Jump to content

Atheist/agnostic Attitudes Growing?


Recommended Posts

It is so hard to quantify, but do you think more and more people are atheist/agnostic? Most young couples I know couldn't give a fuck about religion and many people I know go through the church attendance motions, but really don't take it seriously.

Also, there seems to be an upsurge in sales of books that disprove religion in general. Your observations? Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Note: All Regularly Contributing Patrons enjoy Ex-Christian.net advertisement free.

Hey there Garrison. I guess it would be difficult to really get a good estimate on whether or not there are a growing number of atheists and agnostics. Especially if we are relying on anecdotal evidence. I mean it could be that we hope for something so much that it skews our assessment of what the real situation is.

 

Perhaps a web search could produce some numbers? :shrug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the popularity of the atheist books selling right now attests to the fact that the majority of people in the polls who say they believe in God, are really not that super-religious element that gets all the attention in the media and politics at this time. The majority of "believers" go to church for social/cultural reasons and do not take these beliefs that are part of those institutions literally. They identify themselves as Christians because it’s their culture, and as part of this identification, the answer to the question, 'do you believe there is a God?’ is answered 'Sure'. But do they really? Literally?

 

People who call themselves an agnostic traditionally in this country in a very large way do so because it's a safer, kinder term that allows them to say they don't quite feel apart of the system that was their parents and their own culture's beliefs, but are open to the idea if they can be persuaded, thus not slamming the door on the idea of God and alienating themselves from their own culture too badly. It's a bit of a misnomer that stating you are an agnostic means you leave the door of possibility open. Atheists do too, unless they are fundamentalist atheists who wear their disbelief like a religious robe. In the strictest sense, if you don't believe presently that any gods exist (even if you think you maybe could some day), your current beliefs don't include them which makes them a-theistic or having no-god.

 

I feel these books on atheism are popular because of how many people there are like this out there that have not had the exposure to these sorts of ideas being published in the mass market. Your average person is not going to sit down with a copy of Voltaire, but they will pick up a New York Time's best seller by Richard Dawkins. I feel what we may be seeing are people who currently don't go to the churches yet still say they believe in God buying them because they give voice to those thoughts they've been having that may be otherwise too dangerous for them to explore or discuss themselves in any public way. I also feel people who are in the churches who go as part of their culture, but don't really buy the whole system and themselves are exposed to culture of knowledge and many philosophies outside the church doors, are likewise finding their thoughts being given voice in the expressions of people like Dawkins.

 

In other words, I think you're not seeing an increase in the number of atheists (or agnostics if they prefer the easier term); you are seeing what is there all along. Maybe they will start finding a voice that's more their own now. It's about time. :grin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All the major bookstores in Sydney that I've been to don't carry any books on Atheism whatsoever.

 

I found only one small bookdealer who had "The God Delusion," in the science section. The religious section is always just bibles and books about Jesus and God (and the occassional Koran). Books on Buddhism/Hinduism/Taoism/Confucianism are always in the New Age section. When I asked if they had books on Atheism at Dymocks (Ozzy version of Barnes & Noble) the sales lady suggested I look in the medical section!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it depends on where you live. Here in Michigan, I really don't hear a lot about religion from people I interact with. When I lived in Alabama, it was rare to not run into at least one in-your-face Christian a day. The only way I could avoid them there was to stay inside my apartment. In Oklahoma, in-your-face Christians are fairly common, but not a daily run in like in Alabama. Arizona was much like Michigan, religion was just not a topic that came up that often.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the popularity of the atheist books selling right now attests to the fact that the majority of people in the polls who say they believe in God, are really not that super-religious element that gets all the attention in the media and politics at this time. The majority of "believers" go to church for social/cultural reasons and do not take these beliefs that are part of those institutions literally. They identify themselves as Christians because it’s their culture, and as part of this identification, the answer to the question, 'do you believe there is a God?’ is answered 'Sure'. But do they really? Literally?

 

People who call themselves an agnostic traditionally in this country in a very large way do so because it's a safer, kinder term that allows them to say they don't quite feel apart of the system that was their parents and their own culture's beliefs, but are open to the idea if they can be persuaded, thus not slamming the door on the idea of God and alienating themselves from their own culture too badly. It's a bit of a misnomer that stating you are an agnostic means you leave the door of possibility open. Atheists do too, unless they are fundamentalist atheists who wear their disbelief like a religious robe. In the strictest sense, if you don't believe presently that any gods exist (even if you think you maybe could some day), your current beliefs don't include them which makes them a-theistic or having no-god.

 

I feel these books on atheism are popular because of how many people there are like this out there that have not had the exposure to these sorts of ideas being published in the mass market. Your average person is not going to sit down with a copy of Voltaire, but they will pick up a New York Time's best seller by Richard Dawkins. I feel what we may be seeing are people who currently don't go to the churches yet still say they believe in God buying them because they give voice to those thoughts they've been having that may be otherwise too dangerous for them to explore or discuss themselves in any public way. I also feel people who are in the churches who go as part of their culture, but don't really buy the whole system and themselves are exposed to culture of knowledge and many philosophies outside the church doors, are likewise finding their thoughts being given voice in the expressions of people like Dawkins.

 

In other words, I think you're not seeing an increase in the number of atheists (or agnostics if they prefer the easier term); you are seeing what is there all along. Maybe they will start finding a voice that's more their own now. It's about time. :grin:

 

 

I believe your assessment, without quantification, accurateld depicts what I am observing anecdotally. Interesting post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it depends on where you live. Here in Michigan, I really don't hear a lot about religion from people I interact with. When I lived in Alabama, it was rare to not run into at least one in-your-face Christian a day. The only way I could avoid them there was to stay inside my apartment. In Oklahoma, in-your-face Christians are fairly common, but not a daily run in like in Alabama. Arizona was much like Michigan, religion was just not a topic that came up that often.

 

Thanks for this analysis. It gives me something by which to compare this part of Canada. Religion is a topic that seldom comes up. All the same, there's a church on every street corner and nonChristian religions are highly visible. But then, this is Canada. Due to legislation, for the most part overt Christianity is carefully kept on church property. I've found, though, that this does not keep individuals from pushing religion when they think it is warrented (by their judgment).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Psycho of the Sea

I have noticed here lately that quite a few people who I work around seem to be pissed off at God! I listen to them as they talk and can tell they are highly pissed at him and some even hint at not even believing in him! They don't come staright out and say it of course or they would be tar and feathered around here. We are ate up with Fundies here in Louisiana! There seems to be a lot of folks out there who are right on the verge of seeing the truth! Maybe someday soon the dam will break and reason and knowledge will break out all over!

 

"Psycho"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's just a simple matter of being pushed enough to where we feel compelled to push back. I don't know about all of you but I'm sick of other people judging me and my decisions based on their opinion of what an ancient book says. "God" doesn't condemn anyone (for obvious reasons), men do.

 

It's a matter of intolerance. Many of us aren't tolerated for our views on life and, as a result, are starting to become more vocal. Should we really be made to tolerate injustices? The president (and his daddy) seem to think so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Psycho has a valid point - there are a lot of people right on the verge of seeing the truth. It is like a dam breaking. The water starts seeping out slowly but once it does, the crack widens and eventually the thing collapses. That is also a good analogy for how I became an ex-Christian. The seeping took about 30 years, the collapse took about a month. Once that happened I initially thought I was alone. I did not find this site until after it occurred.

Before I found this place, the thought came to mind that if about 90% of US residents believe in God, 10% did not. I live in a town of about 100,000 people. So statistically there should be about 10,000 atheists living around me. Not to get bogged down in statistics, but if I remember correctly, about 3% of the population (including my son) has red hair. Think of the number of red heads you see daily and that is about a third the number of atheists you see every day!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.