TED: Ideas Worth Spreading - Unofficial

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I believe atheism, or at least a lack of religious belief is actually the most common thought

Master Storyteller and Pitch Expert

In the US particularly, we've been raised to be afraid (because of the vicious verbal and physical attacks of the religious groups) to say if we are atheistic or don't believe in god or the gospels. So, many people who don't believe, never speak up. This is the silent majority. More and more I realize that most of the people I know do not believe if religion, but just don't openly talk about it until they think they are around like-thinkers.


  • Comment (93)
  • August 16, 2012
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  • Rudy W.


    Rudy W.

    Author, The Core of Happiness

    I've lived and travelled across North America...and not anything of what you're describing has been my experience, thankfully.

    In fact, I think the sleeping giant is the all-too-quiet Catholic group....

    Perhaps many groups have just been lulled into complacency....

    The herd mentality, however, is not a sign that its members are in the majority.

    Thanks for putting out the idea, Mark.

  • Harold B.


    Harold B.

    Key Account Manager at Aker Advantage AS

    I do not believe the majority is atheist

    I do however believe the majority is Deists but pretend to be Christian, Catholic etc. etc. based on social conformity.

    I myself an many atheists agree there is still a possibility for deism to be true.

    But people taking any religious book literal and claim only their religious books are the truth, do this on a complete ignorance of modern scientific understanding.

  • Scott O.


    Scott O.

    General Manager at Fit4Duty Pty Ltd

    Is atheism a pejorative term? I am not trying to be smart here, but "A" means non or not and "theism" means the worship of a divine being.
    Therefore atheism means not worshiping a divine being.

    Seems pretty negative. Do atheists therefore have a name that encapsulates what they believe positively rather than what they do not believe.

    Again, no hidden agenda here - I am a christian of sorts. I have always tried to avoid using derogatory language for others regardless of if I agree with them or not.

  • Carol H.


    Carol H.

    The Art of Critical Thinking

    No, I don't think atheism is the most common thought. It may be common among the 18-29 age group among whites, and especially the immigrants from ex-Soviet bloc countries, but not overall and not across different ethnicity. I agree with Rudy that religion remains the majority with many silent about it, especially the Catholics who are Hispanics, and the blacks who are Muslim or protestants.

    And, Maybe Mark is confusing his "A's" or skipping one: Agnostics.
    It's seems the atheists leave no gray area and prefer the absolute black and white of religious or atheist, when in fact there is a huge middle. Aside from the agnostics, there are many people who believe in God but not religion. And then there are those who describe themselves as 'spiritual' but not religious, but that isn't atheism either.

    Another skipped over another category is the beliefs held in eastern religion which don't fall into the western atheism/religious paradigm. Immigrants from Asian countries now comprise the largest growing demographic in the US so the way they answer the question skews the results without explicitly allowing for the definition of eastern belief

  • Jamie P.


    Jamie P.

    Partner at Conscious Business People

    I think we are perhaps agnostics on the whole. Atheism is generally associated with a firm disbelief in gods which itself is pretty unbending on the belief scale. the only logical conclusion I can ever come up with is that we just don't know and we may never know though the false certainty might feel in some way comforting it's quite naive to pretend we do.

  • Don B.


    Don B.

    Staff Research Engineer at Delphi Powertrain Systems

    Two comments, one fun and the other serious.

    First the fun one...since atheists do not believe in God, doesn't that de facto mean that God must exist in order for them to have something to not believe in?

    Now the more serious one...logically speaking, either God exists or he does not exist. When we die, we will likely find out the answer. Is it better to have worshipped and believed in God during your lifetime and find out he does not exist after you die, or to deny His existence while you're alive only to find out He DOES in fact exist? What's the risk of a wrong decision here? "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

  • Quentin S.


    Quentin S.

    Data Support Specialist at The Schneider Corporation

    If atheism is such a common thought, chic-fil-a wouldn't have had a massive turnout for their customer appreciation day. Sadly, society is brainwashed into thinking religion is the said all, final rule, although there are more and more questioning the bible/the beliefs they were raised to think.
    I'm glad I my parents allowed me to make my own decisions on this and I plan to do the same thing with my children.

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