Social Media Growing Atheism by the Millions

Atheism, social media, millions

Atheism. It used to be a taboo word; a word people would whisper in horror, causing dropped jaws and deep frown lines on foreheads at its very mention. Atheists used to be such a tiny minority that it was nearly impossible to meet one. Any mention of the concept could conjure up images that scene from RoseMary’s Baby; the one where Ruth Gordon tells Mia Farrow how wonderful it is that she’s carrying Satan’s Baby: “He chose you, honey! From all the women in the world to be the mother of his only living son!” she said, an evil and disconcerting smile spreading across her face.

There are some people who still think that atheists worship Satan or participate in infant sacrifices. Little do they know that atheists don’t believe in Satan because they don’t believe in the supernatural, and most of them just adore babies. Now, some of those odd and misinformed stereotypes are being dispelled because social media is growing atheism by the millions. There’s strength in numbers, as they say, and atheism has been expanding massively over the last ten years.

Even more notable than the jump in atheism is the increase in people who say they simply don’t adhere to any religion. A recent PEW study found that 20% of Americans now say they are “unaffiliated” with any specific faith or set of religious practices. 20% of Americans is a huge number: over 63 million people. Out of that number, roughly one third are atheist or agnostic. That’s over 21 million non-believing “heathens.”

Such a large number has undoubtedly been helped along by social media, especially Facebook. A search of the words “atheist,” “agnostic,” “skeptic,” “God” and “secular,” reveals close to 100 atheistic Facebook pages ranging in membership from a few thousand to a quarter million people.

Some of the pages are dedicated to a specific cause, such as promoting a safe haven for Syrian atheists or raising awareness that there are a huge number of black atheists. Some are designed to share information, news, opinion, commentary and humor among non-believers. One of these pages is Hammer The Gods, a group whose mission it is to:

  • Wield the hammer of logic, reason, and scientific evidence against claims of gods, religion and the religious

  • Promote Atheism in a positive manner

  • Discuss arguments for and against god(s), and refine those arguments for successful deployment on and off line

  • Analysis and discussion of arguments for and against the existence of gods and successful and failed arguments

  • Encourage Intellectual Honesty and intellectual atheism

  • Help Atheists and Agnostics to come out if it is safe to do so

  • Reinforce a strict separation between church and state

  • Promote equality and human rights

  • Share resources that assist in accomplishing these goals

The group has nearly 36,000 members and welcomes everyone for friendly discussion, sharing of information and “reasonable debate.” Its mission was conceived by page founder Ryan Burkhart, who takes a balanced approach to developing the page’s goals. He feels that assessing the correct communication style is the optimal way to share ideas about atheism with those who want to know more, and that the best approach is not to be rude or judgmental toward people who are religious. If someone wants to convey atheism properly, he says, they should stop to consider that the person on the receiving end of the ideas is a human being. Burkhart writes on Hammer the Gods:

Logic and facts are a necessity, but trying to sway others toward your position with dismissiveness and/or degradation is likely no more effective than trying to render an honest conversion to Christianity, by threat of torture or being burned at the stake.

It is also a great service to humanity and “the movement” to recognize that, however willingly or unwillingly a religious person came to hold their beliefs/disbeliefs, they are victims of religion -  just like many atheists once were.

It is good to demonstrate the diversity of humanity among the “atheist community”, but we also must keep our eye on the brass ring. Being logically consistent, evidence-based critical thinkers is not something we can inspire and instill in others, if we fail to demonstrate those attributes in ourselves.

Another page, the Thinking Atheist, says they are a group which encourages people to talk about ideas, exchange information and meet other like-minded people:

This is a community for atheists, agnostics, and skeptics to exchange ideas, discuss issues, explore challenges, make friends and have some laughs. This is a proselytizing, preaching and troll-free zone.

 Mission

While the vast majority of religious people simply inherited the faith of their parents, or adopted a blind allegiance to a comforting placebo, there are some who have legitimate questions and seek answers. This site certainly doesn’t have all the answers, but the quest for “truth” is something we embrace.

Indeed, when reviewing many of the atheist, agnostic and skeptics pages on Facebook, it is clear to see the members are interested in the free exchange of ideas, a focus on critical thinking and the prospect of raising awareness about some of the harm that can come from religion.

Facebook isn’t the only social media outlet growing atheism by the millions though; Twitter also has atheist members and groups that send out daily Tweets, news and information. According to the journal Physiological Science, social media is a significant factor in the spread of ideas because our brains are hardwired to want to share information with other people. Atheism has certainly caught on, big time, with millions of members across at least 100 Facebook group pages, and the number of people joining these groups grows every day.

As the concepts of atheism are spread through social media, the numbers of people who will become non-believers will undoubtedly increase. Some experts predict that religion will die out entirely in the next 50 years or so, and social media will surely play a role in its demise.

An editorial by Rebecca Savastio

Photo Credit

Sources:

Hammer the Gods

The Thinking Atheist

PEW

MIT

Psychological Science

73 Responses to Social Media Growing Atheism by the Millions

  1. weismonger February 9, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    When I hear all the simpering, whining, Left Wingers cry about all the poor people…I just remind myself that it is HUMAN BEINGS who are destroying this planet. Why? Because human being invented religion, and the lie is that prayer, genuflecting, rolling beads around, etc. will save humanity and the earth. Wrong…..

    There ear now 7 billion people on this planet destroying, polluting, and breeding, …of whom most are religious. Now WHY would any “thinking” atheist wish to save this mess?

    And know this. The Left is suicidal, and the Right is a bunch of delusional freaks…neither the right or the left have a clue as to what is coming or what to do about it. The Religious Right wants a religious dictatorship whereby they think their imaginary gods will save them. And the nutty, suicidal Left believes in socialism and redistribution of wealth like a mindless religion. Ergo, the Left says that if we are all the same….meaning poor, the world will be a happier, better run place. Only problem is that to make us all poor, it takes a police state…and furthermore, people don’t like being slaves.

    Trust neither group, don’t buy into either the Left or the Right….save yourself, your family, and the one’s you love….Its going to get messy. What is the advantage of being an Atheist…is that Atheism is for thinking…not delusional religions or socialist theft.

    The future of Elysium is just around the corner.

    Reply
  2. Overmars November 5, 2013 at 2:51 am

    This trend and article gives me faith in the future. There is a growing secular/athiest culture even in religious countries. The young in the west don’t give 2 sh*ts about religion they live for today, as John Lennon said.

    Its Africa and the poor parts of Asia that I worry about, the sectarian wars in the middle east and Africa are the real battlegrounds (both literally and figuratively). Al-Shabab, Boko Haram and even Scientology are the polar opposites to the athiest movement.

    Reply
  3. sminhinnick November 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    There is a powerful YouTube video which backs up Rebecca Savastio’s article. It is very much worth watching. “The Internet: Where religions come to die” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rqw4krMOug

    Reply
  4. BeautiflBlackAtheist (@briabria) November 4, 2013 at 7:19 am

    I don’t think believers understand…hurling the H-word (Hell) is futile. IF we had cause or concern about hell or any torment resembling a hell…we wouldn’t say we’re Atheists. Just as the threat of hell DOES NOT scare, intimidate believers (forget the news headlines-look at the believers you KNOW and what they do behind closed doors), it doesn’t scare nonbelievers. It’s simple logic-use it.

    Reply
  5. ArmyMom November 1, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    I wonder if the hell-spouting theists who comment on articles like this with threats of eternal damnation realize how little they’re actually doing for their point.

    Reply
    • weismonger February 9, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      I keep asking the religious when they threaten us with hell for none belief….Where is hell? What’s the address? If the religious are going to threaten us with hell, first they have to prove it exists and know where it is. Duh….

      Like everything else religious….religions of all types are silly, childish, fairytales…meant to scare people into submission and fear….to make human beings more manageable slaves and serfs.

      Every year, the United Nations also puts forth “bills” and mandates to make “insulting” religion a criminal offense at a national level. Why? Because down deep, the real story is that although the Roman Catholics, the Protestants, and the Moslems all claim to not like other religions…when it comes to us and especially Atheists, all of these religions fear Atheism more than they fear other religions. Behind the scenes, all of these religions will band together to destroy free speech and freedom FROM religion…and then carve up the world.

      The most wonderful thing about the proliferation of the Internet, is Free Speech where we can say what we want about religion and the religious without fear of being prosecuted…but watch out. Both the Right and the Left are gearing up to attempt to take control of the Internet….so they can control what we read, see, and hear and demand that we either worship the state, their imaginary gods, or both.

      Resist…. shut it down, hack it, and show the Religious Right and the Socialist Left they cannot control us….The Internet is the last and only engine of freedom we have left. Don’t lose it……

      The religious and political dictatorships have held so much power all through history that the very idea that their end is coming ….not only scares the pans off them, but will make the religious and the Left extremely dangerous.

      If you have brains enough to realize this….and if you don’t, read history…..then prepare to defend your freedom in any way you can.

      Reply

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