• Study: Southerners, ethnic minorities catching up to the rest of American society in parting with religion

    A new analysis from UC Berkley confirms some of the data we have seen already: Americans are abandoning religion fast.

    Those most likely to be unaffiliated: the youth, political liberals, those living on the Pacific coast or in the Northeast, and those with advanced education. But interesting, even among groups that used to show lowest rates of lack of religious affiliation (those living in the South and ethnic minorities) very impressive shifts are observed.

    And the high numbers of religiously unaffiliated (as would be expected) reflect those abandoning their religious upbringing, as in the previous decades, the society was a lot more religious, and today’s unaffiliated were raised with religion. This trend is nowhere more pronounced than among the catholics (and to some extent liberal protestants), whereas conservative protestants are slightly gaining.

    As always, belief in God is a more complex question, and answers depend on how it is asked.

    The first two groups together would represent atheists and agnostics, making up about 9% of the public and roughly matching previous estimates (36% of 20%, or about 7% of the total, in the Pew American Values Survey). The third group, roughly matching a deistic or Jeffersonian viewpoint, is the one showing the biggest uptick. Again, numbers for the secular groups (first 3) more or less match the numbers we have seen before. And the biggest losing group in this table is the last one: those having the highest confidence in existence of God showing the biggest decline.

    Overall the picture looks good. The catholic church is losing out; the youth are abandoning religion in droves; and traditionally religious geographical and ethnic groups also showing significant progress.

    Somehow I don’t think this is going to make Gallup all so happy.

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    Article by: No Such Thing As Blasphemy

    I was raised in the Islamic world. By accident of history, the plague that is entanglement of religion and government affects most Muslim majority nations a lot worse the many Christian majority (or post-Christian majority) nations. Hence, I am quite familiar with this plague. I started doubting the faith I was raised in during my teen years. After becoming familiar with the works of enlightenment philosophers, I identified myself as a deist. But it was not until a long time later, after I learned about evolutionary science, that I came to identify myself as an atheist. And only then, I came to know the religious right in the US. No need to say, that made me much more passionate about what I believe in and what I stand for. Read more...

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