Thursday 26 December 2013

‘None’ could be religion’s new normal in Britain, USA

Cathy Lynn Grossman writes for the Religion News Service, noting that "no religion is the new religion" in Britain:

Just in time for Christmas, new statistics show “no religion is the new religion” in Great Britain, according to a study released Monday.
The study, by Westminster Faith Debates, finds 38 percent adults in Great Britain, and 48 percent of those ages 18 to 29, checked no religion in online surveys conducted in January and June by YouGov.
“Whilst it’s always possible that this trend could be reversed, it gets less and less likely as the chain of memory connecting young people to religion stretches and snaps,” said Lancaster University sociologist, an organizer of the public debates on religion topics and author of the study.
These numbers fall midway between the findings of two other British studies that both show a trend away from the pews.
The British Social Attitudes Study in 2012 found 48 percent claimed to have no religion. And the 2011 Census reported about 25 percent of those surveyed in England and Wales said they were “nones,” including 32 percent of those under age 25.
“Nones” is an umbrella term that includes atheists, agnostics, humanists and a significant number who say they believe in God but don’t affiliate with any specific religious tradition. It was popularized by the American Religious Identification Survey, which tracked the rise in U.S. “nones” from 8 percent in 1990 to nearly 16 percent in 2009.
In 2012, the Pew Research Center calculated that about 20 percent of Americans overall are “nones” but Gallup put the number slightly lower at less than 18 percent...
Still, no matter how you ask or calculate it, “no religion” is growing at a faster rate than religions in Great Britain and the USA.

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Merry Times for Atheism

Dave Nicose, the president of the American Humanist Association, notes that irreligion is on the rise in America in his popular piece on Psychology Today:
As Americans gather to celebrate Christmas, fewer and fewer actually believe they are celebrating the birth of a divine being who subsequently died and then rose from the dead. But if you look around during the holiday season, that doesn't seem to matter much.
Atheism continues to grow in America. That’s the clear message from a Harris poll released last week, which shows that God-belief is declining sharply. While 74 percent still say they believe in God, that figure is down from 82 percent in three previous polls in 2009, 2007, and 2005. The remaining 26 percent said they did not believe in God (12 percent) or were not sure (14 percent).
Almost all the numbers in the poll indicate that America is gravitating away from supernatural beliefs. Belief in miracles is down (76 percent in 2009, 72 percent in 2013), as is belief that Jesus was God or the son of God (73/68), or in the resurrection (70/65), survival of a soul after death (71/64), and several other supernatural religious concepts...
The polling also confirmed previous data showing that secularity is most prevalent among younger generations. God-belief is lowest in those under age 36 (at just 64 percent) and climbs with each older age category.

Saturday 14 December 2013

Friday 13th December debate.

The debate, "My former religion is more ridiculous than yours" brought out a record number of attendees for Sydney Atheists. On behalf of the committee and all the members of Sydney Atheists, I would like to say a big thank you to all those who contributed to and attended the function. I would also like to thank the handful of religious devotees who helped spice up the evening.

Overall it showed how each religion is so ridiculous in so many ways and makes one wonder why the  adherents of those religions are so blind to the absurdities that are so plain for outsiders to see.

Our next talk evening will be Friday the 14th of February and will include Teresa Russell from Primary Ethics. Primary Ethics is a body that provides Ethics classes as an alternative to Scripture fantasies in Primary schools in NSW. Our second talk will be given by Bruce Long, one of our philosophers who will discuss "The meaning of life".

Happy 2014 to all,

Steve Marton

Thursday 5 December 2013

Annual General Meeting 2013

The AGM was held on the 4th of December 2013.

Both changes to the constitution were approved.

An election for a new committee was held.

Committee members were elected as follows:

President: Steve Marton
Vice-President: Jenny Chioatto
Secretary: Nick Sewell
Treasurer: Semih Ilhan
Public Relations Officer: Thomas Kraemer
Assistant Secretary / Treasurer: Morgan Storey
Peter Cartledge remains the Public Officer

On behalf of Sydney Atheists, we congratulate the new committee and thank all those who attended the AGM.

The new committee will work towards further building Sydney Atheists beyond the stellar growth that has been achieved in 2013.