The State of Atheism in America… from a Christian Perspective

The Barna Group is a research organization that focuses on questions of interest to the Christian world, and they just released a survey they did on people who haven’t gone to church in the past six months. They called them the “unchurched,” though we usually refer to them as the “Nones.” Most of them aren’t atheists, but they still want nothing to do with organized religion.

Barna’s overall findings won’t be a huge surprise for readers of this site, but they might cause panic for church leaders. We’re talking about a group that represents about 25% of adults. Also, our current demographics resemble their wish list. Just look at how Skeptics (which they define as atheists and Agnostics) have changed over the past 20 years:



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The Least Religious City in America Is…

The religiously-unaffiliated make up 22% of the population nationwide, but which cities have the most Nones?

The Public Religion Research Institute, using data from the American Values Atlas, has figured out the least religious cities in the country… and topping the list are some pretty fantastic places:



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Reddit’s Biggest Atheism Hangout Scores Sky-High For Toxic Content and Bigotry, Data Analysts Say

On Friday, I published a moderately unkind comment about Reddit; I said that while I love Reddit warts and all, its content is 80 to 90 percent dross. Mostly, that referred to the atheism subreddit (or r/atheism, in Reddit-speak). I visit the place five or six days a week, and there is always a lot of junk to wade through: from rickety, poorly-worded arguments to repetitions of old news stories that had already been posted days or weeks earlier. Also, of course, there’s a deluge of low-quality memes.

While the dreck is annoying on some level, I fully accept that it’s part of the give-and-take of online communities without gatekeepers. Anyone can join, and you never know if the next link or comment you read was left by someone with decent thinking/writing skills, or by a dim 13-year-old crudely rebelling against mom and dad saying grace over dinner. Like this specimen, say.



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Another Look at the Percentage of Atheists in Prison

We know that the percentage of atheists in prison is much smaller than the percentage of atheists in the general population. There are several reasons for that, and it’s *way* too simplistic to suggest we’re “more moral” than everyone else… so don’t do it.

But how different are our numbers from those of religious believers?

Mona Chalabi of FiveThirtyEight has taken the numbers I acquired in 2013, combined it with U.S. census data, and created this nifty chart, showing the ratios of prisoners’ religious affiliations in prison versus the general population:



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New Survey Suggests Americans with No Religious Affiliation May Soon Outnumber Any Single Religious Group

The General Social Survey is one of the most comprehensive data sets out there when it comes to the religious beliefs of Americans, and the 2014 results were just released last week.

You’ll be happy to know that the trend away from organized religion is still on the upswing:



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