Number of Atheists Worldwide

ReligionFacts.com has a chart on their site, “The Big Religion Chart,” summarizing the major “religions / sects / groups / philosophies / belief systems.” Atheism is included in the chart and is listed as having 1.1 billion adherents worldwide. I’m virtually certain that this number is wildly overstated. The only way they can come up with a number that big is to include everyone who says they are “nonreligious.” The problem with that approach, of course, is that a person can be “nonreligious” and believe in God.

LINK (HT to Jim Lippard)

About Jeffery Jay Lowder

Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.

  • Anonymous

    You are probably right. It would be interesting to know how they defined “atheist” in their survey.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15920466179192075331 The Alpha

    There is no way I can succomb to that level of wishful thinking. There are clearly not that many atheist out there, but I guess it’s comforting that there are that many non-religious people out there. Helps me feel little less like an outcast.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06787228482613024749 Matt

    You might also consider all the Buddhists being counted with Atheists, same goes for Raelians/Scientologists etc…

    The Study says Atheists which is as pointless as saying Theists.

    The fact of the matter is, Atheist isn't a sub-group.

    I'm not sure most Atheists fully understand this… the BRIGHTS group for example… what they've done is formed a Sub-Group of Atheists… missing the point that by doing so they are creating a set of criteria for "membership" in much the way a Religion would.

    If that made any sense… it is hard for me to explain.

    Octagons and Decagons are both Polygons for example… people like Dawkins identify themselves as a Polygon… and say Buddhists are Octagons, Raelians are Decagons, Scientologists are Hexagons, and BRIGHTS are Pentagons…

    This 1.1 Billion figure is prolly counting all Polygons… Not just the Polygons that don't identify as a specific shape.


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