Daniel Cox: Is Atheism Only for the Upper Class?

Apr 28, 2013 | Posted by: NightSerf | Full story: www.huffingtonpost.com

Socioeconomic Differences Among the Religiously Unaffiliated

The religiously unaffiliated are an increasingly important part of the American religious and cultural landscape.

Yet, although the politics of the unaffiliated... suggest that they are a fairly homogenous group, there are actually three subsets among the unaffiliated that are demographically and socially distinct.

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“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

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#1
Apr 28, 2013
 

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

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#2
Apr 28, 2013
 
I'm not sure how I missed this study last year. It provides data that are missing from other studies, especially in breaking down the differences among the categories of the unaffiliated (nones).

On average, for instance, nones are no better educated or more prosperous than is the general population, and that's also true of the secular subgroup, but the disparities between atheists/agnostics and unattached believers is both dramatic and stark, with the former rising as far above the median as the latter fall below. The less religious the unaffiliated are, the better educated and more prosperous they tend to be. No other study that I've seen has provided data in such detail.

Atheists/agnostics are also both more liberal and much more likely to vote than either of the other two subsets.

None of this is surprising to me, but this is the first study I've seen that confirms my intuition.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

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#3
Apr 28, 2013
 

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Thank you for this find.

It is most a interesting read.
EdSed

Wishaw, UK

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#4
May 1, 2013
 
What all the polls consistently report is that younger people are increasingly unaffiliated, 32% of the 18-29 year age-group. That fits with what little anecdotal evidence I have that USAmericans are finally becoming more sceptical about religious rhubarb.

The rate of change seems fast, quote, "The number of Americans who claim no particular religious affiliation has more than tripled over the last two decades."

"Atheists and agnostics are significantly better educated than Americans overall. Close to half (45%) of atheists and agnostics have at least 4-year college degree, and more than 1-in-5 (22%) have a post-graduate degree."

Page 14 is interesting, "More than 9-in-10 (92%) atheists and agnostics [not over 99%?] and nearly two-thirds of secular Americans (66%) say that the Bible is a book written by men and is not the word of God." It seems that some 6% of 'atheists and agnostics' believe that God is someone one can have a personal relationship with while 24% of secular USAmericans don't believe in a god.

So, many USAmericans seem confused about what an atheist and agnostic are? Or perhaps it is just symptomatic of statisitics that they cannot make sense - as the person answering the questions isn't aware of the context in which they will be set or interpreted? Anyway, it can appear from a number of analyses I have read that some declared atheists profess some religious belief, while some believers profess not to believe in a god.

I sometimes wonder if statistics on religion/atheism are any help at all!:-)
Thinking

Hounslow, UK

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#5
May 1, 2013
 

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I know what you mean about meaningful statistics. But there are certainly less bums on pews.
EdSed wrote:
What all the polls consistently report is that younger people are increasingly unaffiliated, 32% of the 18-29 year age-group. That fits with what little anecdotal evidence I have that USAmericans are finally becoming more sceptical about religious rhubarb.
The rate of change seems fast, quote, "The number of Americans who claim no particular religious affiliation has more than tripled over the last two decades."
"Atheists and agnostics are significantly better educated than Americans overall. Close to half (45%) of atheists and agnostics have at least 4-year college degree, and more than 1-in-5 (22%) have a post-graduate degree."
Page 14 is interesting, "More than 9-in-10 (92%) atheists and agnostics [not over 99%?] and nearly two-thirds of secular Americans (66%) say that the Bible is a book written by men and is not the word of God." It seems that some 6% of 'atheists and agnostics' believe that God is someone one can have a personal relationship with while 24% of secular USAmericans don't believe in a god.
So, many USAmericans seem confused about what an atheist and agnostic are? Or perhaps it is just symptomatic of statisitics that they cannot make sense - as the person answering the questions isn't aware of the context in which they will be set or interpreted? Anyway, it can appear from a number of analyses I have read that some declared atheists profess some religious belief, while some believers profess not to believe in a god.
I sometimes wonder if statistics on religion/atheism are any help at all!:-)

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

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#6
May 1, 2013
 
Thinking wrote:
I know what you mean about meaningful statistics. But there are certainly less bums on pews.
<quoted text>
That is good-- it means that these tax-exempt properties can be re-sold to good businesses, generating lovely, lovely revenue once again.

:D
Thinking

Hounslow, UK

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#7
May 2, 2013
 
More pubs!
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
That is good-- it means that these tax-exempt properties can be re-sold to good businesses, generating lovely, lovely revenue once again.
:D
Lincoln

United States

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#8
May 2, 2013
 

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EdSed wrote:
What all the polls consistently report is that younger people are increasingly unaffiliated, 32% of the 18-29 year age-group. That fits with what little anecdotal evidence I have that USAmericans are finally becoming more sceptical about religious rhubarb.
The rate of change seems fast, quote, "The number of Americans who claim no particular religious affiliation has more than tripled over the last two decades."
"Atheists and agnostics are significantly better educated than Americans overall. Close to half (45%) of atheists and agnostics have at least 4-year college degree, and more than 1-in-5 (22%) have a post-graduate degree."
Page 14 is interesting, "More than 9-in-10 (92%) atheists and agnostics [not over 99%?] and nearly two-thirds of secular Americans (66%) say that the Bible is a book written by men and is not the word of God." It seems that some 6% of 'atheists and agnostics' believe that God is someone one can have a personal relationship with while 24% of secular USAmericans don't believe in a god.
So, many USAmericans seem confused about what an atheist and agnostic are? Or perhaps it is just symptomatic of statisitics that they cannot make sense - as the person answering the questions isn't aware of the context in which they will be set or interpreted? Anyway, it can appear from a number of analyses I have read that some declared atheists profess some religious belief, while some believers profess not to believe in a god.
I sometimes wonder if statistics on religion/atheism are any help at all!:-)
Rise of agnosticism does not equal rise of atheism.
Many people who believe in God do not attend Church.
"no particular religious affiliation" dose not equal rise of atheism.
Many list religion by category or are tired of invasive nature of polls.

76% of statistics are made up, LOL

Peace
Lincoln

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#9
May 2, 2013
 

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Thinking wrote:
More pubs!
<quoted text>
and stronger Beer

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

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May 2, 2013
 

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Lincoln wrote:
<quoted text>
Rise of agnosticism does not equal rise of atheism.
Many people who believe in God do not attend Church.
"no particular religious affiliation" dose not equal rise of atheism.
Many list religion by category or are tired of invasive nature of polls.
76% of statistics are made up, LOL
Peace
The point is well taken that before the poll described in the article, demographic studies did little to analyze "nones" in much detail. I had suspected that the overall statistics that showed the group's educational status to be about on a par with the general population might mask dramatic difference between the three basic subpopulations, and this study verified that intuition.

All of the studies, though, have shown that the proportions of atheists, agnostics, and unaffiliated believers has remained pretty constant even as the overall proportion of "nones" has risen. Moreover, the lines between the two basic categories of nonbelievers is far from clear even to members of the subpopulation itself. Studies that have compared self-identification with identification based on the answers to questions have shown surprisingly different results. significant numbers who self-identify as Christians and Muslims, for instance, are either uncertain of God's existence or certain of His nonexistence as shown by a recent Gallup poll that evaluated changes in religious demographics over a seven year period. That poll also showed clearly that nonbelievers continue to grow as a proportion of the global population.

If the old joke is true, i.e., that 76% of statistics are made up, that still leaves 24% that are worthy of consideration. fortunately, it is easy t distinguish between the two.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

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#11
May 2, 2013
 
Thinking wrote:
More pubs!
<quoted text>
Yes, pubs!

Or even dance clubs.

Or warehouses to store goods.

Or a restaurant--- that's what happened to the church I was born to.

When my mother was pregnant with me (her second), my dad was a preacher in Kansas. At the time, he was building a church out in the boon-docks, away from ordinary civilization (but in a town mostly catholic... amusing, really).

And by building-- I mean literally. He and several volunteers, literally built the place from bare ground, out of cinder blocks, brick and mortar and wood.

The church was a church for many, many years--but my dad did not stay a preacher-- he could not honestly pretend that the ugly theology he was supposed to promote, was biblical or even ethical. So instead of going to a more mainstream religion, he quit being a preacher-- and started working with those proto-computing machines...(another story)..

... and after many years, the congregation grew sufficiently large, to purchase a larger building, and sold the original one.

To a nice businessman, who turned it into a place of eating.

I got to eat there, about 5 years or so ago-- it was a nice eatery-- classic Midwestern fare, a "steak and potatoes" place.

I was then, and am not, most amused that the building was returned to a productive existence: feeding hungry people, making an honest living for it's workers & owner, and paying it's share of taxes.

Ever so much better than what a church could hope for.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

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#12
May 2, 2013
 
.... dammit Jim! I need an edit--

"I was then, and am now, most amused ..."

... heh.

Since: Jun 07

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#13
May 2, 2013
 
Lincoln wrote:
<quoted text>
76% of statistics are made up, LOL
Peace
Including the lie you go around telling everyone about god being real.
Lincoln

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#14
May 2, 2013
 
NightSerf wrote:
<quoted text>
The point is well taken that before the poll described in the article, demographic studies did little to analyze "nones" in much detail. I had suspected that the overall statistics that showed the group's educational status to be about on a par with the general population might mask dramatic difference between the three basic subpopulations, and this study verified that intuition.
All of the studies, though, have shown that the proportions of atheists, agnostics, and unaffiliated believers has remained pretty constant even as the overall proportion of "nones" has risen. Moreover, the lines between the two basic categories of nonbelievers is far from clear even to members of the subpopulation itself. Studies that have compared self-identification with identification based on the answers to questions have shown surprisingly different results. significant numbers who self-identify as Christians and Muslims, for instance, are either uncertain of God's existence or certain of His nonexistence as shown by a recent Gallup poll that evaluated changes in religious demographics over a seven year period. That poll also showed clearly that nonbelievers continue to grow as a proportion of the global population.
If the old joke is true, i.e., that 76% of statistics are made up, that still leaves 24% that are worthy of consideration. fortunately, it is easy t distinguish between the two.
A persons journey though life often includes changes in metaphysical outlook.
Agnostic belief may be more common with believers than reported. How the question is phrased often determines the answer.
Peace
Thinking

London, UK

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#15
May 2, 2013
 

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Need to work on pubs in mosques, next.
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
.... dammit Jim! I need an edit--
"I was then, and am now, most amused ..."
... heh.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

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#16
May 2, 2013
 

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Thinking wrote:
Need to work on pubs in mosques, next.
<quoted text>
Yes.
Amused

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#17
May 8, 2013
 

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The study is really not all that surprising. Past studies have shown either a correlation between greater educational attainment and atheism or a negative correlation between greater educational attainment and belief.

At the same time, it is certainly no surprise that the upper classes are made up primarily of people with more education.

So, it is really just a matter of overlapping circles on a Venn diagram. The circle of "educated people" overlaps the circle of "upper class people" such that most of the latter is within the former. The circle of "educated people" also overlaps the circle of atheists such that most of the latter circle is within the former circle.
Amused

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#18
May 8, 2013
 
Thinking wrote:
Need to work on pubs in mosques, next.
<quoted text>
Or BBQ joints. Mmmmm, I can smell the pulled pork sandwiches now. With a side order of bacon, just because everything is better with bacon.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

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#19
May 8, 2013
 
Amused wrote:
<quoted text>
Or BBQ joints. Mmmmm, I can smell the pulled pork sandwiches now. With a side order of bacon, just because everything is better with bacon.
To have really classic irony?

You need to have that BBQ place in a former Mosque or Temple.

The irony would taste...

... delicious.

With bacon.

:D

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

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#20
May 8, 2013
 
Amused wrote:
<quoted text>
Or BBQ joints. Mmmmm, I can smell the pulled pork sandwiches now. With a side order of bacon, just because everything is better with bacon.
If course, another sort of irony?

Would be to convert a former Catholic Cathedral to ...

... a day care center for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

....!

Think about it for a bit, and the irony will hit you like a brick.

:D

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