FaithWorld

U.S. atheists become more vocal

March 30, 2009

For some atheists in the United States, it’s a bright new day with the election of Barack Obama  because they hope the president will move away from government policies shaped by religious beliefs.

FILM-TORONTO/RELIGULOUS

Others aren’t so sure, and it remains to be seen whether a friendlier climate translates into more people publicly embracing an atheist or non-theist philosophy in an overwhelmingly Christian country.

My colleague Mike Conlon has done a story on the state of play in the U.S. atheist movement which you can read here.

A recent report from Connecticut’s Trinity College found 12 percent of Americans were atheists, agnostics or doubters — far smaller than in most developed countries, but not an insignificant number. It means they outnumber every religious denomination in America except for the Catholic Church.

There has been a spate of best-selling books in recent years attacking religion and on the big screen there was Bill Maher’s “Religulous.” 

Atheists in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex were planning this week to start a billboard campaign (similar to ones that have been tried elsewhere) with signs saying: “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.”

But how much respect can atheists command in a country with just about the highest rates of religiosity in the wealthy industrial world? And while Obama has signaled he respects their point of view, he also claims to be driven by his own Christian faith.

Does this mean that religion still has a big influence on politics and public policy in America? What do you think?

(Photo: Documentary film “Religulous” narrator Bill Maher and director Larry Charles pose for a portrait during the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival Sept. 7, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA))

Comments
4 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Atheists are no longer asking for tolerance. They are now imposing their views to the majority. They have gone too far. They want the government to make atheism the official and national philosophy that must be embraced by everyone. People will now be prohibited to pray, and to practice their faith. They are envisioning a society that will penalize any person who believes in God. People will now be jailed for praying to Jesus Christ. Believing God will now be incorporated in the Penal Laws as one of the crimes.

Posted by Daniel Rosaupan | Report as abusive
 

let’s see: atheists arleady control academic and science establishments, and the media are practical atheists anyway – now they want to be loved as well!

Posted by jd | Report as abusive
 

Daniel, that is paranoid nonsense. We atheists might think beliefs are delusional and have no place as a basis for government or law-making, but I haven’t heard anyone advocate penalising beliefs or prayers.

If anything, religions tend to impose laws and restrictions on people, although I will admit that Christianity has become relatively moderate in that.

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive
 

rob, that’s a fact. look at the communist countries who are primarily atheists. Look at the United States where prayer is prohibited in public schools! How do you call that? In England for example where a nurse who prayed with the patient was suspended. That’s not being paranoid rob, but I only say what is happening and infer from what might happen in the future.

Posted by Daniel Rosaupan | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/