based on fear of oblivion .

    Reply
  63. Wayne Ollick10 months ago

    It seems obvious from this report that semantics are in play when it comes to whether or not you are an Atheist. Apparently, many people have their own definition of the word as opposed to the dictionary meaning. Not surprising to me since I view that the great majority of human beings live and operate through their emotions (Right brain). As such, details are not their strong suit. As an Overviewer (Google it for more understanding), however, I try to let my rational mind (Left brain) take the lead in my daily functioning. Now, the most intriguing statistic in this article to me is #5. Firstly, the difference between how atheists feel and how all American adults feel does not appear to be statistically significant. Secondly, I, as an Overviewer, feel almost completely opposite to the statistical groups. That is, I do not feel any strong or weak connection to the earth or nature. I feel that both of them are foreign to me and I have a strong sense that I (we) do not belong here. Nature is incredibly cruel and the earth is an extremely dangerous place. I do not feel any kinship whatsoever to those things. I am put here not by my own means or desire so I have to deal with this venue. But it is not even close to what environment I would choose, if I had a choice. I would love to know if others feel that way or if I stand pretty much alone, but I suspect the difference is linked to the fact that I am an Overviewer (rational thinker) as opposed to those who think primarily through their ‘emotions’. Anybody care to comment?

    Reply
    1. joeg10 months ago

      I actually am having a hard time reconciling your saying that you have very little connection with nature and the earth with your saying that you are a rational thinker. And the reason is that, rationally, you must see that as a human being you have evolved from some simple organism that started in the ooze, just as all plants, animals, and hybrids have done. Therefore, it would seem logical (i.e., rational) to have an extremely tight connection with both nature and the earth.

      And you make me curious to know what kind of environment you would choose.

      Reply
    2. Jo Unrau10 months ago

      Maybe this started out as a prison planet where an advanced civilization wanted to get rid of the worst criminals in their society. That would account for the garden of Eden stories & I suppose the judge who sentenced them would be god. We have a history of that sort of thing, Australia for example. It would also account for why there are so many insane, vicious, heartless humans if our ancestors were all terrible people who were too dangerous to keep on their home planet. Some research on this idea might be worth while.

      Reply
      1. TallySkeptic10 months ago

        Possible, but very unlikely. Not sure how you’d do any research on this. You’d first have to find a god, alien, or alien civilization which COULD set up Earth as a prison.

        Reply
    3. Bercilak10 months ago

      You aren’t alone. I fear most humans are unable to think rationally on a regular basis – some at all. Now to Google Overviewer

      Reply
    4. Diana Marie Evans10 months ago

      I’m having a hard time finding “overviewer” in Google search. My bf thinks as you do. We are both agnostic but he believes we come from Orion. What do you think about that possibility? I’m not really sure. Seems plausible, I guess, but, eh, I want more proof!

      Reply
    5. TallySkeptic10 months ago

      Nature is a mixed bag. It has good and bad. It depends on one’s focus.

      Reply
  64. James Hodge10 months ago

    J think Facebook is vastly overrated and will disappear within 10 years.

    Reply
  65. James Singer10 months ago

    If the god pesterers and snake handlers would quit telling atheists what they really believe, we’d all be better off.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Coco10 months ago

      I like your answer and appreciate it!

      Reply
  66. Jayson Rex10 months ago

    Humans are by and large unable to face the end of life without a reasonable “follow-up”. Hence the need for God. Before monotheism became the religious plat-du-jour, many idols filled the vacuum. With the advent of Judaism followed by Christianity (and later by Islam, a different type of religion), idols were discarded and replaced by one God – a concept that was easier to assimilate.

    What keeps religion ‘alive’ is the fear of death that haunts all humans. In truth, there is no God, no paradise or hell, no nothing. Randomness ‘explains’ life on earth, the Universe, etc. Is there life on other planets? Of course not. Why should it be? Randomness does not strike twice the same way or in the same place.

    For true believers, how can they explain a number of phenomena: jihadists killing in the name of Allah (God), Nazis killing millions of Jews for no reason except envy and hate, Christians (especially Catholics) torturing and burning alive “heretics”, etc. and etc.

    Hindus and Buddhists have a much better track record but not even they are innocent of brutal killings.

    So the question that begs an answer is WHERE WAS GOD WHEN ALL THAT HAPPENED? Maybe “on vacation”. Who knows?

    Reply
    1. Garth10 months ago

      Jayson, you were doing so well untill the part about there [absolutely] being no life on other planets. While we have zero credible evidence to say there is, the shear number of solar systems and planets out there (billions of billions at least) suggests we may not be the only planet that has been so lucky. So the correct answer I would argue, is … we don’t know. And acknowledging that is far better than jumping to a conclusion with insufficicient evidence, or worse still … making one up. Mankind is very much guilty of both.

      Reply
    2. TallySkeptic10 months ago

      Your claim “Is there life on other planets? Of course not. Why should it be? Randomness does not strike twice the same way or in the same place” is a non sequitur. Life is the result not only of randomness but also of an orderliness inherent in the universe. And so, it is likely that there is life elsewhere in the universe, although it might not be just like life on Earth.

      Reply
      1. eb ward9 months ago

        Given the estimated numbers of inhabitable planets. It would be reasonable to assume that there is not only life on other planets but numerous planets with life and numerous instances of intelligent life. I just wouldn’t expect to see any at this distance.

        Reply
  67. Marc10 months ago

    I would consider what is said by Diana Nyad as more of a agnostic view. The athiest position is a popular ideal; in all probablity, a persona. It is based on an dichotomy, not much in the world has two ends with nothing in between.

    Reply
  68. Michael Fullerton10 months ago

    In fact the most important fact about atheists is that atheism in all its forms has been proven to be false. The argument is very simple. A human being is only atoms and nothing more. These atomic interactions result in human-level mental states. It is impossible for mental properties to magically arise out of nowhere. Therefore atoms must have simple mental properties. Since atoms are really just energy, energy itself also must have even simpler mental properties. The entire Universe is just ultimately energy as well. This means the Universe must have some kind of mental life. IOW the God of pantheism is proven true. Atheists do not believe in this reality. So they must believe the impossibility that mental states magically arise out of nowhere.

    You can Google “The No God Delusion: Deconstructing The Atheist Myth” for the full argument.

    Reply
    1. Bob10 months ago

      Hilarious! IOW, the ancient Greek pantheon and/or Hinduism is the true religion? So, how do we know that the potential for mental capacity an inherent property of atoms, embedded somehow in dark matter and/or energy? Why is a supernatural humanly-behaving entity required for that?

      Reply
    2. Shadowwork10 months ago

      Plants are made up of atoms. Therefore, plants have human-level mental states. Ergo, eating plants is to cannibalism as atheists are to vegitarians. Thus, creation museums espouse true eccumenical doctrine as law in response to scientific theory. In conclusion, Atheists don’t unbelieve in false truisms against wrong apocriphal falsehoods.

      Reply
      1. Christopher Coco10 months ago

        Thank you!

        Reply
    3. Matt McDowall10 months ago

      let me explain to you why you are very much ill informed.

      1) “A human being is only atoms and nothing more” – Correct.

      2) “atomic interactions result in human-level mental states” – I’ll give it too you.

      Now here is where you go wrong:

      3) “It is impossible for mental properties to magically arise out of nowhere” – i don’t understand what you mean, but mental properties and conciousness don’t “arise” our of “nowhere”. It is a chain of chemical reactions that cause this.

      4)”Therefore atoms must have simple mental properties.” – Say what? No. Atoms are atoms…they don’t think…is a hydrogen atom – water?? No..it must have a chemical reaction with Oxygen to cause water….understand? A hyydrogen Atom does not have “water properties” like you alluding that atoms have mental properties…thats insane.

      5) “Since atoms are really just energy, energy itself also must have even simpler mental properties” – yet again, same point as above. your just trying to work yourself back after failing point 3. Energy does not have mental properties.

      6) “The entire Universe is just ultimately energy as well. This means the Universe must have some kind of mental life” – and you keep going on this point….same argument as before.

      7) ” IOW the God of pantheism is proven true” – the God of pantheism??? don’t you mean the idea of patheism is correct?

      Reply
      1. Michael Fullerton10 months ago

        You have not explained how I am ill informed only pronounced it.

        You claim mental properties and consciousness don’t arise out of nowhere yet you claim they magically arise when certain chemicals react. Or in the atomic world when atoms interact with each other. When a fundamentally unique property “arises” it is created from nowhere. It is not explainable in term of simpler properties like non-magical phenomena. Since you believe atoms and energy have no metal properties you believe mental properties magically arise out of nowhere.

        Water properties are illusions like human-level metal states. Both are explainable in terms of lower-level properties.

        Reply
    4. Cowtown10 months ago

      That logic is flawed. Atomic interactions also make plastic and jelly beans. That doesn’t mean plastic or jelly beans have mental properties. Its the complexity that creates various substances, elements and properties. Just as a computer can “think” its because of how those properties are used and manipulate, not because those atoms have mental abilities.

      I can’t understand why people have such a visceral rejection of a belief that there isn’t some supernatural being or force out there.

      Reply
      1. Michael Fullerton10 months ago

        You have not explained how my logic is flawed only pronounced it is. High-level mental states rely not only on complexity but on extensive information exchange.

        I am not advocating a supernatural force, merely explaining the reality of the purely natural God of pantheism. You built a straw man and yet accuse me of illogic.

        Reply
      2. Michael Fullerton10 months ago

        You have not explained how my logic is flawed only pronounced it is. High-level mental states rely not only on complexity but on extensive information exchange.

        I am not advocating a supernatural force, merely explaining the reality of the purely natural God of pantheism. You have constructed a straw man logical fallacy and yet accuse me of illogic.

        Reply
    5. Bald Eagle10 months ago

      Mr. Fullerton…

      Your argument is built on an unprovable premise, namely: “It is impossible for mental properties to magically arise out of nowhere.” This is surely an extraordinary claim.

      “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence was a phrase made popular by Carl Sagan. It is the heart of the scientific method, and a model for critical thinking, rational thought and skepticism everywhere.

      “The evidence put forth by proponents of such things as gods, ghosts, the paranormal, and UFOs is highly questionable at best and offers little in the way of proof. Even if we accepted what evidence there is as valid (and it is highly debatable if we should), limited and weak evidence is not enough to overcome the extraordinary nature of these claims.”

      Sorry.

      Reply
    6. Garth10 months ago

      This is an incredibly sad, pathetic and desparate argument. Obviously your have drawn your conclusion first and only then are trying to twist/invent an arguemet (evidence?) to support it …. insteand of gathering and examining the evidence (including a lack thereof) and then, and only if possible, come to a conclusion. In many cases, there is absolutely nothing wrong with concluding we don’t know, at least not yet, ie more evidense is needed.

      Reply
    7. Felix10 months ago

      You totally misunderstand science, is that willful ignorance?

      Reply
    8. skan10 months ago

      Ok let’s say there is a god. Do you really think he sent himself here to die for our sins? Do you think he answers prayers? If a god somehow does exist it is beyond our comprehension and we exist at it’s whim. It is unaware or unconcerned wit outr existence

      Reply
    9. TallySkeptic10 months ago

      You’ve presented an interesting hypothesis, but haven’t come even close to substantiating it.

      No, atheism has not been proven to be false. If atheism is defined as “lack of belief in a supreme being,” then atheism cannot be proven to be false since a lack of belief, unlike belief, can be neither be proved nor disproved.

      It is possible that mental properties arose (not magically, but naturally) out of complex neural networks without atoms having simple mental properties.

      The Universe does include some kind of mental life; it is mental life of humans, at the least. Even if it were true that energy itself has mental properties (there is a simpler explanation of mental life), it would not necessarily mean that the god (not God) of pantheism is proven true. If mental properties were ubiquitous in energy, they might not operate altogether as a unit which is required in the concept of a god.

      Reply
      1. Michael Fullerton10 months ago

        Atheism has been proven false. If you don’t believe something is true when it is true you are harboring a false dogmatic belief.

        Fundamentally unique properties arising which are not explainable in terms of lover-level properties require a magical creation out of nowhere.

        The God of pantheism does not require all energy to operate together as a unit. It only requires the Universe to be possessing of mental states which it has to unless you believe mental states magically arise out of nowhere.

        Reply
        1. Cowtown10 months ago

          Atheism hasn’t been proven false, you only proclaim that it has.

          We are not only made up of atoms, by the way, but subatomic particles, but I’ll give your inaccuracy a pass. Close enough.

          I can’t say you are wrong, because its impossible to disprove something that there is no evidence for.

          If you can make the leap from humans having mental states to atoms having them, show us the data. If you can hypothesize, test, publish and have peer reviewed that conclusion to support your hypothesis, I’ll believe you.

          Reply
          1. Michael Fullerton10 months ago

            Thank you for pointing out my error on subatomic particles. I have presented an otherwise exceptionally precise logical argument for the undeniable existence of the pantheistic God. It relies on a wholly reasonable assumption that fundamental properties cannot magically arise out of nowhere.

            My detractors here have only presented misinformation and logical fallacies (bare assertion, ad hominem, straw man, appeal to authority). The burden of proof is on those irrational people, like atheists, that believe mental states can magically arise out of nowhere to prove that they can.

            I have proven my case logically and thus scientifically. I do not have to appeal to any authority to accept the truth. I appeal only to logic.

    10. Mike Strom9 months ago

      Atoms are most definitely NOT “just energy”. Atoms are matter. E=mc^2 does not say, or mean, that everything is just energy, it simply expresses that matter can be converted into energy, and energy can be converted into matter, and gives you the exchange rate between the two. Misunderstanding things that are equal to mean they are the same can be hazardous. $5=McDonald’s Happy Meal so I might as well just eat this $5 bill and save a trip to McDonald’s.

      To illustrate further, though many a new age disciple has rapt poetic about all things being “just energy”, there is no logical reason not to switch the misunderstanding the other way and say:

      “As we know, all energy is really just matter, and as anyone who has slammed a door on their fingers or been punched in the face knows, matter striking you at high velocity can really hurt, even KILL! So please…PLEASE do not go outside during the day, because you will encounter the suns energy in the form of LIGHT, which is traveling at…ummm, well…the speed of light, which is really fast, and since energy is really just matter, going outside will instantly bash your brains in”

      Michael, while the above paragraph is designed to be entertaining it is most definitely not a bare assertion, ad hominem, straw man, or appeal to authority. It is just a logical argument one is able to construct given the premise that matter and energy are the same thing. I am a great fan of logic, it is a necessary, but not sufficient, part of the critical thinking process known as science. Your sentence “I have proven my case logically and thus scientifically” clearly shows you need a little more education in what science is and what logic is and their relation, just as your knowledge of what matter is and what energy is and there relation could use a little more educational upbringing. This is not an ad hominem, just a gentle nudge to go explore the wonders of our universe in greater depth, preferably not on the internet, where we all tend to just go looking for, and finding, what we already believe. May I suggest heading up to your local university and chatting up some physics professors, maybe even taking some of their classes?

      Finally, I’d like you to do an experiment, it is a really easy one that I think you will find most enjoyable. I’d like you to go test both of our perfectly logical conclusions based on the premise that matter is the same as energy. Go outside, maybe even at daybreak and let the glorious warmth of the suns energy envelop your body. Fear not, for even though you proved with logic that atoms must have conscience, and so I assume have accepted my equally robust logic, based on the same premise, that the light from the sun will hurt really bad, maybe even kill you, I think you will find the experience quite pleasurable. Bask in the light of that experiment and consider how logic is not science, and how your reasoning must have been wrong, and try to think of other experiments you may perform to test the flights of fancy that pure logic can become without the grounding of good rational science and experimentation.

      Have a great day.

      Reply
  69. Max T. Furr10 months ago

    I would suggest that all who claim to be atheist should Google Dawkins’ 7 point Spectrum of theistic probability found in his book, “The God Delusion.”

    1. Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.

    2. De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.

    3. Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.

    4. Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.

    5. Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.

    6. De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.

    7. Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.

    Personally, I am a 6, as is Dawkins.

    Reply
    1. Peter Everts10 months ago

      Been a seven for most of my life. Including in a “foxhole” in Vietnam.

      Reply
    2. Matt McDowall10 months ago

      6 for a diestic god.

      I’m a 7 for a theistic god.

      Reply
    3. Christopher Coco10 months ago

      I’ve read it and I am a seven.

      Reply
    4. Carol A10 months ago

      You may stand alone, but I hope not for your sake. I personally have a strong connection to the earth. But if we evolved, the same as the rest of nature, I’m not sure that’s at odds with rationality. Yes, nature is often cruel, but it also provides sustenance for all creatures and it is beautiful, whether from a scientific understanding of the “laws” of nature or from a more “emotional” approach. Even creatures are sometimes very kind in taking care of orphans from another species. That’s not the rule, but it does happen.

      Also, in terms of feelings, there is a “rationality” to feelings. One can trace feelings in a more thoughtful/rational way. We do, however, tend to get stuck with those feelings even when they are no longer appropriate to certain situations.

      You say you are put here by your own means or desire. Really? How do you mean that. Seems we come into life by two people’s connection, intended or not. We happen. Then we get to determine what purpose for staying here that we choose.

      Reply
      1. Everett9 months ago

        “Yes, nature is often cruel, but it also provides sustenance for all creatures and it is beautiful, whether from a scientific understanding of the “laws” of nature or from a more “emotional” approach.”

        Respectfully, no, nature does not provide sustenance. All the creatures in nature take sustenance from the earth. There is no “provision.” There is no intellect in nature at work here. The beings that live here take what they need. Bird, cow,dog, human.

        Reply
    5. Christopher Chessum10 months ago

      Exactly! Most atheists are know are number 6 atheists. Including me.

      Reply
  70. Arkie Bama10 months ago

    this is silly,, a atheist that believes in a god. how ridiculous !
    a person that believes in a god (by definition) can not be a atheist.
    that’s like saying i’m a vegetarian but i don’t eat vegetables.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Coco10 months ago

      I wish this thing had a like button for your comment.

      Reply
    2. DB10 months ago

      It also is true that a Christian cannot hate or judge other people by definition. However, there are some folks that identify as ‘Christian’ who do judge or discriminate against other people. It is fairly common for folks to have a misunderstanding of terminology in the English language and that is part of what this survey reveals.

      Reply
  71. george doyle10 months ago

    I do not belive in a god period. I do believe that in a democracy the rule is buy the majority, and I live by the golden rule. I am tired of atheists trying to tell the majority that they have to leave their religous symbols and beliefs at the door. I definetly donot want religion in politics. I believe in Santa Clause .

    Reply
    1. Max T. Furr10 months ago

      He he, if I COULD only “buy” the majority. :D –I know it was a typo. I’ve done the same before.

      Reply
      1. TallySkeptic10 months ago

        I fear that some groups are buying the majority or trying to.

        Reply
    2. Gerry10 months ago

      “I am tired of atheists trying to tell the majority that they have to leave their religous symbols and beliefs at the door.”

      But they aren’t. What they are trying to do is prevent members of any one religious group (almost overwhelmingly Christian in America) from using the government to force everyone to bring religious symbols and beliefs in the door. If someone wants to pray quietly at their desk at school, that is their right, guaranteed by Article One of the US Constitution. If the government, through its agents in the school, forces all students to participate–passively or not–in a religious demonstration, that is a violation of Article One. If a church wants to set up a nativity scene on their (privately-owned) property, that’s their right under Article One. If a group of Christians want to set up a creche on park grounds (government-controlled taxpayer-supported, non-private property) that is a violation of Article One.

      If someone wants to freely practice their religion, that’s their business. When any government body gives a forum to only those folks with a particular belief, then that’s saying that only certain beliefs are acceptable.

      That’s why atheists are opposed to any official, government-sanctioned religious displays.

      Reply
    3. skan10 months ago

      The religious symbols shouldn’t be there to begin with, though should there be any it should be those of the native americans as our founding fathers stole their land and all but exterminated them.

      Reply
    4. TallySkeptic10 months ago

      You have to leave your religious symbols and beliefs at the door. Which door? The door of the government. You have to leave your religious symbols and beliefs out of the structures of government — the laws, the procedures, the buildings, the money, etc. The Constitution and ethics require that you do this.

      There, you’ll have to be tired of it again.

      Reply
    5. eb ward9 months ago

      Majority rule is great when you are in the majority. We should try ruling with compassion and reason for a while and see how that goes.

      Reply