Unbelief Is Now The World’s Third-Largest Religious Affiliation

There are more than a billion (non)adherents to what has been insultingly dubbed “unbelief.” The Washington Post writes:

A new report on global religious identity shows that while Christians and Muslims make up the two largest groups, those with no religious affiliation — including atheists and agnostics — are now the third-largest “religious” group in the world.

The study, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that Christians make up the largest group, with 2.2 billion adherents, or 32 percent worldwide, followed by Muslims, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent. Close behind are the “nones” — those who say they have no religious affiliation or do not believe in God — at 1.1 billion, or 16 percent.

The majority of the world’s religiously unaffiliated live in the Asia-Pacific region, with 700 million in China alone, where religion was stifled during the Cultural Revolution.

17 Comments on "Unbelief Is Now The World’s Third-Largest Religious Affiliation"

  1. Free Radio Revolution | Dec 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm |

    Agnosticism is the only thing that makes since in today’s world. I believe it’s a crime to force children into religion b4 their minds are developed. People who want to follow some silly faith religion that was conceived a couple thousand years back based on some messiah who’s going to magically appear and take his followers some place better… Whatever. Just don’t show up on my porch…

  2. BuzzCoastin | Dec 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm |

    most of the numbers for Christian & Muslim are skewed
    if you narrowed it down to practicing believers from general adherents
    there’d be a far smaller number for each
    those with no religious affiliation are the largest group

    • I’d say that seeing everyone in the “no religious affiliation” category as a monolithic group is faulty. Putting together atheists, gnostics, agnostics, ignostics and newagers seems a bit silly to me considering their viewpoints diverge moreso than say, christians and muslims do.

  3. insultingly dubbed “unbelief.”

    Fortunately we “unbelievers” know that “unbelief” means “Not Batshit Crazy”.

    And unless the crazies are preparing for imminent violence, generally don’t worry too much about it.

    I’d add “Except for those fanatical Atheists”, but they may fall into the crazy category too.

    • bobbiethejean | Dec 22, 2012 at 9:51 am |

      What exactly is a fanatical atheist, in your opinion? I’ve been accused of being a fanatical atheist simply by demanding that people provide evidence for their claims. I’m not being exaggerative. I’m being quite literal. All I did was demand evidence for the existence of a god, quantum bigfoots, life after death, and souls and I was thenceforth branded “fanatical.”

      • Ceausescu | Dec 22, 2012 at 11:44 am |

        Why do you ask for his opinion, and not look for the definitions of “fanatical” and “atheist” in the dictionary ? Wanna judge him for being judgmental ?

        I assume that it makes you feel uncomfortable being called a fanatical atheist. Do you prefer another stereotype ? If so, which one ?

        • bobbiethejean | Dec 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

          I know what the definitions of fanatical and atheist are, you dumb ass. I was asking HIS OPINION on what he believes to be fanatical atheism. Why would you assume I was being judgmental of him when I was CLEARLY just asking for clarification?

      • Monkey See Monkey Do | Dec 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

        Fanatical atheists tend to succumb to dogma and doctrine as do fanatics of any ideology. I find fanatical atheists blame religion as being the source of all pain and suffering in the world while overlooking other equally important factors (economics, class, politics). Rupert Sheldrake did quite a good job of laying out 10 main points which form the framework of the atheist dogma.

        1.That nature is mechanical.

        2.That matter is unconscious.
        3.The laws of nature are fixed.
        4.The totally amount of matter and energy are always the same.
        5.That nature is purposeless.
        6.Biological inheritance is material.
        7.That memories are stored as material traces.
        8.The mind is in the brain.
        9.Telepathy and other psychic phenomena are illusory.
        10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works.

        (I wonder if these are chanted at atheist meetings?)

        • Rupert Sheldrake is hardly a neutral source for what athiests believe in, and I hardly think that any belief system would be neutrally defined by people that oppose them. This is an effort to make athiests seem like cold distant people who see the world as a universe devoid of meaning, which is often not the case. #5 is the most ridiculous of them all. It is possible to have a rich, meaningful, and even spiritual worldview without believing in a god.

        • Calypso_1 | Dec 23, 2012 at 12:47 pm |

          I don’t see how the converse of any of these ideas requires theism.

      • See the thing is, You get all hot and bothered about “refuting” all these “claims” when no one is making any claims.

        “Quantum Bigfoot” for example, is not a claim to absolute truth, that demands peoples faith.

        Its just an attempt to make sense of peoples experience. Some People have experienced Bigfoot, as well as things like alien abduction. In many people’s experience Bigfoot does appear to blink in and out of existence, appearing and disappearing and reappearing.

        It was just an attempt to make sense of SOME peoples experience. I never presented it as “BIGFOOT IS REAL I CAN PROVE IT THOU SHALT BELIVE IT!”

        I never said that. But you REACT as if that is what I said. Same with psi phenomenon. Many people experience it and then are curious as to the mechanism of how it might work. So then some writers and researchers create models. Noone ever says “THIS IS TRUE I CAN PROVE IT YOU HAVE TO BELIVE IT OR ELSE!!!”

        Now if some Born again Christian says “Dinosaurs and People Lived together in the Garden of Eden 6000 years ago! That is a FACT I can prove it from the fossil record!” that is something else entirely. That’s the type of thing all these neo-atheist arguments are geared towards. These arguments aren’t geared towards making sense of other peoples experiences.

        • bobbiethejean | Dec 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm |

          I know you’re not saying these things are definitely true but saying something requires “faith” is not a free pass to get away with saying anything. Otherwise, I am GOD! Have faith and give me your money so I can pay off my student loans. Going to god school was very expensive.

  4. QUANTUM BIGFOOT – best fucking band name I’ve heard in ages.

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