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Poll Shows Atheism on the Rise in the U.S.

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 Aug 15
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Religiosity is on the decline in the U.S. and atheism is on the rise, according to a new worldwide poll, the Religion News Service reports. The poll, called "The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism," found that the number of Americans who say they are "religious" dropped from 73 percent in 2005 (the last time the poll was conducted) to 60 percent. At the same time, the number of Americans who say they are atheists rose from 1 percent to 5 percent. "The obvious implications is that this is a manifestation of the New Atheism movement," said Ryan Cragun, a University of Tampa sociologist of religion who studies American and global atheism. Still, Cragun does not believe the poll shows more people are becoming atheists, but rather that more people are willing to identify as atheists. "For a very long time, religiosity has been a central characteristic of the American identity," he said. "But what this suggests is that is changing and people are feeling less inclined to identify as religious to comply with what it means to be a good person in the U.S."

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