Half of all Americans think the rise of the nonreligious is a bad thing
In a report released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, it was revealed that 48% of Americans think the rise in people who are nonreligious is a bad thing, while only 11% think it is a good thing.
According to Pew:
The new, nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life asked Americans whether having “more people who are not religious” is a good thing, a bad thing, or doesn’t matter for American society. Many more say it is bad than good (48% versus 11%). But about four-in-ten (39%) say it does not make much difference.
The results are interesting, because among the nonreligious themselves, the nonreligious becoming more popular was seen as a bad thing to almost 1-in-5 of them, while more than half of the religiously unaffiliated were indifferent. Only 24% saw it as a good thing.
What is not shocking is that nearly half of Americans see this as a bad thing, especially among the most religious people in society.
Nearly 80% of white, evangelical Protestants see the rise of the nonreligious as a bad thing, yet 4% somehow saw this as a good thing.
From there the numbers go down, but still the majority of the religious see this as a bad thing that is occurring in America.
The group of religious that saw this the most as a good thing were Hispanic Catholics, at the national average of 11%, while 36% still saw it as a bad thing, the lowest of any demographic of the religious.
Pew also found that among those demographics, those who attended religious services more were more likely to think that the rise of the nonreligious was a bad thing. Also unsurprising.
Among all adults, those who attended religious services on a weekly basis saw the rise of the nonreligious as a bad thing at 69%, while those who attended them less were only at 35% in viewing it as a bad thing. Those who saw it as a good thing were at 6% and 14%, respectively.
Accounting for the ±2.1% margin of error, “Men and women hold similar views on this question,” stated Pew’s report, “At least four-in-ten of both groups say it is a bad thing that more people are not religious.”
The report also looked at the differing views among the age groups. This was vitally important, as more than 1-in-3 Americans under the age of 30 report having no religious affiliation.
Younger adults (ages 18 to 29) are less inclined than older cohorts to consider the increase in people who are not religious to be a bad thing for society. A third of adults under age 30 say this trend is a bad thing for society. By contrast, a majority of adults ages 50 and older consider the trend a bad thing.
Pew looked specifically at those with religious affiliation too, finding that “[among] adults ages 18 to 29 who have a religious affiliation, 47% say having more people who are not religious is a bad thing for society, compared with roughly six-in-ten among their counterparts ages 50 and older.”
Atheists right now stand as America’s most hated and least trusted demographic.
In a Gallup poll released in June of 2012, 43% of Americans say they would not vote for an atheist that was nominated by their own party.
The University of Minnesota found that around 48% of Americans would disapprove of their child marrying an atheist. The numbers fell to around 30% when asked about Muslims and African-Americans. Only 6.9% would disapprove of their child marrying an evangelical Christian.
When asked who shared their vision of America the least, nearly 40% mentioned atheists, while around 23% mentioned homosexuals and 26% mentioned Muslims.
The University of Oregon teamed with the University of British Columbia and found that Americans distrust atheists less than rapists.
Anti-atheist bias and discrimination is something that has persisted and seemed to remain constant through the decades, despite increased tolerance and acceptance of other groups, such as Jews, African-Americans, homosexuals, Muslims, etc.
As those who identify with no religion, the so-called “nones,” continue to rise in the United States, it is unsure whether or not the religious will become more disapproving or more accepting as their numbers dwindle with each progressive generation.