One of the more fascinating developments in our time is the nearly absolute contrast between data and the claims by many that religion, church, Christianity and even God are all dying out. So, it is not without interest to me (and to many readers of this blog) that What Americans Really Believe studied this very question.
About a year ago I read that Thomas Jefferson thought Christianity would die out in his generation; Thomas Woolston said in the 17th Century that religion would be gone by 1900. And in the 1960s this view was very common, and Peter Berger (who later changed his mind) joined in the chorus to say by the 21st Century religion would be private and in conventicles.
Dawkins says teaching kids religious beliefs is child abuse. Dennett divides the world into the brights and dulls. And the vocal atheists today want to blame religion for the most brutal moments in history, avoiding (duplicitously) Hitler, Stalin and Mao.
So is the number of atheists on the incline? (after the jump)
Irreligion, by the way, is not transmitted well by irreligious parents. The majority of children reared in irreligious homes become religious.
Is the vocal presence of atheism a sign of despair and desparation? (Novak said so.)
What about other countries, and what does the Europeanization of America issue say? The most remarkable stat here is about Russia, which is the same as the USA: 96% believe in God, 4% atheists — after decades of atheist education and systemics. Stark speaks here of the “ineptitude” of the Russians and Chinese in trying to educate atheism.
Great Britain: 5%
Czech Republic: 8%
Stats worth pondering:
Education: atheists are better educated, 28% of whom have a graduate degree.
Income: upper income brackets.
Gender: 73% are male.
Race: in the Baylor 2005 survey, of the 133 African Americans, not one was an atheist.
Age: nothing to observe.
Family background: 53% say they were irreligious at 12 yrs old; only 8% say there were religious at 12; 31% had irreligious parents; atheists are disproportionately Jewish.
Politics: overwhelmingly on the left.
The godless age never dawned, however often it has been predicted.