A Plurality Of Americans Now Claim No Religion

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This is the first time "religious nones" are a plurality of Americans.

CNN reports that for the first time, “No Religion” has topped a survey of Americans’ religious identity. Ryan Burge, who is both a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University and a Baptist pastor, found that now 23.1 percent of Americans claim that they have no religion. 23 percent of Americans are Catholic and 22.5 percent of Americans are evangelicals. Over 2,000 people were interviewed for the survey.

“Religious nones” are a group made up of atheists, agnostics, spiritual people, and those who follow no specific organized religion.

"It is the first time we have seen this. The same questions have been asked for 44 years," Burge said.

The rise of religious nones started in the beginning of the 1990s. Since 1991, the group has grown 266 percent.

One explanation for the number of religious nones growing could be the internet, says Nick Fish, president of American Atheists. The internet gives a place for non-believers to discuss amongst themselves.

"The ease of access to the internet helped build communities where they didn't feel alone," he says.

Executive director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, Robyn Blumner, says the change is a generational trend.

"We are seeing the rise of a generation of Americans who are hungry for facts and curious about the world," she says.

Despite the growth of religious nones, they are completely underrepresented in Washington. There are no open atheists in Congress.

Read the full story here.

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