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Here's What We Know About The 2.4% Of Americans Who Are Atheists
Business Insider ^ | 11/07/2013 | Pew Research Center's Fact Tank

Posted on 11/07/2013 11:02:25 AM PST by Responsibility2nd

This post originally appeared at Pew Research Center’s Fact Tank blog.
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:

1. 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-10 atheists (43%) have a college degree, compared with 29% of the general public.

. 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-10 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.


TOPICS: General Discusssion; Skeptics/Seekers
KEYWORDS: atheism; atheists
I'm posting this in Religion because....
1 posted on 11/07/2013 11:02:25 AM PST by Responsibility2nd
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To: Responsibility2nd
Bishop Sheen: Revealed Truth
2 posted on 11/07/2013 11:05:03 AM PST by Berlin_Freeper
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To: Responsibility2nd

They have a heck of a lot of pull, getting all other religions banned from the public square, making Atheism the State Religion.


3 posted on 11/07/2013 11:06:00 AM PST by NonValueAdded (It's not the penalty, it's the lack of coverage on 1 Jan. Think about it.)
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To: NonValueAdded

Atheists might argue that you are confusing Atheism with Liberalism.

Not all Atheists are liberal. But all liberals are godless.


4 posted on 11/07/2013 11:08:47 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Atheism and religious belief in America: interesting trends


5 posted on 11/07/2013 11:09:50 AM PST by Heartlander (We are all Rodeo Clowns now!)
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To: Responsibility2nd

because the Banglist is full?

atheists are angry and confused,
like this Poll.


6 posted on 11/07/2013 11:11:05 AM PST by Big Red Badger ( - William Diamonds Drum - can You Hear it G man?)
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To: Responsibility2nd

2.4% is hard to know much about in polling due to the error rate. The conflicting logic is more indicative of confusion than a belief system.


7 posted on 11/07/2013 11:11:18 AM PST by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: SampleMan

i think the conflicting logic is the result of a lousy poll


8 posted on 11/07/2013 11:13:35 AM PST by babble-on
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To: Responsibility2nd

Surprise, surprise....it seems that atheists may also be homosexuals. Wonder why they don’t like God?


9 posted on 11/07/2013 11:13:57 AM PST by txrefugee
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To: SampleMan

Isn’t 2.4% just a point or two different than the percentage of homosexuals in America?

And look at the (bleep) storm of damage they do. If only atheists also had the power of the press and of the government on their side. Imagine where they would be!


10 posted on 11/07/2013 11:15:51 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: SampleMan

My experience is that there are a small number who adopt atheism as a real ideological position, and then a larger number to glom on and say “I’m an atheist”, because they are afraid of being ridiculed by atheists if they say otherwise.


11 posted on 11/07/2013 11:16:13 AM PST by Boogieman
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To: Responsibility2nd

There are no Atheists in a fox hole. Its’ a cliché but will always be true. I believe God understands this, as our free will allows to us to wander off and lose our way at times.


12 posted on 11/07/2013 11:20:04 AM PST by gibsonguy
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To: Boogieman
IMHO:

Most vocal atheists are argumentative personalities in all things. I think they latch onto atheism for its usefulness as a catalyst for arguments. In short, they just love to stir the pot and have found one subject that will get a rise out of even usually meek people.

Many other avowed atheists are just mad at God in some form and are acting out, challenging God to prove Himself to them.

13 posted on 11/07/2013 11:21:10 AM PST by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: gibsonguy

I’m pretty sure there are atheists who have seen combat before.


14 posted on 11/07/2013 11:22:40 AM PST by darkangel82
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To: Responsibility2nd

only 2.5%???

Based on all the hostile comments they tend to post on YouTube, and after news stories, you’d think they’re 70% of the population!

Are they all just sitting around a computer entering comments 24\7?


15 posted on 11/07/2013 11:26:05 AM PST by MNDude
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To: darkangel82

With all due respect, please have enough imagination to avoid being a literalist.


16 posted on 11/07/2013 11:27:22 AM PST by gibsonguy
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To: Heartlander
Atheism has shown some organizational skill, and has produced some engineering marvels, some advances in public housing, some agricultural novelties, and some novel strategies to prevent type II diabetes. ; )
17 posted on 11/07/2013 11:31:43 AM PST by Heartlander (We are all Rodeo Clowns now!)
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To: Berlin_Freeper
Bishop Sheen: Miracles

Bishop Sheen Audio Life Is Worth Living

18 posted on 11/07/2013 11:34:42 AM PST by Berlin_Freeper
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To: Responsibility2nd

I’m an Atheist. I try not to stick it in people’s face though. I will engage in polite arguments though.

I’m also pro-life, married and have 3 kids. All 3 will be raised to think for themselves. If they choose to believe in god I have no problem with that. As long as their not militant about it. That’s where the trouble starts on both sides of the argument.


19 posted on 11/07/2013 11:35:24 AM PST by strider44
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To: Responsibility2nd
My opinion about atheists is that they are unhappy people and want everyone else unhappy also. Don't see many of ‘em going into muslim countries and attempting to espouse their “nonbeliefs “ on them.........hmmmm, wonder why.
20 posted on 11/07/2013 11:35:49 AM PST by V_TWIN
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To: Responsibility2nd

Atheists and the non-religious, are overwhelmingly democrats.


21 posted on 11/07/2013 11:38:00 AM PST by ansel12 ( Democrats-"a party that since antebellum times has been bent on the dishonoring of humanity.)
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To: ansel12

And almost all CINOs(Catholic in name only) are democrats also.


22 posted on 11/07/2013 11:39:59 AM PST by mc5cents (Pray for America)
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To: gibsonguy
There are no Atheists in a fox hole. Its’ a cliché but will always be true.

LOL.

23 posted on 11/07/2013 11:56:41 AM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett

God bless them anyway.


24 posted on 11/07/2013 11:57:22 AM PST by nascarnation
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To: Responsibility2nd

I think most self-described atheists are really agnostic. I think the agnostic position requires far less faith than atheism requires and is more honest as well.


25 posted on 11/07/2013 11:57:29 AM PST by muir_redwoods (Don't fire until you see the blue of their helmets)
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To: babble-on

No, I’d guess it was just people who don’t know what words mean... your average liberal


26 posted on 11/07/2013 12:08:13 PM PST by Viennacon
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To: mc5cents

JINOS are more common it seems.


27 posted on 11/07/2013 12:08:48 PM PST by Viennacon
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To: muir_redwoods

Well, that would depend on whether they adhered to weak agnosticism or strong agnosticism.


28 posted on 11/07/2013 12:09:29 PM PST by Viennacon
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To: Responsibility2nd
Some of the confusion comes from the word itself: an "atheist" would seem to be one without a theology, though the actual definition is one that lacks a belief in god or believes that there is no god.

This confusion explains why some without a belief in a literal god but an adherence to a theology don't call themselves "atheist", and why some that are spiritual but don't have a recognized theology call themselves "atheist".

Same thing has happened with the word "socialism". Many people believe that any collective social action is a form of socialism. No. Socialism is a system where labor controls the means of production. That's something else entirely.

29 posted on 11/07/2013 12:22:27 PM PST by freerepublicchat
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To: strider44
If they choose to believe in god I have no problem with that. As long as their not militant about it.
Other than the "religion of peace" what other religions endorse and/or support militants?
30 posted on 11/07/2013 12:32:28 PM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: SampleMan

If the argumentative “atheists” were intellectually honest, they would be agnostic because they cannot offer objective proof of their belief.


31 posted on 11/07/2013 12:35:18 PM PST by JimSEA
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To: Responsibility2nd
Here's What We Know About The 2.4% Of Americans Who Are Atheists

That's pretty close to the number who are queer. I wonder if their atheism cures them of the disgust that normal people feel about homosexual behavior.

32 posted on 11/07/2013 1:05:41 PM PST by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed & water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: JimSEA

If the argumentative “atheists” were intellectually honest, they would be agnostic because they cannot offer objective proof of their belief.

<><><><><

Would that not then be also true of theists? That to be intellectually honest they would be agnostic for the same lack of objective proof?


33 posted on 11/07/2013 1:29:04 PM PST by dmz
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To: JimRed

See post 10. I’m betting many atheists wish they had the power of the press and of the government promoting their ideals like the queers have.


34 posted on 11/07/2013 1:29:31 PM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: James C. Bennett

Sheesh, another literalist. Besides, let’s see what happens once the bullets start flying.


35 posted on 11/07/2013 1:32:30 PM PST by gibsonguy
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To: gibsonguy

“.... as our free will allows to us to wander off and lose our way at times.”

.
And it is exactly the actions of our free will that is the basis of God’s judgment.

No free will, no responsibility, no culpability, no judgment.


36 posted on 11/07/2013 2:06:17 PM PST by 353FMG
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To: dmz
Would that not then be also true of theists? That to be intellectually honest they would be agnostic for the same lack of objective proof?

LOL, don't expect that to be answered in humility. After all, all that they have is from n-th hand transmission.

37 posted on 11/07/2013 2:10:25 PM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: dmz

A theist would likely not require objective proof. He / she has declared a belief, not asserted an objective fact.


38 posted on 11/07/2013 2:32:51 PM PST by JimSEA
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To: Responsibility2nd
From http://peacebyjesus.witnesstoday.org/RevealingStatistics.html#Atheists

Atheists


39 posted on 11/07/2013 2:36:14 PM PST by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: daniel1212

Nice set of facts and data there. Thanks for posting.


40 posted on 11/07/2013 2:41:03 PM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: Responsibility2nd
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.

Ummmm... Either these people are very confused about the definition of "atheist" or I am...

41 posted on 11/07/2013 2:55:10 PM PST by Billthedrill
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