Atheism Gaining Popularity in America (Barna Group)


A study by Barna Group, “2015 State of Atheism in America,” suggests that atheism in America is on the rise, especially among those under the age of 30. The research study encompassed twenty surveys and interviews with more than 23 000 churched and unchurched adults. The number of unchurched adults involved was 8 220.

A mere 20 years ago 18% of skeptics were under the age of 30, but today the percentage is nearly double at 34%. The study also suggests that contemporary atheists are much younger than before (34% under age 30), more educated (50% have a college degree), consists of more women (43% as opposed to 16% in 1993), more racially diverse (74% are white, which is down from 80% 20 years ago), and more dispersed regionally.

“Skeptics [atheists and agnostics] dismiss the idea that the Bible is holy or supernatural in any way. Two-thirds contend that it is simply a book of well-known stories and advice, written by humans and containing the same degree of authority and wisdom as any other self-help book. The remaining one-third are divided between those who believe the Bible is a historical document that contains the unique but not God-inspired accounts of events that happened in the past, and those who do not know what to make of the Bible but have decided it deserves no special treatment or consideration.”

The findings are quite illustrative of the religious climate in American as “The data show that some cities—and younger generations—are more gospel-resistant than others,” and that is “It is increasingly common among Millennials to dismiss religion, God, churches, authority and tradition.”

11 responses to “Atheism Gaining Popularity in America (Barna Group)

      • Really? Based on your interpretation of ….what, exactly?
        Are you saying that:
        a ) current atheists will chuck their non belief and opt for religion or
        b) are you saying there will be a larger percentage of religious among the world’s population?
        Which one? a or b?

            • I read them. They contradict this post.
              And if the figures for the ditching of evangelism by US teens alone are fairly accurate then the church is in for a rough time.
              One must always bear in mind James that organisations like the Catholic Church never openly de register those who have been baptized.
              If there was no potential crisie then there would not be so many churches closing and professional pastors etc leaving and there would be no need for things like the Clergy Project.
              I reiterate, the key is to look at the most stable and socially advanced nations ( Not the US by a long shot) This is how the long term trends in religiosity will pan out.

              Based on this, Christianity has already had its major day in the sunshine.

      • That’s simply not the case. Christianity will always be present in the few countries (US, UK) where secularism is on the rise. Apart from that Christianity and Islam are growing worldwide while atheism is losing ground. That is just the simple facts, you may dispute them if you want, we are entitled to an opinion, but not to our own facts.

        • I agree with you James that Christianity and Islam are both growing by leaps and bounds in the underdeveloped world. But once those areas catch up with the West in education and prosperity, which most economists predict is already starting to happen, what are the chances that these areas of the world will follow the West in abandoning religion?

          The world is so interconnected now, especially with the internet. Once people have access to an education and the wealth of information on the world wide web, studies show that religiosity tends to decline.

          I personally give Christianity and Islam another century and then they will join the likes of Zeus and Jupiter.

  1. I have explained that I am not disputing that there is a rise in numbers of religious.China is a vast untapped source of god .
    You are missing the point regarding the direction that theism will take.
    For the answer, look to the most socially stable countries – places such as Sweden and Denmark for example – and based on these examples religion will eventually diminish to become little more than an oddity.
    You and I won’t see its demise but it will happen – is already happening.

  2. Pew just released a study yesterday that stated that 23% of Americans now label themselves “no religious affiliation”. 21% of Americans consider themselves Catholic, therefore, the “nones” have overtaken the largest Christian denomination in the United States! That is pretty startling.

    “No religious affiliation” doesn’t mean that 23% of Americans are atheists or even agnostics, but such a large number of people declining to refer to themselves as Christian would have been unthinkable just 50 years ago.

    So what is the cause of the decline of Christianity in the United States and Europe? Materialism? Maybe. But I think that the Internet gets a lot of the credit. When I was growing up as a Christian there was no easy way to verify the claims of my Faith. Today, if someone asserts that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses, I can “google” that subject, read the pros and cons, and make up my own mind. Few Christians questioned the “facts” of their Faith pre-1990’s.

    I personally deconverted from Christianity due to the Internet. My supernaturalist Christian belief system just did not hold up to the overwhelming evidence against it and I’m not one of those people who can believe something by blind faith, as some evangelicals have urged me to do. There has to be some evidence there. However, during my four month long deconversion, the only evidence I found for Christianity were assumptions and second century hearsay.

    Christianity is growing in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, but my guess for this is that people who are already superstitious, poor, and have short life expectancies are more susceptible to the Christian “Good News” than someone who is educated and economically comfortable. Notice Christianity is NOT making headway in Japan, and I believe this is due to the reasons I have just mentioned.

  3. Pingback: ‘The Unbelievers’ Documentary in 10 Points. | James Bishop's Theology & Apologetics.·

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