Or a universal spirit.
Now this gives me HOPE
June 23rd, 2008
Some U.S. atheists seem to be confused, Pew survey shows
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Posted by: Ed Stoddard
Tags: FaithWorld, atheist, God, religion, united states
Christopher Hitchens, 14 Sept 2005/Shannon StapletonThere seems to be some confusion among self-described U.S. atheists, at least according to the second part of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Lifeâ€™s monumental â€śU.S. Religious Landscape Surveyâ€ť that was issued today.
It found that 92 percent of Americans believe in God or a universal spirit, with 71 percent of those surveyed saying they were â€śabsolutely certainâ€ť on this score.
Curiously, more than one fifth â€” 21 percent â€” of those who counted themselves as atheists said they believed in God while eight percent expressed absolute certainty about this state of affairs.
One thing does seem absolutely certain: at least a few U.S. atheists must be confused.
My â€śDictionary of Beliefs and Religionsâ€ť (Wordsworth Reference Series, 1992) begins its definition of the word â€śatheismâ€ť in the following manner: â€śThe denial of the existence of God or gods.â€ť
One wonders what dyed-in-the-wool atheists like Christopher Hitchens â€“ no confusion about his stance â€” would say about this lot. Probably nothing very kind.
Among U.S. agnostics, 55 percent professed a belief in God and 17 percent were absolutely certain. The dictionary cited above though says that a defining characteristic of an agnostic is that they â€śclaim ignoranceâ€ť on such matters and so one wonders how they can be so certain.
Americaâ€™s high levels of belief and spiritual devotion do set it apart from most affluent nations, a trait that is often commented on. But could it be that its levels of â€śbeliefâ€ť are also higher among â€śunbelievers?â€ť