An increasing number of people in America and around the world don’t believe in God. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has found 20 percent of Americans ages 18 to 25 say they have no religious affiliation or consider themselves atheists or agnostics, nearly double the rate of 20 years ago.
Another Pew survey in March 2007 concluded the nation is witnessing a “reversal of increased religiosity observed in the mid-1990s.” Today, 12 percent of Americans age 20 and older describe themselves as “not religious,” up from 8 percent in 1987. This change appears to be generational in nature, with each new generation displaying lower levels of religious commitment than the preceding one.
One Harvard scientist says, “More and more of what used to be the domain of religion has been ceded to science. It’s the trend of modernity. I think this is a tide. We’ve seen it happen everywhere else in the developed world. This is the direction of history.” The number of campus groups affiliated with the Secular Student Alliance, for example, has increased by more than 50 percent in the past two years, to more than 80 groups.
(Boston.com News 9/16/07)