America, World Growing More Godless
The United States is starting to look more and more like super-secular Western European cultures by the day, including those paragons of unreligious impiety, France, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
According to a recent National Geographic survey, the planet’s fastest growing religion is neither world-dominating Christianity nor Islam, it’s atheism—represented by a loose global aggregate of folks who subscribe to no religion at all and dismiss supernatural hypotheses as permanently unverifiable (“religious nones,” the study calls them).
Although news headlines would seem to reflect that religion is still thriving everywhere as always—new Islamic State atrocities, surprising American court rulings supporting religion, etc., the continuing influencer of faith in politics—recent research tells a different emerging story. The National Geographic study shows that just under a quarter of the U.S. population is made up of “nones,” jumping 6.7 percent from 2007 to 2015. Today, there’s a greater proportion of nonreligious Americans than Catholics, Protestants and all other non-Christian faiths separately.
The French, Kiwis and Dutch are the leading Western secular peoples who have chosen to leave religious teachings out of public education. The United Kingdom and Australia are expected soon to lose their Christian majorities and join the ranks of leading secular nations. Note that Communist China, despite its traditional Buddhist faith, is among the most dominant secular countries.
Millennials, those born roughly around the start of the new millennium, represent the largest part of the nonreligious demographic worldwide. Approximately 11 percent of people born since 1970 reportedly have been raised in nonreligious families. Also “nones” are predominantly white, male, relatively prosperous and privileged, and well educated.
Nonetheless, sub-Sahara Africa remains fervently religious, and its frenzied birth rate threatens to wipe out the demographic inroads of less-bountiful atheists in coming decades. In the meantime, Islam, whose adherents also boast high birth rates, is expected to overtake Christianity in numbers of faithful by mid-century, according to the National Geographic study.