Atheists Love the Social Bookmarking Sites

Shocking news to all of us, I’m sure:

Users of social bookmarking sites like Reddit and Digg are overwhelmingly non-religious. Well, that, or we all just enjoy looking at pictures/articles/websites that poke fun at religious people and their beliefs.

A 2-year-old survey of Digg users showed a significant concentration of atheists and agnostics. Because Digg’s content is submitted and voted on by the users, the stories promoted to the website’s homepage reflect the audience.

Digg isn’t exactly religion-friendly, so it naturally doesn’t attract a very spiritual crowd. “If you were into religion and you went to that site, and you thought that you weren’t connecting with anyone, then you wouldn’t spend a lot of time there,” said Diane Winston, professor of media and religion at the University of Southern California.

YouTube also has its atheist niche. A search for “atheist” yields 124,000 results, and several of those videos have been watched hundreds of thousands of times. Granted, a search for “Christianity” returns 862,000, but many of those contain content critical of the religion.

This doesn’t surprise me. Reddit even has a separate “atheism” subcategory.

Other thoughts:

– There are a lot more atheists out there than anyone knows about. If we can harness even some of this energy and passion, we could get a lot done. On a small scale, the Atheist Bus Campaign. On a large scale, a Unity conference? Elect more atheist Congresspeople? Make sure there is no federal money going to groups discriminating against atheists and gays?

– If we make our presence known on these sites and help spread our messages about reason and logic, there is a good chance a lot of religious people will hear those thoughts for the first time in their lives.

– Our country is still made of up of mostly religious people. Why are they not using these sites? Or is there a third-rate Christian version of Digg similar to the third-rate Christian versions of everything else secular?

– Are the users of these sites just more logical/rational than everyone else? I’d imagine Wired magazine and XKCD rarely get mentioned in conversations between two Evangelicals.

(via The Invisible Pink Unicorn)

  • http://whitehorsemen.blogspot.com/ Autonomous Intellection

    Are the users of these sites just more logical/rational than everyone else? I’d imagine Wired magazine and XKCD rarely get mentioned in conversations between two Evangelicals.

    I fear the truth in such a statement. The ignorance and superstitiousness of the few evangelicals is enough to counter the laid-back approach of the well-informed. I don’t understand why we are waiting for the religious right to take away all our rights for us to finally care. Every freedom lost on the quiet playing field is one step closer to a theocracy.

    I am of course referring to Proposition 8. Not because I am personally gay, nor because of my gay friends (for I have none), nor because I even live in California, but because these rights are basic human rights, and we have given in to the rule of Religion on this matter.

  • Rat Bastard

    My take is that the relatively smaller “techno-interest” of the religious is pretty much based on their interest in hanging with like-minded people at a religious site, if they interact with the web at all. I’ll baldly make the more crass suggestion that the deeply religious are generally less educated, and less likely to post at DIGG and REDDIT to start with, as they are far less likely to have a computer, much less internet access, based on their lack of disposable income. Go to an xtian site to find those who do post, and you will observe the saccharine goings-on which have a self-congratulatory nature, and have quite low technical content. OTOH, atheist websites always have technical content, even the most virulent ones.

  • http://ecstathy.blogspot.com efrique

    The problem with sites like Digg or Reddit is that you might read opinions that contradict your own, or even worse, your pastor’s.

    This, for many evangelicals, is too freaky and nightmarish. It’s a free-for-all robust exchange of memes. People might think anything at all!

    You might catch liberalism or something. You could become a socialist Muslim atheist terrorist before you even knew it! You might even vote for Obama!

    Thankfully, I don’t mind contradicting my pastas. I don’t think the FSM is all that concerned about it.

  • http://travelfork.blogspot.com/ Sabayon

    Of course, why would Christians use youtube when they could use GodTube?.

  • Oli

    Don’t forget that a big chunk of the atheists on these sites could be European. Over here in the Old Country we’re a lot more atheistic than you chaps in the colonies.

    Just look at Tony Blairs comment on why he never really mentioned god while he was in office, he was worried people would think he was “A Nutter”.

    Seems to be the other way round in the States, politicians must invoke their patron deity at least two or three times every speech.

  • http://odgie.wordpress.com Odgie

    Or maybe, we have lives and responsibilities off-line. And as far as a self-congratulatory tone goes, this post and these comments kind of walk off with that one. RB and efrique, would you prefer to be the pot, or the kettle?

  • Karen

    Given how the hateful Prop 8 was so strongly backed by religious people, and the planned backlash from the homosexual community and its supporters, I would think non-theists could strengthen their natural alliance with gay people in upcoming elections, benefitting both groups.

  • http://ecstathy.blogspot.com efrique

    To reiterate, my point was that for many evangelicals, exposure to radically different opinions to their own is something they try hard to avoid, and since Digg and Reddit are awash in a variety of opinions, almost anybody would find plenty of things that will be objectionable to them, and hence these will be avoided by those evangelicals who avoid radically different opinions to their own.

    By accusing me of hypocrisy (that is, doing what I accuse others of – the pot/kettle bit), you imply that I *don’t* expose myself to opinions that differ from my own.

    Support your argument that my comment was hypocritical, please.

    Where is your evidence that I do not regularly expose myself to opinions and argument I strongly disagree with?

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  • goleem

    You know, I’ve never been on either Reddit or Digg and never heard of Wired or XKCD and have been an atheist for most of my life. And in social situation/sites have found virtually no fellow non-believers. So I will also pose the question:
    ” There are a lot more atheists out there than anyone knows about. If we can harness even some of this energy and passion, we could get a lot done. On a small scale, the Atheist Bus Campaign. On a large scale, a Unity conference?”
    Now why do you hide on the net bitching, when we could be the rock in the stream of religion, daming and redirecting to promote a better understanding for those weak unfortunates brain washed in religious dogma?