By Christy Barritt
Researchers Discover Surprising Facts About Atheists
Researchers from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga recently completed a study on the various types of nonbelievers.
One of the most surprising results they discovered was the classification of a “ritual” atheist or agnostic, someone they defined as a nonbeliever who found value in religious teachings and practices.
According to researchers, people who fall into that category are nonbelievers who may have a philosophical appreciation for certain religious teachings, who like being part of a community, who want to stay in touch with their ethnic identity, or who simply find beauty in certain religious traditions, symbols, or rituals.
In an interview with The Christian Post, the principal researcher said, “The implication of this particular typology is that you could be sitting next to somebody in church right now who may, in fact, not buy into the theology that the rest of the congregation buys into.”
Americans Believe Forefathers Would Be Disappointed
A recent Gallup Poll found that while many Americans feel pride for their country, they also think the United States is moving away from its heritage.
Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed were extremely proud to be Americans, 28 percent very proud, 3 percent only a little proud, and 1 percent not proud at all.
At the same time, 71 percent believed that the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be disappointed with how the country had turned out while 27 percent believe they’d be pleased.
“This is most likely an outgrowth of Americans’ current level of negativity toward their government, including the record-low level of confidence Americans have in Congress and the significant percentage of Americans who cite dissatisfaction with government as the third most important problem facing the country today,” the report stated.
In 2001, 54 percent of those surveyed said they believed the signers would be pleased.
Shifts in Support for LGBT Rights
A new survey by the Barna Group compared support for the rights of homosexuals today as opposed to 10 years ago.
They found that a majority of Americans (53 percent) now say they support LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) rights. Ten years ago only 42 percent of Americans favored changing the laws in support of this minority group.
In 2003 atheists and agnostics were the only “religious” segment in support of increasing LGBT rights. Currently the majority of practicing Catholics and those of faiths other than Christianity support changing laws in favor of homosexuals. The only group that remains below 50 percent is practicing Protestants at 32 percent. In 2003 that number was at 24 percent.
Practicing Christians under the age of 40 are more likely than those older to support LGBT rights, to believe that same-sex marriage is morally acceptable, and to oppose the idea that marriage is only between one man and one woman.
Transgender Bathroom Bill Passed in California
The California state Senate approved a new bill that will allow transgender students in grades K-12 access to public school bathrooms based on their chosen gender identity. The bill will also allow them to play on their school’s one-sex sports team of choice.
According to the assemblyman who sponsored the bill, the legislation is aimed at prohibiting “discrimination against transgender students” in the state’s school districts. Though schools are already prohibited to discriminate against students based on their gender identity, this bill will further define those parameters.
Some lawmakers said this bill will mean students will be susceptible to abuses, especially among elementary and secondary students. They warn that “youthful sex offenders” could exploit the privileges.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.