Home » Intellectual freedom » Where do the world’s atheists live? You’d be surprised

Where do the world’s atheists live? You’d be surprised

Here.

One of the most surprising datapoints here might be Saudi Arabia, where 5 percent say they’re atheist. Not a high number, to be sure, but higher than in many other countries, despite the extremely sensitive taboo against atheism in Saudi Arabia, which is also considered a serious crime. (In both Iraq and Afghanistan, for instance, less than 1 percent of respondents called themselves atheists.) We looked earlier at the surprisingly robust community of underground Saudi ath.

So the unfreer the nation, the more atheists?

Canada is a pretty “free” nation, but I doubt you’d get five percent to say they were definitely atheists.

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10 Responses to Where do the world’s atheists live? You’d be surprised

  1. Broken first link.

  2. 2

    The first comment on the page:

    I’m a devout believer. I have two Gods. I follow the FSM with all my pasta sauce. rAmen.

    Finest News-quality :-|
    Btw @News:

    So the unfreer the nation, the more atheists?

    ?? Interesting question. Let’s find out!

  3. Eric Anderson at 2 (by my count): broken link now fixed (I think, internal data character issue).

  4. Denise, have you looked at the survey? Canada is colored in the same shade as Saudi-Arabia – and if you look at Gallup’s survey, you find that 9% of the Canadians are “convinced atheists”!
    Indeed, according to the survey (which you are blogging about, so it should be worth to look, don’t you think) , the top-10 atheistic nations are: China, Japan, the Czech Republic, France, South Korea, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Iceland, Australia and Ireland (the eleventh place is share by – surprise, surprise – Canada, Spain and Switzerland). I think only China could be classified as an unfree nation…

    To answer you question: “So the unfreer the nation, the more atheists?” No.

  5. Denyse, Did you read the survey?

    “Canada is a pretty “free” nation, but I doubt you’d get five percent to say they were definitely atheists.” – Denyse (News?)

    But they actually did say that. The survey reports 9%. And according to it there are less ‘convinced atheists’ in Russia (6%) than in Canada. What do you make of that?

    Obviously this is a UD News attempt at sociology. Here, have a taste for the USA.

    There are as many atheists in the United States of ‘America’ as in the Russian Federation. So, which country is ‘freer’?

    Flip to another story: I doubt more than 2% of people outside of American evangelical Christians (noting also that U.K. evangelicals, Australian evangelicals and other English-speaking evangelicals combined count for less than 1% of the world’s population) will *ever* accept the ideology of ‘Intelligent Design’.

    Would you like to sponsor a survey on non-evangelical Christian responses to ‘Intelligent Design’? ;) Catholics have largely abandoned it, if even they were naively taken in by the ideology of IDism in the first place.

  6. That China has most of the world’s atheists is unsurprising. Their Communist government has pretty much outlawed religious belief and the believers that are there are most likely nominal Christians. Buddhists have no need of a personal God; this religion is closer to true atheism than anything else.

  7. It would be interesting to correlate these statistics with age. It seems that most atheists are young because, when you get older, God seems a more reasonable worldview on account of this!

  8. 8

    So the unfreer the nation, the more atheists?

    Canada is a pretty “free” nation, but I doubt you’d get five percent to say they were definitely atheists.

    First of all, Canada is at 9% according to your source. (You can tell it’s at least 5% just by looking at the map!)

    And, looking at the map, the least atheist nations are the middle east and other Muslim nations, with Saudi Arabia being the most atheist at only 5% (that Saudi Arabia bucks this trend is why, of course, it’s among the “most surprising datapoints.”) The “free-er” nations actually seem to be the more atheistic (China being a very blaring exception, perhaps due to the popularity of Buddhism and Taoism.)

  9. There is a question of who is really an atheist. Lots of people who are agnostic or just plain fed up with organized religion self-identify with the label because it is popular or they’ve heard it more often than other labels or they don’t want to get into a religious discussion or they think it makes them appear enlightened or they have some other reason for adopting the label.

    I’ve run across several people in my life who have said they were atheist. Then after talking to them a while it becomes clear that they are not atheist. Perhaps agnostic. Perhaps tired of organized religion. Quite often just frustrated with some aspect of life that seems unfair or unjust to them. (Many people fall into this latter category — i.e., “I can’t believe in a God who would allow X.”)

    Then at the far end of the spectrum you have the Dawkinses and the Dennetts and the Harrises of the world who are not only atheist (in the ordinary sense of disbelieving in a supreme being), but would be more properly categorized as “anti-theists,” meaning they actively and agressively fight against religion. This active fight is a key personal cause or form of identification for them.

  10. Babamar @ 6,, liked your link,,, reminded me of this short video:

    Reverse Thinking
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgFU5Ak88-k

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