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Bucking previous trends, survey finds growth of the religiously unaffiliated slowing
January 10th, 2013
01:30 PM ET

Bucking previous trends, survey finds growth of the religiously unaffiliated slowing

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – After years of marked growth, the size of Americans who identify with no religion slowed in 2012, according to a study released Thursday.

Since 2008, the percentage of Americans who identify as religious "nones" has grown from 14.6% to 17.8% in 2012, according to the Gallup survey. That number, which grew nearly one percentage point every year from 2008 to 2011, grew only 0.3% last year – from 17.5% in 2011 to 17.8% in 2012 – making it the smallest increase over the past five years.

This study contrasts with headlines from previous studies on religious “nones,” including a 2012 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that found the group was the fastest growing "religious" group in America and that one in five Americans now identify with no religion.

“Although this ‘rise of the nones’ has increased dramatically over recent decades, the rate of increase slowed last year, suggesting the possibility that there may be a leveling off in this measure in the years ahead,” reports the Gallup study, which is made up of more than 350,000 interviews.

Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup, says these results suggest “that religion may be maintaining itself or even increasing in the years ahead.”

“Our current ability to look at it over five years with these big surveys suggests the possibility that the growth [of the nones] may not be inexorable,” Newport says.

CNN Belief Blog: Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion

In his book, “God is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America,” Newport argues that a number of factors, including baby boomers reaching senior ages, migration to more religious states, recognition of health and well being of religion and an increase in a Hispanic population, are all reasons that “we are going to continue to have a quite religious nation going forward.”

Atheist and humanist activists disagree and pushed back against the Gallup study.

“The truth is, it doesn't really matter whether one of these surveys – even a big one like Gallup – shows the number leveling off a bit this past year,” Greg Epstein, humanist chaplain at Harvard University, says. “First of all, the numbers for young Americans are still dramatically higher, and secondly, it is beyond dispute now that the "nones" are one of the largest demographic groups in the United States, and we're going to stay that way for a long, long time.”

The Gallup study also found that 27% of Americans age 18 to 29 identified as religious nones, making the age group the largest subgroup in the study. The finding tracks with other studies on religious nones, many of which have found the growth among the religiously unaffiliated has been most notable among people who are 18 to 29 years old.

“There's no slowing here at the Secular Student Alliance. We're up to 394 campus groups from 310 a year ago,” Jesse Galef, communications director at the organization, says in response to the survey. “You can see the religious future of America just by looking at the demographics: Young Americans (18-29) are almost three times as likely to be unaffiliated with religion than senior citizens are.”

In particular, Galef points out, the Secular Student Alliance has experienced growth in ages below 18, an age group that Gallup did not survey. In the last year, says Galef, the number of Secular Student Alliance affiliates at high schools doubled to 60 campuses.

CNN Belief Blog: My take: 'Atheist' isn’t a dirty word, congresswoman

News of strong growth among nones had long been heralded by their community.

As study after study began to report that religious nones in America were growing, many atheist, agnostic and humanist activists began to stress the need for these relative non-believers to come together and turn their numbers into political and social influence. Though some leaders split on what wielding that influence would look like, the size of religious nones became the impetus for many leaders to call for more recognition.

In response to the Gallup study, those calls continued.

“The real question now is when are our historically large numbers going to start turning into more votes and influence,” Epstein says. “The nones can become a steady and inspiring powerhouse in American life if we focus on what we do believe in.”

And even though the Gallup study found a relative leveling off of growth among the nones, David Silverman, the president of America Atheists, says he finds the survey “not at all troubling.”

“This underscores what American Atheists has been saying for years - that every person in America knows more nonreligious people than they think they know,” Silverman says. “America has to get used to the fact that atheists are everywhere, you already know us, and we are a vibrant and growing portion of society.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Nones

soundoff (1,615 Responses)
  1. mrwhatwhatwhatyo

    those who actually took it into the own hand and read the entire bible (I have also read the quran) should understand the true intentions. It is man trying to explain existence and a way of life through their own egotistical eyes. Jesus existed but his "abilities" exaggerated. some people need this book to get through life and I feel it is important to teach the basic moral values.

    these texts however are clearly constructed by man for guidance and/or control.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Pudding

      Thanks. That is your opinion.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  2. John Patrick Grace

    A line comes to me from Romain Gary's novel "The Ski Bum" - "Geez, you can't even be an atheist without talking about God all the time." The very word "atheist" has one letter of negation "a" for six letters that stand for "believer in God."
    Explain the universe without a transcendent Intelligence who pre-existed everything we see; it's an impossibility. Do you really think that some formless speck in space contained all the DNA of all the creatures that currently exist, animal and plant? All the colors we experience? The capacity to spread glorious sunsets across sky? Send rain, snow, sunlight,
    grow things, feed all who live on the earth?
    Must have been some speck, that speck.
    And hey – where did that speck come from?
    Atheists with your six letters standing for "believer in God," you have quite a challenge to figure out how we all got
    here, learned to speak 6000 different languages, created symphonic music, poetry and art-all with no transcendant
    source who set the stars and planets in place and willed everything to exist.

    John Patrick Grace
    Huntington, West Virginia

    January 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Bob Loblaw

      "Explain the universe without a transcendent Intelligence who pre-existed everything we see; it's an impossibility." -Who says it's impossible? Our knowledge of the universe is increasing constantly and at an accelerated rate. What is the sun? What's beyond the sky? People used to invoke gods to explain these things, now we don't have to. Don't mistake not undertsanding something NOW for something being impossible to understand.

      "Do you really think that some formless speck in space contained all the DNA of all the creatures that currently exist, animal and plant? All the colors we experience? The capacity to spread glorious sunsets across sky? Send rain, snow, sunlight,
      grow things, feed all who live on the earth?" -Yes

      "Atheists with your six letters standing for "believer in God," you have quite a challenge to figure out how we all got
      here, learned to speak 6000 different languages, created symphonic music, poetry and art-all with no transcendant
      source who set the stars and planets in place and willed everything to exist." -That's OK, we aren't afraid of a challenge. You're the one whose belief system is based on fear and reward, not ours.

      BOO-YAH! I'm done with this guy.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Angel

      John Patrick Grace....that speck came from a black hole, (read your physics, you will understand) a black hole has the capability of sucking in all of the matter you speak of and then spewing it back out when it's own gravity reaches gravitational disequalibriaum, thus, the big bang. (suggested reading; Before the Beginning) It is in fact, explainable, provable and possible.

      As a child, I was forced to read the bible, attend bible school and church before I was allowed to make up my mind how i felt about these things. I have no doubt that with the onslaught of religious-everything in this country in the fifties that I was given all the tools to make and informed decision. Please do some learning yourself before you go around spouting off about how it's soooo impossible for the world to have come into being without the omnipotent hand of your so-called god.

      You religious folks who have never picked up Steven Hawking, Paul Davies or any of the other brilliant humans who have spent years researching our universe, are just speaking from the kool-aid cup when you make such assertions. Science has come a long way in the past century.....where have you been?

      January 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Aldewacs

      We don't know everything, in fact we probably know just a fraction of what we'll know in a century.

      But to say "Explain the universe without a transcendent Intelligence who pre-existed everything we see; it's an impossibility." is just lazy, especially if you then just assume that "God did it all".
      You disbelief a big-bang genesis, (I have no idea whether that's a true concept) but to then assume that God existed before everything was created....?? Something or someone created God, or by extension God was created from nothing.. like a big bang...
      Why not just admit we don't yet know, instead of making up fantastic stories to scare the kids with? Why not be more humble and stop explaining all the hard bits by inventing a God?

      Remember, people don't need religion, but religion needs people.
      Be good for goodness sake, not godness sake.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:08 am |
  3. Jill

    Robert Brown, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators and pigtails. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

    So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

    Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

    Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

    Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Bob Loblaw

      GREATEST

      POST

      EVER

      January 10, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • The Truth for Jill

      Defining your life by volatile ant..itheism—in other words, clinging to something you don’t believe in—isn’t just annoying, it’s actually pretty backward, and, in some cases, culturally malignant.

      For a demographic that spits a lot of game about equality and mobility, they sure love lording their “intellect” over anyone who dares to think differently.

      The atheist gets off on feeling superior to other people; it’s not about ideas or truth, they’d rather thrive on that faux-scholar buzz.

      That’s why Dawkins is their fire-and-brimstone pin-up boy.

      That’s why they screencap Facebook updates from their religious “friends” so they can laugh at all the plebeians from their pretty little perch.

      There’s no respect or pragmatism, just bottomless, never-ending HATE

      January 10, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Pete

      "The atheist gets off on feeling superior to other people;"

      Another lying xtian – 37!

      January 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Jack

      You hit the nail right between the eyes, Jill. May the burrito be with you.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • cm

      Jill what kind of gibberish is this? Apparently you are one of those atheists who feel they are superior and share their swill quite oddly and windedly.

      January 11, 2013 at 8:31 am |
  4. Goose66

    Those that believe religion is bad, look around you. Is there a cause-and-effect correlation in the rise of "none" religious people and the deterioration of our society (mass killings on the rise, marriage and family stability on the decline, etc.). Perhaps without the shared moral code provided by our religious culture, coupled with the desire to be "tolerant" of every lifestyle (which, in fact, is driven by fear), people aren't willing to set bright lines around what behavior is acceptable and what behavior is not acceptable, and society inevitably deteriorates into mayhem. At least that's what Hollywood has taught me is the eventual outcome.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Jay

      Why do you base your life on what Hollywood says should or shouldn't be?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Reasonably

      This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with lack of parenting. You don't need a religion to tell you right from wrong. Maybe you need the fear involved with your religion to keep you from doing bad things, but I don't.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Goose66

      My concern is that MOST people need the moral code of religion to keep them on the straight and narrow. This is why religion has dominated all of the history of civilization. I am not religious (despite your quick assumptions to the contrary), but I fear a society without religion.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Points

      We need to see a point-by-point citation of all the research you have done based on the deterioration of society? Where do you get your numbers? Where is your data and proof? How long did you conduct that research project?

      January 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Goose66

      Did you not see the "look around you" part?

      January 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  5. clem kadiddle

    The proof is out there. How our world and ourselves came to be (exist). Open your minds and free yourself. You will feel better when you see, recognize, learn and admit the truth. I know it makes one feel kind of sad, and hopeless to think that the here and now is all there is. But truth is better than a lie or false belief. In a few million years or so the earth will eventually be destroyed again and we all will eventually become star dust again in the universe. Thats all there is folks.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • The Truth

      Defining your life by volatile ant..itheism—in other words, clinging to something you don’t believe in—isn’t just annoying, it’s actually pretty backward, and, in some cases, culturally malignant.

      For a demographic that spits a lot of game about equality and mobility, they sure love lording their “intellect” over anyone who dares to think differently.

      The atheist gets off on feeling superior to other people; it’s not about ideas or truth, they’d rather thrive on that faux-scholar buzz.

      That’s why Dawkins is their fire-and-brimstone pin-up boy.

      That’s why they screencap Facebook updates from their religious “friends” so they can laugh at all the plebeians from their pretty little perch.

      There’s no respect or pragmatism, just bottomless, never-ending hate.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  6. Pat

    capnmike, you hit the nail on the head. Thanks for the post!

    January 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  7. rh

    Why is it that the "nones" are much nicer and less judgemental people that I know then the religious people that I know?
    Somehow they (nones) are less angry and actually give more to charity.
    Hmmm..which group would you rather hangout with?

    January 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Goose66

      Can you show some statistics that suggest the "nones" are more charitable? That opinion is not consistent with my experience.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  8. Goose66

    "America has to get used to the fact that atheists are everywhere, you already know us, and we are a vibrant and growing portion of society.” What part of the Atheist community would he consider "vibrant." I have never heard anything but hatefulness, intolerance, belittlement, and derision from Atheists. I don't consider this to be vibrant behavior or a positive contribution to society at all.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • GAW

      Extremist have the fewest numbers but the loudest voices and more time on their hands. The more productive atheists don't even care to read the CNN belief blog let along post comments.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Goose66

      So...., what are you doing in this forum?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  9. Harald

    The more intelligent people become, the less they need religion, hence I speculate that religious affiliation or belief in the supernatural is an indicator for the overall intellectual level of a society.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  10. THE TRUTH

    I HAVE SERIOUS NEWS!

    I was recently in a serious car accident that resulted in massive blood loss and my heart stopping several times. Fortunately, not only was I revived, BUT I WAS ALSO SHOWN THE TRUTH OF EXISTENCE! And here's what you need to know... RA, GOD of the SUN, is the true MASTER OF ALL THINGS! THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS WERE CORRECT AND ARE LAUGHING AT US FROM RA'S KINGDOM AS OUR WORLD DESCENDS INTO CHAOS! WE ARE ALL DOOMED!

    Or something like that, it was hard to pay attention... had a bunch beers before the car crash.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • GAW

      Sheesh!

      January 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  11. capnmike

    Religion is, and always has been, based on a primary falsehood. There is no "god", it was invented by humans to explain things not yet understood and to provide a surrogate parent-figure for the immature and brainwashed. We as a species will never mature and prosper until we can ditch this ridiculous fairy tale, stop inculcating our impressionable children with lies and fantasies, and toss religion and its attendant books of nonsense, ALL of it, onto the trash heap of history where it belongs.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Blue Sox

      There actually is a God.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • WMesser58

      @capnmiike–Well said

      January 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • SaintNick

      Man made religions are certainly fairy tales. However, the existence of an Almighty God, is MOST CERTAINLY, not a fantasy or fairy tale. Its wishful thinking that there is no God – however, common sense and intelligence indicate a divine Creator.

      Ps 19:1 – The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Harald

      @saintNick: What on earth has common sense and intelligence to do with a God. Why should that be proof for a God ?
      Nature hat billions of years to develop what we call today "intelligence". It's just a long series of trials and errors in the evolutionary chain.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Todd

      "There actually is a God."

      It's been over 2000 years and still no proof. LOL!

      January 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Blue Sox

      Uh, speak for yourself, Todd.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • SaintNick

      @Harald – Common sense tells me that the mathematical beauty of nature is indicative of a Creator. Intelligence tells me that intelligent choices were made to make this universe and me in it.
      The "long series of trials and errors in an evolutionary chain" is a LIE. Common sense and intelligence tells me, trial and error cannot create the mathematical and physical beauty of this universe. Trail and error will never produce a creature capable of appreciating the "trial and error".

      January 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Mac M

      capnmike, bet you pray every night that you are right cause if you are not ..........

      January 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Blue Sox

      Good thing we have a merciful God.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  12. dangeroustalk

    We are still growing!!! Gallup: ‘Nones’ still on the rise – http://t.co/dxB4I1W6

    January 10, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  13. WMesser58

    Religion is only a decisive wedge used to allow people with agendas to try and force their beliefs on others any other argument is a waste of time and the religious will not stop thereby causing atheist to speak up.
    If grown-ups were allowed to follow their own beliefs and leave the rest of us to do as well you wouldn’t have to continue arguing about issues that can’t be argued. I could no more change someone who believes in abortion than I could someone who is gay and wants to marry and nor do I wish too.
    I can only live my life and as long as others try and force it down my throat I will be just as vocal as those that are wrong in their attempt and belief that they can force their will on me.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  14. centeredpiece

    I don't see how or why the "nones" in the younger generation will become an "inspiring powerhouse" in the US culture. Do they feed the poor? House the homeless? I don't see groups of atheists volunteering to help victims of natural disasters. While religious people don't always live up to the high ideals of their faiths, at least they have high ideals to inspire them to do better. What do atheists have besides their own self-interest?

    January 10, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Norm Bell

      You don't see athiests volunteering to do those things because you aren't looking. We are at least as giving of our time for the needy as the religious, we just don't feel the need to blow our own horns over it.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      So atheists are like God? You can't really find them, they are doing a lot of good but you can't tell how or where, but trust us it's true?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • malmc02

      Don't be obtuse...I know a lot of athiests who help others all the time. Religion is not a prerequisite for someone to be a helpful and caring member of society.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • JAG

      An atheist group gave significant support to victims of storm Sandy and have organized to do more in the future. And just because science has not discover something yet does not mean god exists. A negative does not prove a positive.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  15. frespech

    We choose freely our own path to our benefit or detriment.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Very true.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • WMesser58

      @frespech–agreed and that's as it should be and then we could concentrate on what's really important. "PIZZA"

      January 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  16. SaintNick

    2 Thess 2:3,4 – Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

    The increasing exodus to the "atheistic nones" is perhaps the beginning of the coming "falling away" as per 2 Thess 2:3,4. Everything is falling place exactly as the Word of God says it would.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • noXcuses

      This is so true...

      January 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Blue Sox

      I was on that path to despair.

      He is so good. So forgiving. It is never to late to seek God.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • NixManes

      "...exactly as the Word of God says it would."

      Sure, just like the first three verses of Revelation say that all the hallucinated events in the book would be happening "soon" and the time is "near." Time ran out a long time ago on this religion. A very long time ago.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • sandalista

      That is so true. He also predicted the telephone, electricity and the microwave.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Proverbs 10:8

      The one who is truly wise accepts commands, but the one who talks foolishly will be thrown down headfirst.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Todd

      "He also predicted the telephone, electricity and the microwave."

      LOL!

      January 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  17. clem kadiddle

    Seems to me that more and more people are becoming non believers. I became very interested in the question, whether there is a GOD. I read alot, researched, etc, and my brain and common sense over ruled my heart. There is not a GOD in the form of how most people invision him to look like (Jesus). I am not an athiest but conventional religion does'nt do it for me. I think of our UNIVERSE as our creator, our mother. Science and technology trump religion and many people are awakening to this. But if praying that rosary works for you, thats OK too. For me I would rather read, study,etc about how the universe works, theory of evolution, you know actual scientific fact. Evolution trumps creationism.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You sound like an atheist. Atheist isn't a dirty word.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • frespech

      The same finches that Darwin used to propogate his theory are all still present today. Not a single one has morphed into another species, but hey maybe if we give them 200,000 million years they might. Great science.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • centeredpiece

      Neither you nor can prove for certain whether a God exists. Which is why your blanket statement that there is no god is just as fundamentalist as the statement that there certainly is a god. It's not a matter of proof; it's a matter of faith. You seem to believe that there is no god and that the universe created itself. That belief takes more faith than most religions do. And there is nothing contradictory between creationism and evolution. Science tells us how something happened but it cannot tell us why or who did it. The idea that if evolution happened there is no god is so simplistic that it is hardly worth addressing, but here goes: maybe evolution is the way God created. Did you ever think of that?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • David Brenchley

      not to be contentious .. "how the universe works" .. I'd suggest reviewing the balance that exists in the sun, moon, earth orbit system and just how precarious it is ..

      January 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • mike

      Clem Kadiddle you do realize that you totally contradicted yourself in your final sentence. Quote emphasis added from me "For me I would rather read, study,etc about how the universe works, THEORY of evolution, you know actual scientific FACT. Evolution trumps creationism".

      So if evolution is still called a THEORY then how can you state that it is FACT?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  18. AJS

    I won't sit here and call Christians names just because our beliefs are different. I'll just say they are wrong. Try READING the Bible and try READING books on Evolution and you'll see. Also, I don't know how anyone can sit there and say the Atheists are pushing their beliefs on anyone. Christians have been doing it much longer. There are churches on almost every block, I get religious propaganda in the mail all the time, etc...Pugh7755, most of us don't care what Christains think because "thinking for themselves" isn't exactly their strong point. Additionally, you Christains don't own "Christmas", therefore Happy Holidays is the correct statement. Do you even know when Jesus was supposedly born? If you do, then you're the only one.
    P.S. Salero21, you have no idea what you're talking about concerning Evolution, when talking about the strongest or fittest doesn't necessarily mean they can bench press 500 lbs and run the 100 yard dash in 9 seconds. It means they are best suited to thrive in the environment they live in, either by their physical ability OR their intelligence.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • centeredpiece

      There is no conflict between faith in God an evolution. One tells WHO created, the other tells HOW. The Bible is revelation, not a science text book, nor was it ever meant to be one. Survival of the "fittest" has nothing to do with strength, beauty or talent. It boils down biologically to those individuals who are most able to successfully reproduce, thereby passing more of their genes along to the next generation.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  19. realbuckyball

    Who cares. It's all "argumentum ad populum" fallacy anyway. The US is one of the most uneducated nation in the world. This is irrelevant.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      We're fourteenth in the world according to the OECD.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • jon

      i wouldn't say uneducated...more like severely UNDER educated

      January 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  20. redlace

    So, faithers: do you reject any faith tradition other than the one you espouse as the "correct" one? If so, what is the basis for your rejection of that/those faith traditions? If you conduct an honest assessment of your reasons for rejecting any faith tradition other than your preferred faith tradition, two things will follow: you will understand why atheists reject all faith traditions, and you will have gained the insight required to begin rejecting the final faith tradition to which you cling.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Blue Sox

      I try to not make God too small. I can easily just make God into a big version of me. I have to strive for humility to get a better understanding of God.

      The gospel of Jesus Christ helps me do this. So, yes, I do reject traditions that I view as the 'correct one'.

      Humility. Tough to do, but a great thing to strive for.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • centeredpiece

      People have faith because they have experienced the presence of the living God in their lives. You atheists suggest that you don't believe in god because there is no "proof" that god exists. Yet you believe in so many, many things that you cannot really understand. Do you believe in molecules and atoms? Have you seen one lately? Or do you take their existence on "faith" in science that you don't comprehend? Do you understand how lift and thrust enable airplanes to fly? I mean really understand it? Probably not, and yet you fly in them. Can you see that there are processes that even "science" does not yet comprehend and yet they exist? Or do you believe that until science could explain germs, there were none and instead the previous scientific explanation (such as it was) that diseases were caused by evil humors and the like was true until proven untrue? Did brain waves exist before science could measure them? Or did they just magically come into being when science could detect them? You – and your god science – might know what you know; but you don't – and cannot – know what you do not know.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Time Bandit

      ->centeredpiece
      "People have faith because they have experienced the presence of the living God in their lives."

      I acknowledge that this qualifies as proof, to those people, that God exists. But it is not proof for me. Faith, or belief, in scientific principles comes from objective, independent, verifiable, reproducible observations. What you posit as proof for the existence of God is impenetrably subjective – there is no way for you to convey your experience to me, and because I cannot reproduce it, I have no reason to believe it.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • JAG

      @centerpiece Knowledge is increasing 10 fold almost daily. You're still trying to use a negative to prove a positive and it still is not working. I'm not even arguing against your point of view. I'm simply saying your logic does not work. We all participate in a world so complex that we have to take it for granted-like how combustion works in a car. But someone else does understand it and we depend on them. Knowing god is intuitive and bringing that consciousness into being is what faith is about, I think. It's not about the level of phyicallity.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • a reasonable atheist

      @centered – I hold a PhD in engineering. So, yes, I do understand lift, thrust and other factors that govern flight. I also happen to have specialized in materials science. So, yes I have seen atoms through the use of an atomic force microscope.

      Those points, however, are immaterial. What drives science is the ability for anyone to reproduce the experiment and verify the results.

      Your supposition that science reported "evil humors" as the cause of what we now understand to be infections is incorrect. Science did not even exist to make that claim. Actually, religious scholars made that claim. No one ever isolated an "evil humor." And, of course, no one ever reproduced such an experiment. In fact, the ridiculousness of that assertion is what led scientists to attempt to understand what the real causes of the maladies were. Additionally, science seeks to continuously test and redefine itself. Scientists welcome new and conflicting data because it lets us refine our ideas to better understand reality.

      Also, your reasoning that "science has not explained everything, therefore god" is nonsensical. Why is it so hard to say "I don't know?" There is no rational reason to insert any god into the gaps of scientific knowledge because there is no evidence of god causing the observed and currently-unexplained phenomena.

      You seem to not understand the scientific method. The wikipedia page on the subject would be a great place to start.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.