Tag Archives: atheists
Americans Will Tolerate a Variety of In-Laws. One Exception: Atheists.
By Amanda Marcotte
Believers only, please.
Photo by wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock
A new study from the Pew Research Center shows that political polarization in the United States has reached levels only seen during the Civil War, but when it comes to our own families, we’re not quite as divided. One of the questions Pew asks to gauge how seriously people are taking their identity politics these days is how upset would you be if an immediate family member—say, a child or a sibling—married someone outside of your identity parameters. The good news: Americans are okay with their family members marrying someone who isn’t in their “tribe.”
There are all different kinds of tribes, of course. When it came, for instance, to the question of how you’d feel if your family member married someone with a different party affiliation, the vast majority of Americans responded that they’d feel either “happy” or that it “doesn’t matter.” Even for strict partisans, this was mostly true. Strong conservatives approved of a family member marrying a Democrat 70 percent of the time and strong liberals approved of marrying a Republican 78 percent of the time. Similar numbers turned up for identity markers like “gun ownership” or “went to college,” with most people being indifferent to these factors when it comes to bringing new people to family holiday dinners.
Other good news is that opposition to interracial marriage, at least overt opposition, is also fairly low, with only 11 percent of Americans balking at the idea of a new family member of a different race. (How likely you are to bothered by racial mixing rose with levels of conservatism, with only one percent of strong liberals opposing interracial marriage and 23 percent of strong conservatives doing so.) And Americans are even more welcoming to foreigners, with only 7 percent of respondents opposing marriage to someone born and raised outside of the U.S.
There’s one group, however, that continues to cause fear and loathing across the land: atheists. From Pew:
Pew Research Center
Though Pew does not dig into this, the anomalous hostility to atheists above pretty much all other groups likely speaks more to ignorance than hatefulness. Most non-believers don’t really talk about it much in their day-to-day life, because why would you? That means that most believers may think, probably incorrectly, that they don’t know any atheists, which makes it easier for ugly stereotypes to fill in the blanks. Perhaps the growing movement of visible atheists will help erode some of the fearful ignorance and provide a few families with a path out of grace before Thanksgiving dinner. All the atheists I know are all for digging right into the food.
Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today.
What creationist nonsense
People like that should be sectioned under the American equivalent of the Mental Health Act
AlterNet / By CJ Werleman
Christian Right Has Major Role in Hastening Decline of Religion in America
Soon, there will be more atheists and agnostics than Christians.
March 22, 2014
Of those aged 18 to 35, three in 10 say they are not affiliated with any religion, while only half are “absolutely certain” a god exists. These are at or near the highest levels of religious disaffiliation recorded for any generation in the 25 years the Pew Research Center has been polling on these topics.
As encouraging as this data is for secular humanists, the actual numbers may be significantly higher, as columnist Tina Dupuy observes. “When it comes to self-reporting religious devotion Americans cannot be trusted. We under-estimate our calories, over-state our height, under-report our weight and when it comes to piety—we lie like a prayer rug.”
Every piece of social data suggests that those who favor faith and superstition over fact-based evidence will become the minority in this country by or before the end of this century. In fact, the number of Americans who do not believe in a deity doubled in the last decade of the previous century according to both the census of 2004 and the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) of 2008, with religious non-belief in the U.S. rising from 8.2 percent in 1990 to 14.2 percent in 2001. In 2013, that number is now above 16 percent.
If current trends continue, the crossing point, whereby atheists, agnostics, and “nones” equals the number of Christians in this country, will be in the year 2062. If that gives you reason to celebrate, consider this: by the year 2130, the percentage of Americans who identify themselves as Christian will equal a little more than 1 percent. To put that into perspective, today roughly 1 percent of the population is Muslim.
The fastest growing religious faith in the United States is the group collectively labeled “Nones,” who spurn organized religion in favor of non-defined skepticism about faith. About two-thirds of Nones say they are former believers. This is hugely significant. The trend is very much that Americans raised in Christian households are shunning the religion of their parents for any number of reasons: the advancement of human understanding; greater access to information; the scandals of the Catholic Church; and the over-zealousness of the Christian Right.
Political scientists Robert Putman and David Campbell, the authors of American Grace, argue that the Christian Right’s politicization of faith in the 1990s turned younger, socially liberal Christians away from churches, even as conservatives became more zealous. “While the Republican base has become ever more committed to mixing religion and politics, the rest of the country has been moving in the opposite direction.”
Ironically, the rise of the Christian Right over the course of the past three decades may well end up being the catalyst for Christianity’s rapid decline. From the moment Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority helped elect Ronald Reagan in 1980, evangelical Christians, who account for roughly 30 percent of the U.S. population, identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. Michael Spencer, a writer who describes himself as a post-evangelical reform Christian, says, “Evangelicals fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith. Evangelicals will be seen increasingly as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.”
In light of the recent backlash against Republicans who supported the right-to-discriminate bills across 11 states, Spencer’s words seem prophetic. Republican lawmakers had expected evangelicals to mobilize in the aftermath of Arizona governor Jan Brewer’s veto of SB1062. Instead, legislatures in states like Mississippi, Kansas, and Oklahoma have largely backed down from attempts to protect “religious freedom” after a national outcry branded the proposed bills discriminatory.
Every denomination in the U.S. is losing both affiliation and church attendance. In some ways the country is a half-generation behind the declining rate of Christianity in other western countries like the U.K., Australia, Germany, Sweden, Norway, France, and the Netherlands. In those countries, what were once churches are now art galleries, cafes and pubs. In Germany more than 50 percent say they do not believe in any god, and this number is declining rapidly. In the U.K., church attendances have halved since the 1970s.
A recent study into thebeliefs of people living in 137 countries concludes that religious people will be a minority in many developed countries by 2041. Nigel Barber, an Irish bio-psychologist, based his book, Why Atheism Will Replace Religion, on the findings. His book also debunks the popular belief that religious groups will dominate atheistic ones because they collectively have more children. “Noisy as they can be, such groups are tiny minorities of the global population and they will become even more marginalized as global prosperity increases and standards of living improve,” writes Barber.
Anthropologists have often stated that religion evolved to help early man cope with anxiety and insecurity. Barber contends that supernatural belief is in decline everywhere for the fact that ordinary people enjoy a decent standard of living and are secure in their health and finances. “The market for formal religion is also being squeezed by modern substitutes such as sports and entertainment. Even Facebook is killing religion because it provides answers for peculiarly modern narcissistic anxieties for which religion has no answer,” observes Barber.
While some polls show roughly 9 in 10 Americans still maintain belief in a god or gods, the trend of religious young Americans is toward a mish-mash of varied religious beliefs. A 2010 USA Today survey revealed that 72 percent of the nation’s young people identify as “more spiritual than religious.”
With an increasingly majority of younger Americans accepting evolution as fact, Christianity for many under 35 is becoming a watered-down hybrid of eastern philosophy and biblical teachings. “The turn towards being ‘spiritual but not religious’ points at the decreasing observation of doctrine and strict rules and a broader relationship to sentiment and ‘Jesus and me’ on the one hand alongside the rise of yoga, Buddhism, Hinduism and a blend or smorgasbord of eastern practices with the idea of being loosely/broadly spiritual—yet not in any specific context or foundation of the Trinity, Seven Deadly Sins, Karma, Nirvana or any of the pillars or branches of belief,” writes Alan Miller, moderator of a “spiritual but not religious” event.
Young people are turning away from the church and from basic Christian beliefs. While a number of non-denominational mega-churches continue to thrive, their teachings are less dogma and more self-help. Eventually, Christianity-Lite will be replaced with Spirituality-Full Strength.
Certainly, pro-secular groups have been largely successful in removing Jesus from the public square, workplace and classroom.
All of which leaves only one self-evident conclusion: that despite the Christian Right’s well-funded and well-organized effort to transform America’s secular state into a tyrannical theocracy, Christianity will inevitably mirror the days of its origins i.e. something that is only whispered about in secretly guarded places. And that may happen sooner than you think.
CJ Werleman is the author of “Crucifying America,” and “God Hates You. Hate Him Back.” Follow him on Twitter: @cjwerleman
Published on 16 Dec 2013
The president of a Kentucky creationist museum told Fox News on Monday that Christmas was a “time to take on the atheists” who used their free speech rights to doubt the existence of God.
“Well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without someone complaining about Christ,” Fox & Friends host Elisabeth Hasselbeck told Creation Museum President Ken Ham, noting that atheists had put up a billboard in Time Square which suggested that Christ was not needed during Christmas.
“You know, the atheist who are a very small minority in the population have been trying to impose their religion of atheism on the culture now for quite a while,” Ham explained. “You know, getting Bible, prayer out of schools. Christian symbols out of public places.”
“Because they’re becoming so aggressive, I just feel that it’s really time Christians really stood up in this culture to take on the atheists and to proclaim their message of hope,” he continued. “I mean, what’s the atheists’ message? There is no God? When you die that’s the end of you? So everything’s just meaningless and hopelessness?”
Ham said that his group, Answers in Genesis, had put up its own billboards in Time Square, including one that says, “To all our atheists friends: Thank God you’re wrong.”
“Our message to the atheists is, hey, we’re not attacking you personally but we want you to know the truth, that there is a God who created you and you are sinners as all of us are, but that God sent his son to become a babe in a manger,” he insisted.
Hasselbeck agreed that the American people “seemed to be with you” because a conservative polling organization had found that most people believed that Christmas should be more about Jesus Christ than Santa Claus.
“The atheists are only a small part of the population,” Hamm said. “And really, it’s that minority, less than 2 percent of the population, that seem to be having such say in our culture, in imposing their anti-God religion.”
“What they’re really doing, the atheists, they’re really wanting to impose their anti-God religion on us, on the culture. And so we need to stand up against that.”
Hasselbeck concluded by thanking Ham for “standing up for you faith.”
By Brendan O’Neill Last updated: August 14th, 2013
Article in the Telegraph
When did atheists become so teeth-gratingly annoying? Surely non-believers in God weren’t always the colossal pains in the collective backside that they are today? Surely there was a time when you could say to someone “I am an atheist” without them instantly assuming you were a smug, self-righteous loather of dumb hicks given to making pseudo-clever statements like, “Well, Leviticus also frowns upon having unkempt hair, did you know that?” Things are now so bad that I tend to keep my atheism to myself, and instead mumble something about being a very lapsed Catholic if I’m put on the spot, for fear that uttering the A-word will make people think I’m a Dawkins drone with a mammoth superiority complex and a hives-like allergy to nurses wearing crucifixes.
These days, barely a week passes without the emergence of yet more evidence that atheists are the most irritating people on Earth. Last week we had the spectacle of Dawkins and his slavish Twitter followers (whose adherence to Dawkins’ diktats makes those Kool-Aid-drinking Jonestown folk seem level-headed in comparison) boring on about how stupid Muslims are. This week we’ve been treated to new scientific researchclaiming to show that atheists are cleverer than religious people. I say scientific. I say research. It is of course neither; it’s just a pre-existing belief dolled up in rags snatched from various reports and stories. Not unlike the Bible. But that hasn’t stopped the atheistic blogosphere and Twitterati from effectively saying, “See? Told you we were brainier than you Bible-reading numbskulls.”
Atheists online are forever sharing memes about how stupid religious people are. I know this because some of my best Facebook friends are atheists. There’s even a website called Atheist Meme Base, whose most popular tags tell you everything you need to know about it and about the kind of people who borrow its memes to proselytise about godlessness to the ignorant: “indoctrination”, “Christians”, “funny”, “hell”, “misogyny”, “scumbag God”, “logic”. Atheists in the public sphere spend their every tragic waking hour doing little more than mocking the faithful. In the words of Robin Wright, they seem determined “to make it not just uncool to believe, but cool to ridicule believers”. To that end if you ever have the misfortune, as I once did, to step foot into an atheistic get-together, which are now common occurrences in the Western world, patronised by people afflicted with repetitive strain injury from so furiously patting themselves on the back for being clever, you will witness unprecedented levels of intellectual smugness and hostility towards hoi polloi.
So, what’s gone wrong with atheism? The problem isn’t atheism itself, of course, which is just non-belief, a nothing, a lack of something. Rather it is the transformation of this nothing into an identity, into the basis of one’s outlook on life, which gives rise to today’s monumentally annoying atheism. The problem with today’s campaigning atheists is that they have turned their absence of belief in God into the be-all and end-all of their personality. Which is bizarre. Atheism merely signals what you don’t believe in, not what you do believe in. It’s a negative. And therefore, basing your entire worldview on it is bound to generate immense amounts of negativity. Where earlier generations of the Godless viewed their atheism as a pretty minor part of their personality, or at most as the starting point of their broader identity as socialists or humanists or whatever, today’s ostentatiously Godless folk constantly declare “I am an atheist!” as if that tells you everything you need to know about a person, when it doesn’t. The utter hollowness of this transformation of a nothing into an identity is summed up by the fact that some American atheists now refer to themselves as “Nones” – that is, their response to the question “What is your religious affiliation?” is “None”. Okay, big deal, you don’t believe in God, well done. But what do you believe in?
Today’s atheism-as-identity is really about absolving oneself of the tough task of explaining what one is for, what one loves, what one has faith in, in favour of the far easier and fun pastime of saying what one is against and what one hates. An identity based on a nothing will inevitably be a quite hostile identity, sometimes viciously so, particularly towards opposite identities that are based on a something – in this case on a belief in God. There is a very thin line between being a None and a nihilist; after all, if your whole identity is based on not believing in something, then why give a damn about anything?