The Kansas City Star had a recent article about the climbing number of Americans who will publicly call themselves atheists.
The article is pretty decent. However, there was one suggestion, by the writer, that made me think, "Uhhhh? Huh?" The writer claims that part of the reason for the rise in atheism is the events of September 11th. Her hypothesis is that people saw the results of religious fanaticism and, therefore, rejected religion. That may be correct (although, I suspect it's not). Some people may have watched the horrors of 9/11 and decided to give up religion - but, that doesn't make that person an atheist.
Also, I've not talked with one person who has claimed that 9/11 made them an atheist. That doesn't mean there's not someone out there who would claim that. It also doesn't mean that I find it unlikely that the events of 9/11 made people question: their religion, then their faith, and then their god. That may have happened. But, I don't think 9/11 is the reason for the rise in atheists. What do you think?
Personally, I think that atheism is "on the rise" because there's such a heavy, oppressive movement by the religious right in this country. Where before you could probably cruise under the radar as an atheist because professing your religion or sharing your Church group was uncouth...today the fundamentals and evangelicals have decided to over-share. It (the way they share) almost becomes a form of harassment in its own right. When faced with Christians who are bent on proselytizing (and totally destroying the idea of personal space or intellectual freedom), is it any wonder that more atheists are popping up to say, "Whoa! Back off."?
Again, what do you think? Do you think the article is on the money?