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Not a Prayer. Are Atheists the Marginalized Majority?

Atheists and the faithful are engaged in a war of the books. For the atheists, Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens's God Is Not Great are best-sellers. In the believer corner, The Dawkins Delusion? by the British theologian Alister McGrath and The Secular Age by the Canadian Catholic philosopher Charles Taylor are countering back.

A recent Guardian book review argued that the anti-God squad, which dominates the sale charts, mirrors the faith it rejects. Check out the opinionated assessment of who's more delusional.

In the US, where religious rhetoric often crowds the public sphere (think the pledge of allegiance, "In God We Trust" on currency, George Bush's faithful foreign policy), are atheists a marginalized minority? If the anti-God books are selling more, do you think the US is really less religious than it lets on?

Are atheists forced to stay in the shadows because our society is so saturated with religion?

Join The Conversation
remedios remedios 9 years
and then judge others.
remedios remedios 9 years
they just pretend to be.
remedios remedios 9 years
I don't believe people are that stupid.
Nyrina-Windu Nyrina-Windu 9 years
I think it's ok if someone is looking for the right religion. It is there business what they choose to believe in the end. I would not dare judge someone because they don't believe in the same things that I do.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
I'm not religious - I've been through several religions, and have come to a sort of neutral non-believing stage that consists mainly of not thinking too hard about such things - but I feel that there's a lot of hatred between religious people and atheists, for no real reason other than that they're fighting over whether there's a giant all-powerful invisible dude in the sky. Surely we have better things to do with our time than engage in such petty bickering?
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
I vote for The Lorax. He speaks for the trees, you know.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
hey citizen/liberty - maybe you could do a feature on the regular commenters favorite books! then we can all get some more ideas!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I'm the same way, cabaker. I'm re-reading Atlas Shrugged right now and it's a long one, so it's a bit of a project. But, when I am finished, I'm thinking it's going to be time for a good non-fiction book, and now I have tons of titles jotted down!
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
btw - thanks liberty and citizen and everyone on here... my book list is filling up like crazy!
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
I don't know Cabaker, every time I've read anything I immediately become what I've read..... ;)
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I dont think the book sales matter, I have a good friend who is a monk and has read both of those athiest books... Somehow I don't think he's converting :)
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I agree, cabaker. Religion as it relates to the state is one thing, but I don't understand when people are outraged because store clerks say Merry Christmas, particularly because Christmas isn't a religious holiday any longer for so many people. This is why the Supreme Court allows "Christmas" displays of items like trees, wreaths, etc. on public (government-owned) ground, but is limiting (although still allowing, in some cases) the display of overtly Christian Christmas displays. Anyway, I'm getting off-track. What I was originally going to comment on was that book sales cannot be looked at to determine that atheists are actually a majority in our country, when all other indicators show that this is clearly not the case. To me, that seems like a pretty unscientific way of looking at which group is actually in the majority. And Jillness, I agree when talking about the presidency. Although, I think it shows a lot that there is one atheist in Congress right now and there are also two Buddhists and two Muslims. I know those are extremely small numbers, but I feel like it's taking a step in the right direction.
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
Is Christmas in July a no go?
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
they should make a star of david one, then you could use it for passover too!
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
That is sad that there is only one tiny little Hanukkah icon for our four big Christmas ones :)
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
I 2nd that cab :)
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
poison - I don't think I ever said that it was ok for the state to engage in religious rhetoric. I don't think you can argue that the majority of this country doesn't say they practice some form of Christianity because the facts say otherwise. My point is that if the majority of people practice something, I shouldn't have to hear stories about sales clerks not being allowed to say Merry Christmas or have to go to Lowes to buy my "holiday tree", which of course, has nothing to do with the separation of church and state.
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
I also don't like the fact that people are trying to take religion out of everything. Religion is there whether people like it or not. The fact that we're "allowed" to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah gives atheists the right to just celebrate plain old winter. Stop trying to take the religion out of Christmas. Many people celebrate Christmas even if they don't believe in any religion, just for fun! This is why I(and many many other Christians and people who just want out holidays) no longer shop at Macy's(although they have tried to cover their sorry tail after such a boycott that particular year).
em113 em113 9 years
thank you poissondujour for responding to cabaker so i didn't have to.
poissondujour poissondujour 9 years
Cabaker - we don't have a democracy. We have a democratic republic and the Establishment Clause of the Constitution exists to protect the minority. In fact, a Supreme Court case from Santa Fe said as much. Just because certain individuals perceive there to be a majority that believes in monotheism doesn't make it ok for the state to engage in religious rhetoric or promote a specific religion/belief.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
Cabaker and MMM: So funny. I'm not religious, I'm more agnostic that atheist, but I do believe that there is good and bad, and that we should try to do good while we are here(not sure what here is or there will be either). Kind of like Star Wars. But not (I'm not crazy). I do believe in separation of church and state. And I think we need to show respect for all religions, also "unpopular ones" like Islam is now and Judaism used to be. But I think we need to keep positive traditions like Christmas and Santa, and reindeers and Christmas songs, because although founded in Christianity it is a family celebration that many cultures partake in. I think there is room enough for every one, and every type of celebration.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Thats right only 281 more shopping days left!
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
I start saying it in March. Merry Christmas everyone!!!! :hohoho: :naughty_elves: :rudolph: :grinch: and for my Jewish friends... :menorah:
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