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Newfound Irreligiosity Around the World


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Atheist Republic (News)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): n.d.

The basic premise within the atheist community or more generally the formal non-religious community throughout the world remains the increase in the number of religious in the global view and the increase in the non-religious in select regions or nations.

In the research done by WIN/Gallup and reported on by Big Think, the number of the self-identified religious is 62% of people – as found when asked if they consider themselves religious people. They surveyed 60000 people across 68 nations. In 2005, the number was 77%.

This represents, in the scale of dozens of countries, a massive ground shift in the perspective of the religious and the non-religious, and the ways in which the international public perceives the categories for self-identification.

This says the overall number of people identifying as religious has been on a precipitous decline since the start of the 21st century. The number of atheists embed within the set of formal non-religious. In other words, the 15% drop in the religious indicates a concomitant rise in the formal non-religious but only a smaller portion of the 15% rise in the formal non-religious as atheists.

The formal non-religious can be brights, atheists, humanists, secular humanists, agnostics, and so on.

As described in the article, “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%.”

It indicates stellar increase in the number of convinced atheists by 80%, from 5% of the total to 9% of it. The opinion in the reportage continued to opine on the beliefs of the non-religious who may see parts of religion as reliable and valuable in some way.

“People may believe in aspects of religion even if they don’t consider themselves religious (and vice versa). As other results from the survey show, a higher percentage than those who say they’re religious believe in a soul (74%) and God (71%). Inversely, a lower percentage believe in things that many theologians would say are essential to religion, such as heaven (56%), hell (49%) and life after death (54%),” the article explained.

The third property was the aspects of a belief in the Architect of the Cosmos, or lack thereof, and the non-direct association with materialistic belief, and so, potentially, a non-belief in a supernaturalist or metanaturalist soul embedded with the person’s body.

Many external factors influence the degree to which an individual considers themselves religious. If someone has a higher income, if someone is older, and if someone is more educated, then this person will more likely be less religious; if the opposite factors, then the more religious.

Geography factors into the belief in God as well. Although, some countries have older populations, more educated populations, and richer populations, which, obviously, may associate with the aforementioned factors.

“For cultural, social and/or political reasons, some countries have a much higher degree of atheism. Europe is a regional hotbed, but even here, direct neighbours may be at great variance,” the article stated, “The most godless country in the world, however, is China. According to the survey, fully 67% of respondents in China considered themselves ‘convinced atheists’ – more than double the percentage in the world’s second-most atheistic country, Japan (29%).”

East Asia remains a major center of atheism, in fact “convinced atheism.” However, the other 18 of the 20 major convinced atheist nations emerge in Europe. Slovenia has 28%. Italy has 8%. Outside of Europe and East Asia, Australia has 13%. Canada has 10%. One African outlier is the Democratic Republic of the Congo at 8%.

Interestingly, 4% of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s population identifies at convinced atheist. (More detailed statistics with images are provided in the link at the preface to the article.) If you look at some of the more in-depth analyses provided in the presentation by Big Think, you will be surprised to note some of the Arab majority states and the level non-religious identifying citizens, even in purportedly highly Muslim countries.


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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