Religious Unaffiliation on the Rise

The New York Times front page has an article Americans Change Faith at Rising Rate, Report Finds. The article is based on a report by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. It mostly centers around the idea that denomination loyalty is eroding and that many Americans have switched from the faith group in which they were raised.

What I find interesting–and encouraging–is the number of Americans who are unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular) is rising substantially.

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I cannot help but become excited by the idea that religiously unaffiliated Americans are the fourth largest religious group. I look forward to the day that American atheists and agnostics have the same amount of weight as American Christians or American Jews. It is saddening, and in fact infuriating, that to be a viable candidate for public office (especially for the presidency) an individual must bend over backwards to affirm their belief in some transcendent father figure who wants to impose his morality on America via the nations Commander-in-Chief. The idea that a presidential candidate must pass a religious litmus test is just pathetic.

On the up side, if this trend continues, maybe one day this won’t be the case. I look forward to the day that atheism is not taboo, that a presidential can proudly display their qualities as a secularist. I look forward to the day that the religious right no longer controls so much of the political debate and when atheistic conservatives and atheistic liberals can engage in meaningful debate about the economy, the role of government, social programs, and foreign policy.

Here is one of my favorite clips from the (amazing) TV show “The West Wing” in which Senator Arnold Vinick rebuffs questions about his lack of religious faith as a qualification for the presidency:

 

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6 Responses to “Religious Unaffiliation on the Rise”

  1. Big News?

    The talk today on so many blogs has been about this new survey that came out today saying that more people than ever are leaving their faith from childhood. Beyond this, Protestant Christianity is barely the #1 religion of choice right now. If you need…

  2. How sad the day will be when we know longer have freedom of religion. A day will come, when all who are opposed to Religious rights will cry out for God. It’s funny how so many agnostic, & atheist cry for our Lord when death reaches their homes.
    We all have the right to believe or not to believe. It’s called Free Will, given to you by God. I pray that you all think long and hard on this issue before you cannot.

  3. Carol:

    I may be wrong but I don’t think Carried the Cross is referring to opposing religious rights. A religious belief is a religious belief is a religious belief.

    The issue here is that some are concerned that your god will inevitably trump anyone else’s in the political sphere. The government is in place for the people and it should reflect the people’s paradigm shifts. When the fervor for Christianity eclipses everything else, people from other backgrounds get nervous. It’s to the point where wearing a traditional African headdress becomes an issue because it paints a presidential candidate in a “Muslim” light. I think that’s just terrible.

    Carol, I think you’re assuming that atheists and agnostics haven’t thought “long and hard on this issue.” However, thinking about this issue is exactly what makes them wear the atheistic and agnostic label. They HAVE thought about it. I think it’s a bit haughty to say that one hasn’t given the proper amount of thought into something if they don’t come to your conclusion.

    Thanks,
    K

  4. Carried the Cross, I don’t mean to stick words in your mouth either.

  5. Carol,

    How sad the day will be when we know longer have freedom of religion. A day will come, when all who are opposed to Religious rights will cry out for God.

    I’m not opposing religious rights. Quite the opposite, I want my view (weak atheism) to triumph in the public square through dialogue, education and progress. I see signs of that happening and find it to be encouraging. If you peruse some of my other posts, you will find that I am in no way hostile to Christians.

    KLo,

    Carried the Cross, I don’t mean to stick words in your mouth either.

    No, no. Thanks for your insights. 🙂

    When the fervor for Christianity eclipses everything else, people from other backgrounds get nervous.
    Exactly.

  6. hearttalker Says:

    And what about the perception that we are each of us god? That I AM god and you are god, walking about clothed in bodies and pretending to be human? A grand experiment and game….

    We each have to find what feels right for us and respect the right and ability of others to do the same.

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