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View Diary: ARIS 2008 shows Numbers of U.S. Atheists and "No Religion"-ists Booming (91 comments)

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  •  I'm not saying that ARIS should do... (0+ / 0-)

    anything differently.  I just mean that in reality, many more people live as though they have no religion.

    "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." -Dr. King

    by proseandpromise on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:33:55 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Again, (0+ / 0-)

      this just reads as potent scorn for people who believe they're Christians but whose beliefs (or, now, lifestyle?) fail to live up to your arbitrary standards.

      I don't see how you are being any more respectful of the people you claim "have no religion" than a certain commenter is being of you, upthread.

      A large number of people, it appears, believe that they're Christians; you claim they're not. Where exactly do you get the standing to declare that you know their proper label better than they do?

      •  I'm not saying they aren't... (0+ / 0-)

        I'm saying, if you asked them about what that means to them, many would self-identify that it means little.  If we are asking then what this means for politics and culture, I think the "what does religion mean to you" question is more helpful.  I don't have any scorn for people who are non-practicing participants of any structured faith.  In fact, most of my friends are in that category.  

        I'm only arguing that from a cultural and political stand-point, we can probably say that the number of people to whom religion matters greatly is far less than 76%.

        "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." -Dr. King

        by proseandpromise on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:55:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Heh. (0+ / 0-)

          If we are asking then what this means for politics and culture, I think the "what does religion mean to you" question is more helpful.

          Then perhaps the issue looks different from the opposite ends of the Crusader's spear.

          To those of us who find ourselves marginalized and belittled by representatives of the religious majority (and its "In God We Trust"/deny-us-custody-of-our-children oppression), the existence of hundreds of millions of people who identify as religious is what makes us a minority--regardless of whether various members of the majority meet your standards for the proper attitude toward "real" religion.

          I'd say our experience as members of a small and despised minority is an extremely relevant issue "from a cultural and political stand-point"--and from that standpoint the ARIS data are much more relevant than your gloss on them is.

          Americans' increasing acceptance of religious diversity apparently doesn't extend to those who don't believe in a god, according to a national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesota's Department of Sociology.

          The researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians, and other minority groups in "sharing their vision of American society." Atheists also rank as the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

          "Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years," says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study's lead researcher. "It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common 'core' of values that make them trustworthy-and in America, that 'core' has historically been religious."

          - University of Minnesota press release
          (here's the full study)

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