Monday, May 04, 2015

Much like America itself, soon Atheism will no longer be over populated with old white guys.

Courtesy of The Guardian:  

When you think of atheists, the face that probably comes to mind is male, white, older and a little bit nerdy. There’s more than a grain of truth to this reputation. Atheist groups in America have traditionally been dominated by older white men – but that may finally be starting to change. 

The Barna Group, a Christian polling firm, recently released their 2015 State of Atheism in America report. Based on a year of research on the non-religious demographic, Barna found not just that atheists and agnostics’ numbers are growing rapidly, but that they’re very quickly becoming more diverse. 

The most important finding in Barna’s report is that women are joining the atheist community by the millions. In 1993, just 16% of nonbelievers were women, but in 2013, that number was 43% - representing a nearly threefold leap. And this shift isn’t because men are leaving the community, which would bring the gender balance closer to parity. Barna found that the absolute numbers of both male and female atheists have increased in the last twenty years, but the number of women has grown far faster. 

The atheist community is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse as well. In 1993, people of color made up just 20% of nonbelievers. The change in these numbers hasn’t been as dramatic, but there’s been change nonetheless, with the number rising to 26% in 2013. Many of these religious skeptics have come from the Hispanic and, especially, Asian communities.

Well this is one older white guy who is really looking forward to more diversity within the Atheist community. 

I personally am of the mind that the growth in the Atheist community has much less to do with people suddenly deciding they are not religious, and much more to do with people feeling comfortable in coming out as Atheists or Agnostics.

That's why it is critical to continue having the conversation, and opening it up to as many people as possible.

My personally held belief, and yes I understand the irony of using that term, is that the majority of the people on this planet are actually atheist but are just too intimidated to admit it. Even to themselves.

In the next decade or so we will see if I am correct as the label shakes off it's negative connotations and becomes more and more accepted by the public at large.


  1. Anonymous6:32 AM

    While I understand your beliefs, it is very important to be considerate of the power of belief in God.

    In reality, if Jesus did return, he would be surprised and maybe not pleasantly so by Paul's handiwork. If we consider the Bible as a device to civilize communities, albeit within its own timeframe, it makes more sense. Also, the most important man is not Jesus Christ but Moses because he ensured that the Jews (one of the many desert tribes) endured through rules for living or the 10 commandments. I am sure that I will catch a lot of flack for this opinion!!

    1. Anonymous7:10 AM

      Unfortunately, you will get some negative feedback. I wish we could all be free to express our opinions without being insulted. I have yet to find such a site.

    2. Anonymous7:46 AM

      I am always considerate of other people's beliefs as long as it doesn't step too hard on my own toes.

      I'm not sure why we need to be considerate of the POWER of the belief in god, though. Aware...yes. Frightened at times...yes. Sometimes shake my head in amazement...yes. But, considerate? I just don't get it.

    3. Anonymous8:11 AM

      Do not underestimate the power of belief. For many it is the only thing that they have left when dealing with tragedy and tragedy is so common. I may not need a God to help me but who am I to laugh at those that do. We all have different approaches, none better than the other.

    4. Anonymous9:05 AM

      It's also entirely possible that religion gets too much undeserved reverence and deference already.

      Hypothetically, if I tell you I hear disembodied voices giving me my marching orders for the day, I am considered a lunatic - possibly a danger to myself and to others. If I specify that the voice I hear is the Creator of the Universe, the religious amongst us breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate my remarkable personal relationship with God.

      But I'm still just a lunatic hearing voices.


    5. Belief in God has no "power" as there is no God.

      But it may have a perceived efficacy for an individual, just as other delusions do.

    6. Anonymous1:33 PM

      Maybe you misused the word "considerate" in your OP.

    7. Anonymous2:03 PM

      "In reality, if Jesus did return..."

      What is your planed scientific test to determine the veracity of a person claiming to be Jesus?

    8. Anonymous4:00 PM

      You seem to believe that I believe that Jesus is the son of God. He was just one of many that came forth claiming status as the son of God. If he came back, he would just be that guy that opposed the Romans and got in trouble, just like the others. Is there a God? Personally, I am not betting on it. I have my own "tool box" for dealing with tragedy. Drugs and alcohol.

    9. Anonymous4:04 PM

      my triumvirate: Alcohol, Pie, and BBQ

  2. Anonymous6:48 AM

    6:32 am: "the Bible as a device to civilize communities" Is that a joke? Not a funny one

    1. Anonymous8:14 AM

      Please carefully read what I said "albeit within its own timeframe." That does not mean now.

  3. Anonymous6:59 AM

    Raised Catholic and have not been a 'believer' in god since early adulthood (20's). I'm in my 70's today - white - female - and have been expressing my views for years IF religion or discussion of it has come up.

    Government and religion don't mix and I personally think the shoving of religion down American's throats has caused more to think, research and subsequently leave religion and/or their particular faith.

    Especially so, if you live in Anchorage, AK where Jerry Prevo - the ugodly minister of the Baptist Church - gets himself involved in politics from his pulpit (currently doing so re: Amy Dem - running a losing/social/negative race against candidate Ethan Berkowitz for Mayor of Anchorage!).

    Anchorage and AK politicians need to take Prevo's tax exempt status away from him - his teachers - church - various building he owns as well as the house his '- - -' son has via his father!

    ALL churches should pay taxes - real estate - local, state and federal IF they are not currently doing so throughout the country. And, IRS rules need to be rewritten where it concerns churches, schools they have, teachers they employ, homes the teachers have for their schools, etc.

    1. Anonymous7:13 AM

      I agree with you about having extreme religious views shoved down our throats. I think people have always had a little skepticism. Belonging to organized religion today takes a concerted effort to acknowledge that you don't care about the well being of others.

      And they should pay taxes.

      Religion, much as Paylin, have done more to destroy themselves than anyone else ever could have.

  4. Anonymous7:27 AM

    I'm of the opinion that the reason Republicans (especially those from the Religious Right) are trying to destroy the education system is that there are basically three types of people who will become Christians; the uneducated (the masses), those brainwashed from an early age (the future church leaders), and people of other religious beliefs (the foils).

    The other religious beliefs category are useful to scapegoat in order to scare the uneducated into becoming better Christians.

    But most people who are given an education and taught to use critical reasoning are either not going to buy into Christianity in thee first place, or will eventually figure out that it is a fairy tale.

    No one buys into any religion without a thorough indoctrination. And the funny thing is, the ones most indoctrinated, (those brainwashed from an early age), are the most susceptible to becoming members of a cult later in life. They've already learned the magic thinking and denying of facts necessary to become influenced by a charismatic leader who pops up among them.

  5. Anonymous7:28 AM

    Religion is the root of all evil. On Sunday mornings, I go for a walk with my dog to enjoy the beauty of the world and to get inner peace. I first have to get out of my bible belt town and risk my life doing it. All the people heading for church speeding and driving recklessly. Risking other peoples lives all so they can get the best seats when they get to their house of gossip and cliques.

    1. Anonymous8:16 AM


      Do we live close to each other? Around "here", you better not be any where near the parking lot when a service lets out. It looks like the Indy 500!


    2. Anonymous8:37 AM

      The Catholics in my neighborhood are right to life but they sure don't drive like it.

      RJ in BBistan

    3. Anonymous11:19 AM


      Lol, yep it's worse when they are leaving! Then they are speeding to get the best seats at the lunch buffet!

    4. Anonymous1:17 PM

      Religious people are loathed by waiter staff at restaurants for being demanding, arrogant assholes, and poor tippers.

  6. Anonymous8:32 AM

    Plus, if you listen to (or watch the preachers on TV), who are the 'supposed' religious leaders within our midst, you will find them to be the most racist, nasty, fear mongering, pro war, constantly asking for and raising money to fill their pockets, bunch of hypocrites in America!

    I more than agree that 'religion is the root of all evil'! It has always been!

  7. Anonymous8:45 AM

    I'm female, and became an atheist at 19, nine years ago. I'm grateful that nonbelief is becoming more accepted. For awhile, I had difficulty admitting to myself that I no longer believed. I went through a lot emotionally during that time, but I had to do it mostly with the help of nonbelievers on the internet.

  8. Anonymous8:57 AM

    " much more to do with people feeling comfortable in coming out as Atheists or Agnostics"

    From your lips to God's ear, Gryphen.

  9. Anonymous10:04 AM

    As you have here, please give a little space to agnostics.
    We're those who are still wondering and searching. We don't have "the" answer. We accept the possibility that atheism is the answer. We also accept the possibility that faith might be.

  10. Anonymous10:07 AM

    Look up "Pascal's Wager."

    1. Are people still using that argument?

      Pascal's Wager hinges on the argument that there are only two possibilities, belief and non-belief.

      When in fact there are in infinite number of possible gods and versions of an afterlife.

      It also counts heavily on the fears of the one contemplating its implications.

  11. Some of us 'ladies' have been atheists for a long time but no one ever asked us about our beliefs before. So as atheism becomes more mainstream, the closet may disclose that there are way more women without belief than previously thought. (Full disclosure, I am 68 and have been agnostic/atheist since I was 17.)

  12. Anonymous12:43 PM

    Title: Much like America itself, soon Atheism will no longer be over populated with old white guys.

    I read this at first as..."Much like America itself, soon Atheism will no longer be over [,] populated by white guys." !!

    overpopulated = one word

    Sorry, Gryph, they started it.

  13. Anonymous1:15 PM

    I'm female in my fifties, and raised in the church, but never believed it, not even when I was four and five years old. But I kept it to myself..........I knew that nothing good would come out of mentioning it to the crowd that I was always surrounded by (visions of people screaming that I was devil spawn, etc.). As I got older, I realized that I could lose a lot by mentioning my non-belief...........friends and jobs were top of the list. I think for women, they tend to be into their social life more, so coming out as atheist would seem very risky, especially if you had been raised in a family where your church friends were the majority of your social life. So, I agree that we female atheists have probably been here all along...........just biding our time for the right environment to come out into.

  14. Anonymous1:32 PM

    Let the bells ring. Freedom. Freedom to think, believe, love and pursue happiness. In America? nope. you cannot do that. signed the entire republican party

  15. Anonymous1:57 PM

    I didn't escape Catholicism to join a "community" dominated by old white men.

  16. Dropzone Bill4:03 PM

    Gryph as an Agnostic I view atheists as just one more religion the belief in nothing is still a belief in something you can not prove although its good to see the numbers shift, it would be even better to see the majority of folks just admit they have no F*@king idea.

  17. Anonymous5:05 PM

    One of my favorite Atheists was Madeline Murray O Hare, so I would think the old white guy non believer conclusion doesn't hold water.


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