Atheists and the endurance of religion
Dr. Rodney Stark, an agnostic, wrote in his book The Triumph of Faith:
|“||Secularists have been predicting the imminent demise of religion for centuries. They have always been wrong—and their claims today are no different. It is their unshakable faith in secularization that may be the most "irrational" of all beliefs.(p. 212).||”|
- 1 Failure of the secularization thesis
- 2 Desecularizaton, resilience of religion and frustration of atheist activists
- 3 Atheism and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union
- 4 Atheism and 20th century wars
- 5 1970s Jesus Movement and Christian revivals
- 6 Rapid growth of Christianity in East Asia and Communist China
- 7 Global resurgence of religion. Lower confidence of secularists
- 8 Atheist PZ Myers on the future of atheism and its current demographics
- 9 Atheism movement and increased division
- 10 Christian apologetics and low atheist morale
- 11 Christianity vs. atheism statistics
- 12 Atheism and the media
- 13 Growth of global creationism and creation apologetics
- 14 Views on atheists and poor public relations efforts
- 15 The decline of the secular left
- 16 Decline of the strength of atheist vs. liberal Christianity alliances
- 17 Atheism, agnosticism and flip-flopping
- 18 Religious fundraising vs. atheist fundraising
- 19 High morale of Christendom
- 20 Terry Eagleton on the endurance of religion
- 21 See also
- 22 Notes
Failure of the secularization thesis
Pew Research Center and Stark are alluding to the failure of the secularization thesis.
On July 24, 2013, CNS News reported:
|“||Atheism is in decline worldwide, with the number of atheists falling from 4.5% of the world’s population in 1970 to 2.0% in 2010 and projected to drop to 1.8% by 2020, according to a new report by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass."||”|
Alister McGrath points out that many atheists/agnostics were angry that the secularization thesis failed because religion was "supposed to" disappear. Peter Berger said that the religiosity of the United States was a big exception to the secularization theory that should have caused social scientists to question the theory.
Douglas S. Winnail wrote:
|“|| Secular leaders and scholars have been surprised by the resurgence of religion, because they put their faith in the assumption that modernization would lead to secularization and to the decline of religion. This idea—the so-called "secularization theory"—is widely accepted in academic and political circles. It assumes that as societies modernize and become more secular, religion will wither away as an archaic and useless branch of knowledge. Their assumption was that if religion became irrelevant, and human beings became more reasonable, they would dwell together in peace and happiness in a modernized world.
However, human history did not follow this "reasonable" path to a secular utopia. The closing decades of the 20th century "provide a massive falsification of the idea" that modernization and secularization will lead to a decline in religion. Instead, we are witnessing a massive upsurge in religion around the world (The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics, Berger, p. 6). This resurgence of religion has also played a part in an increasing number of violent conflicts around the world. Secular intellectuals and elites have been shocked by this development, because it is proving that their fundamental assumptions about human beings and human society are absolutely wrong! The modern secular notion that religion is archaic and irrelevant has caused many to overlook the importance of religion in human affairs. As a result, they have been taken by surprise by the return of religion. As Peter Berger, one of the world's leading sociologists of religion, wrote: "Those who neglect religion in their analysis of contemporary affairs do so at great peril" (Berger, p. 18). But what has spawned the modern revival of religion, and the spreading rejection of secular society?
Desecularizaton, resilience of religion and frustration of atheist activists
- See also: Atheism vs. Christianity
Desecularization is the process by which religion reasserts its societal influence though religious values, institutions, sectors of society and symbols in reaction to previous and/or co-occurring secularization processes.
From a global perspective, religion is seeing a resurgence and scholars of religious demographics frequently use the term "global resurgence of religion" to describe the process of desecularization which began in the late portion of the 20th century.
Current trends suggests that the growth of global desecularization may accelerate sometime in the 21st century - particularly in the latter half of the 21st century (see: Acceleration of 21st century desecularization).
Due to various historical events/trends, the atheist movement saw a number of setbacks during the latter portion of the 20th century and beyond (which is are covered below). As a result, it has lost a considerable amount of confidence.
Atheists/agnostics and frustration/pessimism
See also: Decline of the atheist movement
Eric Kaufmann, an agnostic professor whose academic research specialty is how demographic changes affect religion/irreligion and politics, wrote in 2010: "Worldwide, the march of religion can probably only be reversed by a renewed, self-aware secularism. Today, it appears exhausted and lacking in confidence..."
In 2015, the atheist author Joshua Kelly wrote:
|“||...since the death of Hitchens: angry atheism lost its most charismatic champion. Call it what you like: New Atheism, fire-brand atheism, etc., had a surge with the Four Horsemen in the middle of the last decade and in the last four years has generally peetered out to a kind that is more docile, politically correct, and even apologetic.||”|
- See also: Decline of militant atheism in the West
|“||I'm not sure there is anything in this movement worth saving. Hitchens is dead. Dawkins simply doesn't have the energy for this sort of thing anymore. Harris went his own way. And Dennett just kind of blended into the background. So what do you think when the largest gathering of the nonreligious in history pulls in... I don't know. Maybe 2,000 people. Is there anything worth saving?||”|
Richard Osling wrote about the book The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement published by the Oxford University Press:
|“||Social scientists long embraced the “secularization thesis,” according to which religion will inevitably decline as modern science advances. But now, says LeDrew, many acknowledge that scenario was “a product of ideology” rather than empirical fact. Thus, the New Atheism could be seen as a promotional effort to defend against “a perceived failure of secularism in practice in late modern society.”... When examined closely, he sees the New Atheism as “secular fundamentalism, a modern utopian ideology” that’s “essentially political.”...||”|
The American atheist activist Eddie Tabash said at the 2010 Michigan Atheists State Convention:
|“|| In every generation there has been a promising beginning of a true vanguard movement that will finally achieve widespread public acceptance for nonbelief. Yet, in each generation there has been an ultimately disappointing failure to actually register the naturalistic alternative to supernatural claims in the public consciousness...
Now given the confounding extent to which religion is entrenched in our society, it could take a minimum of 100 years of sustained, intense effort to even begin to cut into the current monolithic stranglehold that religion has on American mass culture, 
The likelihood that the American atheist population will engage in 100 years of sustained, intense atheist activism is remote (see: Atheism and apathy and Views on atheists and Demographics and trends in American secularism).
Also, a 100-year sustained and intense effort of atheist activism would require a high degree of cohesiveness and cooperation among atheists. Tabash said in a speech to the Michigan Atheists State Convention, "Since we are a bit of a cantankerous, opinionated lot...". See also: Atheist factions and Atheism and social skills
Tabash said in a 2007 speech to the Atheist Alliance International organization:
|“||The other likely future is one in which by a shift of only one vote on the United States Supreme Court, we will essentially become a theocracy in which all branches of government we be freed to favor religion collectively over nonbelief.||”|
On September 27, 2014 in a blog post entitled The Atheist Disillusionment, PZ Myers declared:
|“|| I will make a prediction, right here and now.... The number of people identifying as atheists will stagnate or even shrink, because organized atheism is happily in the process of destroying itself with regressive social attitudes, scandals, and their bizarre focus on irrelevant metaphysical differences that don’t help people...
Unless we change.
I don’t know that we can.
The atheist Neil Carter wrote in 2015:
|“||Religion has acquired a stronger hold on American life now than it did a hundred years ago, and religiously motivated far-right extremism threatens to derail our political process today in ways that no one would believe even 50 years ago.||”|
Growth of Chinese Christianity. Panic of militant atheist leaders
See also: Growth of Christianity in China
On November 1, 2014, an article in The Economist entitled Cracks in the atheist edifice declared:
|“|| Officials are untroubled by the clash between the city’s famously freewheeling capitalism and the Communist Party’s ideology, yet still see religion and its symbols as affronts to the party’s atheism...
Yang Fenggang of Purdue University, in Indiana, says the Christian church in China has grown by an average of 10% a year since 1980. He reckons that on current trends there will be 250m Christians by around 2030, making China’s Christian population the largest in the world. Mr. Yang says this speed of growth is similar to that seen in fourth-century Rome just before the conversion of Constantine, which paved the way for Christianity to become the religion of his empire.
The Telegraph reported on December 19, 2012:
|“|| The notice, apparently issued in May 2011 by the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, suggests ongoing misgivings among senior leaders that religion, and in particular Christianity, poses a direct challenge to the ruling party.
Bob Fu, the founder of ChinaAid, the group which obtained and published the document, said the directive was proof China's central government was "directing a national crackdown against religious freedom especially targeting Christianity [in universities]".
Mr Fu claimed the document also indicated "panic" among Chinese intellectuals about the "rapid" growth of [China's] underground Christian population".
An official from the propaganda department of the State Council said they were unable to immediately comment on whether the document was genuine. But posts on the websites of several Chinese universities appear to confirm the leaked document's existence....
Yet despite government controls, the number of Christians in China has rocketed since the 1980s with many worshipping in illegal "house churches" which are subject to sporadic crackdowns. Some estimates suggest there are now as many as 130 million practicing Christians in China.
Chinese Christians and plans for evangelism outside of China
Professor Fenggang Yang indicates:
|“||One sign of the advancing state of Christianity in China is that it is reaching out to the larger world. Nine hundred Chinese pastors gathered in Hong Kong this fall for the Mission 2030 Conference. Their goal: To send out 20,000 missionaries from mainland China by 2030.||”|
Atheism and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union
According to the University of Cambridge, historically, the "most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power." See also: Atheism and communism
Atheism and 20th century wars
The Golden Age of Freethought describes the 19th century United States socio-political movement which promoted freethought/atheism/agnosticism. The period from 1875 to 1914 is referred to as "the high-water mark of freethought as an influential movement in American society".
Politically, the atheist movement has leaned left in its politics (See: Secular left and Atheism and politics). Secular leftist utopianism and its exalted view of human nature did not line up with the horrors of the World War I. The Golden Age of Freethought ended at the start of World War I. In addition, atheism is negatively correlated with economic/political instability.
The Christian view of the fall of man better explained the horrors of WWI and WWII. Furthermore, Christian apologists point out that atheistic evolutionism contributed to the start of WWI (See: World War I and Darwinism). See also: Evolutionary racism and Nazi Germany.
The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union further chilled Americans receptiveness to atheism.
1970s Jesus Movement and Christian revivals
Reverend Dwight Longenecker wrote: "In the late eighteenth century atheism, rationalism and Freemasonry seemed to have taken over Europe. By the mid to late nineteenth century religious revival had swept through Europe and Christianity was surging forward."
In the United States, there were a series of Christian revivals/awakenings between 1730 and the 1970s (see: First Great Awakening and Second Great Awakening and Third Great Awakening and Fourth Great Awakening and Jesus Movement).
Rapid growth of Christianity in East Asia and Communist China
China and various areas of East Asia are seeing a rapid growth of Christianity/desecularization as can be seen by the resources below:
Global resurgence of religion. Lower confidence of secularists
Scholars of religious demographics frequently use the term the "global resurgence of religion" to describe the process of desecularization which began in the late portion of the 20th century. Desecularization is a trend that is expected to grow in the 21st century and there are a number of forces promoting its growth (see: Growth of global desecularization).
The agnostic Eric Kaufmann is a professor of politics at Birkbeck, University of London and author. As noted above, his academic research specialty is how demographic changes affect religion/irreligion and politics.
As alluded to above, Kaufmann wrote in 2010:
|“||Worldwide, the march of religion can probably only be reversed by a renewed, self-aware secularism. Today, it appears exhausted and lacking in confidence... Secularism's greatest triumphs owe less to science than to popular social movements like nationalism, socialism and 1960s anarchist-liberalism. Ironically, secularism's demographic deficit means that it will probably only succeed in the twenty-first century if it can create a secular form of 'religious' enthusiasm." ||”|
In 2012, Eric Kaufmann indicated:
|“|| I argue that 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious.
On the other hand, the secular West and East Asia has very low fertility and a rapidly aging population... In the coming decades, the developed world's demand for workers to pay its pensions and work in its service sector will soar alongside the booming supply of young people in the third world. Ergo, we can expect significant immigration to the secular West which will import religious revival on the back of ethnic change. In addition, those with religious beliefs tend to have higher birth rates than the secular population, with fundamentalists having far larger families. The epicentre of these trends will be in immigration gateway cities like New York (a third white), Amsterdam (half Dutch), Los Angeles (28% white), and London, 45% white British. 
Kaufmann told a secular audience in Australia: "The trends that are happening worldwide inevitably in an age of globalization are going to affect us."
Austria: Leading indicator of European desecularization
Concerning the future of religion/secularism in Europe, Eric Kaufmann also wrote:
|“|| We have performed these unprecedented analyses on several cases. Austria offers us a window into what the future holds. Its census question on religious affiliation permits us to perform cohort component projections, which show the secular population plateauing by 2050, or as early as 2021 if secularism fails to attract lapsed Christians and new Muslim immigrants at the same rate as it has in the past. (Goujon, Skirbekk et al. 2006).
This task will arguably become far more difficult as the supply of nominal Christians dries up while more secularisation-resistant Muslims and committed rump Christians comprise an increasing share of the population.
Atheist PZ Myers on the future of atheism and its current demographics
In 2013, atheist PZ Myers declared:
|“||If we're going to expand our base and we're going to draw in more people to recognize the virtues of living in a secular world, we need to appeal to more than just that geek and nerd subset of the population. We need to have a wider base. ...I seriously believe that we're on the cusp of a crisis. We're not there yet but it's looming in front of us. Will we adapt and thrive and change the world? Or will we remain an avocation for a prosperous and largely irrelevant subset of the population? Will we become something more than a scattered society of internet nerds? That's what we have to do.||”|
In response, Evolution News and Views wrote:
|“||A crisis looms, in Myers's view, because he looks around himself and sees a not very promising basis for a mass movement. He's right. There is indeed a quality of geeky isolation from reality, common sense, and the fullness of life that I see as a motif in atheist and Darwin activism alike.||”|
Atheism and women
Western atheism and race
See also: Western atheism and race
In 2015, BloombergView reported concerning the United States:
|“|| According to a much-discussed 2012 report from the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life, only 3 percent of U.S. atheists and agnostics are black, 6 percent are Hispanic, and 4 percent are Asian. Some 82 percent are white. (The relevant figures for the population at large at the time of the survey were 66 percent white, 11 percent black, 15 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian.)
...Craig Keener, in his huge review of claims of miracles in a wide variety of cultures, concludes that routine rejection of the possibility of the supernatural represents an impulse that is deeply Eurocentric.
Atheism movement and increased division
See also: Atheist factions
Dr. J. Gordon Melton said about the atheist movement (organized atheism) that atheism is not a movement which tends to create community, but in the last few years there has been some growth of organized atheism. See also: Atheist factions
Most atheists are apathetic when it comes to sharing atheism with others - especially when compared to evangelistic religions such as Christianity (see: Atheism and apathy).
One of the reasons why many atheists are reluctant to share their atheist views with others is that many theists have a very low opinion of atheists (see: Views on atheists). Sam Harris, one of the founders of the New Atheism movement, said concerning the label of atheist, "It's right next to child molester as a designation."
Atheist factions and increased division among atheists
See also: Atheist factions
Christian apologetics and low atheist morale
In recent years, there have been a number of notable incidents where prominent atheists have dodged debate offers from Christian apologists (see: Atheism and cowardice).
In June 2012, the UK based Dorset Humanists wrote:
|“|| There’s been a forceful backlash against the ‘new atheism’ of writers like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, inspiring a new wave of Christian apologists. This group includes: Alister McGrath, Professor of Theology at King’s College London, Keith Ward, former Professor of Divinity at Oxford, and John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford.
Many atheists make the mistake of assuming religion is wholly irrational, relying on faith alone but, in a series of interviews recorded for DVD, the apologetics heavyweights from the list above demonstrate their ability to challenge us with reasoned arguments.
An April 17, 2011 atheist essay entitled Are atheists strengthening religion? declared:
|“|| The Christian backlash and response to new atheism is/was considerable, and neither can the consequences, changes, and foci which marked their response be ignored.
In the end, have we simply made the aforementioned goal more difficult to accomplish?
Philosophy of religion and Christian apologetics
See also: Rebuttals to atheist arguments
In 1990, the atheist philosopher Michael Martin indicated there was a general absence of an atheistic response to contemporary work in the philosophy of religion and in jest he indicated that it was his "cross to bear" to respond to theistic arguments. Yet, in 1994, Michael Martin was criticized for his eleventh hour cancellation of his debate with Greg Bahnsen (see: Greg Bahnsen and debate and Bahnson-Martin debate press release).
In 2001, the atheist and philosopher Quentin Smith declared:
|“||Naturalists [atheists] passively watched as realist versions of theism … began to sweep through the philosophical community, until today perhaps one-quarter or one-third of philosophy professors are theists, with most being orthodox Christians…. God is not 'dead' in academia; he returned to life in the 1960's and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments."||”|
The situation has become even worse for atheist community in recent years as the quality of their arguments has diminished and the percentage of atheists in the world is decreasing, while the proliferation of Christian apologetics/apologists is increasing in the world. For example, there is the Trinity Graduate School of Apologetics and Theology initiative which offers quality Christian apologetics for free to third world country students and charges extremely low costs for others. In addition, Ratio Christi is launching Christian apologetics clubs at college/university campuses.
Christianity vs. atheism statistics
In recent years, social scientists have been researching the benefits of religion upon societies and have found many favorable results. In addition, there has been an examination of the effects of atheism upon societies.
|“|| One of the most important criticisms that Sigmund Freud directed against religion was that it encourages unhealthy and dysfunctional outlooks on life. Having dismissed religion as an illusion, Freud went on to argue that it is a negative factor in personal development. At times, Freud's influence has been such that the elimination of a person's religious beliefs has been seen as a precondition for mental health.
Freud is now a fallen idol, the fall having been all the heavier for its postponement. There is now growing awareness of the importance of spirituality in health care, both as a positive factor in relation to well-being and as an issue to which patients have a right. The "Spirituality and Healing in Medicine" conference sponsored by Harvard Medical School in 1998 brought reports that 86 percent of Americans as a whole, 99 percent of family physicians, and 94 percent of HMO professionals believe that prayer, meditation, and other spiritual and religious practices exercise a major positive role within the healing process.
Christianity vs. atheism statistics resources
Below are some resources related to the effects of Christianity and atheism on individuals and societies.
- Atheism statistics (Negative effects on individuals and societies)
- Christianity statistics (Positive effects on individuals and societies)
- Atheism and health
Atheism and the media
Post 2010 decline in news stories about atheism
See also: Drop in news stories about atheism
Post 2010 increase in percentage of negative news stories about atheism
Due to various factors, there has been an increase in the percentage of news stories about atheism which are negative in nature that are reaching the general public (see: Negative news stories about atheism).
Growth of global creationism and creation apologetics
Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists and agnostics. The atheist philosopher of science Michael Ruse said "Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today."
For more information, see:
Johns Hopkins University Press reported in 2014: "Over the past forty years, creationism has spread swiftly among European Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims, even as anti-creationists sought to smother its flames." See also: Evolutionary indoctrination
The universe had a beginning
See also: Atheism and the origin of the universe
Fred Hoyle, Thomas Gold, and Hermann Bondi developed the steady state theory, which appealed to atheist cosmologists because it avoided a creation event and the religious implications associated with one.
Creation scientists tend to win the creation-evolution debates
In 2010, the worldwide atheist community was challenged to a debate by Creation Ministries International as prominent atheists were speaking at a 2010 global atheist convention in Australia. Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers and other prominent atheists refused to debate Creation Ministries International.
A majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the naturalistic evolutionary position since World War II have been atheists. Creation scientists tend to win the Creation-Evolution debates and many have been held since the 1970s particularly in the United States. Robert Sloan, Director of Paleontology at the University of Minnesota, reluctantly admitted to a Wall Street Journal reporter that the "creationists tend to win" the public debates which focused on the creation vs. evolution controversy. In August 1979, Dr. Henry Morris reported in an Institute for Creation Research letter the following: “By now, practically every leading evolutionary scientist in this country has declined one or more invitations to a scientific debate on creation/evolution.” Morris also said regarding the creation scientist Duane Gish (who had over 300 formal debates): “At least in our judgment and that of most in the audiences, he always wins.” Generally speaking, leading evolutionists generally no longer debate creation scientists because creation scientists tend to win the creation vs. evolution debates. In addition, the atheist and evolutionist, Richard Dawkins has shown inconsistent and deceptive behavior concerning his refusal creation scientists. In an article entitled "Are Kansas Evolutionists Afraid of a Fair Debate?" the Discovery Institute states the following:
|“||Defenders of Darwin's theory of evolution typically proclaim that evidence for their theory is simply overwhelming. If they really believe that, you would think they would jump at a chance to publicly explain some of that overwhelming evidence to the public. Apparently not.||”|
In 1994, the arch-evolutionist Dr. Eugenie Scott made this confession concerning creation vs. evolution debates:
|“|| During the last six or eight months, I have received more calls about debates between creationists and evolutionists than I have encountered for a couple of years, it seems. I do not know what has inspired this latest outbreak, but I am not sure it is doing much to improve science education.
Why do I say this? Sure, there are examples of "good" debates where a well-prepared evolution supporter got the best of a creationist, but I can tell you after many years in this business that they are few and far between. Most of the time a well-meaning evolutionist accepts a debate challenge (usually "to defend good science" or for some other worthy goal), reads a bunch of creationist literature, makes up a lecture explaining Darwinian gradualism, and can't figure out why at the end of the debate so many individuals are clustered around his opponent, congratulating him on having done such a good job of routing evolution—and why his friends are too busy to go out for a beer after the debate.
In August 2003 the Creation Research Society published some interesting material regarding their correspondence with Richard Dawkins regarding a creation-evolution debate in which Richard Dawkins participated in as a debater. The Creation Research Society stated regarding the debate the following:
|“||Despite Dr. Dawkins’ plea, there were apparently 115 votes for the creation position (more than 37%). This was done near Darwin’s turf. Imagine flat-earthers going to NASA and convincing over 37% of the scientists there that the earth is flat. Maybe creation science is not as closely akin to flat-earthism as Dr. Dawkins supposes (see his Free Inquiry article).||”|
History of the growth of creationist apologetics and its effects
|“|| American evangelical Christians have began to notice in the fifties that compromise is a slow poison that ultimately destroys respect for truth. Some of them came together and started writing aggressively on themes defending the historical and scientific reliability of the Bible. This gave birth to the modern interest in Apologetics and Creationism. At the dawn of the twenty-first century the influence of this revival has spread all over the world, and today more than one hundred and fifty organizations function around the world, devoted solely to apologetics. Their influence has be so strong that a large number of Seminaries all around the world have begun assert the historical and scientific reliability of the Bible...
...with the birth of the modern creationism and apologetics, a revival set in motion among the evangelical Christians. This group became quite vocal and aggressive in the sixties, and by seventies they started exerting significant influence among theologians, thinkers, and the Bible teachers all over the world.
Thousands of apologetic books, hundreds of magazines, and tens of thousands of articles have been produced defending the Bible since. In turn, this has started to diminish the influence of rationalists and radicals on Christians.
From the middle of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century the rationalists had their heyday, snatching away millions of young people from their Christian faith and commitment. The wounds of this loss can been seen in Christendom even today, but at the same time this loss has been greatly minimized now because of the work of Christian apologists.
Today anyone desiring to know about the Bible, and its connection with science, evolution, history, archaeology, has read any number of books on this topic. Literally thousands of titles are available, and he can choose anywhere from the most simple books to the most technically advanced ones. Thus the modern apologetics movement has been able to arrest the way in which rationalists have been bleeding the Christian church.
Atheist organizations: Church-state/creationism issues - poor largely ignored
In June 2014, Sikivu Hutchinson wrote in the Washington Post that atheist organizations generally focus on church/state separation and creationism issues and not the concerns the less affluent African-American population faces. Hutchinson also mentioned that church organizations do offer significant help to poor African-Americans.
Views on atheists and poor public relations efforts
Americans and Canadians distrust atheists as much as rapists
On December 10, 2011, USA Today reported in a story entitled Study: Atheists distrusted as much as rapists:
|“|| The study, conducted among 350 Americans adults and 420 Canadian college students, asked participants to decide if a fictional driver damaged a parked car and left the scene, then found a wallet and took the money, was the driver more likely to be a teacher, an atheist teacher, or a rapist teacher?
The participants, who were from religious and nonreligious backgrounds, most often chose the atheist teacher.
The study is part of an attempt to understand what needs religion fulfills in people. Among the conclusions is a sense of trust in others.
"People find atheists very suspect," Shariff said. "They don't fear God so we should distrust them; they do not have the same moral obligations of others. This is a common refrain against atheists. People fear them as a group."
UK study finds atheists widely distrusted - even among themselves
See also: Atheist factions
In 2015, the Christian Post reported in a story entitled Atheists Widely Distrusted, Even Among Themselves, UK Study Finds:
|“|| Distrust of atheists is "deeply and culturally ingrained" among people, and even many atheists are not able to trust each other, according to a new study carried out by the psychology department at Nottingham Trent University in England.
Published in the International Journal for The Psychology of Religion, the study, "The Robustness of Anti-Atheist Prejudice as Measured by Way of Cognitive Errors," was conducted with 100 participants from the U.K. ....
The study shows that "anti-atheist prejudice is not confined either to dominantly religious countries or to religious individuals, but rather appears to be a robust judgment about atheists."
The Independent reports about the participants of the study:
|“|| Professor Leah Giddings and Thomas Dunn led the study with 100 online participants from the United Kingdom, 70 of whom were women and whose average age was 21.
A total of 43 per cent of the contributors were atheist, 33 per cent were Christian and the remainder belonged to other faiths.
Atheism and poor public relations
The decline of the secular left
Historically the largest advances of the secular left has been through utilizing the power of the state (see: State atheism and Atheism and communism). For example, secular leftists use the power of the state to promote evolutionary ideology and to censor creationist/intelligent design models of origins (See: Suppression of alternatives to evolution and Atheist indoctrination).
The historian Martin Van Crevel points out that sovereign states are losing power/influence due to technology democratizing access to information, welfare states increasingly failing, fourth-generation warfare being waged against countries and sovereign states increasingly losing their ability to maintain internal order.
In 2010, in his book Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth, Eric Kaufmann wrote concerning the culture war in the United States:
|“||High evangelical fertility rates more than compensated for losses to liberal Protestant sects during the twentieth century. In recent decades, white secularism has surged, but Latino and Asian religious immigration has taken up the slack, keeping secularism at bay. Across denominations, the fertility advantage of religious fundamentalists of all colours is significant and growing. After 2020, their demographic weight will begin to tip the balance in the culture wars towards the conservative side, ramping up pressure on hot-button issues such as abortion. By the end of the century, three quarters of America may be pro-life. Their activism will leap over the borders of the 'Redeemer Nation' to evangelize the world. Already, the rise of the World Congress of Families has launched a global religious right, its arms stretching across the bloody lines of the War on Terror to embrace the entire Abrahamic family.||”|
Decline of the strength of atheist vs. liberal Christianity alliances
Due to the shrinking/vanishing of liberal Christianity churches, demographic changes due to religious immigration and the higher fertility rate of religious conservatives and other factors, secular leftists may have greater difficulty forming alliances with the religious left (see: Atheism and liberal Christianity alliances).
Furthermore, the American Spectator declares about American religious leftists hopes for being dominant in the future:
|“||Their hopes will likely be disappointed. Many Millennials will become more religious and conservative as they age, especially if they marry and have children. And the subsequent generation almost certainly will rebel against their predecessor's hipster outlook, just as diligent Generation Xers reacted against the soaring hippy activism of their Baby Boomer predecessors. Religious conservatives also have more children than religious liberals or secularists.||”|
One of the key reasons why secular leftists have formed alliances with the secular left has been for the purposes of promoting evolutionary teaching in public schools (see: Atheism and liberal Christianity alliance related to evolutionism).
Atheism, agnosticism and flip-flopping
See also: Atheism, agnosticism and flip-flopping
Some of the most prominent atheists/agnostics have flip-flopped between atheism and agnosticism/theism. Unlike Christianity, which is supported by a large body of sound evidence (see: Christian apologetics), atheism has no proof and evidence supporting its ideology.
For notable examples prominent atheists/agnostics flip-flopping between atheism and agnosticism/theism, please see: Atheism, agnosticism and flip-flopping
Religious fundraising vs. atheist fundraising
Both ideological wars and nations engaged in war require adequate resources to effectively engage in battle.
Nonprofits require funds from donors so they can fulfill their missions.
Religious fundraising vs. atheist fundraising:
High morale of Christendom
See also: High morale of Christendom
Groups which are discouraged and have been unsuccessful for years, such as the atheist movement, generally have a very difficult time prevailing over successful groups with a long track record of high morale and determination.
Below is an article which cites data and scholarship relevant to the morale of Christendom:
Terry Eagleton on the endurance of religion
The British literary critic Terry Eagleton, a vocal critic of New Atheism, declared:
|“||[Religion] has…proved to be by far the most tenacious, enduring, widespread, deep-seated symbolic system humanity has ever known, not least because it is able to connect the everyday practices and customs of billions upon billions of ordinary people with the most august, transcendent, imperishable truths.||”|
- Berlinerblau, Jacques (February 4, 2011). "Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast". The Chronicle of Higher Education/Brainstorm blog. Retrieved on May 29, 2015.
- How we projected the future of world religions
- Despite What You've Heard, World Is More Religious Than Ever, Christian Post
- Professor Peter Berger on Resurgence of Religion and Decline of Secularization Theory
- Global Study: Atheists in Decline, Only 1.8% of World Population by 2020
- The Return of Religion
- 'Why God Won't Go Away' by Alister McGrath
- Religion and the State in Russia and China: Suppression, Survival and Revival by Christopher Marsh, 2011, page 11 (Christopher Marsh cites the definitions of desecularization given by Peter L. Berger and Vyacheslav Karpov)
- The return of religion
- Shall the religious inherit the earth? - Eric Kaufmann
- Uproar Against Dawkins Is Sign of New Atheism Retrogression by Joshua Kelly
- Even atheists bash 'Reason Rally'
- This just in from Oxford Press: Turning the intellectual tables on 'New Atheists' by Richard Osling
- Atheists Speak Up - Eddie Tabash
- Atheists Speak Up - Eddie Tabash - Part 2 of 4
- Eddie Tabash: Speech and Q&A at AAI 07
- The Atheist Disillusionment - PZ Myers, September 27, 2014
- Why Abrasive Atheism Will Always Sell Better by Neil Carter
- "The largest atheist/agnostic populations". Chris & Terri Chapman. Countries with the largest atheist populations.
- Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
- Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
- A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
- Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
- Chinese universities urged to fight back against foreign religion, The Telegraph, 2012
- Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
- Forced Secularization in Soviet Russia: Why an Atheistic Monopoly Failed
- GlobalPlus: Religion in China By Fenggang Yang
- Investigating atheism: Marxism. University of Cambridge (2008). Retrieved on July 17, 2014. “The most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power. For the first time in history, atheism thus became the official ideology of a state.”
- Jacoby, Susan. Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism. New York, NY: Metropolitan Books, p. 151
- Economics and atheism
- The Facts: Atheism is Dying Out, by Rev. Dwight Longenecker, April 8, 2015
- The Growth of Christianity in East Asia
- 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious, Tuesday, April 30, 2013
- Shall the religious inherit the earth
- Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann
- in Seattle, PZ Myers Reflects Candidly on His Constituency
- Khan, Razib (November 18, 2010). "Gene expression; Sex differences in global atheism, part N". Discover magazine website.
- Myers, P.Z. (June 29, 2010). "The woman problem". Pharyngula [blog].
- The Atheism Gap By Stephen L. Carter, BloombergView, Mar 27, 2015 4:26 PM EDT
- Roberts, Jessica, et al. (June 19, 2007). "Interview with an atheist". News21. Retrieved on July 30, 2014.
- Baylor ISR- J. Gordon Melton - End of Religion? (May 5, 2015)
- Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God, The Daily Telegraph, May 14, 2011
- Philosophy, Science and the God Debate
- Are Atheists Strengthening Religion?
- Bahsen at the Stein debate by John Frame
- The Great Debate: Greg Bahnsen vs Gordon Stein
- Does it matter that many scientists are atheists?
- Open Questions: Diverse Thinkers Discuss God, Religion, and Faith by Luís F. Rodrigues, page 201
- Craig, William Lane (2012)."Theistic critiques of atheism". Reasonable Faith. Retrieved on July 26, 2014. Unabridged version of article published 2007. See William Lane Craig.
- Stewart, Marilyn (August 10, 2004). "Nobts’ Oxford Study Program spans notable lectures & historical sites". Baptist Press. Retrieved on July 26, 2014.
- Ruse, M., How evolution became a religion: creationists correct? National Post, pp. B1,B3,B7 May 13, 2000.
- Creationism spreading in Europe
- Ammi, Ken (May 2010). "Richard Dawkins the cowardly clown". True Freethinker. Retrieved on July 30, 2014.
- Multiple references:
- Batten, Don (December 1997). "A Who’s Who of evolutionists". Creation, vol 20, no. 1, p. 32. Retrieved from Creation.com [Creation Ministries International] on May 15, 2015. See Don Batten
- Sarfati, Jonathan, Ph. D. (1999). "Chapter 1: Facts and bias". Refuting Evolution. Retrieved from Creation.com [Creation Ministries International] on May 15, 2015. See Jonathan Sarfati
- Multiple references:
- Ankerberg, John, and Weldon, John (1998). "Truth in advertising: damaging the cause of science". Darwin's Leap of Faith (Harvest House). Retrieved from The John Ankenberg Show website on May 15, 2015.
- Fraser, William A. (2003). "Who wins the debates?" Mark64's webpage. Retrieved from October 24, 2009 archive at Internet Archive on May 15, 2015.
- Fraser, William A. (2003). "Who wins the debates?" Mark64's webpage. Retrieved from October 24, 2009 archive at Internet Archive on May 15, 2015.
- Ankerberg, John, and Weldon, John (1998). "Voices for evolution". Darwin's Leap of Faith (Harvest House). Retrieved from the John Ankerberg show website on May 15, 2015.
- Morris, Henry, Ph. D. (1996). "Reason or rhetoric". Acts and Facts, vol. 25, no. 11. Retrieved from Institute for Creation Research website on May 15, 2015.
- West, John G. (February 23, 2005). "Are Kansas evolutionists afraid of a fair debate?" Evolution News and Views. Retrieved on May 15, 2015.
- Scott, Eugenie C. (1994). "Debates and the Globetrotters". Skeptic Tank Text Archive File website/Evolution. Retrieved on May 15, 2015.
- Humber, Paul G., M. S. (July/August 2003). "Debating Dawkins". Creation Matters, vol. 8, no. 4. Retrieved from April 15, 2014 Creation Research Society website archive at Internet Archive on May 15, 2015.
- Introduction To Integrated Christian Apologetics, Dr. Johnson C. Philip & Dr. Saneesh Cherian
- Atheism has a big race problem that no one’s talking about by Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, Washington Post June 16, 2014
- Multiple references:
- Kosmin, Barry A., et al. (2008). "American nones: Profile of the no religion population". American Religion Survey website [Trinity College, Hartford, CT]. Retrieved from Internet Archive.
- Britt, Robert Roy (February 28, 2009). "Women more religious than men". Live Science website.
- Study: Atheists distrusted as much as rapists
- Atheists Widely Distrusted, Even Among Themselves, UK Study Finds, Christian Post, 2015
- Anti-atheist distrust ‘deeply and culturally ingrained’, study finds, The Independent, 2015
- The Fate of the State by MARTIN VAN CREVELD
- Martin van Creveld interview
- Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth by Eric Kaufmann
- The Future Belongs to Religious Liberals?
- On Supply Lines, Weekly Standard
- Terry Eagleton presents an unusual challenge to the new atheism , The Economist