Humanism on the Move


Aug. 12, 2009

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) released a study on nontheists last week. The Non-Religious Identification Survey (NRIS) found that atheists tend to be as happy as their religious counterparts, and are more satisfied than people who are uncertain in their beliefs.

"This new survey reports that confident nonbelievers are more emotionally healthy with respect to 'fence sitters' or religious doubters, shows that 'spirituals' report less satisfaction with their lives than those who identify with other self-labels, and suggests that the common assumption that greater religiosity relates to greater happiness and life satisfaction is not quite true," said the CFI.

The NRIS also showed that those who identify as "atheist" tend to be men with advanced degrees and a high socioeconomic ranking than most Americans. Women who claimed non-believer status were more likely to identify as "spiritual" than "atheist."

 The NRIS survey pooled approximately 5,800 nonbelievers, who were drawn exclusively from CFI membership.

An ad sponsored by the Iowa Atheist and FreeThinkers will remain on Des Moines buses after all. The ad, which read "Don't believe in God? You are not alone," had gone up earlier in the month on Des Moines Area Regional Transit (DART) buses, but were pulled after complaints and reports of people refusing to ride buses that displayed the ad.

Controversy mounted soon after the ads were pulled, with Iowa Governor Chet Culver saying he was "disturbed personally" by the ad, and the ACLU questioning the ad's removal. However, after a meeting between DART and the Iowa Atheist and Free Thinkers, DART reversed its decision and agreed to put the ads back on the buses. The transit company cited the need to honor freedoms protected through shared civil liberties as reason for the reversal.

The Iowa Atheist and FreeThinkers have posted numerous letters of support and thanks for the ad on their website.

The Secular Student Alliance (SSA) held its 9th Annual National Conference last week, which included a field trip to the biblically-inspired Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

The visit garnered national media attention when college student Derek Rogers was asked to leave the museum for offending other guests by stating he didn't want to buy anything in the museum because he didn't want to give them any more money. Earlier in the visit he had been asked to turn inside-out a T-shirt he was wearing that bore the slogan "There Probably is No God," which was made popular by the British Humanist Association ad that appeared on London buses last year.

PZ Myers, who is the author of the popular Pharyngula blog and spoke at the conference, also participated in the field trip. He delivered the keynote address at the SSA Conference, which brought together leaders of nontheist student groups for training and networking.