The Religious Tendancies of the USA – Some Statistics

15 09 2009

Sometimes I get frustrated living in Australia, a country where the vast majority of people do not understand the importance of freedom to human life and prosperity.  The papers are full of idiocy – just today I read an illinformed opinion piece on why Australians should reintroduce national service in the army!  One of the arguments was that this would boost the economy – a fallacy that should by now have disappeared from the face of the earth.  Is understanding the basics of economics really that hard? 

Anyway, Australia’s not all that bad in comparison to other countries – in fact I think the fact that most countries around the world are in such a bad way freedom-wise, explains why it is very tough to convince Australians of the poison in government that needs dealing with.  Australians on average are also not all that bad in comparison to the USA especially in some respects.  In particular Australians on average are not as religious as Americans which is IMO a positive thing. 

Recently I learnt of two disturbing statistics indicating how religious many US citizens are:

Did you know?

1) “According to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution”.

OMFG!  I seriously hope that is not accurate.  It’s really hard for me not to think these people are morons.  Unbelievable.  – I cannot believe that number is accurate. 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/6173399/Charles-Darwin-film-too-controversial-for-religious-America.html 

And how about this:

2) About 70% of US men are circumcised and over half of new born babies are still circumcised. 

I thought circumcision was some sick and twisted ritual that orthodox Jews did like refusing to turn on light globes on the Sabbath or bleeding hoofed animals to death!  I had no idea that so many people still bothered with religiously motivated mutilation to the genitals in the 21st century.  Why diminish sexual pleasure for no good reason!  And why should parents be legally allowed to chop off a part of their helpless baby for no medical reason – especially the baby’s genitals – it’s weird and perverted – and the fundamental motivation is religion or the legacy of religioun ie: traditionalism or populism. 

http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/USA/ 

About 229 babies die a year from circumcision.  http://www.cirp.org/library/death/ 

Atheism rates:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism 

A 2004 BBC poll showed the number of people in the US who don’t believe in a god to be about 10%.[7] A 2005 Gallup poll showed that a smaller 5% of the US population believed that a god didn’t exist.[22] The 2001 ARIS report found that while 29.5 million U.S. Americans (14.1%) describe themselves as “without religion”, only 902,000 (0.4%) positively claim to be atheist, with another 991,000 (0.5%) professing agnosticism.[23] The most recent ARIS report, released March 9, 2009, found in 2008, 34.2 million Americans (15.0%) claim no religion. Of which, 1.6% explicitly describe themselves as atheist or agnostic, double the previous 2001 ARIS survey figure. The highest occurrence of “nones”, according to the 2008 ARIS report, reside in Vermont, with 34% surveyed

In the Australian 2006 Census of Population and Housing, in the question which asked What is the person’s religion?, 18.7% ticked the box marked no religion or wrote in a response which was classified as non religious (e.g. humanism, atheist), which is a growth of 3.2% since the 2001 Census. This question was optional and 11.2% did not answer the question.[41] There are often popular and successful campaigns to have people describe themselves as non-mainstream religions (eg. Jedi).[42]

In 2006, the New Zealand census asked, What is your religion?. 34.7% of those answering indicated no religion. 12.2% did not respond or objected to answering the question.[

Determining whether people totally reject the idea of the supernatural in their personal metaphysics is not easy and is often not evaluated by surveys.  Personally I know many people that reject religion but are still taken in by various supernatural ideas. 

Is it necessarily a good thing to have higher atheist rates?  Considering that many atheists would be existentialists, subjectivists, rationalists or sceptics?  and therefore at least partially opposed to the identification to objective principles especially in the realm of the human sciences such as economics, psychology and in epistemology and ethics. 

Yes I think it can only be good to have higher rates of atheism.  In my experience arguing with Christians, arguments for religion eventually boil down to “The bible says …….” ie: dogma.  And that is the destruction of the proper functioning of human thought.  That approach to epistemology is simply anti-human life even if it could be said to be principled in some (non-empirical) respect.

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2 responses

15 09 2009
barefootonthebeach11

Hello!
I am an American and must say I am fascinated by your shock at circumcision. I have honestly never thought about the potential for debate about circumcision. It’s not even an issue here. It just…occurs. I’ve always heard that circumcision is not a religious act anymore but one done for hygiene purposes. We were taught in health classes that circumcision stopped the potential for bacteria and disease growth under the foreskin. Disregarding those who do it for religious purposes,the feeling here is merely that some people choose it for their children and some people don’t. I have never heard a single opinion either way. Is it really not done other places?
About your other gallop poll, I too have trouble believing that the number is THAT high. In my experience, the majority of americans believe in the intelligent design theory, which states that evolution occurred just as science explains, but was created and overseen by a higher being, usually the christian god. i would say there is a good possibility that only 39 percent of people believe the evolution theory without any religious connection. it’s very hard for people to accept anything that would suggest their religion is in any way incorrect.

15 09 2009
Tim R

Apparently the circumcision rate is about 12% in Australia (2002) http://www.birthjourney.com/circumcision.php

I was surprised it was this high in Australia too, so really I was ignorant about circumcision rates generally.

This site has some more detailed stats http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/Australia/
These stats record the medicare claims for circumcision. I think all circumcisions in Australia would be claimed under medicare.

I have also discovered this Catalyst (Australian TV show) special on circumcision. For the transcript see: http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s586954.htm
According to one of the commentors, circumcision was banned in my state, South Australia. I didn’t know about that, but it looks like they are right: http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22741465-421,00.html

Personally I think any hygiene concerns are easily dealt with by having a shower and washing your penis.

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