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Guest
Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 4:54:52 AM

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NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time in its history, the United States does not have a Protestant majority, according to a new study. One reason: The number of Americans with no religious affiliation is on the rise.

The percentage of Protestant adults in the U.S. has reached a low of 48 percent, the first time that Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has reported with certainty that the number has fallen below 50 percent. The drop has long been anticipated and comes at a time when no Protestants are on the U.S. Supreme Court and the Republicans have their first presidential ticket with no Protestant nominees.

Among the reasons for the change are the growth in nondenominational Christians who can no longer be categorized as Protestant, and a spike in the number of American adults who say they have no religion. The Pew study, released Tuesday, found that about 20 percent of Americans say they have no religious affiliation, an increase from 15 percent in the last five years.

Scholars have long debated whether people who say they no longer belong to a religious group should be considered secular. While the category as defined by Pew researchers includes atheists, it also encompasses majorities of people who say they believe in God, and a notable minority who pray daily or consider themselves "spiritual" but not "religious." Still, Pew found overall that most of the unaffiliated aren't actively seeking another religious home, indicating that their ties with organized religion are permanently broken.

Growth among those with no religion has been a major preoccupation of American faith leaders who worry that the United States, a highly religious country, would go the way of Western Europe, where church attendance has plummeted. Pope Benedict XVI has partly dedicated his pontificate to combating secularism in the West. This week in Rome, he is convening a three-week synod, or assembly, of bishops from around the world aimed at bringing back Roman Catholics who have left the church.

The trend also has political implications. American voters who describe themselves as having no religion vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. Pew found Americans with no religion support abortion rights and gay marriage at a much higher-rate than the U.S. public at large. These "nones" are an increasing segment of voters who are registered as Democrats or lean toward the party, growing from 17 percent to 24 percent over the last five years. The religiously unaffiliated are becoming as important a constituency to Democrats as evangelicals are to Republicans, Pew said.

The Pew analysis, conducted with PBS' "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly," is based on several surveys, including a poll of nearly 3,000 adults conducted June 28-July 9, 2012. The finding on the Protestant majority is based on responses from a larger group of more than 17,000 people and has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.9 percentage points, Pew researchers said. Pew said it had also previously calculated a drop slightly below 50 percent among U.S. Protestants, but those findings had fallen within the margin of error; the General Social Survey, which is conducted by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, reported for 2010 that the percentage of U.S. Protestants was around 46.7 percent.

Researchers have been struggling for decades to find a definitive reason for the steady rise in those with no religion.' The spread of secularism in Western Europe was often viewed as a byproduct of growing wealth in the region. Yet among industrialized nations, the United States stood out for its deep religiosity in the face of increasing wealth.

Now, religion scholars say the decreased religiosity in the United States could reflect a change in how Americans describe their religious lives. In 2007, 60 percent of people who said they seldom or never attend religious services still identified themselves as part of a particular religious tradition. In 2012, that statistic fell to 50 percent, according to the Pew report.

"Part of what's going on here is that the stigma associated with not being part of any religious community has declined," said John Green, a specialist in religion and politics at the University of Akron, who advised Pew on the survey. "In some parts of the country, there is still a stigma. But overall, it's not the way it used to be."

The Pew study has found the growth in unaffiliated Americans spans a broad range of groups: men and women, college graduates and those without a college degree, people earning less than $30,000 annually and those earning $75,000 or more. However, along ethnic lines, the largest jump in "nones" has been among whites. One-fifth of whites describe themselves as having no religion.

More growth in "nones" is expected. One-third of adults under age 30 have no religious affiliation, compared to 9 percent of people 65 and older. Pew researchers wrote that "young adults today are much more likely to be unaffiliated than previous generations were at a similar stage in their lives," and aren't expected to become more religiously active as they age.
Magical_felix
Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 8:07:31 AM

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I wonder is this is because now people have access to so much information. Like with the internet I can find out a whole lot about different religions. Like paganism and how christianity seemed to come from that in order to control an unruly population by a king, for example. Information like that tends to discredit religions to me.

Before, if you lived in some small town and everyone is 7th day Adventist and had no access to any kind of information other than what the religion and its practitioners are telling you then what else do you do besides join em. Seems normal and understandable I guess. But now teens can see the "silliness" in religions at an early age before it's tattooed into their brains.

I saw something about the Amish. It was on some news magazine thing. But they said that the kids not returning to the Amish way of life after rumspringa was on the rise. Since they either choose baptism (or some kind of communion, I don't remember) Or go out to live like the "english" you can take it as a rejection of religion too. I wonder if this is happening in their community too because of new technologies and information being easily obtained in a couple minutes. They can see all that they are missing or think they are missing.



Guest
Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 11:43:07 AM

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Magical_felix wrote:
I wonder is this is because now people have access to so much information. Like with the internet I can find out a whole lot about different religions. Like paganism and how christianity seemed to come from that in order to control an unruly population by a king, for example. Information like that tends to discredit religions to me.

Before, if you lived in some small town and everyone is 7th day Adventist and had no access to any kind of information other than what the religion and its practitioners are telling you then what else do you do besides join em. Seems normal and understandable I guess. But now teens can see the "silliness" in religions at an early age before it's tattooed into their brains.

I saw something about the Amish. It was on some news magazine thing. But they said that the kids not returning to the Amish way of life after rumspringa was on the rise. Since they either choose baptism (or some kind of communion, I don't remember) Or go out to live like the "english" you can take it as a rejection of religion too. I wonder if this is happening in their community too because of new technologies and information being easily obtained in a couple minutes. They can see all that they are missing or think they are missing.


I do see a good chunk of your points and do agree with them but at the same time I think a good chunk of the reason why atheism is on such a rise is because I think people are seriously getting tired of the Psychological abuse that religion is bringing to them along with the physical abuse and believe me there is just as much physical abuse as there is psychological that and I think that it's long past time for this country to grow up from religion and just be human for once
elitfromnorth
Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 4:52:11 PM

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ElectricOutcast wrote:


I do see a good chunk of your points and do agree with them but at the same time I think a good chunk of the reason why atheism is on such a rise is because I think people are seriously getting tired of the Psychological abuse that religion is bringing to them along with the physical abuse and believe me there is just as much physical abuse as there is psychological that and I think that it's long past time for this country to grow up from religion and just be human for once


Please clarify; do you believe that people who have a faith(i.e. aren't atheists) are dumber/less mature/less human than yourself? because your post may very well seem like you actually mean that.

"It's at that point you realise Lady Luck is actually a hooker, and you're fresh out of cash."
She
Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 10:44:45 PM

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elitfromnorth wrote:


Please clarify; do you believe that people who have a faith(i.e. aren't atheists) are dumber/less mature/less human than yourself? because your post may very well seem like you actually mean that.


May I? giggles





I am not saying that every religious person is dumber than non religious, but.. People from the pic are not lonely exceptions and you know that.
Actually there was quite a thread while ago about this subject that you brought up..but I cannot find it, it keeps error_ing me..
Dani
Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 10:56:47 PM

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I'm with elit on this one. Claiming everyone just do away with religion is just another view shoved down someone's throat. People have a right to what they believe. Religion isn't all bad and it isn't all good.

@She, that picture, while entertaining, doesn't represent a whole group. I can easily google an image of an Athiest saying something dumb on the internet, so it's kind of irrelevant.

I've just always hated the theory that anyone who rejects religion is intellectually superior to those who don't. Athiests who dangle their athiesm in people's faces are just as bad and obnoxious as the religious who force their views down someone's throat.

I truly hope this isn't the direction we're headed in.





We're tiny. We're toony. We're all a little looney. And in this cartoony, we're invading your TV.

She
Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 11:18:40 PM

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slipperywhenwet2012 wrote:


@She, that picture, while entertaining, doesn't represent a whole group..

As it's very clearly stated from my side as well.



and Edit: Can we please stop talking and accusing the whole it doesn't mean/represent the whole group, every living person? not just you slippery all of us. Of course that I/we am/are, not talking about every one, it is personal opinion, usually formed based on majority of people/situations/and so one.. I can seriously doubt that you truly are accusing me of being so silly that I would formed my opinion for every religious person as less intellectual than Atheists, but majority is.
.. of course it doesn't represent the whole group. What does? In what situation? Nothing. ..in anything. OK?



slipperywhenwet2012 wrote:
I can easily google an image of an Athiest saying something dumb on the internet, so it's kind of irrelevant.

Please do if you wish to do so.


slipperywhenwet2012 wrote:
I've just always hated the theory that anyone who rejects religion is intellectually superior to those who don't. Athiests who dangle their athiesm in people's faces are just as bad and obnoxious as the religious who force their views down someone's throat.

Thing with me is, that I don't have a need to defend the whole non believers groups (which is usually the case with religious people, they are usually defending the whole system) my believes are enough for me, I am always defending only my views (and I am obviously not emphasizing this enough, my views can be easily changed, with a good argument) and I dont need you or anyone else to be part of my views, I can go into battle of life by myself without group of similar thinkers around me.


p.s.
Love the whole shit happens thing :)
clum
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 2:40:28 AM

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I can't say I'm surprised that atheism is on the rise. I believe that is also the case here in Scotland.

Religious organisations the world over are letting down their members resulting in many people not only leaving the organisation but abandoning their faith altogether. People don't trust The Church (for example) like they used to; greed and corruption abound almost everywhere you look in religious spheres.

Choice is a big factor as well. Fewer and fewer children are being made to believe what their family believes, with an increasing number of parents letting them decide for themselves. This probably plays a big part in the reason why a particular religion is not dominating any more - even those who are taking up religious views are attracted to a wider range of religions which are now globally accessible to them.

Jack's point about access to information is a very good one. A lot of people can convince themselves quite easily of the falsehood of any religion if they know enough about it; as a teenager I did that very thing with Christianity. Also, similar to above, this access to information allows people to explore more "obscure" religions, or those not predominantly practiced in their region, hence spreading the "religious share" a bit more thinly.

I suppose the most important thing is not that everyone holds the same views but that all people can coexist, be tolerant of one another and continue to have constructive dialogue.

The lion is most lionlike when he roars.
elitfromnorth
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 6:05:32 AM

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I think one big thing is the fact that many religions that are being voiced have refused to modernise and work with science. If I had the choice between believing that the earth was 6000 years old because the radical interpretation of the Bible says so and science says the whole shebang started 6 billion years ago I'd go for science anyway. Along with for instance the Catholic church always saying "No condoms" and along with other outdated statements that really cause more misery than good then it's no wonder people walk away from organised religion.

But I'll think there are more people who don't follow a certain distinct religion but still consider themselves Christian or Muslim or whatever. The amount of science added with the growth of a feeling of individuality makes people more to move away from organised congregations.

One thing that I do feel the need to add is that whenever I hear atheists say that people who have a faith are either stupid, need to grow up, brainwashed or anything similar, they just prove that they're just as intolerant as those that denounce gays and say everybody who don't follow their way will burn in the eternal flames of hell. I don't judge you for NOT having a faith, so drag your nose down from the sky and stop thinking you're better than me just because I don't want to follow your way. That's the kind of attitude that causes hostility.

"It's at that point you realise Lady Luck is actually a hooker, and you're fresh out of cash."
TheGulfCoaster
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 9:07:44 AM

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I didn't see the AP article quoted in the first post, but the report I DID read said that although 'religion' is on the decline (siting the Protestant Church no longer being a majority in the US) 79% of Americans (as a population group), still believe in a supreme being, so America is far from becoming an atheist nation, they have just given up on organized religion due to the lies, hypocrisy and double standards as they apply to the Human race. I'm not going to share my spiritual beliefs, but I try to live by the tenets shared by virtually every religion or spiritual philosophy on the planet that Christianity calls 'the Ten Commandments' in the Old Testament. Organized religion has simply lost the respect of the masses. Can you blame them?

Search YouTube for some of the George Carlin clips dealing with religion, the man was a genius.

I tend to go by what M. Gandhi said, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians, your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
lafayettemister
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 9:45:47 AM

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Really not surprising to read this. We as a global people have stopped believing in anything.





When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
Kitanica
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012 5:23:48 AM

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Cthulhu: "I destroy everyone equally"

now were talking, a god I can get behind.
doctorlove
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012 7:37:58 AM

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I don't believe in atheist!
She
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012 7:50:40 AM

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doctorlove wrote:
I don't believe in atheist!


You mean in atheism? giggles
doctorlove
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012 9:17:13 AM

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She wrote:


You mean in atheism? giggles
.

Actually, I don't believe in people who are atheists or claim to be and atheism. Thank you for that correction.
She
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012 9:24:23 AM

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doctorlove wrote:
Thank you for that correction.


It was more of a teasing than anything else, it was funny to me what you said and I went for it.
'I don't believe in atheist' - 'I don't believe in God'
It was funny comparison and it sounded that atheist is some kind of a god, giggles.
Too funny, but could be that is just in my head evil4

DirtyMartini
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012 9:26:16 AM

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Here you go...just saw this the other day...



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Lush Erotica, an Anthology of Award Winning Sex Stories

elitfromnorth
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012 1:23:57 PM

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"God is dead"
- Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead"
- God

"It's at that point you realise Lady Luck is actually a hooker, and you're fresh out of cash."
She
Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012 6:25:03 AM

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elitfromnorth wrote:
"God is dead"
- Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead"
- God



ahahaha, I just saw this!..so either way we are screwed!LOL
Guest
Posted: Sunday, November 04, 2012 4:56:32 PM

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Imagine if we called the planet 'God.'
Maybe then we would stop eating it, fucking it, and shitting all over it.
hamz
Posted: Sunday, November 04, 2012 7:24:19 PM

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Alas.... a good news after a very very long time! cheers occasion5
Green_Man
Posted: Sunday, November 04, 2012 10:23:44 PM

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All I can say is Hallelujah!

deadlogger
Posted: Wednesday, November 07, 2012 9:14:46 AM

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What people call themselves or what they are labelled matters very little. What matters is how they treat other people.
Guest
Posted: Wednesday, November 07, 2012 12:10:40 PM

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I wonder if the number of atheists is on the rise or if people just don't care what others think of them anymore. Used to be you had to see and be seen in church on Sundays or you would get snide remarks made behind your back as well as openly. Now perhaps people just don't give a shit and tell the sheeple to clean up their own lives before trying to clean up others.
Then again, maybe they just want some kind of proof instead of being bullshitted all the time.Whistle
hamz
Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012 5:26:33 PM

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hamz
Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012 5:27:07 PM

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chefkathleen wrote:
I wonder if the number of atheists is on the rise or if people just don't care what others think of them anymore. Used to be you had to see and be seen in church on Sundays or you would get snide remarks made behind your back as well as openly. Now perhaps people just don't give a shit and tell the sheeple to clean up their own lives before trying to clean up others.
Then again, maybe they just want some kind of proof instead of being bullshitted all the time.Whistle


Atheism and 'going to church' (or any other place of worship) are quite different things...Many people would classify themselves as theists/believers... even though they may not participate in religious activities on a regular basis...
in fact.. I would go a step further and say that religion has nothing to do with god perse (even if we assume that god exists).. religions are man made after all....
Guest
Posted: Friday, November 09, 2012 1:19:25 PM

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hamz wrote:


Atheism and 'going to church' (or any other place of worship) are quite different things...Many people would classify themselves as theists/believers... even though they may not participate in religious activities on a regular basis...
in fact.. I would go a step further and say that religion has nothing to do with god perse (even if we assume that god exists).. religions are man made after all....


To an extent it is the same. There are a few bible thumpers out there that only go to church on the high holidays. Doesn't make them any less of a christian. At least in their eyes. Sometimes people hide their true selves because of their peers. Happens all the time.
It will be years before an Atheist holds high office in this country. Or at least admits he/she is one. This place is full of hypocrites and it won't change anytime soon.
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