Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"No religion" doesn't mean atheist

Responding to the criticism that he had misrepresented the number of atheists in the United States, Dan Gilgoff provides information about what those who say they have "no religion" [about 25% of Americans] actually believe:
We know that very few Americans are atheists not because pollsters call around asking "Are you an atheist?" but because they ask about specific religious beliefs. And when Trinity College recently asked "no religion" Americans what they believed about God, here's what they found:
7% said, "There is no such thing."
19% said, "There is no way to know."
16% said, "I'm not sure."
24% said, "There is a higher power but no personal God."
27% said, "There is definitely a personal God."
7% said they didn't know or refused to answer.
Only 7 percent of "religion nones" hold a belief that can be categorized as atheism. All the rest have more nuanced beliefs; more than half believe in a higher power or a personal God. I've got nothing against atheists. But the fact is that they represent 2 percent of the American religious landscape.
Few 'No Religion' Americans Are Atheists - God & Country (usnews.com)


  1. According to the poll, it appears 27% believe in the Christian god, the "personal god". "There is a higher power but no personal God" could mean they beleive in any of the thousands of gods man has created. This poll seems to show American christians are a dying breed.

  2. Did you actually read the poll. That's 27% of the less than 25% who identified themselves as "no religion." In other words more than 25% of those who say they have "no religion" believe in a personal god.


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