The Rise of Atheism As A Trend – Religion 101 Paper



Atheism, is a state of religious disbelief among people across the globe which was an idea born in the early 300 BC. Having it roots in the Greece region, the belief that there existed not God quickly spread to other parts of the globe especially Europe faster that it was thought. Atheism had its toll among the people across the globe in the 1970s. This was marked by an increase in the notion that there existed no deities. The force behind atheism had rapidly expanded in the wake of the 1900s. However, the introduction of two of the world’s most influential religions; Christianity and Islam led to the rampant diversion of the faiths of many people across the globe (Zuckerman, 2010, p. 61).

Different parts of the globe, however, undertook atheism differently. Many parts of the globe had differing affiliations to atheism. Whereas in some parts the irreligious movement underwent a bottleneck, in others it flourished. This can be assessed by demographic studies and analyses done. The United States is one of the nations that have the highest prevalence rates of atheism. Perpetuated by flexibility in the human and civil rights, atheism has taken a great toll in the American population. There has been a modest increase in the number of atheists in the US since the 1950s.

According to Newport, the percentage of the American population that had no affiliation to any religion had grown from naught in the year 1950 to about 16 percent in the in 2013. The number of Americans that were affiliated to no particular religion grew systematically from 3 percent in the year 1948. These figures grew very gradually from that point through 1949, 1950s and 1960 (Newport, 2010). The almost stagnating growth was due to the fact that its introduction as a form of religion was faced by a rampant opposition from the two main dominating groups of religion; Islam and Christianity. In the wake of the year 1970, this errant number began to gradually increase and gain roots among the population. By the year 1970, the population of atheists had sprung to up to 11 percent. These figures were so perhaps due to the fact that the population had been encouraged by the freedom of worship that had been granted by the American administration. This implicated that the majority of the population had not been having the privilege and the freedom to affiliate themselves with the otherwise then-opposed form of irreligion (Newport, 2010).

The increasing trends have caused a considerably much attention from many scholars. There has been many documented efforts to try and explain the reasons behind this characteristic changes that have drawn many Americans towards the prospect of no religious affiliation. Firstly, there has been a trend established along several sub-populations of the American population (Hout, Fischer, 2002). A trend of religious non-affiliations has been established along several different lines such as the levels of education, race, age, political lines among other lines. Studies have been done that have revealed that women are more characteristically religious and are by far less likely to be involved in non-religious events and practices as compared to men (Hout, Fischer, 2002).

However, there is a huge degree of volatility of this factor as women have shown a great amount of change when it comes to religious affiliations over a given period time. On the other hand, the whites have been established to be less religious as compared to both African Americans and Mexican Americans (Hout, Fischer, 2002). In regard to this, up to 21 percent of whites have been established to have no religious preference as compared to an equivalence of 17 percent of African Americans  and equivalence of 14 percent of Mexican Americans who had no preference to any form of religion and hence atheists (Hout, Fischer, 2002).

The drastic change by increase of the religiously affiliation among the American population has been attributed to several reasons. Firstly, generational replacement is a significant factor that has led to this. The “Xers” and the baby boomers generation has been attributed to a significant force of the factors that compel people to be irreligious (Nones on the Rise, 2012). Baby boomers have shown in the recent studies to have religious affiliations as compared to the newer generations. Secondly, there has been a huge link between the lack of commitment to any religion and the occupations that people have. Increased occupational obligations make people significantly too busy to have any commitment towards religion. This trend with the work affiliation was detected especially in the 1990’s (Nones on the Rise, 2012).

Atheism has been received with mixed feelings across the United States and the globe as well. Statistics has revealed that there is an increased amount and level of discrimination against people affiliated to atheism. In the US alone, seven states have laws that seemingly prohibit atheism; though the laws are not enforced. Research has also indicated that 53 percent of the Americans loathe an atheist American president. On the other hand, up to 49 percent of American population has been established to be happy in the case of intermarriage between them and other atheists. On the employment sector, up to 65 percent of employers would prefer an atheist employee over a religious one (Hafiz, 2014).

Atheism has raised a considerable measure of concern over whether the population of atheists should be granted the grace of recognition among other religions. In a bid to push for this recognition, several groups have made efforts in regards to making there atheist-affiliated activities recognized. One such as group is the scouts – led boycotts in regard to whether they had a legal right to be recognized in their religious statuses (Hill, 2013).

There has been a spate between the white American and the black American over the issue of atheism. The rise of atheism has led to the introduction of groups that are specially affiliated to specific sides this side-taking, coupled with the fact that the white Americans have been shown to be more atheistic, leads to a characteristic widening of the gap between the two races (Hutchinson, 2012). Study has shown, according to Hoelscher, 2012, that there is a characteristic trend of the level of religiousness of people and their levels of income. Under this, there has been established a high degree of correlation of the level of income that one earns and the religious inclination that they have. Most wealthy people have been shown to be atheists (Hoelscher, 2012).

In conclusion, given the trends and the increased levels of acceptability of the atheists in the society has led to an upward trend in the number of atheists in the general population. Granted the freedom and the increased fight for the rights of this class of people, the trends in the numbers of atheists in the population is most likely to increase at a much higher rate as compared to the rates that it rose with in the 1970s booming period. Over the next few decades, with support from political and human rights movements and legislation, there is a more likelihood that the trend would most likely shoot up.









Bishop, R. (2007). Taking on the Pledge of Allegiance: The Media and Michael Newdow’s Constitutional Challenge. New York: State Univ of New York Pr. Retrieved from Taking on the Pledge of Allegiance: The Media and Michael Newdow’s Constitutional Challenge

Cragun, R. T. (2012). On the Receiving End: Discrimination toward the Non-Religious in the United States. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 105-127.

Hafiz, Y. (2014, June 24). Atheists Face Discrimination On A Shocking Level. Retrieved from Huffington Post:

Hill, C. (2013, May 25). Slippery slope to accepting atheist Boy Scouts. Retrieved from USA Today:

Hoelscher, D. (2012, November 12). Atheism and the Class Problem. Retrieved from

Hout, M., & Fischer, C. (2002). Why More Americans Have No Religous Preference : Politics and Generations. American Sociological Review, 166-190.

Hutchinson, S. (2012, June 16). Atheism has a big race problem that no one’s talking about. Retrieved from Huffington Post:

NewPort, F. (2010, May 21). In U.S., Increasing Number Have No Religious Identity. Retrieved from

Nones on the Rise. (2012 , October 9). Retrieved from

Zuckerman, P. (2010). Atheism and secularity. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.