Survey Says: Atheism is on the Rise Worldwide (and in America)

A new global survey on religiosity (PDF) by WIN-Gallup International has two big findings:

First, the United States has gone from being 1% godless in 2005 to 5% in 2012. (The percentage of people simply calling themselves non-religious is 30%, significantly higher than ever before.) That jumps us up quite a bit on the Global Atheism Index:

The other finding is that atheists are now 13% of the world population, an increase of 9% since 2005:

… the number of self-declared atheists in the world has risen by 9% since the measure was last taken in 2005.

The massive poll, conducted in 57 countries (not, apparently, including Britain) among 51,000 people asked a single question “Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person or a convinced atheist?”

It shows that on average 59% of the world said that they think of themselves as religious, whereas 23% think of themselves as not religious and 13% think of themselves as convinced atheists. Naturally there are enormous variations from country to country.

What does all this mean? For America, where only 60% of the population calls themselves “religious,” and an additional 30% calls themselves “non-religious,” politicians are making a big mistake by ignoring us during election seasons. As philanthropist Todd Stiefel pointed out in an email, “they go after Jews (1%), African Americans (12.6%) and Hispanics (16.3%) like crazy, but [the] non-religious+atheist crowd (35%) is larger than those three groups combined (29.9%).”

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • CultOfReason

    Italy, home to the pope, has a higher percentage of atheists than the US?  WTF?

    • gski

      I wonder where Vatican City would fall on the list.

      • C Peterson

        I expect that Vatican City has a high level of atheism. It’s where Church leaders end up, ambitious and often intelligent people… just the sort who have always been atheists. I have little doubt that quite a few Popes have been atheists.

        That said, you’re not going to find very many people in Vatican City who self-identify as atheists, so any survey is going to give useless results there.

        • CultOfReason

          Sort of like the countries at the bottom of the list where they face a death sentence if they were to self-identify as atheists.

          Nothing  skews survey results like the threat of death.

          • David

             “Nothing  skews survey results like the threat of death.”

            Or the threat of everlasting hell  ;-)

            • Agnostic

              Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Poi Pot , the most infamous atheists in recent history must have known that.

              • C Peterson

                Hitler was a Catholic, and based his personal views on a mix of Christianity and Germanic mythology. His government was not atheistic. A Poi Pot is something you find at a luau.

              • randall.morrison90

                Don’t forget the mass murderers Trotksy and Mao!

                • Jose Luis Caceres

                  Right, and the catholics who molested hundreds of kids, and the lunatic that killed kids in Norway, or the Taliban, or…you get the point, don´t you? if not, I am happy that you don´t call yourself an atheist, you´ll make us look bad.

            • Agnostic

              Hitler religious belief apparently is being debated. Pol Pot was infamous for being responsible for killing fields in Cambodia

        • Gus Snarp

          I don’t know if atheist would be the right word for many, but I’m quite convinced that most Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, and a fair number of priests don’t believe most of what they’re spreading. Mother Theresa apparently didn’t.

    • Gus Snarp

      Yeah, but if you drill down in the results you find that Italy has a much higher proportion that is religious, and about half the proportion of non-religious. So the higher atheist proportion is more than balanced by a decrease in the general non religious group.

    • randall.morrison90

      How choice that China, at the top of the Atheism Index, is a totalitarian state that oppresses believers, forces abortions, and stifle human rights.

      Thats what the world has to look forward to if atheists get political control.

      • Count_Von_Krolock

         You’re retarded. Sweden and Norway and Japan, to name three, are societies that have much higher proportions of atheists and freethinkers than Christians, Muslims, or Jews, and their crime rates are far below the U.S. Secondly, communism=/=atheism. China is not an atheist state, but a communist one. So to imply that all atheists are not only communist, which they aren’t, but he violent Soviet variety is to admit that you are an ignorant fuck-wit. Do our species a favor; don’t breed or vote.

        • Israel Navas Duran

          75% of the Swedish population and 79% of the Norwegians believe either in God or that there is some sort of spirit or life force:

          — Special Eurobarometer 225. Social values, Science and Technology. European Commission. Fieldwork : January – February 2005. Publication : June 2005
 (page 9)

          On the other hand, it’s quite dubious that the majority of the Japanese are actually irreligious people:

          “One reason why the Japanese don’t have a particular association with any one religion is that during the Meiji Period religion was tolerated as long as it did not disrupt political reforms and the definition of religion was shaped by the Western definition of “religion,” which did not necessarily have a place for indigenous Japanese faiths. During the postwar period the divinity of the emperor and state Shintoism were renounced (See Shintoism).”

          “Some have said the statistics mentioned above don’t necessarily mean the Japanese are irreligious its just means they do not follow specific faiths as followers of monotheistic religions do. The 2005 Yomiuri Shimbun survey also revealed that 56 percent of Japanese believed in the supernatural, many seek help divine help when in trouble and 94 percent respected their deceased ancestors. In 2008, police said 98.2 million people visited a shrine or temple in the first three days of the year, the highest number since 1974.”

          — Jeffrey Hays. Religion in Japan and the Irreligious Japanese. 2009

          • B_R_Deadite99

            This is somewhat irrelevant to my comment. The point was that these countries have much higher ratios of atheists/freethinkers vs Christians and Muslims. Over 70% of Americans identify as Christians, if I am not mistaken.

          • No.

            Belief in a life force or existence of spirit doesn’t make one religious. I believe in life after death and the existence of spirit, but I would NEVER call myself a religious person, because I simply do not believe in organized religion or any religious dogma that exists on Earth today. I also don’t believe in the hateful Christian god, or any of the other gods that threaten hell and damnation if one doesn’t follow I don’t know what list of behaviors. I believe in spirit science and that we don’t simply stop existing after we die, maybe only on a physical level, but not at consciousness level. Perhaps quantum mechanics hits closer to what I believe, and noetic science as well. Nonetheless, as spiritual as I may be, I wouldn’t count myself in the same category with religious people. I think that it’s unfair to judge people simply by ”atheist/religious” when there are so many folks who are somewhere in between and believe in different things than the two extremes. The world isn’t black and white. And I also think it’s shameful and sad to see people hate each other and jump at each other’s throats because of their beliefs or lack of them. Seriously? Is there really a need for people to bully each other because they don’t believe in I don’t know what religious thought or that they do? Why do we have to hate each other for THIS? I don’t understand the need of it, really. People are sad.

      • No.

        Actually, the most civilized and socially progressive countries in the world are almost entirely atheist. Look at the Scandinavian countries. From what I noticed, the most oppressive, invasive and hateful countries in the world are all that have a high percentage of religious people and of which their laws are influenced by religion.

  • C Peterson

    I suspect that atheism isn’t substantially on the rise at all. A high percentage of smart people have always been atheists. What’s changing is that the social environment is making it more acceptable for people to identify as atheists.

    If so, this should be important to activist atheists and activist anti-religionists, since it would suggest we don’t need to continually be demonstrating the logical flaws in theism and religion… the people who are going to get that probably already do. What may be more important is continuing to push for social recognition. I think that as we do that, more and more closet atheists will make themselves known.

    • usclat

      It seems to me that you are saying that those who are, are and those who aren’t aren’t and the two are pretty much set in stone. I believe that while the general social environment IS becoming more conducive to identifying oneself as a person of reason, there are also many legitimate “conversions” away from faith.   

      As an example, my sister-in-law and her husband had been life-long Catholics. In fact, her uncle recently celebrated 55 years as a priest. They have two children, one who is gay. When he (her son) finally came out of the closet, it was devastating to her and her husband. Nevertheless, as the years went by, she realized that the Church’s (and Bible’s) position with regard to her son’s nature, were no longer acceptable to her. She lost her faith in all religion and significantly, she lost her belief in a god. Her husband did too. I could sense that for them it was a great sense of relief that they could embrace their son as always without the nonsensical fear of god’s wrath.

      Yes, many others would have doubled down on the side of religion in this scenario, but more and more, I hear of these later life “epiphanies” that bring people around to reason. 

      I do agree with you about pushing for social recognition as non-believers and people of reason. If more people could become comfortable with their atheism and just say they are non-believers, the frightful hold on this country by “Faith” would erode much quicker. 

      • C Peterson

        I don’t disagree at all that genuine conversions are on the rise. I’m just speculating that more of these “new” atheists were atheists all along, and are just now willing to admit it in surveys.

      • servantheart

        I wonder if God might have a say in this discussion though, don’t ya think?

        • ScienceRules

          It is mostly stupid people who believe in a literal God as in a conscious creator of the universe. Congratulations, now since you are decidedly a retard – how about getting some disability pension for yourself ? HA HA HA

    • jimmy

      Smartest and dumbest, richest and poorest, and pretty much
      the great majority of people in between believe in God. But I guess atheists do
      fulfill a role in God’s creation. Otherwise there wouldn’t be any.

      • Guest

        He made us as role models on how to point out that the emperor has no clothes. Imperfect ones sure, but hey, God isn’t known for successfully assembling the model kit without gluing His fingers together.

        • True Atheist

          I think some atheist are dumbasses that just try and piggyback on the reputation of famous intellectual atheists. Ask the common atheist about his reasons as to why he doesn’t believe in God and they will usually answer with some dumb poorly founded idea.

          • servantheart

            I totally agree with that! So you must be one of the famous intellectual atheists then I presume?

        • Guest

          whatever simpleton

        • servantheart

          This implies that you ACTUALLY KNOW GOD!! ha ha ha…

      • Hawking Jr.

        Do you live in east Texas or something? That is a creationist thing to say. No offense to ay of the people I just included in this statement.

      • servantheart

        Except that GOD doesn’t BELIEVE in atheists!

  • FSM follower

    Why are they using the Philippine flag for Palestinian territories?

  • Kacy

    I can’ t help but wonder what this means in light of the economic recession.  Religiosity has always had a negative relationship with income, meaning that poorer people tend to also be some of the more religious people.  But we’re seeing more atheism with general  lower socioeconomic status (SES) in the US.  I don’t want to commit the ecological fallacy and assume there is a relationship there, but I think another study is in order to see if the relationship between income and religiosity is changing among individuals in countries like the US, rather than just seeing the unsurprising data that poorer nations tend to be more religious.  This likely has more to do with education and development than strictly income.  I think I read a study earlier this year that showed that the working class is fastest growing irreligious group in the US, and since they and unemployed college students are the demographics hurt most by the recession, I’m very curious about the relationship.

    I studied Sociology of Religion in grad school, so I always find religious surveys fascinating.

    • Hedonist: The Devil’s Advocate

      It could certainly be the case, especially with the present climate where many educated folk aspiring for upper financial status are also falling into the lower socio-economic bracket with their own share of problems. I certainly agree with the idea that we might benefit from another study.

      • jordan

        Atheists couldn’t survive in the real world ( poorer countries ), they would probably end up killing themselves or murdered. How many books about survival or overcoming some sort of economic crisis or genocide have been written by atheists. There isn’t many because atheists are weak!

        • Astreja

          No, Jordan; more likely the humanists among us would pitch in to raise the standard of living in the community, making friends rather than enemies.

          I think the lack of survivalist books has more to do with an optimism that we have the ability to save this planet (or at least refrain from making it appreciably worse).

          • Guest

            And I guess the holocaust was the Jews fault, or no atheists ever fought in Vietnam or any world war. Face it! atheists are simple minded unpassionate weaklings. They never survive any crisis!
            Dumb ass.

            • Chris

              I completely agree with you! my neighbor is a total coke addict, and if you ask him, he’ll tell you that there is no God, and that life is here today gone tomorrow, so so might as well party till you die.
              I honestly don’t see any hope of recovery for him.

            • PastaWorshipper

              Or perhaps atheists will out live/survive all the religions?

              Those that don’t believe have been around for thousands of years. They just haven’t had a voice because they have been oppressed on pain of death for expressing such voices until now.

              • Chris

                Or perhaps all those naive and peaceful atheists, together with the few religious left, will be slaves of powerful and corrupt atheists. Or perhaps universal consciousness will arise over thought based egoic identification.

          • felix

            This comment is totally irrelevant. Atheists are not a country or a
            group that acts as a whole, they are scattered all over the place the
            same as people from all religions. There all a sorts of atheists as well
            as religious people. There are corrupt, violent, perverted, good,
            friendly etc etc. Everyone contributes to the direction the world takes
            regardless of their religious beliefs, the difference is that when
            things get really tough, like for instance if a very rich atheist would
            suddenly end up broke and in jail, he’d probably en up committing
            suicide and a Christian would probably find the strength to hang on.

          • felix

            This comment is totally irrelevant. Atheists are not a country or a group that acts as a whole, they are scattered all over the place the same as people from all religions. There all a sorts of atheists as wellas religious people. There are corrupt, violent, perverted, good, friendly etc etc. Everyone contributes to the direction the world takes regardless of their religious beliefs, the difference is that when things get really tough, like for instance if a very rich atheist would
            suddenly end up broke and in jail, he’d probably en up committing suicide and a Christian would probably find the strength to hang on.

          • Carlos

            Ignorance is bliss or so they say.

            I live in a third world country and you have no idea the tremendous amount of people that are atheists and don’t really care. Plus they are not smart, some are good some are not, some are criminals and use religion only to manipulate, living only for the purpose of self pleasuring themselves, but they are not going to write about it here. Many fo these atheists become believer’s due to the desperation of living surrounded by poverty and danger, and atheism offering absolutely nothing for them, yet these men and women in their search to find a better world, turn to their inner being and to God for an answer, some join a religious group that offers them love and the tools necessary to construct that world of peace they are looking for. Atheism has nothing to offer in terms of humanist and social solutions for a better life. It only works for a few (specially the ones who live in the bubble), so people leave atheism because it’s worthless. Do you honestly think all those people that are doing the kidnappings and beheadings are religious? many don’t believe in anything other than themselves. Others say they don’t believe in anything, yet when the shit hits the fan for them all of the sudden they start praying to God. Because they have no other way out!. And those who are brain damaged to the point of not having faith even in the darkest of hours, either consume themselves in the evil that surrounds them, or commit suicide. Go figure.

    • jordan

      Well if you studied Sociology of Religion in grad school then you should go sue you teachers because you didn’t learn shit. Poorer countries are more religious because people don’t live in a fucking bubble full of comfort. If it weren’t for religion these countries would probably be worse.

  • m1n4

    I was just reading some statistics of atheist in my state (I don’t live in the US). In the past ten years, the atheist population grew 80.8%  and now we round the 20% statewide.
    I felt so happy when I read this, yet, we don’t have any atheist organization and local news still cover church’s activities and celebrations and have at least one priest to give their opinion on the news.

    • Barney Rubble

      Now that’s stupid. It’s like saying that because there is a Cancer research organization, there has to be a non cancer research organization.

  • advancedatheist

    This seems to support psychologist Nigel Barber‘s thesis that world religiosity could fall below 50 percent by the 2030′s: 

    I look forward to the coming “Jesus who?” era. Those radical philosophes in the 18th Century, for example the Baron d’Holbach and his circle, had basically the right idea of the possibility of a postreligious world worth living in.

    • elf

      Santa Claus!!!

  • Gus Snarp

    Well those are heartening numbers.

  • Nazani14

    I hope this means that all the anti-blasphemy legislation that’s cropping up around the world is actually some sort of “extinction burst” of behavior.

  • Pedro Lemos

    Brasil´s position in this list is shameful… and I don´t see things changing in short term… :(

  • Richard Wade

    Saudi Arabia is two steps above the U.S. in atheism??? It must have been very interesting to conduct such a survey there.

    “Pssst! Effendi, I have a survey from the West. I’ll keep your answers a secret locked in my heart. Let’s meet tonight, behind the souq. Come alone.”

    • Hedonist: The Devil’s Advocate

      Lol. Yeah, I am really curious as to how they came up with that figure since Saudi-Wahabist law is horrendously stringent with regards to Islamic dominion over freedom of conscience. Death penalty for apostasy makes the whole idea of stepping outside the closet of dogma quite troublesome in those parts.

      • Menacemayhem8

        saudia arabia is not true islam. its fake. they do it only for islam to look bad. so the media talks about it. whoever thinks saudia arabia is islamic is brainwashed by the western media.

        • K. Storm A.K.A. Hedonist

          Quite frankly, I don’t give a damn what it is and the whole ‘brainwashed by western media’ meme is a bit too old since it is parroted by the very Wahabist fanatics who deride freedom of conscience and believe in stoning apostates and anyone who dares to disagree. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways.

          So much for logic!

          And just who are you to determine *who* represents Islam the right way? Sounds like the rhetoric of equally self-righteous fanatics that we often hear all over the place. “They don’t do it right, but I do and if you think otherwise, you must be brainwashed.” Well, touché. Everyone with a functioning critical thinking faculty–who simply observes events without following media talking points–knows for a fact that Wahabism is the dominant and/or underlying trend of conservative Islam in the east; that said conservative Islam also typically dictates very stringent religious policy, and that Saudi Arabia is a shameful example of said policies in full oppressive force. Anyone who denies the above, is far gone from being brainwashed–they’re bloody brain-dead.

          Now please, step down from your white-knight soapbox; I believe this is a site for rational intellectuals and such one-dimensional demagoguery-drivel won’t fit into the scope of the topic being discussed. If anything, you have actually proven exactly what is wrong with the Islamic ‘community consensus’ — “It’s not our fault! *They* all do it wrong and the media makes us look bad.” If you were paying attention to your own babble, you’d realise that your own community makes itself look bad; the cameramen just have to stand there and film the disaster pieces seeing as it is one of the easiest and laziest journalistic angles possible. On the other hand, manipulation, skewing and lying actually takes quite a degree of aptitude and effort. Please. That excuse that the media has it out for you has gotten way too cliché. Find a new argument. . . One not driven by your bondage to ‘faith’.

  • Paul Bennett

    It would appear that you have no result for New Zealand, which is unfortunate given that at our last National Census around 30% of the countries population identified as no religion. We are having another census in 2013 and we hope to see a further increase in those numbers. 

  • Stephen Cameron

    Vietnam is at the bottom with zero?   On other surveys I’ve seen, vietnam comes out near the top.

    Like the graphic on this page:

    which shows vietnam at position number 2, beaten out only by Sweden.

    And as another commenter noted, Saudi Arabia has a higher percentage of atheists than the U.S.?

    Wonder what gives?   Some weird things in this chart.

  • James Tomlinson

    You hear this all the time…  ” I felt all alone in my belief.. there is no god!”   I thank the Internet for my ultimate conversion to a life time of REASON.. Blogs like Friendly Atheist..  Authors like Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, Dennet..  and thousands more who blog and respond to Humanist issues gave me the incite to free myself from the illusion of life after death..  Now I just have life!  I’m out of the closet!

    • caroline

      NOW ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LEARN HOW TO LIVE! But thats’s another subject I guess. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up believing in God in the end.

    • Israel Navas Duran

      Humanism is just another philosophy based on irrational beliefs:

      “A Humanist Manifesto, also known as Humanist Manifesto I to distinguish it from later Humanist Manifestos in the series, was written in 1933 primarily by Raymond Bragg and published with 34 signers. Unlike the later manifestos, this first talks of a new religion and refers to humanism as a religious movement meant to transcend and replace previous, deity-based systems. Nevertheless, it is careful not to express a creed or dogma. The document outlines fifteen affirmations on cosmology, biological and cultural evolution, human nature, epistemology, ethics, religion, self-fulfillment, and the quest for freedom and social justice. This latter, stated in article fourteen, proved to be the most controversial, even among humanists, in its opposition to “acquisitive and profit-motivated society” and its demand for an egalitarian world community based on voluntary mutual cooperation. The document’s release was reported by the mainstream media on May 1, simultaneous with its publication in the May/June 1933 issue of the New Humanist.”

      “The first Humanist Manifesto, formalised at the University of Chicago in 1933, identified secular humanism as an ideology that espouses reason, ethics, and justice, while specifically rejecting supernatural and religious ideas as a basis of morality and decision-making.”

      Ethics, justice, basis of morality, free decision-making, there’s no evidence that any of that stuff really exists other than in the minds of those who believe in their existence, just like with the concepts of God and the supernatural.

      • troll

        stop copying and pasting!

  • Michael

    The results for the UK should be out in the next census report, around the end of the year. Should be.

  • Ibis3

    As for appealing to atheists as a voting bloc, there’s not really a single issue that atheists agree upon to a degree that politicians can tap into.

    * not social justice issues (a.k.a. women’s rights, lgbt rights, rights of PoC & ethnic minorities)–we’ve seen plenty of misogynist, homophobic, racist assholes in our ranks recently and that’s not even including those apathetic on these issues; I mean we can’t even get enough agreement on this issue among ourselves to have anti-harassment policies instituted at events without blow back

    *not poverty, not socialised medicine etc–there’s a large number of libertarian douchebags too

    *not crime, gun control, drug policy–there seem to also be a lot of non-progressive “tough on crime, pass me my pistol, and lock up the druggies and their pushers forever, or better yet, where’s the lethal injection” types also

    *not environmentalism–there are still AGW deniers and others who think that climate change isn’t so bad since it won’t affect them very much and you can’t stand in the way of the free market anyway

    *not even secularism when there are so many accommodationists who just want everyone to play nice and there’s so much good that religion does we can’t hurt their feelings

    So sure, there may be a large percentage of non-religious and growing, but it doesn’t mean much on a political level.

    • kaydenpat

      I was going to say the same thing.  Atheists who are conservative can vote Republican, and those who are liberal can vote Democratic.  Or if not satisfied with those two parties, atheists can vote for a 3rd party. 

      Why would Republicans seek atheist votes?  This current strain of Republicans is very pro-Christian.  I just can’t imagine any Republican politician actually reaching out publicly to atheists without some serious blowback.

      • RIRedinPA

        An atheist in the GOP is as confusing to me as gay GOP members. I get that ones sexual orientation doesn’t denote ones political views (i.e. Andrew Sullivan) in the same sense neither does ones religious (or lack thereof) determine a political ideology.

        But at the same time, why would an atheist belong to the party that places a fig leaf over it’s duality as a religious organization? A party that would not only disagree with one’s atheist views but do so with extreme prejudice. 

        Better to work within the Democratic party to introduce conservative views to liberalism than try to convert the Christianist party to something different. 

    • Israel Navas Duran

      Yay, I’m a douchebag!

      • matt

        Al Bundy!

      • Guest

        Who the fuck asked you dip shit/

  • Keulan

    I see two problems with this survey. First, they only have numbers of declared atheists from 57 countries, which leaves out all the atheists in countries not included in the survey. Second, the number of atheists in the survey are only the ones who use the term ‘atheist’ to describe themselves. So I’m pretty sure the actual percentages of atheists worldwide and in the separate countries are higher than this poll found.

  • US Infidel


  • Laertes

    They aren’t making a big mistake by not going after us in elections.  A politician can reach out to Jews, African-Americans, and Hispanics without significantly offending non-Jews, non-African-Americans, and non-Hispanics.

    The religious hate and fear atheists.  A politician who was seen to be “reaching out” to us would be demagogued into oblivion by her lucky opponent.

    • Non atheist

      No one would go after atheists in elections, because nobody cares about you. You guys are like cat poop inside a cave, in the middle of the Grand Canyon.
      Who cares!

      • CavePoop

        Some people are actually very interested in such poo found in caves in the middle of the grand canyon, such as science babe Dr Alice Roberts :

      • No.

        Wow, you’ve got quite the evil attitude for a religious person, mister Non atheist. Doesn’t your religion teach you to love others like you would yourself? Or that’s only limited to other religious people such yourself? Go away troll.

        • non atheist

          Just because I said atheists are like poop in a cave means I’m evil. Seriously? that sounds like something a religious nut would say. :-p

  • Zeeshan Parvez

    Smarter people are atheists? What a bunch of bullshit!

    • Guest

      Thanks for proving the point so cogently.

      • Guest

        He’s right. What a bunch of bullshit!

      • yo mama

        No! thank you for your cogently elaborated reply!!

      • arthur

        This is so cogently cogent, I cant wait to cogently become cogent!

  • George Coussoulos

    I seem to recall a social scientist determining that about 14% of the population in any culture is incapable of religious belief.  Does anyone recall this and who said it?

  • Menacemayhem8

    Of course atheism will be on the rise, so is religion on the rise. Why? Because populations are on the rise! So everything will increase.

  • martin

    i suspect the number of atheist is even higher. The reason why atheist population is 0% in some country is because in these country atheism is not allowed. I’m an atheist and some of my friends here are also atheists but our citizen/ID card says otherwise because we can’t not have a religion here.

    • iza

      Let’s not leave out all the coke heroin and sex addicts that are atheists but could care less about some dumb survey. Did I mention the people that are in the organized crime business? And yes I am aware of all the nasty things religious people do.

  • drake

    I am non-religious, and I don’t understand why these atheist insist on including us in their damn percentages, like if we where atheist. I suggest all you atheist fix your daddy issues on your own, and stop including us no-religious folks in your made up statistics.

    • SomeGuy

      Atheism is the rejection of religious beliefs. That’s it. What the hell is your point?

      • drake

        Oh I’m sorry mister atheist, I guess you decide what I am.

        • SomeGuy

          Sorry for knowing the actual definition of words.

          • drake

            do a web search asshole and stop calling me an atheist you stupid bitch.

            • SomeGuy

              You are an idiot.

              • drake

                atheism: synonymous of asshole

                • Ricardo

                  Maybe you want to check on that. You are the one saying a belief is a synonym of an adjective.

                • Ricardo

                  in a slang way technically not really, still makes no sense to compare atheism to asshole, therefore you are the asshole.

                • servantheart

                  Ricardo you ASSHOLE! You’re an atheist!!! THEY ARE BOTH NOUNS…. Do your homework IDIOT!!! ATHEISM IS synonymous with IDIOT!!!

                • yo mama

                  atheism: synonymous of pissy whiny little cunt :-)

                • baal

                  flagged, go away troll

              • believer

                You re an idiot.

            • SomeGuy

              I’m sorry I take that back. I’m the idiot.

          • drake

            these creepy little atheists are trying to include as atheists people that consider themselves non religious in there statistics. If you ask a common person that believes in God but doesn’t identify with any particular religion like for example Islam, if they consider themselves non religious there going to say yes!

            So I believe in God and don’t belong to any religious group, so I consider myself non religious.

            Read the fucking article:

            “The massive poll, conducted in 57 countries (not, apparently, including
            Britain) among 51,000 people asked a single question “Irrespective of
            whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a
            religious person, not a religious person or a convinced atheist?”

            • SomeGuy

              You should know the difference between agnostic atheism and gnostic atheism.

              • drake

                Most people don’t care about “agnostic atheism and gnostic atheism” or whatever. If you ask ask person:

                “Irrespective of
                whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a
                religious person, not a religious person or a convinced atheist?”

                The ones that believe in God but don’t identify with any religion will most likely consider themselves NON RELIGIOUS.

                They’re not going to go into details of whether they are agnostic, gnostic etc etc bla bla bla.

                • SomeGuy

                  So, you give in to ignorance. How pathetic.

            • erni

              what kind of a idiot are you? religion is the belief in a super power like god.
              if you believe in god but not in any organised religion then you are religious.
              that’s called deism. it’s the belief that there is a god and that’s all. you don’t have to worship him or anything.
              so get your self the fuck out of the non – religious. you are religious. non – religious people are basically atheists.

              • DanyO

                I guess you should read it again moron:

                Most people don’t care about “agnostic atheism and gnostic atheism” or whatever. If you ask ask person:

                “Irrespective of
                whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a
                religious person, not a religious person or a convinced atheist?”

                The ones that believe in God but don’t identify with any religion will most likely consider themselves NON RELIGIOUS.

                They’re not going to go into details of whether they are agnostic, gnostic etc etc bla bla bla.

                • Cake

                  Eni didn’t go into agnostic gnostic blah blah blah, so I don’t know what your problem is.
                  Words mean things. The belief in a god with no specific religion attached is Deism.

                • DanyO

                  Another imbecile that should read it again:

                  Most people don’t care about “agnostic atheism and gnostic atheism” or whatever. If you ask ask person:

                  “Irrespective of
                  whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a
                  religious person, not a religious person or a convinced atheist?”

                  The ones that believe in God but don’t identify with any religion will most likely consider themselves NON RELIGIOUS.

                  They’re not going to go into details of whether they are agnostic, gnostic etc etc bla bla bla.


                • Cake

                  Word salad much?

                • DanyO

                  In between your butt cheeks

            • perry

              Wow what a troll drake is.

              Why does HM let him post?

      • servantheart

        CORRECTION: Atheism is in itself a RELIGIOUS BELIEF! Try to squirm out of that one SomeGuy who doesn’t want to be known.

        • AlexJF

          Atheism is the lack of religion and somehow it is a religion……nice logic

          • servantheart

            Atheism is not the lack of religion. It is the lack of a belief in God. HUGE DIFFERENCE MORON!!! WHY DON’T YOU DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND LOOK IT UP INSTEAD OF MAKING UP YOUR OWN MEANINGS?

        • SomeGuy

          Lack of religion is a religious belief? Denying religion is religious? Ok mate have fun in elementary school.

          • servantheart

            You believe in Science as your religion Idiot! Some people don’t know how to be honest with what they actually believe. There are NO TRUE atheists!

            • SomeGuy

              You’re a special kind of stupid, aren’t you?

            • Christopher

              I do believe that science exists… but that doesn’t make it my religion. Science is the study of the natural world. Religion is defined as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power”. If you reject religion (you don’t believe their is a superhuman controlling power) then you are an atheist. It’s really quite simple.

              And if there were “NO TRUE atheists”, as you put it, why would we even have a word for it? Just look up the word “atheist” in a dictionary… you’ll see it’s a very real thing, as much as you hate to admit it.

    • servantheart

      That’s exactly how they try to frame their self congratulatory BIASED “surveys” to make themselves look more popular and less PATHETIC. You would use the same tactic if you were in their shoes. Think of all the NEEDED Marketing they need with the Manufactured Studies to get more people to join them. Then of course they call themselves “the Friendly Atheist” so you won’t be afraid to join them. ;)

  • katy

    I once knew an atheist truck driver, simple minded fellow. My cousin is atheist he is also simple minded. I haven’t met with many intellectual atheist.

    • Jason

      Atheist(s). You forgot to make that plural. Good try though.

      • katy

        Una vez conocí a un chofer de autobuses ateo, era un hombre de mente simple. Mi primo también es ateo y el también es de mente simple. A esta fecha, no he conocido a algún ateo que sea intelectual.

        Would you like that in french as well?

        • Israel Navas Duran

          Your Spanish (or your Spanish translator) is also flawed. We don’t say “de mente simple”. Instead of that, we call them “imbéciles”, “idiotas” or “estúpidos”.
          The expression “a esta fecha” doesn’t exist either, the correct way to say this is “hasta la fecha” or “a fecha de hoy”.
          Also, “no he conocido a algún ateo que sea intelectual” is wrong. The correct way is “no he conocido a NINGÚN ateo que FUESE (o FUERA) UN intelectual”. Although it would be more correct to say “hasta la fecha no he conocido ningún intelectual (que fuese) ateo”, since “intellectual” isn’t just an attribute or profession but rather some sort of specialized occupation with certain social recognition. In any case, always preceded by determiner (“un, algún, ningún, los, muchos, etc.”).

          • Feminerd

            You have just brought back some rather horrifying memories of studying grammar for my AP Spanish exam. I had so much trouble with that past subjunctive tense …

          • katy

            Una vez conocí a un chofer de autobuses ateo, era un “imbécil”. Mi primo también es ateo y el también es “idiota”. “Hasta la fecha”, no he conocido a NINGÚN ateo que FUESE UN intelectual.

            Thank you”estúpido”.

            • Feminerd

              Saying things in more than one language doesn’t make you right, you know. It just makes you able to say wrong things in multiple languages.

              • katy

                correcting someone’s grammar doesn’t make you smarter, it only makers you look nerd.

                • Feminerd

                  1) Nerd is not an insult. I proudly call myself a nerd, though mostly for the D&D and video games.
                  2) I never tried to correct anyone’s grammar; it appears you did, however. Feel free to insult yourself by calling yourself a nerd if you think that is a bad thing, but you really shouldn’t do that. It’s not nice to yourself.
                  3) Want to address the substance of my criticism to you?

                • katy

                  I think you should get out of your house more often :-P

                • Feminerd

                  So that’s a no on substance, then :/

                  I play D&D over at friends’ houses :) I make cake sometimes, they make dinner sometimes, and we all get together for an evening with friends, food, and gaming.

                • katy

                  You’re not trying to ask me out on a date are you? :-S

                • Feminerd

                  Nope. 1) I’m married, 2) I don’t know you at all, and 3) why the fuck would you even think I was asking you on a date? “I get together with friends on a regular basis, so you can take your implication I never get out of the house and stuff it” does not imply “please join me in my endeavors”. Instead, please don’t.

                • katy

                  JAJAJA You’re funny (!!weirdooo!!)

                • Guest


                • Guest

                  “Want to address the substance of my criticism to you?”
                  I don’t think anybody would want to do that, you’re boring.

                  Get a life looser.

                • yo mama

                  Nerd IS an insult you nerd.

            • Guest

              Además se dice chófer (o conductor) de autobús, no “chofer de autobuses”.
              Por otra parte, hace falta ser bastante ingenuo para tratar de sacar una conclusión general a partir de dos casos aislados, o de una muestra sesgada. A lo mejor es que solo conoces a idiotas e imbéciles. En cualquier caso, podría la mano en el fuego a que no conoces a ningún intelectual, ni ateo ni creyente.

              • katy

                I don’t speak Spanish poop face, I used a web translator. Al thou I was able to translate the part you say you would !!put your hand in fire!!. JAJAJA what an imbecile!!

              • katy

                You do realize you posted the same message twice but this time without the weird Al Bundy looking avatar.

            • Israel Navas Duran

              Además se dice chófer (o conductor) de autobús, no “chofer de autobuses”.

              Por otra parte, hace falta ser bastante ingenuo para tratar de sacar una conclusión general a partir de dos casos aislados, o de una muestra sesgada. A lo mejor es que solo conoces a idiotas e imbéciles. En cualquier caso, podría la mano en el fuego a que no conoces personalmente a ningún intelectual, ni ateo ni creyente.

              • katy

                Whatever man with a weird Al Bundy looking avatar.

              • Eva


                • Israel Navas Duran

                  Thanks, that’s what I meant to say.

                • yo mama

                  Why would you put your hand in fire for some stupidity?

                • Eva

                  You are welcome dip shit

            • Guest

              wow! that sounds way better! those atheists really know how to kick their own asses!

            • Mark

              I guess we should thank the atheist Al Bundy for helping us insult him better.

      • katy

        Thank you MEGA NERD!

    • aProudAtheist

      there’s a lot of them like stephen hawkkngs, richard dawkings… etc

      • jamal

        I actually know them both because they are my neighbours, NOT!

    • sandra

      I would change word intellectual for passionate:
      I haven’t met many atheists passionate about life.

    • Atheist Hunter

      JAJAJA your comment sure got those whiny atheists going didn’t it .

    • Spuddie

      You should hang around a wider group of people.

  • Martin, Ho Chi Minh City

    Another big finding, perhaps even more striking from a statistical viewpoint, is that Vietnam registers zero – whereas many previous surveys have ranked Vietnam at first or second in the world as regards atheism. What this indicates to me is that the survey is flawed, certainly for some countries. Whether it be in the question or in sample selection. I’m not suggesting previous surveys which ranked Vietnam so highly were not flawed in some other way, but the difference in findings would appear to render these particular findings, at least for VN (and therefore probably some other countries, by the laws of probability) invalid. As an atheist living in Vietnam, my personal experience is that there are quite a few of us here.

  • john

    Thanks for the data, I do hope that in the end atheism will prevail. Cheers.

  • bill

    I disagree with the concept that people have always been atheists andthe percentage of atheists never truly changed. As an ex-christian, my ideas of there being a God was challenged through media. And sadly they actually made good points, which is why I’m an atheist today. Atheists finally coming out and challenging the idea of a God is probably the more probable cause of the increase of atheists. People are capable of changing their opinions.

    • *


  • Frances Maddox

    Give me eternal life or give me death…sounds like a “no brainer” to me.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      That’s true. Life is meaningless without death, so eternal life is eternally meaningless.

      The lack of an afterlife makes every action you take more meaningful, because it means those actions are not subject to being magically fixed and made irrelevant by deities and/or by travel to a higher plane where the material universe is inconsequential. As well, since a “soul” can’t affect our actions (otherwise we’d see people performing actions without corresponding neural activity), the soul itself is irrelevant to anything in this universe. Punishing or rewarding it would have less effect and less justification than blowing a kiss to a stranger’s shadow when they’re not looking.

    • baal

      lie to me or kill me? I’ll take door #3.

      • Frances Maddox

        and there are only two doors….LIFE (belief) or DEATH (disbelief)

        • baal

          whoot a pascal!
          You’re forgetting that Cthulhu’s return is worse than hell by a thousand times. Don’t you think you’d best start praying to him to be devoured and obvliated at the front of line?

          No, there are not two doors. You can life your one short life all huffed up on delusional goofballs or you can do you best to live based on reality. I’m deeply offended that you call my life of ‘disbelief’ death.

          • Frances Maddox

            Along with YOUR ‘faith’ you are a liar, with nothing to base the lies upon, even MADE UP words pulled out of the blue… plus dreaming up the 3rd door….this administration has helped YOUR cause more than any of us realized…in the END, TRUTH will WIN. I did not mean to offend you, but I am not sorry for verbalizing the TRUTH! Your BELIEF is nothing but a selfish way to LIE to yourself that YOU do not have to answer to a SUPREME Creator who loves US ALL and WILL forgive US ALL, yes even YOU , IF YOU DECIDE TO FACE facts….WITH THAT SIR, i WILL EXIT AND TAKE THE ADVICE OF JESUS “shake the dust off my feet and move on”…your salvation is up to you and you alone. WE ALL were given FREE will…I would suggest that you INVESTIGATE before the hole is TOO deep. ASTA LAVISTA!

            • baal

              All caps & ellipsis abuse. May grammar god have mercy on your grammar soul. More objectionable, however, is your misguided notion that “this administration” has any relevant role in your religion. I don’t recall Jesus loving politics or the woes of this world.

              • Frances Maddox

                Just because you do not recall does not mean it is not so…wake up and find out what you are NOT talking about. Jesus, God and the HOLY SPIRIT had much to tell us about government, including the rise and fall of various empires..history is repeating itself. The Word shows us what is untrue. evil,etc…I shall continue to love and pray that you and yours will see the LIGHT..

                • baal

                  And here I was thinking I’d finally get a last word in. It’s pretty rare to get one with you ALL CAPS types. If I can’t trust that you’ll move on when you say you will, how can I trust you when you say jesus saves? Also, I heard a man tell me once in his voice full of righteousness and Truth that Bird is the Word.*

                  *and to the conmmentariat, I’ll stop trolling this epistemologically closed xtian now.

                • Frances Maddox

                  I do not expect you to trust me, God is trustworthy ….too bad you do not like all caps to emphasis the truth. I do not make up words to make a point that has no basis. I do not need to fight God’s battle, just witness. Google sends me to spam when checking on authentic spelling of your word usage…God will have the last word.

            • No.

              I just got a headache from just reading your caps. Is your capslock button broken or something?

        • No.

          You sound scarily similar to the Talibans…That’s something they would spew.

          • Frances Maddox

            You have an amazingly way of distorting words…the term death is used as in inspired scripture as physical death. Faith in God is built and strengthen by hearing, the choice is yours and mine, if you chose otherwise it is to your own detriment. THE TRUTH IS AVAILABLE…no one and least of all our loving God as He does not want a bunch of robots. I will pray that you will listen and read the truth before your heart becomes hardened. God loves us all and so do I.

            • No.

              I respectfully ask you to keep your religious patronizing dribble to yourself and speak to me from human to human. You aren’t holier-than-thou. You aren’t better than anyone who doesn’t believe in your God, so please, get off your high horse. I am a spiritualist at heart, I’m not a robot just because I don’t believe in your God. You are rude and insulting to me as a person and human being, your religious arrogance and ignorance is dehumanizing and belittling. Until you get off your religious holier-than-thou high horse and speak to me from an equal human-to-human and soul-to-soul level, I have no business talking to you.

              • Frances Maddox

                Again, you distort words…there is nothing in my replies to you that are arrogant or better than anyone…Christianity is based upon Equality. If God says it, I believe it. Again you have choice and so do I. God makes it clear..we do have the Cross to start anew, I love the Word and even vile misrepresentations of witnessing will deter me, OK.

                • No.

                  What was I distorting this time? I was telling you to get off your high horse, that is all. I think you’re the one with a huge reading comprehension failure.

      • Frances Maddox

        oops, there are only two doors ….LIFE or DEATH

        • No.

          Three words. You put ”or” – the ability to choose. :D

  • J.R. Robbins

    How did this particular thread attract so many theistic assholes?

    • yo mama

      the same way it attracted so many atheist assholes.

    • baal

      flag / down vote them and move on.
      I think it’s backlash for f_galton getting deleted yesterday (temper tantrum).

    • No.

      Yeah, I noticed too, many religious trolls on here.

  • Mr. Last Name

    I don’t know why people care. Its fine to be an atheist. Non atheists just feel like their way is the only possible way and it isn’t. In fact, it doesn’t count as a possible way, because it isn’t. Got a problem with that, like I said, I don’t care. Non religious people is someone who doesn’t have anything to say in the matter, so why are there so many non religious people here caring?

    • No.

      1. Well, the site is apparently for atheists, so, the real question is, what are the religious folks doing here bullying around? 2. We definitely HAVE a say in this since we are part of this world and we watch the effects of religious fanatism destroy people. 3. I don’t know about the other non-believers here, but, I come from a Mormon background, and previous to Mormon, I was a Christian Orthodox. Been out of the whole religious business for quite a few years now and I have A LOT to say on this. So, please, speak for yourself.

  • servantheart

    How YOUNG are you Hemant?