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This Week in Atheism 2018–08–26


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/08/26

“Never mind whether you regularly visit a place of worship: do you consider yourself a religious person? Yes, said 62% of 60,000 people across 68 countries polled by WIN/Gallup for a survey published in 2017. Back in 2005, the score for that answer was 77%.

Minus 15 percentage points in just 12 years — that’s a fairly steep decline. Does that mean that atheism is gaining ground worldwide? Yes, but not by as much as these figures seem to suggest, for three reasons.

Firstly, because there’s a large and growing middle between those who positively believe in God and those who positively don’t. In 2005, just 5% of those surveyed in 2005 considered themselves ‘convinced atheists’ — the remaining 18% were non-religious or ‘don’t knows’. In 2017, the fish-nor-fowl brigade had grown to 30%. ‘Convinced atheists’ had increased as well, but only to 9%.”


“The “new atheism” fad of Richard Dawkins, Samuel Harris, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and dozens of other ornery antitheists created a lot of noise over the God Question, reaching its peak in the late 2000s. The loud, kaleidoscopic festival of fallacies served up by these commentators attracted a lot of media attention.

Westerners had never had such a public and prominent debate on God’s existence, and millions were seduced by superficially intriguing yet ultimately facile questions like “who created God?” and “is a prime mover not equally as plausible as a giant plate of pasta floating in space?”

Western liberals bemoaned the crimes of the religious, dreaming Lennonishly of a world without fanaticism — as if Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Hoxha had not amply proven that extremism can exist among the atheistic. There were religious responses, but too often they were simplistic and unconvincing, like the infamous “crocoduck.””


“DC Comics has just suggested that Batman is an atheist.

On the one hand, that seems a bit odd, since Batman — a.k.a Bruce Wayne — has met a wide array of gods and demigods personally. On the other hand, Batman’s atheism makes sense. When humans have super powers, what’s the use of gods?

Batman hangs out with Wonder Woman, who hobnobs with Zeus, Ares and other deities. He’s buddies with Deadman, a ghost resurrected by a goddess named Rama Kushna. In one memorable comic that gave me nightmares for years when I was a kid, Batman got turned into a vampire, which seems as if it would be hell on one’s skepticism. If you live in the DC universe, you’ve got to believe 12 improbable things before you eat your Bat toast. Being an atheist in those circumstances seems less a spiritual stance and more like carelessness.”


“Traditional Christian values have long underpinned popular children’s books such as The Chronicles of Narnia.

But now Richard Dawkins wants to give youngsters a different perspective with a new book — Atheism for Children.

The outspoken scientist, 77, hopes it will stop the ‘religious indoctrination of children’ by schools and family members.”


“Famed atheist Richard Dawkins said he plans to write a book titled “Atheism for Children” in efforts to arm the younger generation “against indoctrination by schools, grandparents and religious books.”

On Twitter, the 77-year-old author of “The God Delusion” said his new book will “be unflinching, not a storybook.”

“[C]hildren won’t beg parents to buy it for Xmas,” he said. “Are there parents who’ll want to buy it for their children anyway? Do you anticipate a demand? Would you like to see a ‘children’s God Delusion’ by me published?””



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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