Excellent news: a survey has found that the ranks of faithless, irreligious, and pagan people are growing rapidly in the United States.
"nones"—people claiming no religion—constitute the only "religious" tradition that's growing in all 50 states
Keep not-believing, churchless brothers and sisters. We are overcoming!
The only depressing part of the survey findings for me was how Oregon has slipped over the past 18 years. I feel like I should have done more to keep up my state's godless credentials.
Well, back to the positive: this table shows how various belief systems have fared, popularity-wise, from 1990-2008. "No religion" had by far the greatest percentage growth -- from 8.2% to 15.0% of the population.
That's an 83% increase! At that rate, we'll eventually cover the country with unbelievers.
The South, though, is going to be a tough religious nut to crack. Arkansas and Mississippi aren't growing the faithless very fast. Need to send some anti-missionaries down there to do some unconverting.
It was nice to see that those who profess a fondness for Eastern religions more than doubled, from .4% to .9% of the U.S. population. Maybe bookstores will start carrying more Taoist and Buddhist titles, which I'd like.
This country is still deeply traditionally religious. But as USA Today reported in an in-depth story on the survey, "Most religious groups in USA have lost ground."
So many Americans claim no religion at all (15%, up from 8% in 1990), that this category now outranks every other major U.S. religious group except Catholics and Baptists. In a nation that has long been mostly Christian, "the challenge to Christianity … does not come from other religions but from a rejection of all forms of organized religion," the report concludes.