In a new study entitled ‘The Global Religious Landscape’ issued by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life on Tuesday, having no religious affiliation is now the third largest global group behind Christianity and Islam.
I will not say that atheism is the third largest religion since atheism is NOT a religion. It isn’t even a philosophy. All atheism addresses is non belief in gods.
This study includes atheists, agnostics and those confused people who are ‘spiritual’ but do not belong to any religion.
I can honestly see Christianity losing members as the non-religious grow. I am not so sure about Muslims. The study predicts that Muslims and Hindus show potential growth and that the Jewish faith will have the least amount of growth.
Perhaps Muslims will be first in the future, then atheists will be second and Christianity drops to third place. I think we can see Muslims drop in numbers but in order for that to happen, we need to see a strong movement among the people in Muslim nations to speak out for change. Unfortunately, being an atheist in some of those countries can be very dangerous.
I believe the internet has helped atheism grow so fast. In the past, information has been guarded by the Church leaders. It wasn’t easy to find out the truth. Now anyone with internet access can find the truth and be released from the bondages of religion. Religion has been caught in so many lies, people are fed up.
Eventually–perhaps not in my lifetime–the only people who will continue to be associated with religion will be people with low intelligence and the mentally ill. Any person who bothers to seek answers will eventually end up on the side of atheism. It isn’t always a quick journey to atheism. In fact it can take decades. The hold that religion has on individuals is strong. Most of us were indoctrinated as children. When you are convinced of something at a young age, even if reason is staring you in the face in the form of an awesome website like reasonwithme.com 😉 – you won’t know it. You will push it away. You will call it names. You will react like a bratty little child who had his or her toy taken away.
But the numbers prove that people are seeking the truth and finding it. I look forward to seeing the numbers of atheists grow and the religious lose members. I also believe the numbers of atheists are much, MUCH higher. If people were not afraid to come out as an atheist, we would see the numbers soar. But some people can not come out because they could lose family, friends or even their job. Some can’t even come out as an atheist because they could lose their lives! Could you imagine a world in which atheism wasn’t so demonized by the religious? Can you imagine how many people would voluntarily walk away from the enslavement of religious teachings if they could?
I can imagine that world and that is why I work so hard to open minds. I want to be on the right side of history. I want to pave the way so that atheists in the future can come out without fear of retribution.
The atheist movement is much like the gay movement. Many gays couldn’t come out for fear of losing friends, family, work or their lives. Although the gay movement still has a ways to go, they have made amazing strides. This is why most atheists join in support of gay rights because we feel the same oppression about coming out. Today a gay person has a better chance of being elected into office than an atheist. Atheism is punishable by death in seven countries. In Kentucky, I could be put into jail for up to a year for being an atheist! In the USA! That’s fucking insane.
The hatred of gays and atheists is from the so called “loving” religious groups. But we will prevail. Now if we could only come up with a cool slogan like “We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used To It!” – any suggestions? Post them in the comments below.