Phil Zuckerman is a professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He is the author of Living the Secular Life, Faith No More, and Society Without God. He has also edited several volumes, including Atheism and Secularity, Sex and Religion, and The Social Theory of W.E.B. Du Bois. Zuckerman writes a regular blog for Psychology Today titled “The Secular Life.” His work has also been published in academic journals, such as Sociology Compass, Sociology of Religion, Deviant Behavior, and Religion, Brain, and Behavior. In 2011, Zuckerman founded the first Secular Studies department in the nation. He earned his PhD in sociology from the University of Oregon in 1998. He currently lives in Claremont, California, with his wife, Stacy, and their three children.Here is what he said recently:
The stats are staggering when it comes to people in the West who are abandoning religion. Secularism is growing in virtually all nations for which we have data; even the Muslim world, which contains the most-religious societies on earth, has a growing share of secular people (many of whom, unfortunately, must keep their secularity well hidden because of the danger of prison or death for being open about their lack of faith).[For the full text of what Zuckerman said in an interview with Sam Harris (from which I got his bio above), see below:
I don’t want to barrage you with endless numbers, but the stats are staggering when it comes to people in the West who are abandoning religion. Consider just these tidbits: A century ago in Canada, only 2% of the population claimed to have no religion, whereas today nearly 30% of Canadians claim as much, and approximately one in five does not believe in God. A century ago in Australia, less than 1% of the population claimed no religious identity, but today approximately 20% of Australians claim as much. A century ago in Holland, about 10% of the population claimed to be religiously unaffiliated; today more than 40% does. In contemporary Great Britain, nearly half the people claim no religious identity at all; the same is true in Sweden.This is very gratifying news! We're winning. Now let's all get out there and make lots of babies. ;-)
Furthermore, 61% of Czechs, 49% of Estonians, 45% of Slovenians, 34% of Bulgarians, and 31% of Norwegians do not believe in God. And 33% of the French, 27% of Belgians, and 25% of Germans do not believe in God or any other sort of universal spiritual life force.
In the East, the most recent survey information from Japan illustrates extensive secularization over the course of the past century: Sixty years ago, about 70% of Japanese people claimed to hold personal religious beliefs, but today that figure is down to about 20%. Such levels of atheism, agnosticism, and overall irreligion are simply remarkable—not to mention historically unprecedented.
I just got the latest data on Latin America: 37% of people in Uruguay, 18% in the Dominican Republic, 16% in Chile, 11% in Argentina, and 8% in Brazil are non-religious. These are all unprecedented levels of secularity. And Jamaica is currently at 20% nonreligious! Gabon and Swaziland are at 11%! (While that may seem small, keep in mind that only 8% of people in Alabama are non-religious).
Secularism is growing in virtually all nations for which we have data; even the Muslim world, which contains the most-religious societies on earth, has a growing share of secular people (many of whom, unfortunately, must keep their secularity well hidden because of the danger of prison or death for being open about their lack of faith).
The proportion of Americans walking away from religion has continued to grow, from 8% in 1990 to somewhere between 20% and 30% today. Secularity is markedly stronger among young Americans: 32% of those under 30 are religiously unaffiliated. And somewhere between one-third and one-half of all those who respond “none” when asked what their religion is are atheist or agnostic in orientation—so the rise of irreligion means a simultaneous rise of atheism and agnosticism. Furthermore, the vast majority of nonreligious Americans are content with their current identity; among those who now claim “none” as their religion, nearly 90% say they have no interest in looking for a religion that might be right for them.
Of course, one wrench in all this is birthrates. Religious people have more kids than secular people. So demographically, the future is unclear. LINK.