Some Atheism-Related Political Articles

Penn Jillette with a great monologue/rant about various aspects of religion & politics and where they intersect – from how most “Christians” have united under a single banner in the last 40 years at the expense of early atheists like Mark Twain to the growing influence of non-believers in politics plus Mitt Romney’s magic underwear and all manner of other related topics.

Although not directly about religion, a lot of people are talking about how the Republicans were more likely to believe they were going to win while ignoring all science and reason telling them otherwise.

The other atheism-related article I came across coming out of last week’s election is about the changing demographics of believers/non-believers and the potential implications for future elections.  For example, Millennials (people born after 1980) are now somewhere around 30% non-believers.  That’s a huge number (especially for a study coming out of the States rather than say, Norway) when non-believers have traditionally been identified as somewhere between 10-15% of society depending how you define the term. The article also talks about the potential for harnessing this group which is far larger than any other single religious denomination (although, since atheists and other non-believers are literally synonymous with “free-thinkers” that’s easier said than done!)

And yes, 30% is a crazy high number but it’s easily explained when you think of how prevalent the Internet has become and the power of network effects to open up the world to people, especially young people. Before the Net, you basically were limited to your family, your circle of friends and maybe some books from the library to form your worldview.  Now, the Net has made ALL kinds of information available to anybody anywhere (Sue Gardner who runs Wikipedia and spoke at CLA in Edmonton a couple years back explained it a different way – a kid growing up gay in a small town can now literally have their life *saved* because they can see they’re not alone or “wrong” or whatever in a way they never could before the Internet.)

Anyhew, one final story here which I may have told before.  In my first library job, I was talking about some new technology to my boss and he goes “How old are you?”  I told him and he replies “So you’re a Gen-Xer but you think like a Millennial?”  Yeah, I guess so.

I’d never really thought about it before but if you go in for the “generational cohorts” thing, I probably do have as much in common with the Millennials as I do with my own Gen-Xers – at least in terms of how I view and use technology and how I view and (ab)use religion. 😉

[Edit: A friend shared this one about me where the Prime Minister of Australia answers an interview’s question about her declared atheism. Some day Canada, some day…

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