How many atheists and agnostics are there really in America, or in the world?
The Pew Forum indicates that about 16% of Americans are "unaffiliated," which includes 3 groups:
Nothing in particular: 12.1%
Nevertheless, there are tons of people who officially belong to this or that church or temple, but they don't really believe in it.
So how many atheists or agnostics would you say there really are, all told? How many really fit the definition, but are either lying to themselves, or aren't willing to admit it to a pollster?
There are no "atheists."
There are only those who haven't done their homework and call themselves "atheists."
Well, it's funny, I heard the exact same thing from someone else, only it was reversed: "agnostics are just weak, cowardly atheists who don't want to admit that there really is no god!"
Or some such thing.
Maybe there are no atheists, no agnostics, no secularists, no theists, no polytheists, no henotheists, nobody... maybe this is all a dream...
hmmm. so i'm not an athiest. strange because i honestly think you are and so are many people who claim to be religious.
The definition of atheism is: to deny the existence of god/s.
How can one deny the existence of that which cannot be defined in any form but opinion?
There is nothing to deny but an "opinion."
I never get this definitional issue. God is clearly defined in all of the major religions. Sure, you may not believe that he exists, but he is clearly described in all sorts of detail.
I of course agree "God" is just an idea or an opinion, but people have had thousands of years to flesh out that idea!
I think the first ever Atheist never existed as there is no historicity of any such person.
Is there any ?
Of course not. He was killed for not believing.
Ummmm, now that you mention it, Paar, I think the first ever human being never existed as there is no historicity of any such person.
Hey, wait a minute, does that mean none of us actually exist?! Holy crap!!
If they were free thinkers; then why change the name to Atheists or Agnostics or Humanists etc?
Was a free thinker a bad name?
It hasn't changed, people call themselves what they want to. I am a free thinker. Religion is myth designed to rule over others.
yes free thinker was a bad name. It has been replaced on most lists of bad names by christian and the dreaded true christian as the worst.
You need a definition of God before you can answer your question.
The Muslims are growing and the Christians are shrinking.
Do you really think that they believe in the same God?
Most of the agnostics are actually atheists but they've been misled about the definition of atheism. Most people wrongfully think all atheists believe there is absolutely no God and couldn't possibly be one when this is only a description of Strong or Gnostic Atheism. I've never met a strong atheist or talked to any or even heard of anyone arrogant enough to believe they KNOW there is no God.
So if more people knew that you can be agnostic and atheist at the same time I think the numbers would be about 10% atheist-agnostics with 6% nothing in particular (pantheists, deists, undecided, etc)
I told you that the first ever Atheist simply does not exist.
yes, if you want to give me a label, then I am both agnostic and atheist. I don't believe in the supernatural, but I'm not 100% certain. This doesn't make me an easy convert though - another myth about agnostics.
let's also remember, certain types of buddhists can be classified as athiests
You won't get many replies.
There's been a bit of a campaign to ban all the athiests from the forums, so there's none left. :-)
Really? I wasn't aware of any such campaign. But then, I haven't been spending every waking moment on the forums like some people around here, lol.
Well, at the moment it's late at night here in America, so I guess it will be some hours before we see more responses.
yes, maybe I should become a pastafarian. That spaghetti monster is cute
I think the disproportionately large and underrepresented group are the genuinely confused. I don’t mean agnostics,
they suspend judgment out of principle, but the people who feel attached to religion out of 1) love of tradition, 2) consolations in times of despair 3) moral guidance 4) an attachment to ceremony and ritual in an increasingly unceremonious world. However if you ask these people do they accept the various truth claims and propositions about events and people made by the religion they profess they would either say they don’t or be extremely muddled. I think this vastly underrepresented type should be called “believing atheists”, who keep the religion they were brought up in for various emotional and personal reasons but believe very little of its doctrine except one of those very general and very vague “I think they is something there” stories.
O and I have a question for god, could you please come to Ireland and make it hotter, its freezing here at the moment, I think when you decided to make the world in six days you were radically overestimating your abilities.
Actually, being secular doesn't mean one is an atheist. Being an atheist is, I think, a considered decision. It is an absolute certainty that there is no personal God.
Just not thinking about these things doesn't make one an atheist. It just means that one isn't concerned about God (at the moment) because one's life is full of other things.
Also, many people are superstitious. They might not be religious but they are superstitious. Superstition is the antithesis of being an atheist.
"It is an absolute certainty that there is no personal God." If anyone could possible have an "absolute certainty" that they was no God Sophia we would not be having this discussion. Not even Dawkins/Hitchens can say (or do say) they are absolutely certain.
"Just not thinking about these things doesn't make one an atheist". Umm, does not joining the race make me a loser?
"Superstition is the antithesis of being an atheist." In principle or in practise? I can see how atheism excludes superstition in principle but surely not in practise. Were not Aleister Crowley, W.B. Yeats and Percy Bysshe Shelley all atheists but irredeemably superstitious in their own peculiar ways.
I agree with this. In fact I saw a study not too many months ago which proved exactly what you say. The poll -american only- started with something like what is your religion? Something like 85% said christian. Then it went down the line of christian doctrine. DO you believe in biblical inerrancy? Do you believe in the immaculate conception? Do you believe Jesus was the son of God? Do you believe Jesus performed miracles? Do you believe Jesus raised the dead? Do you believe Jesus was raised from the dead? Do you believe in the trinity? The saving grace of the Holy Spirit?
The more ridiculous the christian doctrine became, the less people said they believed in it, and these were all core christian doctrine that every single christian denomination including the nondenominationals list as the central tenets of their faith. Nothing marginal here like speaking in tongues or eating snakes.
And we're talking huge numbers here. By the time they'd asked the last 'do you believe in' question, there were something like 30% of respondents still hanging in there.
One can conclude then that over 50% of christians in America really aren't.
They say they're christian, but they have no idea what they're even saying.
Thats very interesting, thanks. I’m not aware of any similar surveys done in Ireland but I know this kind of weak bloodied Christianity (Catholicism mostly) is very prevalent. People feel attached and even mildly defensive about the religion they were brought up in but when the various doctrines are put to them they shake their head and get a little embarrassed. It’s exactly as you said.
"Oh I know a few atheists who are absolutely certain"I
know what you mean, I get impatient with unshakable certainty either way and perhaps occasionally a little jealous (of the atheists anyway). I would love to be more certain. Life would be simpler.
Yeah, that sounds about right. I would think it's because "to be a Christian" today is largely a community thing--I am a member of this church because I feel welcome here and I enjoy spending time with the people here and listening to the pastor; or I'm a member of this church because I've always been since I was a child, etc.
And that community element really informs people's identity, just like race or gender or sexual orientation or language. So when people are asked of their religious identity, of course they will respond based what they "feel" to be a part of, rather than the specific beliefs they hold. A great example of this is Catholics--I think the majority of modern American Catholics are actually in favor of legalized abortion, while the infallible Church is officially against it.
"They say they're christian, but they have no idea what they're even saying."
So true. Any idea where I could find that study?
http://www.barna.org/barna-update/artic … pirit-exis
Sorry I didn't post it originally. Not sure this was it though, that date seems much too old. This was like last spring or early summer if I recall right, so I'm gonna keep looking, but this one's very similar, if older.
Literary Chimp, exactly the kind of person I was thinking of. I've never been a believer in anything, but I suspect the psychology of personal religious belief is quite complex and contradictory, when you have ancient or medieval ideas and values constantly crashing up against modern realities.
Literary, t5he weather change wont affect my Guiness will it? Please determine this before cranking up the heat over there.
I recently did a hub about 'what is wrong being an agnotic?' Why is everyone so worried whether someone is an atheist? agnostic, atheist or religious - it's a personal choice that has no bearing on anyone else other than the person with the 'beliefs' or 'disbeliefs' - at least that is the way it should work! I have my personal beliefs and I never try and force anyone to hear them or 'change' - if they want to be religious, then I have no problem with that, nor should I!
Personally I feel that if all religions and non-believers simply realized that we're supposed to have free will, and leave those who have differing views on the subject alone, then we'd all be in a far better world!
Pls explain this:
"...we'd all be in a far better world!:
Then tell us why you think that way.
In my opinion, and it's a very humble one, many of the problems of the world are because people fail to accept the differences in culture, religion etc of other countries.
This isn't just religious countries that fight wars because of religion but can also be atheists who force countries to change things simply because they protest. It makes us focus on things that don't really matter, and forget about the important things.
Look at all the hatred by ignorant religious people who spout nonsense and get the news headlines - 99.9999% if religious people stay at home and do not force their views on anyone.
Look at all the atheists that force government to remove religion from buildings, and are trying to get the government to remove 'in god we trust' from money. I'm an agnostic, but US is a Christian based country so I accept that and don't try to change it!
So, the minute we stop 'arguing' about religion, or non-religion and stop trying to change everything to make everything 'politically correct' the better the world will be....
It has nothing to do with religion or non religion, but simply about acceptance of all types of differences...
For a society to advance or regress, there must be differences in opinions.
Differences in opinion, to "thinkers" causes "change."
Evolution functions in the same manner. Life that cannot "compromise" and adapt as environments change, become extinct.
We humans exist at a point in our "evolution" that can be described as "infancy."
WE are profoundly involved in our evolution.
Whether we survive as a species. progress/regress, will be determined by our ability to adapt.
Adaptation can only be achieved if differing possibilities are considered and tried.
There is no possibility that mankind can do this within the next 100 yrs. The negatives are just too numerous.
Simey, I agree in principle with the idea of "live and let live." Problems arise when people's religious beliefs (specifically I'm thinking of Islam and Christianity) push them to proselytize. There is a very strong push toward proselytizing in Christianity and Islam, and many adherents believe it is their God-given duty to "save souls."
I think if religious believers would just be quiet and keep to themselves, we would have a lot fewer problems in the world. Like the Amish or the Hasidic Jews--you can have your nutty private beliefs, but let the rest of us get on with the business of modern society.
I respect your right to believe in a God. Please respect mine in taking a different position.
This may be my one and only religious post.
That is what they all say. eventually you have to step in and tell them how insane they are being.
I know, but I should be trying to earn a living instead of arguing with people who will never change their mind - as indeed I won't either.
Living instead of arguing
Just make it the 5 min. argument rather than 4 1/2 hour argument
It'll take an hour or two just to establish who said what. Then you get to argue over what constitutes a personal attack. Eventually we can get down to who's got more credibility, based on varying and equally dubious factors. Once we settle that there are words to argue over the meaning of...
Yeh okay you're right.
This one is from the early 90's. It shows two interesting things. First is that.. eh, let me let them say it.
"When the Gallup Poll conducts a poll on belief in God, they seem almost to design a question to obscure the results. They ask for belief in "God or a universal spirit." Like the ISSP survey, Gallup does not differentiate between belief in monotheistic God as defined in Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, and other religions, and the creator God in Deism who has since disappeared, polytheistic pantheons of deities, the Goddess and God of Wicca, etc. Futher, Gallup does not differentiate between any of these deities and some vague notion of a supernatural entity who is perhaps impersonal."
This means that anyone answering no to that question, phrased that way, would have to be like a really fully convicted, positive atheist who also didn't dabble in any sort of mysticism or such. Alot of people would say they believed in a "universal spirit." What does that even mean, universal spirit? Shoot, I believe in a universal spirit, and I don't believe in any of this stuff. It's called the spirit of survival. Then again I still would have answered no.
Lots of people these days believe in some kind of (properly) undefined universal spirit. To me it's code for either some eastern shit or i-dont-believe-in-god-but-still-believe-that-theres-something-out-there-but-i-dont-know-what-so-call-it-a-universal-spirit.
So yes, you're fully right in your observation that the numbers aren't adding up.
Another thing here that's interesting is that Americans do believe -not according to a gallup poll as described above but according to an ISSP international poll- Americans have more god belief than any other country included in the survey except for Poland and the Phillipines, and I won't even make any pollock jokes. America is actually more faithful than Italy. And of course the friggin' pope lives there.
Another thing of interest here is the number of bible believers compared to god believers. While almost 63% said they "know God exists and have no doubts about it," only 33.5% said they believed the bible was the actual word of God to be taken literally.
Minus the nonchristian replies that could be interesting, but I'll admit that phrased the way it is, I can see why alot of inerrancy believers might still be cautious about saying yes to that one.
Which actually makes it scary to think 33.5% of the American public do believe the bible is the word of god to be taken literally word for word. That's a very fundie position.
This was the early 90's. I wonder how the numbers have changed since then.
I would estimate from the numbers and studies I have seen that between 20 and 25% of the American population use a literal or fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, or something close to it.
So a fifth to a quarter of the whole population--helps to explain their political influence.
It would of course be higher in certain states, and lower in others.
Interesting your survey was done in countries with higher population of Christians. Survey said it is 20% higher for people who believe in evolution than in God. Then much lower % for the people who believe the words in the Bible are inspired by God.
I don't understand why 8/10th of the world is an ancient Religion and at the same time believe stronger in evolution
Beginning of time, Bible -6014 years ago
Evolution - 4 Billion years ago
Who's crazier Man or God?
I don't know. I think it may have been the last ISSP one. They did one in 2008 but I can't find the actual results for it. I would like to, because it would shed light on your query. The question was asked with a range of possible answers.
I don't believe in God..................
I don't know whether there is a God and
I don't believe there is any way
to find out.............................
I don't believe in a personal God, but
I do believe in a Higher Power of
I find myself believing in God some of
the time, but not at others.............
While I have doubts, I feel that I do
believe in God..........................
I know God really exists and I have no
doubts about it.........................
There were also multiple answers to the bible question this time as well, rather than the former measure of agreement to a single statement such as was in the survey from the early 90's.
I think the middle is probably disappearing. They're drawing themselves up into two equally unlikely groups. Those who believe, but not really, which are actually the preferable, and those who believe way too much.
If you play around on the issp or Gesis website trying to get the results for either the 98 or '08 study, let me know. All I could get to was variables lists and names of people.
I think the first ever Atheist never existed as there is no historicity of any such person.
Atheism is not a serious ideology; so it has neither a history nor any historicity. it is just one point club
Yes - He was murdered for not believing. So sad.
I think the first ever Atheist never existed as there is no historicity of any such person.
Atheism is not a serious ideology; so it has neither a history nor any historicity. it is just one point club; having little in common and one could say they are as many denominations as their total number.
Paar, is there a reason why you keep posting the same thing over and over?
I will respond here with the same thing I said the first time you posted it:
I think the first ever human being never existed as there is no historicity of any such person.
Obviously what you're saying makes no sense.
He was murdered by believers for not believing the garbage they believe. So sad.
Here you go Parr, I thought I would save you the trouble of using that new fangled google feature they just came out with.
The 5th-century BCE Greek philosopher Diagoras is known as the "first atheist",and is cited as such by Cicero in his De Natura Deorum.
In Western culture, atheists are frequently assumed to be exclusively irreligious or unspiritual. However, atheism also figures in certain religious and spiritual belief systems, such as Jainism, and some forms of Buddhism that do not advocate belief in gods. Hinduism also holds atheism to be valid, but difficult to follow spiritually.
Critias viewed religion as a human invention used to frighten people into following moral order. Atomists such as Democritus attempted to explain the world in a purely materialistic way, without reference to the spiritual or mystical. Other pre-Socratic philosophers who probably had atheistic views included Prodicus and Protagoras. In the 3rd-century BCE the Greek philosophers Theodorus Cirenaicus and Strato of Lampsacus also did not believe gods exist.
Socrates (c. 471–399 BCE), was accused of impiety (see Euthyphro dilemma) on the basis that he inspired questioning of the state gods. Although he disputed the accusation that he was a "complete atheist", saying that he could not be an atheist as he believed in spirits, he was ultimately sentenced to death. Socrates also prays to various gods in Plato's dialogue Phaedrus and says "By Zeus" in the dialogue The Republic.
Euhemerus (c. 330–260 BCE) published his view that the gods were only the deified rulers, conquerors and founders of the past, and that their cults and religions were in essence the continuation of vanished kingdoms and earlier political structures. Although not strictly an atheist, Euhemerus was later criticized for having "spread atheism over the whole inhabited earth by obliterating the gods".
Atomic materialist Epicurus (c. 341–270 BCE) disputed many religious doctrines, including the existence of an afterlife or a personal deity; he considered the soul purely material and mortal. While Epicureanism did not rule out the existence of gods, he believed that if they did exist, they were unconcerned with humanity.
The Roman poet Lucretius (c. 99–55 BCE) agreed that, if there were gods, they were unconcerned with humanity and unable to affect the natural world. For this reason, he believed humanity should have no fear of the supernatural. He expounds his Epicurean views of the cosmos, atoms, the soul, mortality, and religion in De rerum natura ("On the nature of things"), which popularized Epicurus' philosophy in Rome.
The Roman philosopher Sextus Empiricus held that one should suspend judgment about virtually all beliefs—a form of skepticism known as Pyrrhonism—that nothing was inherently evil, and that ataraxia ("peace of mind") is attainable by withholding one's judgment. His relatively large volume of surviving works had a lasting influence on later philosophers.
The meaning of "atheist" changed over the course of classical antiquity.
The early Christians were labeled atheists by non-Christians because of their disbelief in pagan gods.
During the Roman Empire, Christians were executed for their rejection of the Roman gods in general and Emperor-worship in particular. When Christianity became the state religion of Rome under Theodosius I in 381, heresy became a punishable offense.
I cant help but notice that this looks like a history for atheism. I find it interesting that early christians were actually branded atheists. Most atheists I know believe they started as christians and became atheists. Lmao that christians are one of the earliest sects of atheism.
So Diagoras is the First Ever Atheist, in your opinion. If Diagoras was the the First Ever Atheist; then you mean that there was no Atheists before him.
Nope, he is regarded as the first atheist. The preceeding post showed that prior to him, christians were regarded as atheists. I am sure there have been people capable of independent thought just as long as humans have had the ability to think. I am also quite convinced that as soon as independent thought became an option for homosapien, a large bunch of the early cave dwellers renounced their right to think and instead gathered around some old cave pictures and began to chant. Tell me what to think, tell me what to think, tell me what to think... Does this sound like an ancestor of yours?
Atheism is also a myth; no proof, no history, no historicity; just another name of confusion.
Poor free thinkers, Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists; they did not know how to defend themselves.
You are correct in that statement, there is no known defense against delusion when used as a tool by the delusional. What do you actually think I have to defend myself from? Other than the numerous religious lunatics that will probably get a message from their god that I am an infidel and need to be killed to make their god happy, it's only the practitioners of yoga that discover steriods I have to worry about.
I believe what I believe in, but do you believe that you may be murdered by someone for believing what they dont believe, AKA, who slew Santa Claus, and did he believe in himself!
I don't think Santa Claus is a real character; Moses and Jesus did not mention of any such character.
I remember when for my 5 year old Santa was very real, so is God for some people. They wait something from him all the time. When they cannot get a sign - they fake it.
Don't forget Kis Kingle he was real, not this coke up Santa Claus today.
Atheists must of had Darwin and dinosaurs to dream about. Since they were often killed on the spot before then.
The gods must be crazy.
Yes they did. Didn't mohammed tell you guys?
There are atheists, therefore there must be a first atheist. I suspect he/she existed in the form of some kind of shrew-like proto-mammal. After all, our ancestors must have not believed in gods well before they even had the capacity/option of believing in them.
But IMHO the joy of atheism is not having to stand up, defend or generally do much of anything.
I want to compare the historicity of the first ever Atheist with the historicity of Moses or Jesus. The Atheists ask for the historicity of Moses and Jesus; and now it is their turn to prove the historicity of the first ever Atheist. So far none of them has provided any except their conjectures and guesses; nothing from the proper history.
The difference, obviously, is that Moses is essential to the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions. If Moses did not exist, then all these religions are wrong.
By contrast, if there was no first atheist (which doesn't even make any sense), it would do absolutely nothing to the belief of atheism.
I REALLY don't get what the heck you're trying to say here.
Obviously there was a "first" atheist, because there are many atheists in the world today.
This is like saying "prove there was a first person with black hair!" Well, since there are billions of people in the world today who have black hair, it stands to reason that there was a "first" one at some point in the past.
That is a false comparison. The existance of the earliest atheist doesn't require is be a certain person or that our beleif descended from theirs. It is no more meaningful than musing on who was the first butterfly collector or the first Frenchman. Logically it was someone, doesn't matter a bit who it was or what they did. There is no way there could fail to be a first atheist because there are current atheists. There is no way there could not be a first Christain because there are current Christians. Those are equivalent statements. Whether there was a man called Jesus who performed miracles etc is complete a different order of question.
I suppose the first person who did not want to follow a religion was the first atheist, but I doubt there would have been only one.
This had got to be the most surreal thread on the forum...today at least.
Thanks for the laughs...
"This had got to be the most surreal thread on the forum"
Probably because of the high concentration of atheist nutballs!
It's funny, my initial question was rather academic, but it looks like the discussion has taken a turn for the bizarre on several fronts! Gotta love Hub Pages...
Do you suppose there was a first vegatarian cannibal?
Stump Parish, absolutely wonderful! the first vegetarian cannibal, would that make them an Aetheist to the other Cannibals or just the side dish.
I love this kick back at Aetheists, whenever or wherever some drugged up numpty proclaimed a god there sure as anything was someone else of a sane and rational mind state (Aetheist) who saw through it and proclaimed: "complete cobblers".
Its pure science: - For each and every action there is an equal reaction. Hence for the very first god believer, there must have been the non beleiver.
Rational wins again!
I want to believe that multi-verse theory is true, but for now it is a theory. If it is true though, then there probably is a planet somewhere in a Universe that was created by a God who wanted to be the only God worshiped by its people. I hope it isn't this one, because its going to get very hot at the end for me if that's the case. (The chances I have been told are very slim!) Yet, I'm not going to believe out of fear of the unknown as many do. Energy is where it all begins and it never ends, it just gets converted into some other form of energy.
Will the Real Atheists Please Stand Up?
I think the Atheists have no brilliant argument to stand upon; only a conjecture.
I am an agnostic: I have no knowledge of a god or gods.
I am an atheist: I have no belief in a god or gods.
So I am both. I have no knowledge of, or belief in, a god or gods. But, that's all you can say about me based on these definitions. I do not worship atheism or science. I do not have "faith" in atheism, I have no belief in god or gods. It is not a religion. That's it, just the absence of knowledge or or belief in gods. I sincerely don't know why that's so hard to understand or accept.
These are the basic definitions without connotations or assumptions being applied.
Agnostic is not really middle ground between believer and atheist, it's a different defintion altogether. By defnition an atheist says he or she has no belief in god. This is not the same as saying "there is no god" or "there is almost certainly no god", although many atheists would also agree with that statement
When you consider 8/10 of the world (mostly) core belief in God and 3% atheist don't. Then, there is this 17% middle ground area, it may be more towards God or it may be less.
So, we don't have to accept atheists. They have to accept us. We accept them because that is what we are told to do. They don't accept us. Why? Because we don't believe what they do.
If Christian allowed atheist to run for political office, then I would believe Christian do accept atheist, but they don't.
Atheist do not have to accept God anyway, get over it, or fight until the end of time or maybe afterlife.
What do I care, I think everyone is God and live for today.
Would I mess up the stats if I don't claim to be anything? Because if it wasn't for my family or these forums it would never it be an afterthought.
okay i'm not really sure if this is like an athiest hate group or a religous hate group or just a cynical group but i'm proud to admit i'm an openly atheist person
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