What Does ‘No Religion’ Mean?

William Lane Craig finally made it on CNN, in this case to respond to the Amazing Atheist Guy.  I am sure that there is much that could be said about this exchange.  However, I must say that I was impressed by the Amazing Atheist Guy.  Why?  Because he actually admitted that the increase in those who identify as ‘no religion’ does not mean that they are atheists.  Amazing!  So often I hear from atheists and from the popular media that this change in the religious landscape equates with a radical increase in atheism.  In fact ‘no religion’ and ‘atheism’ are often used as synonyms by people who should know better.

There are two facts that you must understand: 1) the category of ‘no religion’ is growing at a quick rate and 2) the number of people who identify as atheists has remained relatively stable.  I am sure that some of those who claim to have no religion are atheists.  But many of them are also people who believe that there is a God but who are frustrated by organized religion.  Many people do not like labels and so refuse to identify as any one religion.  Ironically, ‘no religion’ is now an important label.

I am not saying that Christians should not be concerned with the increase in the ‘no religion’ category.  We should be concerned.  But at the same time we should not let people get away with making false interpretations of the data.  If you are interested in learning more about what is happening with atheism, you might be interested in my article in the third issue of Hope’s Reason: A Journal of Apologetics that you can find here.

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One thought on “What Does ‘No Religion’ Mean?”

  1. I guess you might categorize the religion question the same as the race question, Use the other block write human/ Christian, think that would raise any eye brows?

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