Are atheists fringe people?

10 Jan

I think a common misconception people have about Atheists is that they are fringe people, or extremists. Not necessarily extremists in the sense of living in caves and preforming ancient rituals, but in the sense that they are really far off from what’s “normal” or the “center”.  To try and illustrate this spacial concept, here’s a chart of how I think most people perceive Atheists:

chart 1

While it’s true 81.4% of Americans say they belong to a religion, at the same time 18.6% say they don’t. CIA Factbook To put that in visual perspective for you, there are more people in this country who officially say they don’t belong to a religion than there are Blacks, Asians, and Native Americans combined. The number is probably much higher considering many Atheists are in the closet for fear of the social stigma that comes with the title.

In reality, is Atheism that far from the center? Well, no, it’s just the other answer to the question “Does god exist?” It’s simple really. Yes or No. Something exists or it doesn’t.  Neither side of an answer is extreme. Yes, you can have extremists on either end of an answer, and from their perspective their polar opposite might look extreme, but not everybody who is in that camp is. Here is another little chart to show how it really is:

chart 2(Yes, there are more religions one could believe in than there are bars, but I think you get the idea)

Where do I stand? Well I’m a strong Atheist, but that’s another post all together. ~_^

One Response to “Are atheists fringe people?”

  1. Oddysey January 10, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    And then there are all the religions that don’t believe in god. But you (mostly) cover that in your about page, I’d say.

    One particular point in that vein is that there are a lot of people who say “Oh, yeah, I’m Christian” more because their parents and neighbors are Christian than because of any deep belief in god. Even leaving aside Buddhists and Taoists and everyone else who has some supernatural ideas that don’t fall into the mold of “supreme deity” there are a lot more agnostics out there than the raw “What church do you attend?” numbers would pick up.

    Particularly since people tend to think agnostic is just another word for atheist, and fear both words for social reasons. But this comment has gone on long enough.

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