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You Are Friends With an Atheist

Posted in Uncategorized by Rodibidably on March 13, 2009

[Originally posted at: American Chronicle]

If you live in the United States, you are almost certainly friends with at least one atheist, agnostic, nonbeliever, skeptic, or unaffiliated humanist, whether you know it or not. And your friend almost certainly endures prejudice and unequal treatment, whether you know it or not. And your friend is roughly as decent, good, loyal, honest, courageous, and generous as your other friends, and you know it.

The March 2009 American Religious Identification Survey from Trinity College and the March 7, 2009, National Journal article on “Rise of the Godless” present a wealth of data. Let’s look at the survey first:

When asked for their religious affiliation, 15 percent of Americans say none, but only 0.7 percent say atheist and 0.9 percent agnostic. However, when asked if they believe in God, 2.3 percent say “There is no such thing,” making most of them atheists who do not like or understand the label “atheist,” 4.3 percent say “There is no way to know,” making most of them agnostics who don’t like or understand the label “agnostic” (or, in another interpretation, atheists not quite comfortable in atheism), another 5.7 percent say “I’m not sure,” making them also agnostics or atheists-lite, another 6.1 percent refuse to answer, and 12.1 percent say “there is a higher power but no personal God” making them either atheists of theists depending on whether you conceive of a “non-personal God.” This leaves 69.5 percent who say “There is definitely a personal God.” Chances are that all your friends are not in that 69.5 percent. Chances are that at least one of your friends is in the 18.4 percent who do not profess belief in a God or a “higher power.” Chances are, in fact, that at least one of your friends is in the 12.3 percent who openly say (at least to pollsters) that they doubt or disbelieve. These people are pretty evenly spread around the United States and are not all congregated in some godless metropolis far from your unenlightened region of the country. While acceptance of atheism clearly varies drastically from place to place, its existence does not.

[Read the rest of this post at: American Chronicle]

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