Irreligion is the absence of religion, or contempt of it, as well as worldliness, ungodliness, profaneness, and impiety. It encompasses a variety of terms, including atheism, agnosticism, secular humanism, as well as sectors of unaffiliation.
A comprehensive study by Harvard University professor Robert Putnam found that religious people are more charitable than their irreligious counterparts. The study revealed that forty percent of worship service attending Americans volunteer regularly to help the poor and elderly as opposed to 15% of Americans who never attend services. Moreover, religious individuals are more likely than non-religious individuals to volunteer for school and youth programs (36% vs. 15%), a neighborhood or civic group (26% vs. 13%), and for health care (21% vs. 13%). Nevertheless, the study found that religious people are somewhat less tolerant of free speech and dissent than were non-religious people.
- Dictionary of English Language Exhibiting Orthography, Pronunciation and Definition of Words. Nabu Press. Retrieved on 2010-12-02. “Irreligion, ir-re-lij'-un, s. 26-7, 32. Absence of religion, or contempt of it; worldliness; unglodliness; profaneness; impiety. H., irreli-gionist (one without r., or who despises it), s.90.”
- Arnold James Cooley. Religion in the Contemporary South: Changes, Continuities, and Contexts. University of Tennessee Press. Retrieved on 2010-12-02. “Unaffiliated persons are not necessarily hostile to religion or even irreligious. Yet, as the proportion of unaffiliated persons grows, it will be increasingly difficult to assume that there is a religious base, such as Reed's orthodox Protestant consensus, supporting southern culture.”
- Religious people make better citizens, study says. Pew Research Center. Retrieved on 2007–10–18. “The scholars say their studies found that religious people are three to four times more likely to be involved in their community. They are more apt than nonreligious Americans to work on community projects, belong to voluntary associations, attend public meetings, vote in local elections, attend protest demonstrations and political rallies, and donate time and money to causes -- including secular ones. At the same time, Putnam and Campbell say their data show that religious people are just "nicer": they carry packages for people, don't mind folks cutting ahead in line and give money to panhandlers.”
- Religious people are 'better neighbors'. USA Today. Retrieved on 2007–10–18. “However, on the other side of the ledger, religious people are also "better neighbors" than their secular counterparts. No matter the civic activity, being more religious means being more involved. Take, for example, volunteer work. Compared with people who never attend worship services, those who attend weekly are more likely to volunteer in religious activities (no surprise there), but also for secular causes. The differences between religious and secular Americans can be dramatic. Forty percent of worship-attending Americans volunteer regularly to help the poor and elderly, compared with 15% of Americans who never attend services. Frequent-attenders are also more likely than the never-attenders to volunteer for school and youth programs (36% vs. 15%), a neighborhood or civic group (26% vs. 13%), and for health care (21% vs. 13%). The same is true for philanthropic giving; religious Americans give more money to secular causes than do secular Americans. And the list goes on, as it is true for good deeds such as helping someone find a job, donating blood, and spending time with someone who is feeling blue. Furthermore, the "religious edge" holds up for organized forms of community involvement: membership in organizations, working to solve community problems, attending local meetings, voting in local elections, and working for social or political reform. On this last point, it is not just that religious people are advocating for right-leaning causes, although many are. Religious liberals are actually more likely to be community activists than are religious conservatives.”
- Religious people are 'better neighbors'. USA Today. Retrieved on 2007–10–18. “On the one hand, religious Americans are somewhat less tolerant of free speech and dissent.”