Monday, September 24, 2007

How many of us are there?

Atheists, agnostics and unbelievers are a minority in American. I'm not going to argue that point. But how small of a group are we, really?

Jacqueline Salmon, in a recent article for the Washington Post, points out that we nonbelievers may not be as small a group as most people think.

"A study released in June by the Barna Group, a religious polling firm, found that about 5 million adults in the United States call themselves atheists. The number rises to about 20 million -- about one in every 11 Americans -- if people who say they have no religious faith or are agnostic (they doubt the existence of a God or a supreme deity) are included."

I don't know about you, but I never answered that poll. Polling is an easily misleading technique as it is anyway. Depending on how the questions were asked, there could easily be twice as many as atheists in the country. There could just as easily be half as many as well. But how do we know?

I'm only been an atheist for a little over a year. Looking back I can recognize the process I went through, over many years, that brought me to this point. But if you had asked me two years ago what I was, I would have told you I was a Roman Catholic.

So what does this mean? Maybe nothing. Perhaps the few of us will still be struggling to express ourselves as this country becomes the Theocratic States of America. (Boy, that thought gave me a chill. I don't honestly think it will happen...but who knows?)

Or perhaps we're a bigger and stronger group than anyone knows. There's only one way to find out. Step forward and declare yourself. Don't be afraid to let people know.

Remember, all we have is each other.

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