Atheism more common in the US than believed
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18-05-2017, 12:26 PM
RE: Atheism more common in the US than believed
(18-05-2017 11:50 AM)abaris Wrote:  That's why surveys usually are shit. People tend to say what the believe the other one wants to hear. Very few will be admitting to radical ideologies.

I have always found it interesting that the percentage of the U S military who are atheist/agnostic/Humanist/no religion is so much higher than civilians. But the "religious preference" in the military is not a survey, but rather part of the official military record. It goes on dog tags, and determines how a body will be treated if the service member is a war casualty. That means that it tends to be more accurate than a survey where people are easily able to lie.

Of course, there are a couple of things that skew the numbers, even in the military. On the one hand, non-religious people may list a religion because they believe it is what their families would want, rather than what they believe or want. On the other side, a "no preference" for religion does not necessarily mean the person is an atheist, but just that they have no affiliation with a particular religion.

Since the 1970's, the "nones" have been above 20%, and have been slowly but steadily rising. The latest numbers I could find show the "nones" at 26-27%:[Image: Religion_in_the_US_Military-03.jpg]
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18-05-2017, 12:31 PM
RE: Atheism more common in the US than believed
(18-05-2017 12:26 PM)Rockblossom Wrote:  
(18-05-2017 11:50 AM)abaris Wrote:  That's why surveys usually are shit. People tend to say what the believe the other one wants to hear. Very few will be admitting to radical ideologies.

I have always found it interesting that the percentage of the U S military who are atheist/agnostic/Humanist/no religion is so much higher than civilians. But the "religious preference" in the military is not a survey, but rather part of the official military record. It goes on dog tags, and determines how a body will be treated if the service member is a war casualty. That means that it tends to be more accurate than a survey where people are easily able to lie.

Of course, there are a couple of things that skew the numbers, even in the military. On the one hand, non-religious people may list a religion because they believe it is what their families would want, rather than what they believe or want. On the other side, a "no preference" for religion does not necessarily mean the person is an atheist, but just that they have no affiliation with a particular religion.

Not that mysterious really. People in the military tend to be young, and the younger cohorts of Americans are higher in religious disbelief. There will be more members of the military that are 20 than 65 years of age.

When I shake my ignore file, I can hear them buzzing!

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18-05-2017, 12:41 PM
RE: Atheism more common in the US than believed
(18-05-2017 12:26 PM)Rockblossom Wrote:  
(18-05-2017 11:50 AM)abaris Wrote:  That's why surveys usually are shit. People tend to say what the believe the other one wants to hear. Very few will be admitting to radical ideologies.

I have always found it interesting that the percentage of the U S military who are atheist/agnostic/Humanist/no religion is so much higher than civilians. But the "religious preference" in the military is not a survey, but rather part of the official military record. It goes on dog tags, and determines how a body will be treated if the service member is a war casualty. That means that it tends to be more accurate than a survey where people are easily able to lie.

Of course, there are a couple of things that skew the numbers, even in the military. On the one hand, non-religious people may list a religion because they believe it is what their families would want, rather than what they believe or want. On the other side, a "no preference" for religion does not necessarily mean the person is an atheist, but just that they have no affiliation with a particular religion.

Since the 1970's, the "nones" have been above 20%, and have been slowly but steadily rising. The latest numbers I could find show the "nones" at 26-27%:[Image: Religion_in_the_US_Military-03.jpg]

It's interesting that one of the 5 most common is "Christian", even though the other 4 also fall under the general heading of "Christian" (and 2 of them fall under "Protestant", which also gets its own separate listing). Some confusing labels those are.
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18-05-2017, 01:09 PM
RE: Atheism more common in the US than believed
(18-05-2017 12:31 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:  Not that mysterious really. People in the military tend to be young, and the younger cohorts of Americans are higher in religious disbelief. There will be more members of the military that are 20 than 65 years of age.

The percentages are still much higher, even when broken into age groups:
Pew Research Study on Religion by Age Group

I can't get the chart to post here, but here's the data from the second chart at Pew Research:

18-29 years: No belief in God is 16%, Don't Know/Other is 3%
30-49 years: No belief in God is 9%, Don't Know/Other is 2%
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18-05-2017, 01:11 PM (This post was last modified: 18-05-2017 01:15 PM by abaris.)
RE: Atheism more common in the US than believed
(18-05-2017 12:31 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:  Not that mysterious really. People in the military tend to be young, and the younger cohorts of Americans are higher in religious disbelief. There will be more members of the military that are 20 than 65 years of age.

I think it has less to do with being young and more with witnessing the shit end of the world at every given opportunity. For the last 70 years or so. The US military is the only one almost constantly deployed since WWII.

You also get that with survivors of the bomb raids of WWII, openly stating they stopped believing through that experience. Also veterans, having seen the ass end of war. My grandfather wasn't a believer and he had been in the trenches of WWI. I was too young to enter in a discussion over this when he died, but he never once visited a synagogue in his lifetime. The boozer at the corner was more his style, as was roast pork, for that matter. I also have his war diaries. There's a lot about shrapnell rain and shitty weather but not a single mention of god.


Btw, I don't find the 70 percent trusting their comrades regardless of their believes surprising. They are the ones the individual has to trust to get them out, after all.

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18-05-2017, 01:20 PM
RE: Atheism more common in the US than believed
(18-05-2017 01:11 PM)abaris Wrote:  
(18-05-2017 12:31 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:  Not that mysterious really. People in the military tend to be young, and the younger cohorts of Americans are higher in religious disbelief. There will be more members of the military that are 20 than 65 years of age.

I think it has less to do with being young and more with witnessing the shit end of the world at every given opportunity. For the last 70 years or so. The US military is the only one almost constantly deployed since WWII.

You also get that with survivors of the bomb raids of WWII, openly stating they stopped believing through that experience. Also veterans, having seen the ass end of war.

Btw, I don't find the 70 percent trusting their comrades regardless of their believes surprising. They are the ones the individual has to trust to get them out, after all.

But religious preference goes on the record when they enter service. It can be changed later, but not all that easily. When I entered, there was no option for "atheist" or "Humanist" on the record, so mine said "No Preference" under religion. I tried twice to get it changed to "atheist" when that became an option, but no luck with that. The folks at Personnel would only change it on the record if I got a paper signed by a Chaplain showing I had converted to the religion I wanted listed. Facepalm All I had to do was find an atheist Chaplain. Undecided
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18-05-2017, 02:32 PM
RE: Atheism more common in the US than believed
I've been saying for nine years that most Americans lie about their religion. The ones that do active religion usually limit it to 1/168th of the week.
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18-05-2017, 02:34 PM
RE: Atheism more common in the US than believed
(18-05-2017 01:20 PM)Rockblossom Wrote:  
(18-05-2017 01:11 PM)abaris Wrote:  I think it has less to do with being young and more with witnessing the shit end of the world at every given opportunity. For the last 70 years or so. The US military is the only one almost constantly deployed since WWII.

You also get that with survivors of the bomb raids of WWII, openly stating they stopped believing through that experience. Also veterans, having seen the ass end of war.

Btw, I don't find the 70 percent trusting their comrades regardless of their believes surprising. They are the ones the individual has to trust to get them out, after all.

But religious preference goes on the record when they enter service. It can be changed later, but not all that easily. When I entered, there was no option for "atheist" or "Humanist" on the record, so mine said "No Preference" under religion. I tried twice to get it changed to "atheist" when that became an option, but no luck with that. The folks at Personnel would only change it on the record if I got a paper signed by a Chaplain showing I had converted to the religion I wanted listed. Facepalm All I had to do was find an atheist Chaplain. Undecided
I wrote the senior Chaplain in the USN and asked him to fix that for me. He wrote a very nice letter back and applauded me for standing by my beliefs. I nearly wrote back and told him I didn't have any beliefs. However, I got what I wanted.

In boot camp I was required to attend one religious service a week. Don't know if anybody challenged that ever.
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18-05-2017, 03:15 PM
RE: Atheism more common in the US than believed
(18-05-2017 02:34 PM)Gawdzilla Wrote:  In boot camp I was required to attend one religious service a week.

What kind?

In the early 70ies, we were still required to attend school services. But according to our denominations. We had some dares going on, such as taking a piss in church or who could aquire the most communion waffles.

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18-05-2017, 03:26 PM
RE: Atheism more common in the US than believed
(18-05-2017 03:15 PM)abaris Wrote:  
(18-05-2017 02:34 PM)Gawdzilla Wrote:  In boot camp I was required to attend one religious service a week.

What kind?

In the early 70ies, we were still required to attend school services. But according to our denominations. We had some dares going on, such as taking a piss in church or who could aquire the most communion waffles.

I went with the one with the least participation required, Methodist. They had cookies after.
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