Essay: 10 reasons why American atheism will see a significant decline

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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.[1]

The popular YouTube Christian Shockofgod said he believes that American atheism, which is merely a squeak in American society, will be cut by at least 50% in terms of the percentage of its adherents.[2]

Question: Is this a reasonable prediction concerning American atheism or a delusional pie in the sky prediction?

10 reasons why American atheism will see a significant decline

1. Global atheism is shrinking. In an age of globalization this will have an effect on American atheism (Immigration, global communications, etc.)[3][4]

In 2012, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary reported that globally every day there are 800 less atheists per day, 1,100 less non-religious (agnostic) people per day and 83,000 more people professing to be Christians per day.[5][6]

In 2011, the American Spectator declared concerning research published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research:

The report estimates about 80,000 new Christians every day, 79,000 new Muslims every day, and 300 fewer atheists every day. These atheists are presumably disproportionately represented in the West, while religion is thriving in the Global South, where charismatic Christianity is exploding."[7]

In 2009, the book A sceptics guide to atheism indicated: "A worldwide poll taken in 1991 put the global figure for atheists at just 4.4% of the population. By 2006 it was estimated that only 2% of the world population were atheists."[8]

In 2012 an article entitled Atheism in decline by Nigel Tomes declared:

The IBMR publishes yearly figures for religions (and non religions) around the globe. Their latest numbers, hot off the press (Jan. 2012) show some interesting trends.

Atheism is in Decline

In 1970 atheists (those avowing there is no God) numbered 166 million worldwide; that was almost one-in-twenty—4.5% of the globe’s population. By 2012 atheists’ number is estimated at 137 million. That’s a decline of almost 30 million. Since world population is growing, atheists’ share declined to less than one-in-fifty—under 2% in 2012. Put differently, every 24 hours there are 800 fewer atheists in the world! Atheism is in decline.

Agnosticism is in Decline

In 2000 agnostics (those who “don’t know” if there is a God) numbered 666 million, 10.9% of the world’s people. By 2012 agnostic’s number is estimated at 661 million--a decline of 5 million. In relative terms by 2012 agnostics represent less than one tenth (9.4%) of world population. Every 24 hours there are 1,100 less agnostics in the world. Agnostics are also in decline.

Added together these two groups make up a declining share of global population. In 1970 atheists and agnostics accounted for one-in-five (19.2%) of the world’s people. Based on current trends by 2025 they will represent less than one-in-ten (9.7%). Their population share will fall by half in 50+ years.[9]

Decline of atheism in terms of global adherents is expected to accelerate:

Eric Kaufmann, a professor at Birkbeck College, University of London, using a a wealth of demographic studies, argues that there will be a significant decline of global atheism in the 21st century which will impact the Western World.[10][11][12][13] In addition, Kaufmann argues that religious conservatism has a long term trend of rising and that their influence in the world will significantly increase.[14] Kaufmann is author of the book Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?.[15][16] In the Western World due to immigration and the higher birth rates of religious people, Kaufman writes: "Committed religious populations are growing in the West, and will reverse the march of secularism before 2050."[17]

Conservative Christian immigrants to Western World countries:

The Birbeck, University of London professor Eric Kaufmann declared to a secular audience in a lecture titled Shall the religious inherit the earth (see video): "The trends that are happening worldwide inevitably in an age of globalization are going to affect us." We can already see this happening in large cities throughout the Western World in cities like London for example. Consider this article for example: Rise of biblical Christianity in UK due to immigrants is shaking up established church

Rise of Hispanic evangelicals and Hispanics in the United States

In the United States, the American evangelical Hispanic population is quickly growing and in addition Hispanics are very religious and a growing segment of American society.[18][19]

Secular societies and birth rates: a historical analysis

Michael Blume, a researcher at the University of Jena in Germany, wrote "Most societies or communities that have espoused atheistic beliefs have not survived more than a century."[20] Blume also indicated concerning concerning his research on this matter: "What I found was the complete lack of a single case of a secular population, community or movement that would just manage to retain replacement level."[21] See also: Atheism and sexuality

Aging populations and turning to faith in later years by the elderly

In addition, currently the Western World population is aging in terms of its demographic makeup, particularly in secular Europe, and it has been found that belief in God grows as a person's death nears.[22][23]

Demographics and the expected decline of American secularism:

See also: American atheism and Demographics and American secularism

The Birkbeck College, University of London professor Eric Kaufman wrote in his 2010 book Shall the Righteous Inherit the Earth? concerning America:

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 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.[24]

For more information please see: Atheist population

In addition, the world is a smaller place and secular Europe does influence America (Jacques Derrida, etc.). The Eurozone is increasingly showing many signs of decline (economy, rioting, etc.) and no doubt European influence on the world in terms of its secular ideology will also decline as people are less likely to admire and emulate failure.[25] Also, amidst the many financial and natural disaster problems Japan is having, Christianity is growing in Japan.[26]

Leading atheist websites see decline in web traffic

See also: Atheism and the internet and Atheistic bullying

The article Internet atheism: The thrill is gone! points out that internet atheism has been in a significant slump since 2008.

During the period of 2008 to 2012, the atheist community made a concerted effort to spread atheism through means of the internet. However, leading atheist websites have seen plunges in web traffic during this same period and during the first half of 2012.[27]

In May of 2012, it was pointed out by supporters of Creation Ministries International's Question evolution! campaign that from a global internet perspective the public's interest in the views of the agnostic/weak atheist Richard Dawkins and the atheist PZ Myers and in atheism are on the decline while interest in Jesus and Christianity are on the upswing.[28]

For more information please see:

2. In China, which is an atheistic communist state, Christianity is exploding which is bad news for global atheism (see: Global Christianity). Atheism is not a strong ideology when faced with fervent biblical Christianity competition. Although China and Asia as a whole may have short term setbacks, they are increasingly gaining influence in the world.

3. Christianity prevailed against state sponsored militant atheism in the Soviet Union.[29] Atheistic evolution is a state sponsored enterprise via public schools. Evolutionary belief is the air supply of atheism.

4. Some of the biggest allies of atheistic evolutionism in the United States are: public schools, academia, the liberal media, liberal Christianity, federal government funding/support for evolutionary pseudoscience

- In the Western World, the atheist community leans heavily towards the left in terms of politics (the leftist atheists community is often referred to as the secular left). [30][31] Currently, the governments of Europe, Japan, Britain, and the U.S. are all mired in debt and there is a sovereign debt crises in many European countries in the Eurozone. [32][33] The emergence of financially struggling and bankrupt liberal governments, which often promote secularism, is probably not a positive development for the future of atheism.

- American government run public schools are increasingly facing budget cuts and there is growing criticism of public schools. Vouchers for private schools (including religious schools) and charter schools are increasingly being discussed and legislators are introducing and passing school choice bills.[34] Of course, constrained public school budgets includes constrained school legal budgets so many schools will be less able to engage in frivolous/unwarranted legal suits constraining religious free speech in their schools.

- there appears to be a higher education bubble that will burst.[35] The Wall Street Journal reported in 2013 that the percentage of Americans going to college has been decreasing for 3 years in the USA.[36] Also, college is clearly not delivering the goods in terms of intellectual development for a large percentage of its students. An American study found that forty-five percent of students achieved no significant improvement in their critical thinking, reasoning or writing skills during the first two years of college. After four years, 36 percent displayed no significant increases in these so-called "higher order" thinking skills.[37] Students, particularly those who made poor curriculum choices, are increasingly angry that college does not adequately prepare them for the marketplace and leaves them with a pile of debt.[38]

- the liberal media, such as the American liberal newspapers and television networks, continue to lose market share.[39] See the video: American mainstream media - Apostles of atheism

- Liberal Christianity has been an ally of atheists in the creation vs. evolution culture war. Evolutionism is an important ideological underpinning of atheism. Due to the explosive growth of global Christianity and conservative Christians and religious conservatives having higher birth rates and greater evangelism success, liberal Christianity is expected to continue to decline in both number of adherents and influence.

- The U.S. federal government funds evolutionary pseudoscience and the severe financial problems of Greece due to their profligate spending teaches that America cannot continue to run extremely large deficits without consequences and that cutbacks are inevitable for non-essential programs. No doubt funding for evolutionary pseudoscience will receive cutbacks and this is already happening.

For example, NASA has been obsessively and fruitlessly searching to find life on other planets and had scheduled manned exploration of Mars.[40] In February of 2012, Barack Obama announced large cuts to the Mars exploration program. [41]Phil Christensen, a Mars researcher at Arizona State University declares concerning the cuts: “in essence, it is the end of the Mars program”.[42] It is probable that other government funded organizations which advocate evolutionary pseudoscience such as the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institute will see funding cuts as well plus federal grants supporting pointless evolutionary pseudoscientific research will see cuts as well.

The notion that there is life on other planets is an unbiblical notion contrary to the Scriptures and to the current scientific evidence. Please see: Did God create life on other planets? and Alien/UFO answers and Origin of life answers and Evolution

evolution darwin theory
Late in Charles Darwin's life, Darwin told the Duke of Argyll that he frequently had overwhelming thoughts that the natural world was the result of design.[43] In a letter to Asa Gray, Darwin confided: "...I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science."[44]

5. Also, belief in evolution has this Achilles' heel:

"In 2011, the results of a study was published indicating that most United States high school biology teachers are reluctant to endorse the theory of evolution in class (see: Study: Most high school biology teachers don’t endorse evolution). In 2011, eight anti-evolution bills were introduced in various states within the United States which encouraged students to employ critical thinking skills when examining the evolution issue. In 2009, there were seven states within the United States which required critical analysis skills be employed when examining evolutionary material within schools.

Imagine how timid many biology teachers will be when they are faced with the 15 questions that evolutionists cannot satisfactorily answer! Imagine how many additional states within the United States are going to adopt evolution unfriendly laws! Evolution cannot bear up under critical analysis so the effects of the Question evolution! campaign are going to be devastating to evolutionary belief and atheism."[45]

6. In the past, Christianity has prevailed against other false ideologies such as Gnosticism. Christianity has an abundance of evidence supporting its claims (see: Evidence for Christianity).

7. Atheism has no proof and evidence supporting (See: Atheism has a lower retention rate compared to other worldviews). In addition, the evolutionist Charles Darwin was plagued with doubts about the validity of evolution even in his latter years (See: Doubters of atheism/evolution).

8. Atheism is not strong in the United States and it is merely a squeak in American society plus it is frowned upon ideology with an extremely bad reputation (see: Atheist Population). Also, the New Atheism has not been successful in terms of gaining adherents to atheism. (see: New Atheism).

9. It is far easier to be a "sassy atheist" when your wallet is full. Jesus taught in a parable relating to the gospel message: "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful." (Matthew 13:22 NASB). A Pew Forum study found an inverse relationship between societal wealth and religiosity (Of course, if a country has a significant amount of religious freedom like the United States, it is certainly possible for a country to have significant societal wealth and religiosity). [46]

The economy is very fragile in the United States and it looks like it may experience significantly more pain in the future given its gigantic debt and its current political disharmony/dysfunction. The United States may eventually bounce back as its society has a history of dynamism and it has overcome previous troubles, but in the meantime there certainly may be hard times for atheism as men often turn to God in times of trouble.

In addition, atheism is more often found in younger people in the United States due to a boom in American secularism in the 1990s which is waning (see: Decline of American 1990s secularism).[47] Also, indicated above, due to demographic factors, there is expected to a trend in the decline in American secularism and 2020 is expected to be a tipping point in favor of religious conservatism (Demographics and the expected decline of American secularism). In 2012, the Press Herald reported that only 55% of Americans age 16-29 were employed in 2010. In addition, in 2012 the New York Times dubbed the young generation the "go nowhere generation".[48] Also, a 2012 article entitled Teen Unemployment: A Western Epidemic (Spain, Greece, France and … USA) declared: "But the story in the US that was ignored for the most part was teen unemployment which stands at Euro Zone-like 25%."[49] Currently, youth employment is at a 60 year low.[50]

Since it is very helpful for an ideology gaining new adherents among the young, the recent economic problems which disproportionately is negatively affecting young people does not bode well for atheism converts among young people given the aforementioned inverse relationship between wealth and religiosity found in many societies. Furthermore, a more sluggish labor market that in years past in terms of labor market recovery after a recession, a poor American public education system in terms of grammar school/high school level compared to many developed nations, increased global economic competition and many unemployed young workers not having marketing job skills could cause youth unemployment to persist for a significant period.[51][52]

10. Atheism is increasingly exhibiting a bunker mentality in terms of prominent atheists refusing to accept debate challenges and its leadership is facing growing criticism of being cowardly (see: Atheism and cowardice and Creation scientists tend to win the creation vs. evolution debates). In addition, there is a lot of disharmony in the atheist movement (see: Atheist factions and Atheism: A house divided and in global decline).

So many of the pillars supporting atheism are clearly showing cracks plus the general environment is increasingly disfavoring atheism. And again, atheism is not a strong ideology when faced with increased competition from fervent biblical Christianity.

Atheist pessimism about the atheist movement

See: Atheist pessimism about the atheist movement

Baylor University researchers: American Christianity is not on the decline

See: Baylor University researchers on American Christianity

Other important considerations

Expansion of European creationism and global creationism

See also: Global creationism

Evolution is the air supply of atheism. truly prevail against atheism, cutting off the air supply of atheism is crucial.

Eric Kaufmann told a secular audience in Australia: "The trends that are happening worldwide inevitably in an age of globalization are going to affect us."[53]

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."[54] See also: Evolutionary indoctrination

On October 4, 2014, the Vancouver Sun reported that evolutionism is rejected by hundreds of millions of evangelical Christians and Muslims around the world.[55]

Specifically, the Vancouver Sun declared:

Creationism, a religious world view that adamantly rejects Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, is on the rise among evangelical Protestants and most of the world’s Muslims.

It is not only the majority of residents in Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Indonesia and Turkey who strongly reject the teaching that humans and other species evolved over millions of years from less complex creatures. So do tens of millions of evangelical Christians in North America (as well as South America and Africa).

Overall, [Nidhal Guessoum, a Middle Eastern physics and astronomy professor] who teaches at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, estimates roughly 60 per cent of the world’s Muslims are creationists, including many living in the U.S. and Canada.

Even though poll results about evolution vary based on the questions asked, Salman Hameed reported in the journal Science that strong anti-evolution majorities exist in Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt and Pakistan. The latter is among Canada’s top six source countries for immigrants...

An Angus-Reid survey found 43 per cent of Americans accept the creationist teaching that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, which means they reject the...view the universe began roughly 13 billion years ago.[56]

In recent years Britain, the birth place of Darwinism, has seen a large influx of Muslim immigrants. Most religious Muslims are creationists.[57] In the UK, between the years 2001 and 2009 the Muslim population increased nearly 10 times faster than the non-Muslim population.[58] See also: Islam and belief in creationism and Multiculturism and European desecularization

The British newspaper The Telegraph reported in an article entitled Richard Dawkins: Muslim parents 'import creationism' into schools:

Prof Dawkins, a well-known atheist, also blamed the Government for accommodating religious views and allowing creationism to be taught in schools.

"Most devout Muslims are creationists so when you go to schools, there are a large number of children of Islamic parents who trot out what they have been taught," Prof Dawkins said in a Sunday newspaper interview.

"Teachers are bending over backwards to respect home prejudices that children have been brought up with. The Government could do more, but it doesn't want to because it is fanatical about multiculturalism and the need to respect the different traditions from which these children come."[59]

A proponent of the anti-evolution Question evolution! campaign by Creation Ministries International wrote:

Atheism is a religion. And atheists, time and time again, take away the religious liberty of Christians in order to promote their false religion. Evolution is the air supply of atheism. Directly confronting atheism can be useful. But, the best way for Christianity to prevail against secularism is through preventative medicine. Reaching young people with the gospel and discipling them is a first step. Yet to truly prevail against atheism, cutting off the air supply of atheism is crucial/[60]

Lack of sound leadership within atheism

Using academic studies, survey data and other information, supporters of the Question evolution! campaign maintain that there is a lack of sound leadership within the agnostic/atheist and evolutionist communities in dealing with the global decline of atheism and agnosticism.


See also

External links

Other resources:




  1. Global Study: Atheists in Decline, Only 1.8% of World Population by 2020]
  2. My challenge to atheists and evolutionists
  3. Globally the worldviews of atheism and non-religious (agnostic) are declining while global Christianity is exploding in adherents
  4. Thriving Christianity
  5. Globally the worldviews of atheism and non-religious (agnostic) are declining while global Christianity is exploding in adherents
  6. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary - Status of Global Missions
  7. Thriving Christianity
  8. A sceptics guide to atheism, page 4
  9. Globally the worldviews of atheism and non-religious (agnostic) are declining while global Christianity is exploding in adherents
  10. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann, Belfer Center, Harvard University/Birkbeck College, University of London
  11. Eric Kaufmann: Shall The Religious Inherit The Earth?
  12. Eric Kaufmann's Atheist Demographic series
  13. Eric Kaufmann: Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  14. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann, Belfer Center, Harvard University/Birkbeck College, University of London
  15. Shall the religious inherit the earth by David Kaufmann
  16. Early paper - Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann, Belfer Center, Harvard University/Birkbeck College, University of London
  17. Early paper - Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann, Belfer Center, Harvard University/Birkbeck College, University of London
  18. [ Rise Of Hispanic Evangelical Church: Time Magazine Discusses Influence Of Latinos In America's Religion
  19. The U.S. Hispanic population has increased sixfold since 1970
  20. Atheist: A dying breed as nature favours faithful
  21. Atheist: A dying breed as nature favours faithful
  22. Belief in God grows as mortality nears, survey says
  23. [ The Demographic Winter and the Barren Left
  24. Why are 2012 and 2020 key years for Christian creationists and pro-lifers?
  25. "Stunning" Gallup Poll Reveals Christianity Growing in Japan
  26. Internet atheism: The thrill is gone!
  27. How Russians survived militant atheism to embrace God
  28. No "true atheist defense
  29. I get email
  30. Sovereign debt is expanding
  32. College enrollment shows signs of slowing which means less post high school evolutionary indoctrination. Also, the ever shrinking role of tenured evolutionist professors and evolutionary biologists
  33. Study of college education and critical thinking skills
  34. Forbes - Higher education bubble
  38. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Notes to Teleological Arguments for God's Existence
  39. The Darwin Project - Darwin Quote
  40. The effects of the Question Evolution! Campaign will be devastating to evolutionary belief and atheism
  41. Pew Forum - wealth and religiosity
  42. Who are America's atheists and agnostics?
  43. [1]
  44. Teen Unemployment: A Western Epidemic (Spain, Greece, France and … USA)
  45. How Entrepeurship can fix young America
  46. Frozen job market
  47. How American schools compare to other countries
  48. Shall the religious inherit the earth
  49. Creationism spreading in Europe
  50. Evolution rejected by hundreds of millions of Muslims and evangelicals, Vancouver Sun, October 4, 2014
  51. Evolution rejected by hundreds of millions of Muslims and evangelicals, Vancouver Sun, October 4, 2014. 9:12 am
  52. Hameed S (2008). "Bracing for Islamic creationism". Science 322 (5908): 1637–8.
  53. Muslim population 'rising 10 times faster than rest of society' 30 January 2009, Richard Kerbaj, The Sunday Times
  54. Richard Dawkins: Muslim parents 'import creationism' into schools, The Telegraph
  55. Cutting off the air supply of atheism