What Percentage of Prisoners are Atheists? It’s a Lot Smaller Than We Ever Imagined

What percentage of prisoners are atheists?

This is an important question with serious implications. If the number is high, it lends support to the idea that atheists are immoral (***Edit***: I should’ve made clear that not all prisoners are in jail for immoral reasons, though that is certainly the stereotype). If the number is low, it might provide some proof that, indeed, atheists have their own moral compass that doesn’t involve a holy book.

For more than a decade, if you Googled this question, you were directed to one of two websites, both referring to the same information (though even that’s in dispute) given to a “Rod Swift” by Denise Golumbaski, a research analyst at the Federal Bureau of Prisons. According to them, atheists made up 0.2% of the prison population:

There were always a lot of problems with that information:

If the statistic is wrong, we must stop using it. But can we really confirm or deny this information?

Yes we can — and I finally have some definitive information to back it up.

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In Indonesia, Where You Can Be Sent to Prison for Not Believing in God, Atheist Parents Are Meeting on Facebook

Indonesia is not a safe place for atheists. It’s home to Alexander Aan, who was handed a prison sentence for simply proclaiming his atheism on Facebook.

Despite that, a courageous group of atheist parents have created a (closed) Facebook group to discuss raising their kids without superstitious values. Jakarta Globe has the story:

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What Was It Like at a Megachurch?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, answers the question: What was it like speaking at a megachurch?

(You can read more about my visit here and here.)

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next! [Read more...]

The Celestial Teapot: A New Digital Magazine for Atheists

You could count on one hand the number of magazines geared toward atheists/skeptics that don’t come attached to a membership with a national organization. The team at The Celestial Teapot (an homage to Bertrand Russell‘s famous analogy) is trying to fill that void with their new digital publication:

We are a new magazine publication for the atheist community. We write about American History and politics, religion, science, the environment, sex, atheism, humanism and secularism. We strongly believe in the separation of church & state, rational thought and logical reasoning. but we also enjoy the lighter topics: art, comics, memes, and photography.

I spoke with editor-in-chief Irene Panchuk via email about the magazine and what it offers readers:

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50 Years of Humanism in ‘Doctor Who’

Brandon Fibbs honors the 50th anniversary of “Doctor Who,” calling it a “consistent beacon of humanism,” with this fantastic clip compilation:

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