By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – The religiously unaffiliated – the "nones" – have noticed their ranks are growing. And at a meeting Saturday, a group of leaders will look to turn those swelling numbers into workable political and cultural power.
It's one of the top priorities of the eighth annual Heads Meeting, which will be held in Atlanta. Some of the nation’s most influential leaders, representing various organizations, will convene to chart a path forward and discuss the most important issues facing "nones" today.
“It is not enough that we are growing in numbers,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We have got to find a way to bring those numbers to bear in an organized fashion so that people will take us seriously.”
A number of studies have found that religious “nones” – people who either don’t believe in God or do not affiliate with a religion – are increasing rapidly in the United States. A 2012 Pew study, for example, found this faction to be the fastest-growing "religious" group in America and determined that one in five Americans now identify with no religion.
These numbers have emboldened atheists, humanists, agnostics and other secular Americans, many of whom have long expressed a desire for more political power.
In particular, they point to the fact that they are widely underrepresented in the halls of the highest U.S. legislative body. Though 20% of the population classifies themselves as “none,” according to Pew, only one member of Congress, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, identifies as such.
Speckhardt said it’ll take presenting “viewpoints in an organized way” to see change.
Dale McGowan, executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief and one of the Atlanta meeting's hosts, said building awareness through community engagement will be a key topic of discussion.
“Part of it is trying to consolidate that cultural presence,” McGowan said. “That has something to do with politics, but it is also more generally cultural.”
Much as churches and synagogues foster and nurture communities, McGowan said he thinks atheists can do the same to gain clout and broader acceptance.
But the meeting is more than just a forum for "none" leaders to outline their plans going forward. It is also a way for these leaders to meet face to face and discuss differences that they may have with one another.
According to McGowan, finding ways to work together was the original goal when the meeting was first held in 2005.
For years, McGowan said, “These groups operated separately from each other and sometimes at odds with each other. There was a realization that we should meet once a year and come together on the goals that we have in common.”
Other leaders echoed this viewpoint.
“One of the biggest benefits of these meetings is that it is human interaction,” Speckhardt said. “You get people face to face, and you dispel these negative ideas. You realize that we are all endeavoring toward very similar goals and that we can cooperate to make them happen.”
But while the leaders stress the need for cohesion, they also have long highlighted, even celebrated, diversity of opinion in their movement. This diversity has, at times, caused friction.
For example, the Christmas season revealed a growing rift among American atheists. Some activists want to seize the holidays to build bridges with faith groups, while other active unbelievers increasingly see Christmas as central to confronting religion.
“We certainly do disagree,” said David Silverman, president of American Atheists. “But we are on the same side. What we have to do is sit down at the table and say, ‘You are going to do your thing, and I am going to do my thing.’ ”
McGowan called cohesiveness “really the central challenge” for people who thrive on independence. “This is a group of people accustomed to taking a critical approach to things, and that means not just letting differences slide and saying, ‘Hey, these differences matter.’ ”
Other attendees in Atlanta will include Ron Lindsay, president of the Center for Inquiry, and Margaret Downey, founder and president of the Freethought Society, according to Silverman.
I just got paid $6784 working on my laptop using these simple steps leaked on this web page. I am making up to $85 per hour doing simple tasks that are so easy to do that you won't forgive yourself if you don't check it out! Weekly payments! Check this out – Rich45.ℂOM
I AM LOOKING FOR JOB TOO. I AM UNEMPLOYED SINCE BIRTH.
oooooo ...ooo ...me! me! ...headed there now! get ready to scam me plz!!!
... And the imaginary god lives in an http://www.EvilBible.com
Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.
The Civil Govt, tho' bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success, Whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State.
Sadly there will never be a clear separation of Church and State in this country as long as Christianity is around. Religion is just too damn useful to the rich to let it go.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.
you can almost smell the smug in that picture.
THEY ARE ALL MUSLIMS BY DEFAULT.
It looks to be a Photoshop job.
"Snug", as in the comfort felt that no unfair horrors await us after we die, maybe.
WHY SOMEONE IN CROWD IS HOLDING A BOARD " I'M PEACH GOD"? MY MUHAMMED IS BANANA GOD TOO.
“How much longer will you enjoy being stupid fools?
Won’t you ever stop sneering and laughing at knowledge?
Listen as I correct you and tell you what I think. You completely ignored me and refused to listen; you rejected my advice and paid no attention when I warned you.
“So when you are struck by some terrible disaster, or when trouble and distress surround you like a whirlwind, I will laugh and make fun. You will ask for my help, but I won’t listen; you will search, but you won’t find me. No, you would not learn, and you refused to respect the Lord. You rejected my advice and paid no attention when I warned you.
“Now you will eat the fruit of what you have done, until you are stuffed full with your own schemes. Sin and self-satisfaction bring destruction and death to stupid fools.
But if you listen to me, you will be safe and secure without fear of disaster.”
"Listen as I correct you and tell you what I think. You completely ignored me and refused to listen; you rejected my advice and paid no attention when I warned you."
"As i correct you" who died and made you the know it all. Based on your posts you're too brainwashed to know that is correct, right or wrong. Wow, what an egotistical jerk.
"But if you listen to me, you will be safe and secure without fear of disaster."
I am sure the Christians who are picking up from hurricane Sandy will show this line isn't true.
Those are not Robert's words. They are the words of an ignorant, long-dead, Middle Eastern Hebrew egotistical jerk!
You will have to take up your objections with God. I give him credit for knowing more than I do. How about you?
Without fear, I will fear no evil.
"You will have to take up your objections with God. I give him credit for knowing more than I do. How about you?
You will have to take up your objections with Tinker-Bell I give her credit for knowing more than you or your god.
"Without fear, I will fear no evil."
The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.
Comparing tinker bell to God, if it wasn’t so ridiculous it would be offensive.
If you are ever so blessed as to come to the end of yourself and surrender to God then you will know what freedom truly is. As long as it is all about you, you are a slave, a prisoner to sin.
"Comparing tinker bell to God, if it wasn’t so ridiculous it would be offensive."
It's not ridiculous. Tinker-bell is just as real as your god.
"If you are ever so blessed as to come to the end of yourself and surrender to God then you will know what freedom truly is. As long as it is all about you, you are a slave, a prisoner to sin."
I am not a prisoner or a slave to any sin because sin doesn't exist, civil laws do. I am truly free because I am not afraid of this life. I don't surrender to myths.
Comparing the fantasies and superst'itions of ancient Hebrew men to reality is both ridiculous and offensive.
@RB Tinker Bell works better than your god(s) when it comes to science.
Attempts to use the law to restrict or dilute the teaching of evolution in public schools matters because science matters. As society relies more and more heavily on science and technology on ever more fundamental levels, it becomes increasingly more important that all citizens receive a proper grounding in science and the scientific method. Science education is becoming a key part of what it means to be a well-informed and well-educated citizen of today; therefore, any effort to temper science education in order to placate a vocal religious group cheats the students, cheats society, and cheats our future.
Fulfilled prophecy alone should be enough for any reasonably intelligent person to know that the bible is not the thoughts of humans.
I am all for science and education. Peace to you as well.
"In the beginning there was an explosion," explained Noble Prize-winning physicists Steven Weinberg in his book The First Three Minutes, "which occurred simultaneously everywhere, filling all space from the beginning with every particle of matter rushing part from every other particle." The matter rushing apart, he said, consisted of elementary particles, neutrinos and the other subatomic particles that make up the world. Among those particles were photons, which make up light. "The universe," he said, "was filled with light." Interesting, that's what the Bible says too.
Brown Robert, the primordial soup may have left you over but that is no reason to resort to market studies. Gobble the fertile gravel. There is no caveat to the Klein bottle, and there will be no gold watch for the unspoken zero.
Focus your nose on the test tube. Stay succulently upon your velodrome and fear not the coming of the essential kangaroo. Strawberries are your incidental chemistry. Present the fulcrum in advance of the gypsum cookie, for as the tree is combed, so goes the predicate. Expand quietly but do not relish.
Whether or not you agree with the plumber, harvest away ye hearties. Kalabash in Friebourg but not in spanners while it's raining. Bring out the mustard but flap flap flap until takeoff. Why would you say such a thing in the presence of the substrate? 64. 1112. Welcome to the new sandwich lumberyard. Bus stops follow movement, or do they?
The impediment to your posterior is large but can be dissected with chestnuts. Obermeyer. Glasnost and shallot cookies will do the main job when a steamshovel is too distant for pomegranate. Hold your scrambled eggs close to your chest, for tomorrow might be at large.
And remember, never ever miss an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.
@RB Remember evolution won creation/religion lost at the Dover trail ! No god(s)
Creationists "sneer and laugh" at knowledge all the time. They treat knowledge like it was a joke. Whoever wrote the Proverbs must have had them in mind, I guess?
Jill makes vastly more sense than Christianity does, with its idiotic claims about a "god" that "sacrifices" to "save", that combination being fundamental absurdity. And she's hilarious. Go Jill!
"Fulfilled prophecy alone should be enough for any reasonably intelligent person to know that the bible is not the thoughts of humans."
The trouble is that these alleged "fulfilled prophecies" are bogus... they are either things that were simply educated guesses at the time they were written, or manipulated and massaged later, after the fact, to seem to fit.
There is something about nature that is much more striking and inexplicable than its design. All scientific, inductive reasoning is based on the as.sumption of the regularity, the laws, of nature, that water will boil tomorrow under the identical conditions of today. The method of induction requires generalizing from observed cases of the same kind. Without inductive reasoning we couldn't learn from experiences, we couldn't use language, we couldn't rely on our memories. Most people find that normal and untroubling. But not philosophers! David and Bertrand Russel, as good secular men, were troubled by the fact that we haven't got the slightest idea of why nature-regularity is happening now, and moreover we haven't the slightest rational justification for as.suming it will continue tomorrow. If someone would say, "Well the future has always been like the past," Hume and Russell reply that you are assuming the very thing you are trying to establish. To put it another way, science cannot prove the continued regularity of nature, it can only take it by faith. There have been many scholars in that last decades who argued that modern science arose in its most sustained form out of Christian civilization because of its belief in a all-powerful, personal God who created and sustains an orderly universe. As a proof for the existence of God, the regularity of nature is escapable. I can always say, "We don't know why things are as they are." As a clue for God, however, it is helpful. I can surely say, "We don't know why nature is regular, it just is. That doesn't prove God." If I don't believe in God, not only is this profoundly inexplicable, but I have no basis for believing that nature will go on regularly, but I continue to use inductive reasoning and language. Of course this clue actually doesn't prove God. It is rationally avoidable. However, the cu.mulative effect is, I think, provocative and potent. The theory that there is a God who made the world accounts for the evidence we see better than the theory that there is no God.
A little example,
When Alexander’s invasion reached the Near East, Jaddua, the high priest, went out to meet him and showed him a copy of the Book of Daniel in which Alexander was clearly mentioned. Alexander was so impressed by this that, instead of destroying Jerusalem, he entered the city peaceably and worshiped at the temple.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Jill is hilarious, she is also my groupie. I am not sure how I attracted her, but you can have her if you can talk her out of following me around.
Brown Robert, I'm not your groupie; I'm showing you to be just a poopie. The primordial soup may have left you over but that is no reason to resort to market studies. Gobble the fertile gravel. There is no caveat to the Klein bottle, and there will be no gold watch for the unspoken zero.
I hear you on that, Jill. Robert Brown is repugnant, ignorant, and an obsessive poster about his obsolete and plainly wrong beliefs.
"When Alexander’s invasion reached the Near East, Jaddua, the high priest, went out to meet him and showed him a copy of the Book of Daniel in which Alexander was clearly mentioned. Alexander was so impressed by this that, instead of destroying Jerusalem, he entered the city peaceably and worshiped at the temple."
Do you have any other backup for that claim other than Josephus?
What does that have to do with creationists?
Why did the atheist throw her watch out of the window?
She wanted to see if it was designed intelligently enough to evolve into a bird
[vimeo 54995150 w=500 h=281]
The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.
During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.
Isn't it funny how three more centuries have passed, and James Madison's words are still prevalent?
In all of the books I know of that claim to be "Holy" ( bible, Quoran, Gita, ect...), i have found many things in common
Do these books have interesting stories? Some stories are some are not.
Are there Philosophies that one can reflect on & use to help you improve your life? Yes and those can be found in all of those books & more.
However, when It comes to matters of the supernatural realm ( A diety, an afterlife, a life force, the origin of life, etc...) ,the best that these books can do is speculate.
Some choose to hang their spiritual hat on speculation. I do not
Is there a supernatural component to the universe? i don't know. but nothing that I have read any of those books has convinced me that the spiritual speculations in them are anything more than that.
This is why I am an agnostic.
So it seems that these non-believer groups are trying to find some sort of foundation on which they might actually agree, when you think about it though if your a non-believer, just remain so and let the believers fight for your pennies at the pulpit, which ever pulpit they stand behind. Our time here is limited, those fight each other for generation upon generation makes no sense at all and harm other in the process, if you haven't been able to maintain control after 2000 plus years, your never going to see it happen. Enjoy, investigate the world around you and pass the best lessons on, with one caveat- never ever drink the koolaid.
Except they are not only concerned with fighting over my pennies. Now they want their myths taught as science in our children's science classrooms. Now they want their book of myths to override the Supreme Law of the land. That cannot be allowed to happen. We've already seen what happens in theocracies.
People who claim, "never" find themselves on the wrong side of history all of the time. The important thing is that religion likely will not end in your lifetime so you don't have to be afraid. Time changes all things. I don't know that all religions will disappear in time, but I do know that the old ones, like christianity, islam and judaism will. We are entering an age of reason and technology. Those who insist on supersti.tions will be left behind. The old religions lack reason and logic, so they will continue to be pushed to the outskirts of society and culture. If you are religious, I suspect this fills you with a feeling of fear and desperation that I've sometimes seen in the older generations who are having trouble reconciling a changing world. If so, I offer my sympathy and love. We're not the enemy. We are you friends and loved ones, and we only want a better world that is based on reason and evidence and not emotion and supersti.tion.
none French are muslims Mjoocies from Mali, Ethiopia, Somalia, Algeria, filthy denier of truth absolute, secular of Egyptian via Persia or Africas, they always appear in history, such as, Micky appeared in Disneyland, never mention of point of their origination for muslims and nones. They migrated to Europe, and then to America after entry of Columbus in to America.
muslims are party of "none"
MUSLIM ARE PARTY OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE, NONE OTHER, HINDU COPY CAT.
SORRY MUSLIMS ARE PARTY OF MOHA MAD.
WRONG AGAIN. MUSLIMS ARE PARTY OF FRITZ THE CAT.
Fritz the Cat? Of the cartoon porn fame?
MUSLIMS ARE PARTY OF P'ORNS
Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.
He shoulda left a note for SCOTUS about abortion.
It was none of TJ's business then, and it's none of your business now.
83% of women having them are Christians, or did you miss that stat? Again?
Where as before Christianity the Romans and barbarians were just hippie flower children...
I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history. "
(letter to Thomas Jefferson)
Though the demagoguery of the people dare implores the moral majorities an infinity toward perplexes of mundane civilities, the rationales of the crowds are merely awash in demonisms aplenty. Though there be gods and goddesses there is One above them all and this One holds and does wield all the known and yet to be found out powers that were and are and will ever be found in all futures past, present or yet to come about. This One is not named and we will never know this One's true name, hence, we are all to ever remain as demonic beings lost; apart and away from the One who is True and becomes Truth.
TJ shoulda brought up abortion to poor ol' JA.
"TJ shoulda brought up abortion to poor ol' JA."
They might have been too much the gentlemen to discuss female body parts and reproductive processes in public.
Maybe TJ and JA didn't consider it appropriate to be the vagina police.
LL is the belief blog pseudo intellect, don't bother reading, just laugh and move on.
I don't even laugh any more, I just move on without reading.
Word none means nothing else, but self centered GAWD, Atheist or denier of truth absolute GAWD, Islam ignorant follower of Mohammed Sariah s filthy atheism, obey "none' but their sanatan, goon god Moha MAD, denier of truth absolute,
TRY TO DO BETTER NEXT TIME HINDU, COPY CAT. MEANINGS OF WORDS DO NOT SUBSTANTIATE YOUR HINDUISM, ABSURDITY.
What is the proper name of the bride of Christ?
please make a note Nation of Islam Louis Farrukkhan is my new BOSS.
He was another man of hinduism, corruption of truth absolute religion, but no more.
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
They are hinduism corruption of truth, to learn please visit limitisthetruth.com
Thomas Paine was a wise man.
I'm not very popular in churches either.
Hey Mo Dar,
That is one hilarious web site. "lowered" to Mexico. Hahahahahahahaha
You do know Islam is a moon-god cult, built in the god "Sin", (Arabic moon god).
You are seriously mentally ill.
Only in hinduism stupidity of a hindu, ignorant. do some studies before spewing your hinduism, absurdity about Islam.
I bet you all didn't know that the Statue of Liberty was given by Hindus living in France to the USA ?
And all this time I thought this idiot was some joke. Time for our meds, Mo.
French are hindu Mjoocies, filthy denire of truth absolute, secular of Egyptian via Persia, they always appear in history, such as, Franks appeared in Europe in 250 BC, never mention of point of their origination. They migrated to Europe after entry of Alexander the Enoch in to Persia.
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.