Wild Card Wednesday: Rising Atheism in America

The US is increasingly portrayed as a hotbed of religious fervour. Yet in the homeland of ostentatiously religious politicians such as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, agnostics and atheists are actually part of one of the fastest-growing demographics in the US: the godless. Far from being in thrall to its religious leaders, the US is in fact becoming a more secular country, some experts say. “It has never been better to be a free-thinker or an agnostic in America,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the FFRF.

The exact number of faithless is unclear. One study by the Pew Research Centre puts them at about 12% of the population, but another by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in Hartford puts that figure at around 20%.

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This is one of those things that is heavily influenced by where you live.

Exceptions exist, of course, but someone in a small, rural, community usually lives under a different set of cultural mores than someone in, say, Los Angeles.

U.S. readers, how homogenous is your community? What percentage of your friends and family members share your (ir)religious beliefs? Have you noticed a change in that percentage over the last decade or two?

0 Responses to Wild Card Wednesday: Rising Atheism in America

  1. My rural hometown community seems fairly homogeneously faithful.  We even have a no-alcohol-sales-on-Sunday law.  I travel the country for work, and I can tell you that you are correct in saying that faith is heavily influenced by where you live.  The biggest shift I’ve seen in the past decade is veering away from hellfire and brimstone churches towards more God’s-love-focused churches and more prosperity-based churches, which only seems to make the conservative branches dig in harder and yell louder.  In my own family, there is a lot of spiritual diversity.  It goes from atheist to ultra-conservative, young earth creationist, and even to there-are-many-paths-to-God faith (as in you do not necessarily have to worship Jesus to be saved, even though Jesus is the one doing the saving).

    • ” The biggest shift I’ve seen in the past decade is veering away from hellfire and brimstone churches towards more God’s-love-focused churches and more prosperity-based churches, which only seems to make the conservative branches dig in harder and yell louder. ”

      That’s really interesting. I wonder how this will progress in 20 years?

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