Author Topic: A thought about minority beliefs changing to deists and nonbelievers  (Read 649 times)

Offline PickelledEggs (OP)

I'm totally pulling this out of my ass and just going from personal experience here, but this is what I have seen and why my assumptions of why it is. And as always if anyone has any hard facts/studies/numbers please post them. I would think it would be interesting to see some actual facts even if they go against what this I'm saying.

ANYWAY:

Something I have noticed with people I knew growing up and similarly people of similar background that I now know that are older.... If they grew up believing a religion that is out of the norm for what the surrounding people believe, they seem to all turn either deist, or full nonbeliever. This goes for some people I know that grew up Musilm , Hindu, etc. All of them don't believe in any religion, some feel like there might be a being responsible for the universe, and some don't believe any of it and are now atheist.  But none of them believe what they are raised with.

Why I think that is is that because they were surrounded by people that believe something else, they were forced to be exposed to a contradicting world view and it made them look at their original belief more objectively.

Has anyone else seen something like this? and does anyone have any real numbers contradicting this/confirming this as a general whole?
"Tell Pilate to release the files!!!" - Bill Hicks
"I have an open mind, but not so open that my brains will fall out" -James Randi
"One who truly hates himself cannot love, he cannot place his trust in another." - NGE

Re: A thought about minority beliefs changing to deists and nonbelievers
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2014, 03:12:48 PM »
This is the latest that I could find:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion_in_the_United_States

Quote
Demographics

A 2007 Barna group poll found that about 20 million people say they are atheist, have no religious faith, or are agnostic, with 5 million of that number claiming to be atheists. The study also found that "[t]hey tend to be more educated, more affluent and more likely to be male and unmarried than those with active faith" and that "only 6 percent of people over 60 have no faith in God, and one in four adults ages 18 to 22 describe themselves as having no faith."

A 2008 Gallup survey reported that religion is not an important part of daily life for 34% of Americans. In May of that year, a Gallup poll asking the question "Which of the following statements comes closest to your belief about God: you believe in God, you don't believe in God but you do believe in a universal spirit or higher power, or you don't believe in either?" showed that, nationally, 78% believed in God, 15% in "a universal spirit or higher power", 6% answering "neither", and 1% unsure. The poll also highlighted the regional differences, with residents in the Western states answering 59%, 29%, and 10% respectively, compared to the residents in the Southern states that answered 86%, 10%, and 3%. Several of the western states have been informally nicknamed Unchurched Belt, contrasting with the Bible Belt in the southern states.

A 2012 study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life reported that 33% of Americans thought of themselves as not religious, including 18% "spiritual but not religious" and 15% "neither spiritual nor religious".
Inaccuracy of religious self-identification

The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) found a difference between how people identify and what people believe. While only 0.7% of U.S. adults identified as atheist, 2.3% said there is no such thing as a god. Only 0.9% identified as agnostic, but 10.0% said there is either no way to know if a god exists or they weren't sure. Another 12.1% said there is a higher power but no personal god. In total, only 15.0% identified as Nones or No Religion, but 24.4% did not believe in the traditional concept of a personal god. The conductors of the study concluded, "The historic reluctance of Americans to self-identify in this manner or use these terms seems to have diminished. Nevertheless ... the level of under-reporting of these theological labels is still significant ... many millions do not subscribe fully to the theology of the groups with which they identify."

Similarly, the 2012 Pew study reported that 23% of Americans who affiliated with a religion were not religious. The affiliated were 79% of the population, and the unaffiliated were 19.6%, including 6% "atheist" or "agnostic".

Growth

In a 2006 Point of Inquiry podcast, author Tom Flynn stated, "Over a period from the late 1980's to the dawn of the 21st century, a number of polls using a number of different methodologies had continued to show a steady rise, an approximate doubling in the number of people who did not claim traditional religious affiliation."

The 2008 ARIS study found that the relative growth of nones (138% since 1990) was surpassed only by the growth of Non-denominational Christians (4,040%), Born-again Evangelicals (295%), followers of Eastern Religions (185%), and Muslims (156%). But the absolute growth of nones (19.8 million) exceeded the other four combined (11.5 million).

The 2012 Pew study said, "The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling." Some of the religiously unaffiliated are spiritual or religious in some way; 30% believe with absolute certainty in a "God or universal spirit", 38% believe with less certainty. 21% pray every day. Only 12% are atheist, and 17% are agnostic.

Several groups promoting no religious faith or opposing religious faith altogether – including the Freedom From Religion Foundation, American Atheists, Camp Quest, and the Rational Response Squad – have witnessed large increases in membership numbers in recent years, and the number of secularist student organizations at American colleges and universities increased during the 2000s (decade).

Tables
The percentage of people in North America who identify with a religion as opposed to having "no religion" (2001 US) (1991,98,99 CA).

The contiguous U.S. states, Washington D.C. and territories ranked by percentage of population claiming no religion in 2008 is as follows:

Rank    Jurisdiction     % "Nones"
-    United States    15%
01    Vermont    34%
02    New Hampshire    29%
03    Wyoming    28%
04    Alaska    27%
05    Maine    25%
06    Washington    25%
07    Nevada    24%
08    Oregon    24%
09    Delaware    23%
10    Idaho    23%
11    Massachusetts    22%
12    Colorado    21%
13    Montana    21%
14    Rhode Island    19%
15    California    18%
16    Hawaii    18%
17    Washington D.C.    18%
18    Arizona    17%
19    Nebraska    17%
20    Ohio    17%
21    Michigan    16%
22    New Mexico    16%
23    Indiana    15%
24    Iowa    15%
25    New Jersey    15%
26    Pennsylvania    15%
27    Virginia    15%
28    West Virginia    15%
29    Wisconsin    15%
30    Connecticut    14%
31    Florida    14%
32    Missouri    14%
33    New York    14%
34    Utah    14%
35    Illinois    13%
36    Kentucky    13%
37    Minnesota    12%
38    South Dakota    12%
39    Texas    12%
40    Alabama    11%
41    Kansas    11%
42    Maryland    11%
43    Oklahoma    11%
44    North Carolina    10%
45    South Carolina    10%
46    Georgia    9%
47    Tennessee    9%
48    Arkansas    8%
49    Louisiana    8%
50    North Dakota    7%
51    American Samoa[18]    5%
52    Mississippi    5%
53    U.S. Virgin Islands[19]    4%
54    Guam[20]    2.5%
55    Puerto Rico    2%
56    Northern Mariana Islands[21]    1%


Demographics of the religiously unaffiliated in 2012.
Race     % Unaffiliated
White    20%
Hispanic    16%
Black    15%
Gender     % Unaffiliated

Men    23%
Women    17%
Generation     % Unaffiliated
Younger Millennials    34%
Older Millennials    30%
GenXers    21%
Boomers    15%
Silent    9%
Greatest    5%
Studies on irreligion

A comprehensive study by David Campbell and Harvard University professor Robert Putnam found that religious Americans are three to four times more likely than their nonreligious counterparts to "work on community projects, belong to voluntary associations, attend public meetings, vote in local elections, attend protest demonstrations and political rallies, and donate time and money to causes -- including secular ones." However, religious Americans who regularly attend religious services but have no friends there do not have higher levels of civic participation, while nonreligious Americans who have religious friends do get more involved. "It's not faith" that accounts for civic activism, Putnam said, "It's faith communities." The authors said the same effect might be found in secular organizations that are close-knit with shared morals and values.The study also found that religious Americans are less tolerant than secular Americans of free speech, dissent, and several other measures of tolerance.

Being less religious is moderately correlated with increased life expectancy and decreased teenage pregnancy.

Alan Cooperman of Pew Research Center notes that nonreligious Americans commonly grew up in a religious tradition and consciously lost it "after a great deal of reflection and study". As a result, atheists and agnostics are more knowledgeable about religion than those who identify with most major religions, according to a 2010 Pew survey.

The American public at large has a positive view of nonreligious people but a negative view of atheists. One "extensive study of how Americans view various minority groups", found that "atheists are at the top of the list of groups that Americans find problematic." A Religion and Public Life Survey (2002) found that 54 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of atheists, but the favorability of people who are "not religious" is 52.2%, with a net difference of 23.8%.

Irreligion in politics

According to exit polls in the 2008 presidential election, 71% of non-religious whites voted for Democratic candidate Barack Obama while 74% of white Evangelical Christians voted for Republican candidate John McCain. This can be compared with the 43–55% share of white votes overall. More than six-in-ten religiously unaffiliated registered voters are Democrats (39%) or lean toward the Democratic Party (24%). They are about twice as likely to describe themselves as political liberals than as conservatives, and solid majorities support legal abortion (72%) and same-sex marriage (73%). In the last five years, the unaffiliated have risen from 17% to 24% of all registered voters who are Democrats or lean Democratic. According to a Pew Research exit poll 70% of those who were religiously unaffiliated voted for Barack Obama.

In January 2007, California Congressman Pete Stark became the first openly atheist member of Congress. He described himself as "a Unitarian who does not believe in a Supreme Being." In January 2013, Kyrsten Sinema became the first openly non-theist Congresswoman, representing the State of Arizona. Although she "believes the terms ‘nontheist,’ ‘atheist’ or ‘nonbeliever’ are not befitting of her life’s work or personal character," she does believe in a secular approach to government. Her unbelief "was not used to slander her as un-American or suggest that she was unfit for office."

On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama became the first United States President to acknowledge "non-believers" in his inaugural address, although other presidents such as George W. Bush have previously acknowledged non-believers in different speeches.

The 2012 Pew study reported that unaffiliated Americans say by a margin of 39% that churches should keep out of political matters. Affiliated Americans agree by a margin of 7%.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2014, 03:15:41 PM by Solitary »
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.

Offline SGOS

Re: A thought about minority beliefs changing to deists and nonbelievers
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2014, 05:34:50 PM »
I was raised Lutheran and only exposed to other Christians, perhaps mostly Catholics and a few other protestant sects.  There was so much dissimilarity between beliefs of the various Christian sects and my own, that like the Muslim surrounded by Christians who goes atheist, the same dynamic was at work for me.  Everyone claimed to be right in a sea of mutually exclusive beliefs.  I pondered this some, and sort of came up with the understanding that no one really could know which religion was right, and through some principle of logic which I never heard defined until years later, I realized that at best, the majority had to be wrong.  And it seemed quite possible that everyone was wrong.

I looked into finding the right religion, but realized along the way, there could be no logical way this could be done.  That's only a few steps away to admitting that none of the various religions make viable sense.  Then explore the major religions opposed to Christianity, like Islam, Hindu, and Tao, and you're only one step away from throwing the whole thing out.  The only logical thing left that makes sense is that they are all irrelevant, and none deserve a commitment of my time.

Offline Munch

Re: A thought about minority beliefs changing to deists and nonbelievers
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2014, 05:50:09 PM »
Once you step out of the bubble religion creates around people, only then can you truly see it for what it is. Some never step out of the bubble sadly, a bubble firmly wrapped around children by parents and preachers.

Offline PickelledEggs (OP)

Re: A thought about minority beliefs changing to deists and nonbelievers
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2014, 06:57:51 PM »
I was raised Lutheran and only exposed to other Christians, perhaps mostly Catholics and a few other protestant sects.  There was so much dissimilarity between beliefs of the various Christian sects and my own, that like the Muslim surrounded by Christians who goes atheist, the same dynamic was at work for me.  Everyone claimed to be right in a sea of mutually exclusive beliefs.  I pondered this some, and sort of came up with the understanding that no one really could know which religion was right, and through some principle of logic which I never heard defined until years later, I realized that at best, the majority had to be wrong.  And it seemed quite possible that everyone was wrong.

I looked into finding the right religion, but realized along the way, there could be no logical way this could be done.  That's only a few steps away to admitting that none of the various religions make viable sense.  Then explore the major religions opposed to Christianity, like Islam, Hindu, and Tao, and you're only one step away from throwing the whole thing out.  The only logical thing left that makes sense is that they are all irrelevant, and none deserve a commitment of my time.

This is very similar to why I was thinking why it was like that. Back when I was in highschool, they showed a special on one of the channels having something to do with scientology. While I can't remember the entire details of what the show said... I remember it painting the religion to look very absurd and harmful. In gym class that week, I remember talking to one of my friends about how Scientology "wasn't a real religion, it's just too absurd and unrealistic".

My friend then replied with the one sentence that was a complete life changer for me: "What makes Scientology any less of a religion than Judaism or Christianity?" My mind was BLOWN and I unexpectedly began my journey to nonbelief.

Once you actually think about it, none of that religious stuff makes sense...

And thanks for the citation, Solitary! :biggrin:
"Tell Pilate to release the files!!!" - Bill Hicks
"I have an open mind, but not so open that my brains will fall out" -James Randi
"One who truly hates himself cannot love, he cannot place his trust in another." - NGE

Re: A thought about minority beliefs changing to deists and nonbelievers
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2014, 08:53:54 PM »
I was raised in a very tight Mormon community, but the two early differences was a mother who believed in lntellectualism and learning and a like minded librarian that introduced me to first science fiction and then Buckminster Fuller, the key futurist of his day. Add the Navy and being awestruck by technology of the ships I was on and the number of different people and experiences I encountered, and then further investigfation later that led to me eventually becoming an atheist.

I can't speak for minorities, but I suspect similar things occur. People seeking knowledge will discover new ideas as well, and the internet is the key tool for that.  Remove a Muslim from the Middle East and plunk him down in a free society where so many opportunities emerge, they seem to either go inward and become more hard core religious or go outward and seek freedom. Exposed to so much information, some change will happen.