Atheism – A Sociological Survey

tom_arcaroMy friend,  Dr Tom Arcaro is a Professor of Sociology at Elon University in North Carolina. In 2010 Tom did a fascinating sociological survey on the stigmatisation of atheists. Now he is conducting a new survey which touches on stigmatisation, but which also focuses on non-believers’ participation in, and attitudes about, our local, national and international atheist organisations.

Tom plans to publish at least one paper as a result of this research and, if there is sufficient response from Australia, he has invited me to co-author a piece based on the Australian results.

The survey will take around 30 minutes and, if you don’t like or agree with any of the questions, there is room to say why (I always like that in a survey).

Last time, we received 300 responses from Australia and it would be great to better that in 2012-2013.

So, please consider completing the survey and share it with your own networks.

You’ll find the survey here:

Better Understanding of the World of Atheists Survey

Chrys Stevenson

9 thoughts on “Atheism – A Sociological Survey

  1. Abbie

    Thank you for this Chrys. I have completed the survey. I hope it is a good start to the ‘international movement’ of atheism.
    I enjoyed doing the survey and it took less than 20 mins even though I added much to some questions.

  2. Glen Mcbride

    Greetings Chrys I would love toparticipate – but I am not an atheist and nevefr have been – always dodged by becdoming an agnostic – about 60 years ago Hope you are getting frisky again Warmly and cheerily Glen ________________________________________

  3. Graeme Hanigan

    Hi Chrys, I left the bits about active atheism blank because I find it difficult getting my head around the idea of actively not doing something. Cheers Graeme

    1. Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear: Assorted Rants on Religion, Science, Politics and Philosophy from a bear of very little brain Post author

      Hi Graeme. Not to be facetious, but, equally, I find it difficult to get my head around ‘inactive’ atheism. I have a blog which rages against the intrusion of religion into political policy. THAT is active atheism. I write articles about the same issues. THAT is active atheism. When someone tells me in casual conversation that you need religion to be moral and I oppose the notion vociferously, THAT is active atheism. When I joined 2,000 GLBTI Queenslanders and their supporters to march through the streets of Brisbane to protest their treatment under the evangelically influenced Newman government, THAT was active atheism. When I stood outside Queensland’s Parliament House with a placard protesting in favour of secular schooling – THAT was active atheism. When I spoke about religious propaganda and lies in respect to voluntary euthanasia at Dying with Dignity’s NSW AGM and Conference, it was as an active atheist. When I read a book by Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, Silverman or others with insights into how religion negatively influences peace, human rights, or individual autonomy, I am being an active atheist. When I notice that one of my atheist contacts on Facebook or Twitter is feeling low and I send them a personal message of support because we see ourselves as a community – THAT is active atheism. Attending the Global Atheist Convention to show the government that we can rally in considerable numbers was an act of active atheism. Each month I organise dinner for our Sunshine Coast Atheists group – it’s almost entirely social, but we are building a supportive community of like-minded friends, and so, I see it as active atheism. When I get an email from someone asking me to blog about or promote an issue about gay rights, dying with dignity, clerical abuse, women’s reproductive rights, secular schooling, etc – I try to help because I am an active atheist. If you think this is all about actively not doing something, I’d like to hear your rationale.

    1. Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear: Assorted Rants on Religion, Science, Politics and Philosophy from a bear of very little brain Post author

      The article, The Stigma of Being an Atheist, appeared in this issue of the US Skeptic magazine here:

      But, as far as I know, it is not freely available online.

      There is an abstract available here:

      And it can be downloaded from Amazon at a cost of USD $9.95:

      I edited an early draft of the paper for Tom and I hope he won’t mind if I quote from a small part of his findings, just for the interests of my readers:

      “In response to the more generalized stigma question “In general, how stigmatized do you feel atheists are in your culture?” the contrast between the responses from those in the US were dramatically different from those in other nations. The choice “not stigmatized at all” generated only 2% of those from the US compared to 14% from Canada, 46% from the UK, 52% from Western Europe and 33% from Australia. On the other end of the scale 55% of the US respondents indicated that atheists were “very stigmatized” compared to only 17% from Canada, 4% from the UK, 3% from Western Europe and 4% from Australia.”

      Hope this helps.

  4. Hazuki Azuma

    There needs to be more distinction between feelings about religion as an institution versus feelings about believers as people. Humans are humans; my disdain is for organized religion and what it does and has done to people. The screams of torture victims echo through time and in my mental ears. They will never go silent. Humans did this…but they did it because their religion told them to, indeed, told them they were doing their victims a service by saving them from an infinite existence in unimaginably worse pain.


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