Atheists and Agnostics: Statistics in the US

I will be drawing my numbers from the pew research center: Religion in America

Many atheists are happy to here that “nones” make up 22% of the religious landscape of the United States. When compared to other mainstream religions out side of Christianity (5.9%), the religious “nones” seem to be looking pretty decent. Although when compared to 70.6% for various Christians, they do not seem to be doing as well as they would like.

Are atheists and agnostics really doing as well as we hope? One has to look at the “nones” group at little closer. Atheism and agnostics make up 7.1% when added together. The rest of the group are classified either as “Nothing in particular (religion important)” or “Nothing in particular (religion not important.)”

This may seem like I’m making a big deal out of nothing, but it might turn out I’m not. Nothing in particular can take on different meanings. While atheism and agnosticism has become more popular, so have other views. Views like being “spiritual but not religious” and “against organized religion” are also enjoying popularity. Even though these may include atheists and agnostics who like to meditate or believe in the afterlife, they often, also, include those who firmly believe in a deity. People with these kinds of belief may very well survey as “Nothing in particular.”

I hope atheism and agnosticism continue to gain popularity in the US. Of course, this is due to thinking that we atheists have views closer to the truth than do theists and the problem of the religious not tolerating atheists. Still, I think atheists are not as likely to be oppressed by anyone in the “nones” group, but I have little to back this up except personal experiences with the “spiritual but not religious” types.


Can Religion and Science Coexist?

There have been many refutations of the Christian creation story via science. Evolution through natural selection science supreme in explaining how species have come to be what they are currently. We now know the age of the Earth. We know the age of the universe, and we know the Big Bang occurred and brought about the existence of our universe. That being said, there are still important questions, related to existence, that remain. However, it is exceedingly unlikely, in this day and age, that the Biblical teachings on creation will ever be proven to be a better explanation than science we have now. There may be a few corrections in science, and hopefully we will find answers to the questions that remain. Still, the basic features we have now in biology and astrophysics are unlikely to change, so where does this leave the believer?

Well, if the believer thinks the Bible needs to be taken literally, I’m sorry to say the believer is just plain wrong, and no, there beliefs cannot coexist with science. However, some Christians have moved on. Some claim that the creation story was meant to be metaphorical. Of course, this is problematic due church doctrine. Most Christians seem to accept the original sin concept which was based upon Adam and Eve sinning in the garden. In this case, the believer must jump through some mental hoops to get their religion and science to be in agreement. I, for one, am not willing or think it sensible to jump through those hoops.

Finally, there are believers who see their scriptures as not literal or inerrant. They see the Bible as, simply, inspired. It is fairly simple for these believers to just say the writers of the scriptures erred on occasion, and they were wrong on creation. For these believers, no, there is no issue with their religion and science coexisting. Some of them even make an interesting point. They argue that some people who take the Bible as inerrant and literal are in fact idol worshipers. They worship the Bible over God! However, there is one crucial problem. How, exactly, does one figure out which passage were in fact wrong? It doesn’t seem like everyone is receiving the same message from God on this.

Charity Works

I’m happy anytime anyone does some kind of charity. This includes when charity is done by the religious, but what bothers me about a lot of religious charities is that in one hand they offer help, but with other hand, they offer them their religious beliefs. Why not stick with just doing good works not for Jesus and not with expectations that the needy might come to Christ due to said good works. Why don’t people just do good works for the needy; because well, their human we’re human and we all deserve a decent quality of life. In other words if someone notices a child needs new shoes just buy them new shoes. It is not necessary to then invite them to church or preach to them. If there are starving children in Africa, just send them food. There’s really no need to send missionaries to proclaim the gospel.( I mean really there’s already a lot of Christians in Africa to begin with.) I feel like pushing religion on the needy is in some sense is taking advantage of them. I remember going to soup kitchens back when I was homeless, and every Sunday they sang gospel tunes. Also every once in a while, the Mormons would show up in suits and serve food, and they’d really stare at everyone, which was embarrassing. I’m not trying to complain I usually(there’s a long story there) got food that didn’t have the potential to also make me sick. I’m thankful for the food that they provided, but I didn’t need Jesus. I needed food, a home, electricity, heat, and job. Also the only clothes I had were from back when I was high school, so I suppose clothes to wear for job interview would be nice for the homeless as well. (By the way, I’m just listing my needs at the time, and I’m not expecting the soup kitchen to do all that for me.) My point is: it is already embarrassing to need help in the first place. Please don’t also try to convince me of your religion. The person being charitable is in a position of power over the needy, and preaching at them is taking advantage of their position. Just my two cents.