Saturday, August 18, 2012

Is global atheism really on the rise or is it declining? - Part II

On August 11, 2012, I promised to do a followup article relating to this article: Is global atheism really on the rise or is it declining?

I strongly suggest reading the article GLOBAL ATHEISM ON THE RISE--REALLY? by Nigel Tomes as he made some excellent points about the dubiously designed and highly speculative WIN-Gallup International poll which recently purported that global atheism is on the rise. The purpose of my article is to merely provide supplemental information. In addition, I would recommend reading our resource concerning Global atheism and agnosticism shrinking

Supplementary information related to the aforementioned article by Niles Tomes

1. Among other commentary, the Religion News Service wrote about the WIN-Gallup study:
Barry Kosmin, the principal investigator for the ARIS report, said he's skeptical of the new study.

"The U.S. trends are what we have found and would expect, but the actual numbers are peculiar to say the least," he said. "The drops in religiosity seem too sharp for the time period -- people just don't change their beliefs that quickly. Most of the trend away from religion has demographic causes and demography moves 'glacially.'"

Specifically, he points to the poll's finding that Vietnam, while showing a sharp 23 percent drop in religiosity since 2005, also shows no atheists. "Eight million Communist Party members but zero atheists?" he said. "That statistic makes me very doubtful of the accuracy of the survey overall and some of the international comparisons."

2. The Gallup International Association which was part of this WIN/Gallup poll on atheism should not be confused with Gallup Inc. which is based in Washington D. C. Gallup Inc. and Gallup International Association (GIA) are presently involved in a legal dispute over the use of the Gallup name.

I know that Gallup Inc. has a strong track record of doing excellent work. I really don't know much about Gallup International Association, but given Mr. Tomes valid criticism of their report on world atheism, regrettably I cannot say I am impressed so far.

3. Niles Tomes was right to point out that WIN/Gallup's methodology was horrible when it came to measuring atheism and Christianity in China. Not only is Christianity exploding in China which has been a large bastion of atheism and still has a large atheist population given China's large population, but decades of past growth of Chinese Christianity was primarily in the countryside. In 2011, it was reported that Chinese Christianity is now making significant inroads within urban China and is now beginning to reach the upper classes.

See these articles:

Christianity gaining popularity in China.

China's house churches begin to roar

Christianity thriving in China’s countryside

'Third Church' China's New Face of Christianity

WIN/Gallup's methodology was totally inadequate to estimate China's rural and house church movement.

4. Please read the article which relates to WIN/Gallup's survey: Research shows a significant amount of American nondenominational church members are checking "unaffiliated" or "no religion" on surveys

5. For a more comprehensive examination of the shrinking of global atheism/agnosticism and the rapid growth of Biblical Christianity and creationism, please see this resource: Global atheism/agnosticism/Christianity/creationism adherents and trends

6. The survey appears to have been badly designed to measure the religiosity of the Jewish population. See: Win/Gallup poll badly measured the Jewish population

Videos on the decline of atheism

Related resources

Atheism, agnosticism and humanism: Godless religions

15 questions for evolutionists

Refuting evolution

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