According to a 2003 Harris International survery, there are about 63 million atheists and agnostics in the United States. That’s about 20% of the population. This is somewhat higher than many other polls, but I think it’s more accurate. (For more on various polls, see this article from the Secular Coalition for America.)
I live in a reddish-purple town in Northern Colorado that has the proverbial “church on every corner.” And I meet atheists and agnostics all the time. I’ve met them while taking German classes, I’ve met them in writer’s groups, I’ve met them at knitting shops, at work, at coffee shops, at computer clubs, and (needless to say), I’ve also met many unbelievers online.
It’s not like I wear atheist T-shirts or drive a car plastered with anti-religious bumper stickers. I don’t. I look, according to my hairdresser, like a normal, conservative (ack!) woman.
A few days ago, I was talking to a young guy who works at my local bookstore, and I mentioned that I write for Skepchik. I told him that I write about atheism. He asked, â€œAre you an atheist?â€ When I said â€œyes,â€ he blurted out, quite loudly, â€œAll Right! Me too.â€
Almost every time I mention that I am an atheist, someone else comes out and owns up to not believing in God. If I wasn’t willing to say something first, however, I’d never realize that there were so many other unbelievers around me. I don’t recall ever having anyone tell me they didn’t believe in God before I outed myself as an atheist first.
Does anyone else think we just donâ€™t find other unbelievers in our area becuase we are too silent about our identity?