Essay: Why the atheist movement is a lost cause

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In 2011, atheist Jacques Berlinerblau declared: "The Golden Age of Secularism has passed."[1]

Is the atheist movement a lost cause?

Numerous atheists have declared that the "atheist movement is dead" or that it is dying.[2] In 2019, a writer at Freethought Blogs wrote: "Last month I looked at some postmortems of the atheist movement...".[3] See also: Morale of the atheist movement

But after all is said and done, I will let you be the judge of whether the atheist movement is a lost cause. With that being said, consider the information below.

The atheist movement faces a trend of dwindling manpower in the 21st century

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.[4] See: Global atheism

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.[5] See: Desecularization and Global atheism statistics and Global atheism

Professor Eric Kaufmann teaches at Birbeck College, University of London and he specializes in how demographic changes affect the realms of religion/irreligion and politics. declared "the rate of secularisation has flattened to zero in most of Protestant Europe and France."[6] Kaufmann also declared that secularism "appears exhausted and lacking in confidence".[7] The Guardian recently indicated that Britain have reached "peak secular" (see: UK and secularism)

According to an international study done by William Bainbridge, atheism is frequent among people whose interpersonal social obligations are weak and is also linked to lower fertility rates in advanced industrial nations (See also: Atheism and fertility rates).[8] See: Atheism and social skills

Michael Blume, a researcher at the University of Jena in Germany, wrote about the sub-replacement level of fertility among atheistic populations: "Most societies or communities that have espoused atheistic beliefs have not survived more than a century."[9] 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."[9] See also: Atheism and sexuality

Kaufmann wrote about the problem of sub-fertility in the developed world in his book Whither the Child?: Causes and Consequences of Low Fertility.[10]

On December 23, 2012, Eric Kaufmann who teaches at Birbeck College, University of London wrote about the subject of global desecularization:

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. [11]

At a conference Kaufmann said of religious demographic projections concerning the 21st century:

Part of the reason I think demography is very important, at least if we are going to speak about the future, is that it is the most predictable of the social sciences.

...if you look at a population and its age structure now. You can tell a lot about the future. ...So by looking at the relative age structure of different populations you can already say a lot about the future...

...Religious fundamentalism is going to be on the increase in the future and not just out there in the developing world..., but in the developed world as well.[12]

The atheist movement has fundraising issues while Christendom does not

"The history of war proves that nine out of ten times an army has been destroyed because its supply lines have been cut off...” -- General Douglas MacArthur

Please read: Atheism and charity and Atheist fundraising vs. religious fundraising

In 2017, the atheist activist Lee Moore declared:

If you look at the major atheist groups right now, like the national groups, the ones that are doing the real activist work... They are not bringing in the kind of donations they used to. Most of them are starved for cash. They're downsizing left and right. Because people aren't just giving like they used to. And I talked to a lot of the major donors out there and they said, "Well, we're kind of tired of seeing the atheist community just fight amongst itself and not really get anything done. We'd rather not give money if we don't think it's going to go somewhere."[13]

See also: Atheist factions and Atheist movement and major donors

The atheist Hemant Mehta said about raising money from fellow nonbelievers: "Meanwhile, I’ve had one hell of a time convincing people to give to the Foundation Beyond Belief — and I help lead that organization." [14]

The Canadian atheist activist Pat O'Brien is a Canadian atheist, an activist, and ex-president of Humanist Canada and British Columbia Humanist Association (Secular humanism is a form of atheism).

O'Brien said about the willingness atheists/humanists to support national and provincial atheist organizations: "The biggest problem is fundraising. It is difficult to get Humanists to part with their money."[15]

"The history of war proves that nine out of ten times an army has been destroyed because its supply lines have been cut off...” -- General Douglas MacArthur

Factors that can acceleration 21st century desecularization

See also: Acceleration of 21st century desecularization and Growth of global desecularization and Atheist indoctrination and Evolutionary indoctrination

Current trends suggest that the growth of global desecularization may accelerate sometime in the 21st century - particularly in the latter half of the 21st century.

Flag of the former Soviet Union

The Soviet Union, communist China and the decline of the secular left in the world, demonstrate that state atheism and/or atheist indoctrination through social institutions and is vulnerable to disruption and that desecularization can occur rapidly (see also: Collapse of atheism in the former Soviet Union and Growth of Christianity in China and Decline of the secular left).

Irreligious/secular countries are vulnerable to rapid desecularization through mass immigration of religious immigration or the disruption of atheistic indoctrination. For example, secular Europe is presently having a migrant crisis and these migrants come from religious countries (see: European migrant crisis). In Turkey, which has history of a secular state, the higher fertility rate of religious/fundamentalist Muslims eventually caused the banning of the theory of evolution from secondary schools.[16][17] See also: Atheist indoctrination and Evolutionary indoctrination

On its biggest front, the Eastern front, the atheist movement is losing badly

See also: Asian atheism

Political boundaries of Asia

Razib Khan points out in Discover Magazine, "most secular nations in the world are those of East Asia, in particular what are often termed “Confucian societies.” It is likely therefore that the majority of the world’s atheists are actually East Asian."[18]

The current atheist population mostly resides in East Asia (particularly China) and in secular Europe/Australia among whites.[19] See: Western atheism and race

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.[20]

According to the global news website Quartz, Asia is going through a process of desecularization:

Atheists, agnostics, and other religious non-affiliates are a dying breed in Asia. According to a Pew Research Center study released last week, Asia’s shrinking pool of men and women who don’t identify with any religion are driving a drop in the proportion of “religious nones” in the world.

The percentage of the unaffiliated in Asia Pacific—home to about 76% of the world’s unaffiliated—will fall to 17% in 2050 from 21%, Pew estimates. ...this drop in Asia and the growth of religious communities elsewhere will mean the unaffiliated will make up only 13% of the world’s population in 2050, down from 16% in 2010.[21]

For additional information, please see:

Chinese atheism and the growth of Christianity in China

See also: China and atheism and Growth of Christianity in China and East Asia and global desecularization

In front of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

China has the world's largest atheist population.[22][23] See also: China and atheism

According to Slate, "Protestant Christianity has been the fastest growing religion in China."[24] Evangelical Christianity is especially growing sharply in China.[25]

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.[26]

China, state atheism, Chinese Communist Party and the bleak future of atheism in China

See: China, state atheism, Chinese Communist Party and the bleak future of atheism in China

Asia, Christianity and intelligence

See also: Atheism and intelligence and Asian atheism and intelligence

China has the 5th highest national IQ in the world with a score of 105.[27] At the same time, Singapore and South Korea (which have higher degrees of religion/religious freedom) have higher national IQ scores of 108 and 106 respectively.[27] In addition, Hong Kong, which has a greater degree of religious freedom than mainland China, has a regional IQ score of 108.[27] China's Zhejiang province is China's Christianity heartland.[28] In 2005, the Chinese Journal of Endemiology (Owned by China ‘s ministry of health) reported that Zhejiang province had the highest IQ of all the provinces in China with an average IQ of 115.8 which was markedly higher than China's average IQ at the time which was a score of 103.4.[28] Atheistic and communist Vietnam has an national IQ score of 94.[27]

In the latter part of the 20th century and throughout the 21st century, China has seen a rapid growth of evangelical Christianity within their nation, increased economic development and a leap in intelligence scores.[29][30] See also: Growth of Christianity in China and Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

Many experts are predicting an Asian Century as far as the 21st century.

Projected growth of evangelical Christianity in Asia

See also: Growth of evangelical Christianity

Justin Long, citing statistics from Operation World states:

From 146 million in 2010, evangelicals grow to 1.2 billion, or 24% of Asia’s 4.3 billion by 2100. Evangelicals are, in this model, predicted to slip from 3% per annum growth today to 1.5% per annum in 2100, due to the projected fall in population growth. This, too, seems a fairly realistic projection. While there are significant gains in the number of evangelicals in China, growth in other places in Asia is presently fairly flat.[31]

Ethnic Chinese and the rapid rise of Christianity in Southeast Asia

See: Ethnic Chinese and the rise of Christianity in Southeast Asia

Western front: Secular Europe will be desecularized. USA is very religious country with Hispanic immigrants who are religious (a very tough slog)

Brain power: Irreligious countries have falling IQ trends. Religious countries have increasing IQ trends. China is experiencing an explosive growth of Christianity. China has a high national IQ. The most Christianized province in China has the highest IQ


Christianity is true. Atheism is a stagnant philosophy with invalid ideas

See also


External links


  1. Berlinerblau, Jacques (February 4, 2011). "Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast". The Chronicle of Higher Education/Brainstorm blog. Retrieved on May 29, 2015.
  2. The ghost of atheist past, Freethought Blogs
  3. Global Study: Atheists in Decline, Only 1.8% of World Population by 2020
  4. Global Study: Atheists in Decline, Only 1.8% of World Population by 2020
  5. British academic Eric Kaufmann says "the rate of secularisation has flattened to zero in most of Protestant Europe and France". Also, Kaufmann writes that secularism "appears exhausted and lacking in confidence"
  6. 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
  7. Bainbridge, William (2005). "Atheism" (PDF). Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. 1 (Article 2): 1–26.
  8. 9.0 9.1 Atheist: A dying breed as nature favours faithful
  9. Whither the Child? Causes and Consequences of Low Fertility, University of Virginia, Department of Sociology
  10. 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious, Tuesday, April 30, 2013
  11. Eric Kaufmann - Religion, Demography and Politics in the 21st Century
  12. Lee Moore and Steve Shives Talk About the Future of the Atheist Movement, - video quote comes 21 minutes and 13 seconds into the video
  13. A Few Thoughts About Fundraising
  14. Interview – ​Pat O’Brien on Humanism in Canada and British Columbia by Scott Jacobsen, Conatus News, 2016
  15. [Turkey Coup: Undone by Demographics Turkey Coup: Undone by Demographics], The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection, 2016
  16. urkey Drops Evolution From Curriculum, Angering Secularists, New York Times, 2017
  17. Most atheists are not white & other non-fairy tales, Discover magazine
  18. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post, May 23, 2013
  19. 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)
  20. Across the Asia Pacific, the population of atheists and agnostics is shrinking
  21. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  22. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  23. When Will China Become the World’s Largest Christian Country?, Slate
  24. In China, a church-state showdown of biblical proportions
  25. Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
  27. 28.0 28.1 China's Christian Province had the highest IQ in China in 2005, Examining Atheism
  28. Are human beings becoming smarter, BBC, March 2, 2015
  29. When will the world be over half evangelical? by Justin Long