Number of Teenage Atheists in Canada Is Going Up!

Canadians can be optimistic about this statistic (hey, I rhyme!):

Teens who said they definitely believed in God, or a higher power, went from 54% to 37%, from 1984 to 2008, while the number of atheists rose from 6% to 16%. The number of teens that remained uncertain about God stayed at 31%.

In an earlier study, from 1985 to 2005, the number of adults who said they definitely believe in God went from 61% to 49%, while the number whose belief was uncertain rose from 23% to 32%. Over that period the proportion of adult atheists remained steady at around 6% to 7%.

To what (or whom) shall we attribute this change?

(via National Secular Society)

  • HJ

    I’d say it’s because of all the wacky things religious idiots do – the more they expose themselves to ridicule, the less appealing their faith looks.

  • http://theedger.org Ron Brown

    “Canadians can be optimistic about this statistic (hey, I rhyme!)”

    You’re the next Greydon Square!

    PS: I just listened to his new song “2008″ with Mr Gawn, Task Rok, Syqnys and Jayez Dallas and, aside from a few lyrics I didn’t like, I thought the song was AMAZING. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRMnYB_ctrc

  • matt

    I know that my two canadian cousins became atheists shortly after I did, because they were fed up with religion and they watched the movie Zeitgeist that discussed the pagan roots of christianity. I’m not sure how much of Zeitgeist is true, but the stuff about christianity seems legit enough. I think they’ve progressed to much better arguments though as of late.

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  • chancelikely

    The thing that made me saddest about Zeitgeist is that there are plenty of reasons to suspect Christianity’s origins and dislike the Bush administration. There’s no need to make shit up like they did.

    Meanwhile, back on topic – There are two intimately intertwined phenomena, I think, to the poll issue: First, there seem to be more atheists proportionately than there have been in the past, and second, there seems to be much less stigma to being an atheist than before.

    So are you measuring a move away from theism, or a lesser fear of admitting to being an atheist? (Either way, I’m for it.)

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    Zeitgeist, eh? eSkeptic had a good article specifically debunking the part about Christianity.

  • Indigo

    Because more people are now living in the city and fewer in rural areas.
    Hear me out on this. Smaller, rural communities are by necessity tighter-knit. Churches used to be a strong social centre, not just in terms of spirituality but just as a place to gather. They held dances, put on plays, etc. If you live in a small town or on a farm, the odds are good that cutting church-related activities out of your social life will severely limit your options. In the city, you have more choices, and no one knows or cares if you go to church or not. It’s much easier to be an atheist in a big city (much like it’s easier to belong to a non-mainstream religion, or to be gay, for the same reasons).

  • http://thinkingforfree.blogspot.com/ Eamon Knight

    I think we can thank our American neighbours for some of it — watching the faith-based lunacy south of the border the last eight years no doubt put a number of young people off religion altogether. That, and the rise of Islamism and associated terrorism. Between the worst loons of Islam and Christianity, religion begins to look like a scarey thing.

  • WCLPeter

    Ron Brown:

    PS: I just listened to his new song “2008? with Mr Gawn, Task Rok, Syqnys and Jayez Dallas and, aside from a few lyrics I didn’t like, I thought the song was AMAZING.

    The song you mentioned is actually on Greydon’s album “CPT Theorem” released last year and is available on iTunes for 9.99 as a DRM free digital download.

    I don’t normally like Rap Music but Greydon, even when he’s not rapping about atheism, has such interesting things to say that I can overlook that and enjoy the music.

    The “CPT Theorem” is a bit of a branching out for him as well, with only about half the tracks dedicated to atheism. The other tracks talk about events in his own life, which are interesting and emotionally moving. He even has a little fun with the “afterlife” in Ascension where he tells us, in great detail, what his version of the afterlife would look like, assuming it existed.

    Either Greydon Square album is definitely a good buy and I would recommend either one of them. Not only would you be getting good Rap Music, imagine that(!), but you’d also be supporting Greydon so he could make more; a good thing in my opinion.

    Pete…

  • seathanaich

    The source for this is the work of Reg Bibby, who is a well-known religious apologist who poses as a sociologist.

    The real stats from his 2008 study are that among Canadian teens, gnostic atheists (16%) and agnostic atheists (16%) are now 32% of the population, or one third.

    Bibby counts agnostics (both atheist and theist) as the “uncertains”, yet dishonestly adds only the agnostic believers with their gnostic co-religionists, keeping agnostic and gnostic atheists sepearate in a dishonest attempt to provide pro-religious spin to his data. When he says “atheists are 7%” he is only counting gnostic atheists, thus intentionally distorting the numbers. The Harris-Decima poll of 2008 showed that 22-8% of Canadians do not believe in any gods, yet Bibby will only count self-described atheists as “atheists”, which is intentional on his point, and cynical given the perjorative sense in which “atheist” is viewed in society.

    He is a man who refuses to admit the house is on fire until the whole thing is burnt and lying in smoking ruin. Which is I guess what some Christians desperately need to hear.

    Catholic and Protestant Christians are in free-fall numerically. Immigrant communities are importing Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism. In Canada, the tipping point has been reached, and Christianity is now effectively doomed to fringe cult status within a few more generations, barring massive ecological or economic collapse which destroys our education system. The challenge now becomes how to make a dent on immigrant communities who will obviously cling to their religions as a cultural security blanket.

  • http://none Flavioos

    The increaing number of young Atheists is attributed to the fact that youngsters today are smarter. They are discovering that man should be intelligent enough to think and reason by himself. Adults don’t need an abstract “big-brother” to protect them and solve their personal problems.


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