Another Poll Says the Non-Religous are Taking Over

Us non-religious folks are still in the minority, but a new poll indicates that we are a growing population. The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism has found that the number of Americans who identified as religious has dropped from 73 percent to 60 percent since the last time this poll was conducted in 2005. The poll asked 50,000 people from 57 countries and 5 continents. They were asked, “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?”

This poll doesn’t necessarily indicate that more people are becoming non-religious. According to the Washington Post, since 2005 several influential books on atheism:

The seven years between the polls is notable because 2005 saw the publication of “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris, the first in a wave of best-selling books on atheism by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and other so-called “New Atheists.”

“The obvious implication is that this is a manifestation of the New Atheism movement,” said Ryan Cragun, a University of Tampa sociologist of religion who studies American and global atheism.

“For a very long time, religiosity has been a central characteristic of the American identity,” he said. “But what this suggests is that is changing and people are feeling less inclined to identify as religious to comply with what it means to be a good person in the U.S.”

This is most certainly a good thing. As someone who left a faith in favor of a godless existence, it can be hard when you’re overwhelmingly around people of faith. It’s a brave thing to do, to come out as different from everyone around you. Speaking personally, it would have been beyond helpful to know that there are other people like me who have chosen rational thought over superstitions.

If you think this is purely a Western phenomenon, think again. The poll shows a 23 percent drop in religiosity since 2005 in Vietnam. China, perhaps unsurprisingly given its ostensibly Communist ideology, has the most “convinced atheists” at 47 percent, followed by 31 percent in Japan.

Critics point to the Vietnam numbers as a reason to be skeptical of the survey. Barry Kosman, the principle of the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey — which found that 15 percent of Americans said they have no religion — is one of those skeptics. The Vietnam numbers show a 23 percent drop in religiosity, but no atheists, which, in a communist country, is suspect.

But the overall trend is clear. People are becoming more comfortable with being non-religious. Maybe, as more of us band together, we can start letting go of all the baggage that goes with it.

Related posts:

1 in 5 Americans Admit to Choosing No Religion

Atheist Jailed in Indonesia Over Facebook Posts

Atheists About as Trustworthy as Rapists, to the Faithful

Image credit: Anosmia


Nimue Pendragon

Take over the world yeah :)

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga4 years ago

i am a witch nature are my religion and temple

Lynn D.
Lynn D5 years ago

When I say I'm not religious, I'm not a church going person because I feel that churches are just wrong ... true religion is about people not buildings! Thanks for article!

William E.
William Eaves5 years ago

About time too, the USA has been run by religious nutters for far too long.

Charli S.
Charlotte S5 years ago

Polls are only as good as they way the questions are phrased. For instance I get tons of calls asking if I'm voting for Romney or Obama. When I say neither they get frustrated because the answers do not include that possibility. They then say they're putting me down as not voting which is wrong.

I believe that many people who identify them selves as a certain religion could be reclassified if they were asked if they go to church or follow the tenets of the religion. Many say no and would be reclassified as non-religious. Some view themselves as a member of a religion because their parents were that religion.

Robert C.
Robert Cruder5 years ago

(cropped in previous comment)

Believers cause harm when they enact law, enforce law, interpret law, act under the authority of a state-granted license (such as physician or pharmacist), manage personnel or vote in elections that affect the lives of others.

Robert C.
Robert Cruder5 years ago

"I believe that people should be free to believe in what they want, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone."
People have a right to their own opinion but not their own facts. Beliefs are facts to the believer. Believers cannot avoid acting on them and cannot avoid causing harm, great or small.

The murderer who "believes" his victim is a demon, the mother who kills her child to save it from Satan and my mother-in-law who heard God order her to kill herself through the mouths of television soap-opera characters are clearly hurting someone but “believe” they are doing good.

Is it better to kill slowly? What of those who persecute gays because they "believe" God will punish them and America as a whole if they fail to do so? What of those who say the same for abortion, contraception, stem cells or perhaps segregation of races or genders? Are lives slowly wasted less valuable than those ended abruptly?

Beliefs survive independent of physical reality because the believer sees evidence that can neither be seen by a non-believer nor photographed, recorded or measured by physical means. A non-believer driven by similar hallucination is committed and treated.

A being who punishes one for the sins of another or who kills one to teach another a lesson would be worshipped only by fools and masochists. Anyone purporting to enforce that being’s will is by definition a sociopath.

Believers cause harm when they enact law, enforce law, interpret law, act under the auth

Leia P.
Leia P.5 years ago


Rebecca S.
Rebecca S5 years ago

and a good thing too. 'religion had its run...let science lead the future'

Jennifer S.
Jennifer S.5 years ago

I am a good wife to my husband. I am civic minded and volunteer. I am a dutiful daughter to my parents. I support my friends loyally and help when they have problems. I give blood to the Red Cross. I am growing my hair for donation to Locks of Love. I save my change for donation money to causes I support. I care about the environment, animals, and the poor. I am also an atheist. I am good without God.