A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Atheists believing in God-- What will they think of next??

We heard the first part back in February, but now we read that one in five American atheists believes in God. What this really means is that the number of atheists in this country may be actually OVERSTATED. Here's a sample:
Although a majority of Americans say religion is very important to them, nearly three-quarters of them say they believe that many faiths besides their own can lead to salvation, according to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The report, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, reveals a broad trend toward tolerance and an ability among many Americans to hold beliefs that might contradict the doctrines of their professed faiths....

The nationwide survey, which is based on telephone interviews with more than 35,000 adults from May 8 to Aug. 13, 2007, is the second installment of a broad assessment Pew has undertaken of trends and characteristics of the country’s religious life. The first part of the report, published in February, depicted a fluid and diverse national religious life marked by people moving among denominations and faiths.

According to that report, more than a quarter of adult Americans have left the faith of their childhood to join another religion or no religion. The survey indicated that the group that had the greatest net gain was the unaffiliated, accounting for 16 percent of American adults.

The new report sheds light on the beliefs of the unaffiliated. Like the overwhelming majority of Americans, 70 percent of the unaffiliated said they believed in God, including one of every five people who identified themselves as atheist and more than half of those who identified as agnostic.

“What does atheist mean? It may mean they don’t believe in God, or it could be that they are hostile to organized religion,” Mr. Green said. “A lot of these unaffiliated people, by some measures, are fairly religious, and then there are those who are affiliated with a religion but don’t believe in God and identify instead with history or holidays or communities.”

Ummm, Mr. Green, I believe that, actually, the word "atheist" means one does not believe in any sort of God, by whatever euphemism one might employ. Glad I could help.

Read the whole thing.

If you've taught school, you may shake your head at this confusion, but you can't be surprised.

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At 6/28/08, 4:20 PM, Blogger Goldie said...

Funny!... and confusing. You've got to choose one, people. It's simple binary logic!

At 6/28/08, 7:31 PM, Blogger Sherck said...

The results show conclusively that a significant number of Americans are agnostic--or even atheistic--with regards to the existence of dictionaries.

I've taught English, in fact, and no, I am not surprised, not really. I wish I was.

At 6/29/08, 1:24 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I'll be shaking my head for a long time after reading this one.


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