For a while now, I’ve been wanting to conduct a poll wherein I ask a representative percentage of the population, “Are you convinced that an actual deity really exists” I want to phrase the question that way, because I know that most atheists in this country don’t even know they are atheist, because they don’t know the definition. Even a good number of those who know what an atheist is still bend over backwards like Neo in the Matrix trying to dodge that label. I even know of a people who still identify as non-practicing Catholics, Jewish, or Hindu, even though they say they don’t believe in any god.
There was a Pew survey in 2009 which answers that question well enough. While we are normally told that atheists represent only about 5% of the general population, that poll shows 1% who refused to answer the question, which is the way many actual atheists respond to this. A lot of them are ‘apatheists’, they don’t CARE if God exists. Then there are another 12% who say they don’t believe in any god, but that they do believe in a ‘universal spirit’ or ‘higher power’ (something akin to the Force) which could not be correctly defined as a god. That would mean that actual atheists collectively represent about 17% of the general populace, and 66% of scientists.