Quick, what was the only demographic in the recent American Religious Identification Survey to grow in all 50 states over the last 18 years?
Polls show that the ranks of atheists are growing. The American Religious Identification Survey, a major study released last month, found that those who claimed "no religion" were the only demographic group that grew in all 50 states in the last 18 years.
Nationally, the "nones" in the population nearly doubled, to 15 percent in 2008 from 8 percent in 1990. In South Carolina, they more than tripled, to 10 percent from 3 percent. Not all the "nones" are necessarily committed atheists or agnostics, but they make up a pool of potential supporters.
Local and national atheist organizations have flourished in recent years, fed by outrage over the Bush administration's embrace of the religious right. A spate of best-selling books on atheism also popularized the notion that nonbelief is not just an argument but a cause, like environmentalism or muscular dystrophy.
The study goes further to say that "in recent decades the challenge to Christianity in American society does not come from other world religions or new religious movements (NRMs) but rather from a rejection of all organized religions". To add a little xenophobic insult to injury, the largest gain in absolute population were the Catholics, whose 11 million person growth was attributed largely to
immigration from Latin America.
No wonder Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin are freaking out. They are being squeezed between the atheists and the Mexicans, led by a black president. If current trends continue, the Nones could become almost 1/4 of the population, not including the 8% who didn't know or care.
Also, "when asked about the existence of God less than 70 percent of Americans now believe in the traditional theological concept of a personal God...and over 12 percent believe in a deist or paganistic concept of the Divine as a higher power." May the force be with them.
All of this further adds support for the claim that, whatever we once were, we are not a Christian Nation. The downside is that the figures for 2001 and 2008 show little change, so we may have hit a new social equilibrium of around 16% or so of good wholesome atheists out there. Still, that's enough. All we have to do now is to continue opening our mouths and being less tolerant of all this foolishness in the name of gods.