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Why More Nonbelievers Are Openly Identifying

(Published on April 15, 2012 by David Niose in Our Humanity, Naturally by Psychology Today.)

It's not unusual to hear commentators, especially religious conservatives, dismiss secular activism by citing numbers, pointing out that only one or two percent of Americans identify as atheists.

Though technically correct, such numbers only tell half the story.

The American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS)—probably the most comprehensive study of American religious demographics—confirms that only about 1.6 percent of Americans identify as atheist or agnostic. This may seem like an insignificant group, but even just 1.6 percent outnumbers the population of American Mormons (1.4 percent), Jews (1.2), Episcopalians (1.1), Muslims (0.6), and many other groups. Much more importantly, however, we should realize that the 1.6 percent figure is deceiving, because ARIS also shows that the actual number of nonbelievers is much higher.

To read the rest of this article on Psychology Today by AHA President David Niose, click here.

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