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Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:12 AM

Atheism Might Not Be As Popular As You Think: The Religious Revolution in the US

Andy Morgan
18 hours ago

Millennials are at the heart of a religious statistics war. Some recent studies have suggested that people born after 1982 are less religious than previous generations, while other sources suggest caution in drawing these conclusions.

I want to give some perspective on those numbers, some perspective on our religious watershed moment, and a look to the future.

The Stats



A few studies have wrapped in the last year. Some show that millennials are about 5 percentage points less religious than their Generation X counterparts: We pray and attend church less often, we consider religion less in moral decisions, and we have less overall belief in God or the afterlife.

Religious organizations have also been reporting their stats, and they are down as well. Overall, enrollment and participation are down among Catholics up to 5% and among evangelical denominations up to 10%.

http://www.policymic.com/articles/12140/atheism-might-not-be-as-popular-as-you-think-the-religious-revolution-in-the-us

44 replies, 3012 views

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Arrow 44 replies Author Time Post
Reply Atheism Might Not Be As Popular As You Think: The Religious Revolution in the US (Original post)
rug Aug 2012 OP
trotsky Aug 2012 #1
dimbear Aug 2012 #44
MineralMan Aug 2012 #2
dmallind Aug 2012 #3
humblebum Aug 2012 #24
djean111 Aug 2012 #4
cleanhippie Aug 2012 #5
rug Aug 2012 #8
cleanhippie Aug 2012 #9
rug Aug 2012 #11
cleanhippie Aug 2012 #13
rug Aug 2012 #15
cleanhippie Aug 2012 #18
rug Aug 2012 #19
cleanhippie Aug 2012 #20
rug Aug 2012 #23
cleanhippie Aug 2012 #25
rug Aug 2012 #31
cleanhippie Aug 2012 #32
rug Aug 2012 #36
humblebum Aug 2012 #21
cleanhippie Aug 2012 #22
Goblinmonger Aug 2012 #6
rug Aug 2012 #7
cleanhippie Aug 2012 #12
rug Aug 2012 #14
cleanhippie Aug 2012 #16
rug Aug 2012 #17
cbayer Aug 2012 #10
patrice Aug 2012 #26
cbayer Aug 2012 #27
patrice Aug 2012 #33
cbayer Aug 2012 #35
patrice Aug 2012 #38
cbayer Aug 2012 #39
patrice Aug 2012 #41
cbayer Aug 2012 #43
patrice Aug 2012 #42
patrice Aug 2012 #40
cleanhippie Aug 2012 #28
patrice Aug 2012 #34
Speck Tater Aug 2012 #29
cbayer Aug 2012 #30
trotsky Aug 2012 #37

Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:30 AM

1. So basically this person's article can be summed up thusly:

Yeah, the statistics say that the current youngest generation of adults are less religiously affiliated than any other generation at that stage of their lives. But that could change later, so take that, atheists!

Got it.

Also funny is the comment "traditional wisdom (and statistics) show that people grow more religious as they age" coming right under the graph showing not only that Gen Xers and Boomers are no more religiously affiliated today than they were when they started being surveyed, but also that the two generations before them each LOST 2 percentage points to unaffiliated! So traditional wisdom is wrong, and the statistics tell a different tale than what this writer wants to believe.

But thanks for posting, rug. I appreciate the humor!

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Response to trotsky (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 06:32 PM

44. It's true that an unbiased interpretation of the chart refutes the text, but what if

we cross our fingers?

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:03 AM

2. I don't think those stats mean what you think they mean.

In any case, it's not a popularity contest.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:11 AM

3. Would not matter a tinker's cuss if there were only one atheist or one theist in the world

All that matters is which position is the rational one to take in the situation wherein we reside - a complete and utter absence of evidence for any deity.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:57 PM

24. Narrow minds see only what they want to see. nt

 

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:12 AM

4. Who the heck cares if their personal belief (or non-belief) is popular?

That doesn't even make sense.
"religious statistics war"??????????? Good grief.
Plant a tree. Tend a garden. Feed a child. But spending time on religious statistics?
Anyway, I suspect I would be okay with being the only atheist in America; this is not a thing to go along with just to fit in.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:04 AM

5. The "support" for the stats being decieving comes from a catholic apologist site.

Yeah, no bias there.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #5)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:23 PM

8. Are you saying policymic.com is an apologist site or Pew is?

http://www.policymic.com/info/ourStory

If they are (which they're not), I'm so sorry. I have never seen ypu ost an article, or a cartoon, from a biased site.

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Response to rug (Reply #8)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:31 PM

9. No, I'm stating that the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate is.

Its the source used to show that the "numbers may be deceiving". Hotlink at the beginning of the third paragraph in the policymic story.

It links to http://nineteensixty-four.blogspot.com/2012/05/dont-panic-statisticians-guide-to.html

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #9)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:34 PM

11. It also links to ARDA.

http://www.thearda.com/

This article has many sources. Why don't you critique it?

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Response to rug (Reply #11)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:36 PM

13. I already did, and found it to be lacking.

You have a nice day.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #13)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:38 PM

15. Well, there's a robust critique.

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Response to rug (Reply #15)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:43 PM

18. Certainly moreso than your original comments in the OP. Oh yeah, you didn't make any.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #18)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:44 PM

19. I didn't post a little rolling smiley either.

Robust.

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Response to rug (Reply #19)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:45 PM

20. You didn't post anything.

Hollow.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #20)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:53 PM

23. Au contraire, I posted an article of interest.

Whether or not it comports with your worldview is secondary.

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Response to rug (Reply #23)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:57 PM

25. It's only interesting becuase of its poor use of statistics.

Interesting like a case of the clap.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #25)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:14 PM

31. I defer to your expetise in statistics

and clap.

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Response to rug (Reply #31)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:26 PM

32. Thanks, I'm pretty good at sizing up liars and weasely wieners.

Star Member rug (39,303 posts)
8. Since you asked, I'm pretty good at sizing up liars and weasely witnesses.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1218&pid=38666


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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #32)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:45 PM

36. Wieners?

Sad.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #5)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:45 PM

21. Yes, like some here tend to get most of their information from

 

those very unbiased atheist sites. SARCASM

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Response to humblebum (Reply #21)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:46 PM

22. Hi, Humblebum. So nice to see you again.

You have a really nice day.

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Response to rug (Original post)


Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #6)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:18 PM

7. "Even for you"

Why don't you ppoint out what you think is "shitty" rather than make this personal?

Or do you prefer personal attacks?

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Response to rug (Reply #7)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:35 PM

12. How convenient. His post was hidden just MINUTES after you responded.

And now he cannot reply to your nonsense.

Well done, rug. Well done.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #12)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:37 PM

14. Maybe he should clean up his act so he can respond.

Do you want to pick up where he left off?

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Response to rug (Reply #14)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:39 PM

16. Maybe you shouldn't be so quick to alert.

I think he said all that was needed.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #16)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:40 PM

17. Maybe you should read the Community Standards.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:34 PM

10. Time will tell. It will be interesting to watch what happen to the "nones"

over time.

I agree that there are a lot of people leaving mainline churches in search of something new. The UU's seem to be filling this need more and more.

And there is no doubt that feelings about religion, gods, atheism can all change over time.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:04 PM

26. I have said for some time that what SOME people "don't believe" in is what they are being told

"God" is.

They retain certain ancient awarenesses/cognitions, but are rejecting religious brainwashing and OPPRE$$ION.

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Response to patrice (Reply #26)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:06 PM

27. Interesting. Can you explain further what you mean about ancient awarenesses/cognitions?

Is it the Jungian concept to which you refer?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #27)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:28 PM

33. I consider anything on this topic ONLY a starting point; yes, Jung, primarily, but we should

ALSO consider the sorts of things that Chomsky is pointing to with his "transformational grammar", especially if you find a (controversial) work such as Julian Jaynes The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind - but there's a lot more work out there by lesser know lights such as Sir J.G. Frazer's The Golden Bough and Pierre Tielhard de Chardin's The Heart of Matter

Rational empiricism, as beauty -full and powerful as it is, is only a specialization in cognitive development that has occurred in the last 500 of what? about 100K years of human evolution . . . ?

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Response to patrice (Reply #33)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:38 PM

35. Other than some reading of Jung, I am unfamiliar with much of what you are discussing.

It does appeal to me, though, and I will do some further reading.

Thanks.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #35)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:17 PM

38. Jung is central, because of his presentation of what amounts to "species memory", usually known

as the archetypes. Jung also wrote about the repetition of archetypical perceptions, a topic which has been extrapolated into something called "synchronicity".

Some of the issues around that discussion are related to the fact that most of what we know as rational empiricism, at least on the surface of it, is quantitative (and that fact is offered as a legitimate criticism of Jung, and also Freud btw) and if we want to try to talk systematically about emergent properties of say, for example, organic computational systems, maybe we should try to respect qualitative information too. Yes, usually, that kind of qualitative stuff is more inferential and, ergo, not as logically reliable, but, maybe if we could keep that fact in mind, qualities (and what I like to visualize as ranges of probable qualities, including over-laps/transitions from similar into different) could be more useful. I like to think of those possibilities built upon a concrete neuro-physical (quantitative) ground, which probably exceeds our technological capacities to identify in that we'd have to start with the, to all intents and purposes, infinite synaptic level of events.

This is my own gross over-simplification of efforts that are already out there in areas such a "modeling languages" and descriptive and inferential statistics. It's based on the fact that most "knowledge" is usually identified as quantitative, which, of course, MISSES qualitative realities. You can start with the qualities and work on describing those. I am just wondering about the connections between the two, quantitative:qualitative. Pierre Tielhard de Chardin (who was reprimanded by one of the popes for writing about science and religion at the same time) was also interested in that area. More recent stuff might be found in Gregory and Katherine Bateson's works and E.O. Wilson (the founder of Social Biology).

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Response to patrice (Reply #38)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:23 PM

39. You are way over my head here, patrice.

I appreciate your taking the time to describe some of this, but I am going to have to start with the "Dick and Jane" version. I don't even know the language.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #39)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:29 PM

41. If I can do it, you can do it. I'm not that "smart". I just know HOW to use what I do have.

Sorry to overwhelm you. It's so rare to find anyone who gives a crap anymore; I got all excited . . .

One step at a time and you'll be very surprised by what you can do.

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Response to patrice (Reply #41)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:38 PM

43. Thank you for your kind words and I will try to learn more and talk

with you in the future.

I think I understand some of what you are saying. Have you seen the Kurosawa movie Rashomon? It is an important story to me, as it depicts how *reality* differs from one person to the next and no one really knows the truth, only the truth that they have experienced. Is that in line with some of what you are talking about?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #39)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:31 PM

42. Jung is a VERY good starting point. nt

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Response to cbayer (Reply #35)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:26 PM

40. Oh! another good book is Warren A. Shibles "Metaphor: An Annotated Bibliography" it may be

out of print now, but it is delicious snacking.

P.S. This is all stuff I got into in my Master's research, so it's been a while; I hope you'll pardon me if my characterizations are a bit fuzzy.

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Response to patrice (Reply #26)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:07 PM

28. You mean things like supernatural events and miracles?

And the myriad other things found in "religious brainwashing" that in no way match reality at all?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #28)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:34 PM

34. Though I have serous problems with the mumbo jumbo going on under the heading of "miracles and

supernatural events" (semantic problems, that is) I also have RATIONAL problems with assumptions about what does or does not "match reality at all" and those problems are based on the nature of rational empiricism, and what we call "proof", itself.

See: Thomas R. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions .

P.S. There are no absolutes and that fact is so true that even it is not an absolute.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:07 PM

29. I think there is more indifference than atheism

 

The people I know who don't go to church (which is almost all of them) don't have any strong feelings either way. They just don't care.

They are not atheists, they are indifferent to religion. Many still claim some sort of unfocused or unspecified semi-belief in some un-named something or other that may or may not be lurking in some "other" non-physical or "spiritual" realm.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #29)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:13 PM

30. Agree. I see a huge grey area with some vague beliefs in things really not

very important to them as individuals and rarely spoken of.

While I see this a lot with younger people, I am seeing it across age groups as well.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #29)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:19 PM

37. This is probably true.

But even in that case, it goes completely against the idea of a "religious revolution" as hoped for by the author.

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