Geographical Map of Atheism

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Geographical Map of Atheism

#1

Post by Philip » Fri May 24, 2013 8:38 am

Gallup International has released a geographical map representing its international surveys of world atheism / religious belief.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wor ... ists-live/

Found it interesting. Wonder why so much atheism in Australia? I know the Aborigines believe in a spiritual system called "The Dreaming" or "Dreamtime." They believe that before humans, animals, and plants came into being, their "souls" already existed. And they believe various geographical/topographical features are either the physical embodiments of creator beings or are the results of their activity. At least they aren't naive enough to believe that the universe created itself - as per atheism.

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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#2

Post by RickD » Fri May 24, 2013 10:53 am

Philip wrote:Gallup International has released a geographical map representing its international surveys of world atheism / religious belief.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wor ... ists-live/

Found it interesting. Wonder why so much atheism in Australia? I know the Aborigines believe in a spiritual system called "The Dreaming" or "Dreamtime." They believe that before humans, animals, and plants came into being, their "souls" already existed. And they believe various geographical/topographical features are either the physical embodiments of creator beings or are the results of their activity. At least they aren't naive enough to believe that the universe created itself - as per atheism.
Let's assume for discussion that the map is accurate. Australia is only a little more atheistic than the U. S.
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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#3

Post by Philip » Fri May 24, 2013 5:15 pm

Let's assume for discussion that the map is accurate. Australia is only a little more atheistic than the U. S.
Rick, Gallup International reports Australia's atheist percentage at 10-19%. A 2012 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey reports that U.S. atheism AND agnosticism combined totals for just under 6% of the population. Significantly lower than Australia but growing rapidly, especially among younger people. Pew further says that the U.S. has "33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%)."

Wikipedia references: "In the U.S., 55 percent of atheists are under age 35, while 30 percent are 50 and over (compared to 37 percent of the total population). As a group agnostics are older than atheists, though still younger than the general population. Comparing this 2001 data with the 1990 National Survey of Religious Identification (NSRI) provides evidence of a trend towards secularization among the younger American population."

Here's a staggering stat: For all of its explosion of Christianity and house churches, China still has a 47 percent atheism rate.

Who knows how accurate these surveys are, but I'd bet if anything they would be a bit higher than lower. Very sad, especially in an age were information freely flows across the world via the web.

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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#4

Post by Ivellious » Fri May 24, 2013 6:32 pm

A 2012 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey reports that U.S. atheism AND agnosticism combined totals for just under 6% of the population.
It's also important to note that these statistics are asking only about strict agnosticism/atheism. There are loads of generally non-religious (or in-name-only) Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and so on in the US. The latest Pew poll that breaks down how religious each state is seems to show this as well:

http://www.pewforum.org/How-Religious-I ... tate-.aspx

Not surprisingly, the southern US identifies as being far more religious than the rest of the country. My state, for example, has just 52% of the population saying that religion is very important in their lives. However, most polls I have seen show at least 80-85% of the state identifying as Christian, so while those 30% left over might not be strict atheists, they apparently don't seriously follow their religion.
Who knows how accurate these surveys are, but I'd bet if anything they would be a bit higher than lower.
Pew and Gallup polls tend to be fairly accurate and have been fairly consistent over the years (no huge jumps or drops in religious affiliations year-to-year). I would say that it's tough to consider them absolute, given all the possible variables. I think the state-by-state surveys are probably best when only discussing the US, simply because depending on where you take your data from, the results can be fairly drastic. For instance, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas probably have a lower atheism/agnosticism rate than the 6% Phillip gives, while Wisconsin, Minnesota, or New York probably have higher rates.

EDIT:
Very sad, especially in an age were information freely flows across the world via the web.
I would say the internet has done nothing but increase the rate of non-religious affiliation among youth, especially given the rise in such beliefs since the internet came to be. Whereas for many years in the US you were very unlikely to get any sort of religious information or hear any sort or religious views outside of Christianity, now young people well-versed in using the internet can find information on all kinds of religious beliefs. Perhaps even more strong is the ability to actually find real people with non-Christian views. Again, prior to the internet, being able to communicate with non-christians probably wasn't nearly as easy as it is today. So to me, it's not surprising that all religious groups have started losing some of the younger generation to atheism and agnosticism. It kind of seems like the natural reaction. Who knows what the statistics will look like for my generation in 20 years, but for now it's not shocking.

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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#5

Post by Danieltwotwenty » Sat May 25, 2013 12:48 am

I live in the most atheistic town in Australia, that being said everyone is very accepting of each others beliefs and a lot of community activities revolve around the local church. I don't know if we really have more atheists or that people here are just more honest about what they believe, we tend to have very few pew warmers here.
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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#6

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Sat May 25, 2013 7:22 am

I found the map surprising for these reasons:

1. Russia has a low rate of atheism even after 70+ years of state-sponsored atheism under the USSR.
2. Japan shows as an atheist country! Anybody need any more convincing that Buddhism is an atheist faith?
3. Why are there so many atheists in Austria???

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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#7

Post by Philip » Sat May 25, 2013 9:38 pm

now young people well-versed in using the internet can find information on all kinds of religious beliefs. Perhaps even more strong is the ability to actually find real people with non-Christian views.
Yes, Ivellious, this is true - it cuts both ways - that whilst information and apologetics about Christianity are easily accessible, information in opposition to Christianity is also extensively being spread. But the older I get, the more I realize that most people don't have an information problem or an inability to obtain answers to key spiritual questions, but they do have a heart problem. How many people watched Jesus perform miracles for nearly three years, and yet they refused to believe? The Israelites saw God's awesome miracles free them from Egypt without them having to lift even a sword, leaving with great plunder. God destroys the pursuing Egyptian army, parts the Red Sea, leads them by Cloud and by Fire, provides them water and manna in the wilderness. And yet how long is Moses out of camp before they are creating the Golden Calf? People so often just want to keep their own preferred god in charge of their lives - the one they see in the mirror every morning.

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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#8

Post by fluster » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:45 am

The question is quite a high hurdle to jump. I'm an atheist but I'd have think twice about a yes/no answer to being a "convinced atheist".
I'm no fundamentalist.

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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#9

Post by 1over137 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:15 am

Oh no, look at the former Czechoslovakia :(
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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#10

Post by Dudeacus97 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:46 pm

Furstentum Liechtenstein wrote:I found the map surprising for these reasons:

1. Russia has a low rate of atheism even after 70+ years of state-sponsored atheism under the USSR.
2. Japan shows as an atheist country! Anybody need any more convincing that Buddhism is an atheist faith?
3. Why are there so many atheists in Austria???

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I'm surprised there were so many in Saudi Arabia.
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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#11

Post by Ivellious » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:28 pm

I'm surprised there were so many in Saudi Arabia.
Well I have to guess that most of them aren't what you would call openly atheistic. That probably wouldn't be legal or well thought of in Saudi Arabia. But I think you'll find throughout history that ultra-strict theocratic nations tend to breed heavily rebellious minority religion. Not necessarily violently rebellious, but simply having beliefs that directly oppose the state-sponsored faith. When your government imposes strict religious rules upon you from birth, regardless of what religion it is, a decent chunk of people are bound to get rubbed the wrong way by it and fall away from those beliefs.

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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#12

Post by Dudeacus97 » Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:34 pm

Ivellious wrote:
I'm surprised there were so many in Saudi Arabia.
Well I have to guess that most of them aren't what you would call openly atheistic. That probably wouldn't be legal or well thought of in Saudi Arabia. But I think you'll find throughout history that ultra-strict theocratic nations tend to breed heavily rebellious minority religion. Not necessarily violently rebellious, but simply having beliefs that directly oppose the state-sponsored faith. When your government imposes strict religious rules upon you from birth, regardless of what religion it is, a decent chunk of people are bound to get rubbed the wrong way by it and fall away from those beliefs.

I understand this effect. Didn't someone say that the most effective way to make an atheist is to raise him in a Catholic School? I was surprised that they stayed there. I don't know about you, but if I was a Christian or Atheist in Saudi Arabia I would be getting out as fast as I can.
"Christianity has always embraced both reason and faith."
-Dinesh D'Souza

"Stop listening to John Lennon and start listening to John Lennox! What about a world without the atheists? A word with no Stalin, no Mao, no Pol Pot? A world with no Gulag, no Cultural Revolution, no Killing Fields? Wouldn't that be a world worth dreaming about?"
-John Lennox

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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#13

Post by Ivellious » Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:43 pm

I understand this effect. Didn't someone say that the most effective way to make an atheist is to raise him in a Catholic School? I was surprised that they stayed there. I don't know about you, but if I was a Christian or Atheist in Saudi Arabia I would be getting out as fast as I can.
The Catholic school thing is very true, seeing as most of the people I know who went to a religious high school wound up being non-believers or at the very least less devout believers than you might think.

And while I would probably want to move out of Saudi Arabia if I was a Christian or atheist (or any other non-Muslim religion), you have to remember it's not always so easy to do so, especially since so many of those people are extremely impoverished. It's not the same as me wanting to move across a state border, for instance.

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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#14

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Thu Nov 13, 2014 6:08 pm

1over137 wrote:Oh no, look at the former Czechoslovakia :(
Are your churches being turned into private homes & condominiums? They are doing that here.

FL y/:)
Hold everything lightly. If you don't, it will hurt when God pries your fingers loose as He takes it from you. -Corrie Ten Boom

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Re: Geographical Map of Atheism

#15

Post by 1over137 » Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:48 pm

Furstentum Liechtenstein wrote:
1over137 wrote:Oh no, look at the former Czechoslovakia :(
Are your churches being turned into private homes & condominiums? They are doing that here.

FL y/:)
You mean, people do not go to church but have meetings at homes?
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

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