Atheist in America

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The topic of atheism has become an increasingly investigated topic in the United States. With the slow, but steady, rise of the atheist population in the United States, the inquiry is becoming more relevant in modern research. The atheist population in America are considered to be cognitively deviant because they reject a theist view which are the majority. They are also one of the most discriminated groups and hold a very large and pervasive stigma.. There are a multitude of recent studies that address the topic of atheism in the United States in varying ways. First, “Becoming an atheist in America: Constructing Identity and Meaning from the Rejection of Theism”, Jesse Smith explores the process by which atheists come to be self-labeled atheists. This study uses the qualitative research methods of participant observation and in depth interviews. Smith separates the process into four steps that ultimately end with self identifying as an atheist. Smith makes sure to note that “the construction of an atheist identity is a fluid and dynamic process rather than one that follows any simple pattern or trajectory.” (Smith, 2011) Its worth mention that the last comprehensive study found that there are “Only 1% of Americans [that] self identify as atheists”(Caldwell-Harris, 2011). That means that only one percent of Americans go through this process. The first step a “starting point”(Smith, 2011). He finds that a “belief in God and religious practice had characterized their lives at some point” (Smith, 2011). Most atheists start out in a religious family and actually practicing a religion of some sort for a portion of their lives. The United States bolsters a culture where, “92 percent of people expressing belief in God, about 60 percen... ... middle of paper ... ...ed 1. Caldwell-Harris, C. L., Wilson, A. L., LoTempio, E., & Beit-Hallahmi, B. (2011). Exploring the atheist personality: well-being, awe, and magical thinking in atheists, Buddhists, and Christians. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 14(7), 659-672. 2. Gervais, W. M., Shariff, A. F., & Norenzayan, A. (2011). Do you believe in atheists? Distrust is central to anti-atheist prejudice. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 101(6), 1189-1206. 3. Jones, T. (Director) (2011). The Sunset Limited [DVD] 4. Saroglou, V., Yzerbyt, V., & Kaschten, C. (2011). Meta-stereotypes of Groups with Opposite Religious Views: Believers and Non-Believers. Journal Of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 21(6), 484-498. 5. Smith, J. M. (2011). Becoming an atheist in America: Constructing Identity and Meaning from the Rejection of Theism. Sociology Of Religion,72(2), 215-237.

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