A recent Gallup poll stated some 7%-8% of American's don't believe in god. The first time Gallup asked this question was back in 1944 when only 1% of American answered "No". This grows the Atheist population in the USA from about 1.4 Million in 1944 to 24.6 Million today. Americans are Atheists a 1750% increase in 70 years. So, this means 24.6 Million Americans Don’t Believe in God! which make Atheists the 3rd largest minority group in the USA behind Hispanics and African Americans.
My question is does this make Atheists as a minority group, a political force to be reckoned with?
I have to agree with Hovsep. To enter the contest for the book" The Believing Brain", you have to say you are a member here on twitter. I was hesitant. I did it, but it took me a few minutes to think about it.
There is still such a stigma. However, I explained to my mom that we need to get out of the closet.
I think people do vote accordingly, they just don't announce it.. So how would we really know how many atheists live in this country..? I was never asked.
I think we are a large force, but a silent one..
I agree that atheism is increasing in the U.S. (likely more than the Gallup poll suggested, and if we could only align ourselves under organization that could wield the political influence of some other minority groups, I think we would definitely see benefits. However, the reason I think that atheists have not become a political force is because as free thinkers we can seldom come to a consensus on issues. Each of us understand that god is imaginary, but do the similarities go much beyond the non-belief?
As freethinkers we constantly challenge the status quo and are skeptics at heart. Do you think it’s possible to form a PAC that would have a platform that the majority of American atheists would support? I think because of our inquisitive nature, it would be difficult for many atheists to stand behind or support a PAC simply because once we enter the realm of politics we are likely to experience a great deal of debate within the group, which could render is ineffective.
Is our own skeptical and questioning nature the reason we have no political representation? Can we overcome and find a way to remain relevant in the political arena without compromising our minds and conforming to the “majority rules” mentality?
Joyce, the poll did ask other questions. Those who said "No" are Atheists by their answer.
The poll was conducted anonymously and privately over the phone. One doesn't have to admit publicly to being an Atheist for them to be an Atheist. That's why they are closet Atheists.
I think perhaps your question should be asked like this:
"How many of the 308 Million Americans will say they are Atheist IF a larger sample group were polled?"
"How many MORE people would come out publicly as Atheist IF there were more public Atheists?"
It's two separate issues.
The problem is organization. A political force is not determined by the actual numbers, otherwise we would have had political equality for women written into the Constitution. Don't get much higher than 50 % of the population, do you?
In order to organize we need a single front spearheading the movement. We need to write a creedo that can be signed on to, not just a bunch of scattered cats all meowing at once. Like any other organization, we need a purpose statement outlining our reason for existence and our intentions. We need...as I suggest in another comment...we need scorecards on every candidate showing not only their voting history on issues, but their religious beliefs. We need a slate of 'atheist friendly politicians' who can be voted for with confidence. We need a clearcut, unpublished agenda that has as its ultimate goal the return to a secular government. We need a published platform speaking to every issue from global warming to the war in the Middle East. We need our 'abortion rights', the one issue that led to the forming of and the strength of Eval/Fundamentalism. I don't mean abortion rights as part of the platform, but rather we need a specific cause that will draw media attention and gain exposure and recruit members. We need to make this cause one that is as black and white as the anti-abortion movement and one in which our position is supported by irrefutible scientific evidence.
Christians use the federal government to promote their anti-women, anti-homosexuals, anti-atheism, pro NRA, pro expansionist warfare, pro patriotic...you can fill out their list as well as I can...they have opened themselves to attact. They brought their religious beliefs into the political arena, then the banning of religious practices that are psychologically, emotionally and culturally disruptive is on the table. They can no longer hide behind Freedom of Religion. In a very real sense they have lost the moral high ground and have opened themselves up for a political assault on religion.
Those of us who have suffered mightily from the psychological, physical and social abuse of religion have stories to tell. We need a book of personal stories of atheists from the common man. Think 'Chicken Soup For Atheists.'
We need a practical cause and I feel we have on in the banning of the rite of exorcism. We need a scientific study done of the results of such primitivism in people's minds. People need to be informed of the dangers of this abusive practice. We need a book that mixes personal horror stories in with the supporting documentation. We need the AMA and the APA to get behind this ban. I think this could be our 'abortion rights' cause that can gain us the national attention any political group has to have not only to survive, but to be acknowledged at all.
We need non-political causes to support as well. I believe we can and should start a campaign to "Put Claus Back Into Christmas" designed to return the holiday to its secular roots. We need to remake it as a secular season that brings all people..in spite of religion or the lack thereof...together in the celebration of unity and human kindness.
We need to let people know that the Human Spirit is the only form of mysticism and spirituality that does not require and is the antithesis of supernaturalism. That being just a human is a good and honorable thing. That it's OK to live a life enjoying both the pleasures of the flesh, the pleasures of friends of family and the ultimate pleasure of exercising our free will with only our personal ethics as a guide...and we need to let people know that persnal ethics is the only true morality we all share.
We need ad campaigns like the Mormons used effectively for years to rise about the stigma of their reality and create a false image of who they are and who they are about.
Two women in a restuarant eating lunch. One is talking about how bad her life is because of her fanatical Christian family and the guilt she feels for all of her sins. The other woman makes the suggestion that perhaps she would find a better life by becoming an atheist and hands her literature on the subject designed to explain the atheist position.
Hell, we need kids on bikes with black pants and white shirts with black ties and name tags going door to door and asking people if they have ever thought of becoming an atheist.
We need to raise hell if we are going to burn down the church.