US Atheists apparently more religious than European Christians

Innula Zenovka

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[...] researchers confirmed the widely known fact that, overall, Americans are much more religious than Western Europeans. They gauged religious commitment using standard questions, including “Do you believe in God with absolute certainty?” and “Do you pray daily?”

Second, the researchers found that American “nones”—those who identify as atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular—are more religious than European nones. The notion that religiously unaffiliated people can be religious at all may seem contradictory, but if you disaffiliate from organized religion it does not necessarily mean you’ve sworn off belief in God, say, or prayer.

The third finding reported in the study is by far the most striking. As it turns out, “American ‘nones’ are as religious as—or even more religious than—Christians in several European countries, including France, Germany, and the U.K.”


 

Aribeth Zelin

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Yeah. If you aren't Christian, Jewish or Muslim around here, I think you get tucked either as one of the three anyway, or into 'none', because they don't have check boxes for 'pagan'.
 

Kara Spengler

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Why is it that the abrahamic religions can not understand athiests and pagans? I have given up trying to explain what an intersection of the two even means.
 
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Isabeau

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All I can say is that I’ve never read so much about religion, beliefs and non-beliefs, what the bible says or doesn’t say, etc. than I’ve read here and on SLU. Really, it’s just not something that affects my life in any way. I don’t believe in god(s) or follow/belong to any spiritual community. I’m certainly concerned about the freedom of choice in ones beliefs or non-belief, but that’s about it.
 

Jopsy Pendragon

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Ugh... As a hard atheist "none", I resent being generalized like that.

Yes, American christens can be way too damned literal about the Bible, and that includes inactive Christian "nones" who don't consider themselves part of a particularly denomination.

European Christians, I presume, are more like deists, who vaguely believe in a God, but generally presume the Bible is more of a metaphor than literal history.
 
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Argent Stonecutter

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What scares me is that most religions seem to have started as something like Qanon.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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A pity that they did not review the Polish people. I am pretty sure the Polish are much more in sync with the Americans in that regard...
 

Innula Zenovka

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What scares me is that most religions seem to have started as something like Qanon.
While I'm not sure about how most religions started -- I don't know much about the origins of Hinduism, for example -- I've recently been struck how QAnon seems in some ways analogous to a religion.

It provides a belief structure that seems, to its adherents, to provide a coherent explanation of the world and how it works, and they clearly gain something from their sense of communal identity, as they try to puzzle out Q's latest prophecies, certainly, but, on the other hand, it seems to have little role to play in its adherents' life events like births, marriages and deaths, which all seem to fall with the purview of what we generally regard as religions.

In a way it's more of a cult, in the original sense of the word -- that is, while there's no obvious charismatic cult leader (Trump is the object of their devotion rather than the cult leader, I think), it's a collection of deeply-held and apocalyptic beliefs about an impending upheaval that are important to a small group in a wider movement, not unlike some of the weirder Marian cults of which many Catholics and ex-Catholics will be dimly aware because particular figures in childhood (loopy relatives and nuns, in particular, I think) held them so strongly.

It's a pretty cheap and ersatz imitation, of course -- rather than Christ returning to judge the living and the dead and condemn the sinners to everlasting fire, we've got Trump about to cast the elite into Gitmo and start on a very pale imitation of Stalin's Great Terror, which is not a vision I think will inspire many requiem masses -- but to my mind the elements are there, nevertheless.
 

Jopsy Pendragon

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What scares me is that most religions seem to have started as something like Qanon.
Most religions seem to have been created with the purpose of pacifying/civilizing local populations so they can be more explored by the domestic wealthy&ruling elites.

Qanon feels more like foreign backed acts of insurrection and sabotage, with the opposite intent.
 

Dakota Tebaldi

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I can buy that foreign interests are stoking the Qanon fires; but I doubt it originated as a foreign idea. Qanon is really the logical progression of Alex Jones-type conspiracy theorizing.

There's even already been other conspiracy theories very much like Qanon here; i.e. NESARA.
 

detrius

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A former Jehova's Witness' take:

 

Kara Spengler

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Ugh... As a hard atheist "none", I resent being generalized like that.

Yes, American christens can be way too damned literal about the Bible, and that includes inactive Christian "nones" who don't consider themselves part of a particularly denomination.

European Christians, I presume, are more like deists, who vaguely believe in a God, but generally presume the Bible is more of a metaphor than literal history.
Yeah, people in the us take it WAY to seriously. I am an athiest but mix in a little paganism, like the rituals. However can not hold a straight face about adopting any beliefs beyond my own moral code (ie, I would crack up if someone said I thought Thor was real).
 

Kara Spengler

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While I'm not sure about how most religions started -- I don't know much about the origins of Hinduism, for example -- I've recently been struck how QAnon seems in some ways analogous to a religion.

It provides a belief structure that seems, to its adherents, to provide a coherent explanation of the world and how it works, and they clearly gain something from their sense of communal identity, as they try to puzzle out Q's latest prophecies, certainly, but, on the other hand, it seems to have little role to play in its adherents' life events like births, marriages and deaths, which all seem to fall with the purview of what we generally regard as religions.

In a way it's more of a cult, in the original sense of the word -- that is, while there's no obvious charismatic cult leader (Trump is the object of their devotion rather than the cult leader, I think), it's a collection of deeply-held and apocalyptic beliefs about an impending upheaval that are important to a small group in a wider movement, not unlike some of the weirder Marian cults of which many Catholics and ex-Catholics will be dimly aware because particular figures in childhood (loopy relatives and nuns, in particular, I think) held them so strongly.

It's a pretty cheap and ersatz imitation, of course -- rather than Christ returning to judge the living and the dead and condemn the sinners to everlasting fire, we've got Trump about to cast the elite into Gitmo and start on a very pale imitation of Stalin's Great Terror, which is not a vision I think will inspire many requiem masses -- but to my mind the elements are there, nevertheless.
Have a read of The Advanced Bonewits' Cult Danger Evaluation Frame .
 

Argent Stonecutter

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Oh man, Bonewits. That's a blast from the past.
 

Jolene Benoir

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As a self-admitted Christian, I can say with all honesty that atheists are people that I can highly respect because in the vast majority, if not all, cases they have studied Christianity, and other religions, with far more tenacity than your average Christian.

In most cases, what led them to become atheist, was a long journey of discovery, both of the religion and themselves.. This may not apply to all, but I've seen it often enough that is how I see it.

In addition, I've seen atheists practice "supposedly Christian" values of love in a more real way than many people who call themselves Christian.

ETA: As to why it might be more of a phenomenon in the US rather than Europe, I think that might simply be down to culture. Religion is incredibly pervasive in the United States. You cannot walk two feet without someone proclaiming themselves to be a Christian (and attempting to bring you around). Perhaps some people feel more of a need to separate themselves from that.
 
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Kara Spengler

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Oh man, Bonewits. That's a blast from the past.
Find it interesting that an honest analysis of it ids christianity as a cult and the catholic branch even more so.
 

Argent Stonecutter

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He was active in the pagan and roleplaying communities and created a tabletop supplement based on "real" magic. I never managed to get together a game using Authentic Thaumaturgy rules, but it looked interesting to design a campaign for.

There were also rumors that he had warned people about another tabletop RPG because it had genuine spells in the rulebook, but I don't know which one it was... possibly Chivalry and Sorcery or Empire of the Petal Throne (simply based on the complexity of these rule systems).
 

Isabeau

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I think that maybe for some, atheist is sometimes confused with anti-theist.

I didn’t come to any great revelation, neither did any of my siblings, but then, we weren’t brought up religiously. I don’t know much about chapter this, psalm that.

Not that there wasn’t any influence at all (Christmas, Easter, grandparents, and culture, etc.) but I think it may help if one isn’t surrounded by a community where leaders and people with power and influence are loud about being religious. Most keep it quiet here except in some rural/far areas. It’s the excuse some use here (there) about other religious groups that can mask their xenophobia. Not in every case, but often.

I may have a very difficult time with making exceptions for religious “laws” when they counter actual laws, but I’m not against people holding deep beliefs if it brings them solace.

I know I find it off-putting/shocking when politicians speak about god and church... even paganism or the word spiritual is strange to me when people use it to describe themselves, or a set of rules/traditions they follow. It’s one thing to consider spiritual aspects of ones life, as opposed to material ones, but when someone says “I’m a very spiritual person.” I’m not sure how to respond. You’ve figured out that life’s about more than the material?

Anyway, I’m rambling...