Infidel Info

Godfree Europe? More than a third of citizens in 12 major European countries never or practically never attend church (World Values Survey, 2000), with 60% of the French boycotting church. In Sweden, only 11% of women and 7% of men go to church. By contrast, only 16% of U.S. citizens say they rarely go to church. Source: USA Today, Aug. 11, 2005

Near-terminal decline.” According to The Daily Telegraph, “Organized religion is in near-terminal decline in Britain,” with religion having a “half-life of one generation: children are only half as likely as parents to call religion important in their lives.”

The survey, based on 14 years of data from 10,500 households, found the importance of belief in God fell by 53% to 32.5% between 1991 and 1999. Source: Brits Household Panel and British Social Attitudes surveys. The Daily Telegraph, Aug. 12, 2005

Utah Mormons decline. Mormons, who make up 62.4% of Utah’s population, according to the 2004 census, are losing adherents there. By 2030, Mormons are projected no longer to be in the majority. Every county shows a decrease in Mormon church members since 2000. Source: Agence France Press, July 28, 2005

We’re 43 percent? Thirty-two percent of Americans label themselves “spiritual, but NOT religious” (whatever that means) and an additional 11% call themselves “NOT spiritual and NOT religious,” compared to 51% who consider themselves “religious AND spiritual.” That puts the not religious nearly neck & neck with the religious.

Those calling themselves “atheist/ agnostic/no religion” were at 14% (in tune with the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey). Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Christian Orthodox, and Buddhist were each at 1%, evangelical Protestant at 27%, nonevangelical Protestant at 11%, Roman Catholic at 15%, Mormon at 3%, and “nonspecified Christian” at 15%. Source: Newsweek Magazine (conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates, 4%), Aug. 2-4, 2005

Godfree Scientists. A recent survey of 1,646 scholars at 21 top-tier research universities found that 55.4% of those in natural-science fields (physics, chemistry, biology) identify themselves as atheists or agnostics.

Among the four social sciences (sociology, economics, political science, and psychology), 47.5% identify themselves as nonbelievers.

The most irreligious field is biology, showing 63.4%, and least irreligious is economics at 45.1%.

Only two respondents out of 1,646 scholars agreed with the statement: “The bible is the actual word of God and it should be taken literally.”

Source: Elaine Howard Ecklund, Rice University fellow, and Christopher P. Scheitle, Ph.D. candidate, Pennsylvania State University. Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 15, 2005/p>

Follow the buck. Americans gave more than $3 billion to 62 Christian denominations, with churches reporting an average of $668 donated in 2003 by each church member. “Benevolence giving” (for charitable purposes) represented only 15% of all contributions to churches in 2003. Source: The Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. The Chronicle of Philanthropy, April 28, 2005

Dumbed-down nation. Nearly two-thirds of Americans polled say creationism should be taught alongside evolution, with 38% favoring replacement of evolution with creationism! Source: Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 2.5%. Chicago Tribune, Aug. 31, 2005

Gay marriage support grows. Despite ardent religious-right lobbying against the idea, 36% of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry, and 53% favor gay civil unions. Source: Pew Research Center for People and Press/Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life Poll.

Physicians believe in miracles. A national survey of 1,100 physicians shows 74% believe that miracles have happened in the past and 73% believe they can occur. Some 72% believe religion is necessary, 58% attend worship services at least once a month, 46% believe prayer is very important in their lives, 37% believe the miracle stories in the bible are literally true, and 67% encourage patients to pray. Source: The Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 22, 2004

Ignorance reigns. A Newsweek poll on beliefs in Jesus found 79% of Americans believe Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, and 67% believe the entire story of Christmas, while 24% believe it is a theological invention. More than half polled, 55%, believe every word of the bible is literally accurate, while 38% do not. The poll claimed 93% of Americans believe Jesus actually lived, and 82% believe Jesus was God or the son of God, 52% believe Jesus will return to earth someday (21% do not believe it), 15% believe Jesus will return in their lifetime (while a saner 47% do not). Source: Newsweek, Dec. 5, 2004

HSLDA wields power. The Home School Legal Defense Association, based in Purcellville, Va., was founded in 1983 as a legal-aid society for home-schooling fundamentalist Christian parents. It has an affiliated college, Patrick Henry College, 81,000-member families, a political action committee, a daily radio show, a lobbying arm, a periodical, and believes the United States was intended to be a Christian nation.

The 2002 combined budget of the association and its college was $15 million. Chair Rev. Michael Farris, who has 10 children, has testified before Congress on parental rights issues, and in support of a constitutional amendment to bar gay marriages. He promoted John Ashcroft for attorney general. Farris was a two-time guest in 2003 at the White House.

President Michael Smith is a guest columnist for the Washington Times (Moonie) newspaper. Its lobbying arm in downtown Washington, D.C., the National Center for Home Education, campaigned against a Clinton initiative to immunize all children, and lobbied against selection of Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., as chair of the Judiciary Committee.

The Association teaches that wives are subservient, and opposes abortion rights. Patrick Henry students must sign a religious pledge, and earn college credit through faculty-approved political activity–raising questions about the college’s tax-exempt status. James Leininger, a voucher proponent from San Antonio, sits on the college’s board of trustees. Source: Beacon Journal, Nov. 19, 2004

Freedom From Religion Foundation