New Study: Worlds Fastest Growing Religion? No Religion


A recent global survey conducted by National Geographic shows that the worlds fastest growing religion is not Islam or Christianity, but no religion at all – atheism. The study comes in conjunction with Nat. Geo’s new television series “The Story of God” starring Morgan Freeman which travels the world chronicling religious beliefs practiced by different cultures. With the global headlines dominated by the Islamic State, Islamic immigration throughout Europe/Africa and recent religious freedom laws passed in the United States, to the untrained eye it would appear that religion is as strong as ever – but you would be mistaken. In fact just the opposite is occurring and the age old paradigm of piety is quickly shifting.

The study refers to atheists as “religious nones” or people who do not follow or identify with any religion. According to the results, atheism is now the second largest religious affiliation in North America and the majority of Europe. In the United States alone approximately 22.8% of the population now identifies as atheist, up 6.7% from 2007. Furthermore, U.S. atheists now represent a larger portion of the population than Catholics, Protestants, and all other followers of non Christian faiths – such as Islam and Buddhism. This was not the case only a decade ago.


The study finds that France, New Zealand and the Netherlands are world leaders in secularism (the belief that people should be free from religious teachings) and these countries will soon have a higher population of atheists than any other religious affiliation. If the statistics continue to trend in the current direction, the study finds the United Kingdom and Australia will soon be joining these countries. As it stands presently, Australia and the UK are already on the brink of losing their Christian majorities. With the exception of Buddhism, China rounds out the list of world leaders hosting secular beliefs.

On the other side of the spectrum, no where on Earth is religion growing faster than it is in Sub-Sahara Africa. This portion of the world is simultaneously experiencing the highest levels birth rates and when you forecast the long term population boom expected from this region over the next 25 years, the research indicates the number of religious people coming out of this region may be enough to overtake the number of atheists produced around the world over the same period.


As for individual religious beliefs, Islam is significantly on the rise comparatively to any other religion, so much so that by the year 2050 Islam is anticipated to surpass Christianity as the worlds most popular religion.

Lastly the study finds that the millennial generation is leading the charge towards atheism, finding that the largest demographic of non-religious affiliated people on Earth is comprised of this generation. Extending the timeline outwards, approximately 11% of people are said to have been raised in secular, non-religious affiliated homes since 1970. The study also notes that a higher percentage of black people identify as religious comparatively to white people by a large margin – approximately 78% of all atheists are found to be white. As for gender, generally speaking females tend to be much more religious then males – approximately 68% of atheists are male.

The study also claims that there is direct correlation between religion and poverty levels. Essentially the poorer a country or community, the higher the population of religious people we find there. Those who come from wealth or privilege are statistically less likely to hold religious beliefs. Additionally the study finds that there is direct correlation between education and religion. The higher the level of educated someone obtains, the less likely they are to hold devout religious beliefs.

Source: National Geographic

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    • no religion or the belief that there is no god, is defied as Atheism. However atheism is nor a belief or a religion.

    • it is pretty simple: one cannot disprove existence of God. If you beieve in something you cannot prove, you have a belief – thus a religion. You might say I do not either believe or disbelieve – I just could care less. However, in this mode you would still live and act as if there is no God which would essentially translate in disbelieve – which essenitially a religion. I a matter of public policy religious and non-religious people often will come to all sort of disputes based on their worldviews. And one will eventually try impose his or her own on the other but make no mistake atheism and especially its form called naturalism is a religion as it requires significan amount of believe to adhere to.

      • I was with you until you called atheism a religion. Never even heard of naturalism. But, I am guessing you are suggesting a spiritual connection to your environment, such as similar to wicca.

        There is no faith though in atheism that requires significant amount of belief to hold to. It is evidence based. Atheist believe in being the best moral person you can be based on the fact that humans have the ability within themselves to judge and know right from wrong, without religion to define what god imposes as right and wrong.

      • saying non existence of something is actually another form of the existence of something is ridiculous. It sounds like the evangelicals who basically call atheism a religion so they can refer to it as a false religion.
        They can’t comprehend non belief. Atheism isn’t an alternative belief. It is a non belief

    • Amen to that! I would rather see reality as it is, instead of subscribing to beliefs or concepts about what reality may or may not be like.

    • Lol You don’t believe in God but you believe in humanity ? I thought you weren’t believing in fairytales 😀
      Nah that’s just people believe in themselves and consumption way too much and the rest is turning to islam.
      So I won’t exactly say that it’s a good news in itself if you look further into it.

  1. I think there’s still too much confusion around the difference between Theism and Gnosticism. Most Atheists will actually be Agnostic Atheists – meaning that yeah sure they don’t believe in a God, but if you can find irrefutable proof that God does exist they’d be open to the idea.

    In saying that – everything is a lie. We are the cause of and answer to all our own problems. Think for yourselves, don’t be sheep.

    • I’m interested in your definitions. Most people who are intelligent and are classed as atheists (like me) would change their view if given some proof. Atheism isn’t a belief it’s a refutation of believing something without proof. Every religion that I know of that has a god or gods demands belief without proof and therefore deserves as much respect as the tooth fairy or the easter bunny. That’s not meant to be inflammatory just a statement of fact.

  2. “Civilization will not attain perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.”

  3. It sounds better than it actually is, most of those conversions to non-belief are coming from Christianity, there are almost no Muslim converts. And fastest growing is also slightly false because it is among the smallest groups so there is much room to grow. The issue is that almost none of those converts are from Islam and most of Islams growth is from increase in birth rates. End of the day people of non-belief have fewer kids which paints a far less rosy picture of the intelligence of the future.

    • Sorry Kirk, that’s just not true. And That’s from my personal experience. There are many accounts of Muslim people who have renounced their faith, and are living as secularists. I have met some of these people myself, living in New Zealand.

      • I agree. I don’t know what constitutes “almost none
        But the former islamists in many of the Facebook groups I am in would disagree that islamists don’t leave the faith.

  4. i don’t think its a correct survey/map as Pakistan is shown as a country with christian majority and india as muslim majority

  5. 1. The maps show change not total/majority, dummies.

    2. It’s somewhat misdirecting since it doesn’t show overall change i.e. change in overall number of “nones” vs “ala hakbar BOOM” crazies.

    And 3. Who the *++]}= thought flattening the world around the north pole would help visualize anything?

  6. I am not religious but I do believe that there is a some form of creator or a place where spirit comes from.
    I don’t think that is athiest but also not religious. I would called that spiritual.

  7. Religion itself is synonymous to scam. It’s just a diversion to comfort people in times of death, give hope in times of trouble. But abused by a group of people to rip off the stupid( less intelligent) in contributions and money laundering. And easily used as an instument to get the dumb ones to sacrifice their lives in times of war.
    In fact it is also the one causes of war.

  8. Actually, secularism doesn’t mean “the belief that others should be free of religious teachings”. That is absurd. On the national level, it refers to the state’s separation from the church and at the personal level it means to not be affiliated with or against any religion in particular. Who writes this stuff?

  9. The sane section of all societies will be happy and feel relieved that religion is on the exit.Wisdom is dawning upon humanity. But it is a matter of grave concern that Islam is sticking on.A faith and and bands of believers untouched by scientific knowledge ; minds put on suspended animation by madrasa education; they are so many religion filled bodies living in perpetual delusion! Hence the jihad . Kill and die here to get eternal pleasure in another world!!Will they be humanised at any point of time and the world get rid of this menace too? Perhaps the most saddening question that can be asked!

  10. I am 57, white, male, American, and have been an atheist since I was seven years old. Of course back then I did not know the term “atheism.” It was a simpler set of reasons for nonbelief. But it was certainly a lack of belief. My parents were Protestants – Presbyterians. I was never interested to know what that sect even means. It was not necessarily southern baptist, which is hard core, but it certainly was not shy about teaching that we all should want to die. I could not handle that idea. This article is annoying in that it calls lack of religion a religion. It is the same effect of saying space is a planet.

  11. Please rectify the first map.
    It shows India as a Muslim country.
    India is a secular state with Hinduism as a major religion.
    Muslim is just a minority.

    • That’s a map of the *2nd largest religious group” in each country. Indonesia goes Muslim, then Christian. So the map is correct. It’s your lack of understanding that deserves the “hmmmm” XD

  12. I think atheism is on the increase because people started asking serious logical questions to their passed on religions and found pitfalls. However, the drawback is that many atheists pool all religions into one basket, if one is illogical than probably the rest will be so.
    These studies should merely be a guide to what a person should look into. If the research by NG is accurate, then objectively speaking, atheism (on account of its relative increase), Christianity (on account of having the most followers), and Islam (on account of having the highest rate of conversion to, or at least previously just for arguments sake).
    Personally, i am a Muslim because it is the religion that makes sense in EVERY aspect. Sadly, many people are misinformed about it. It is important that they should inquire about these three beliefs (atheism, Christianity and Islam) personally if they want to verify this fact (which makes the most sense). A person should be convinced of his choice and not blindly accept a religion.
    If anyone is interested in reading about the logical aspects in Islam and why many deep thinkers are embracing it, read my e-book at:
    Or contact me for a free copy no problem.

    • “Personally, i am a Muslim because it is the religion that makes sense in EVERY aspect.”

      No, you’re a Muslim because you were raised one (I’m making a fairly big but generally obvious assumption here of course)

      • Muslims are surrounded by people from various religion and no religion, if he wanted or found something better, I’m pretty sure he would have followed it, no need to self project your luck of faith on other, it seems like you’re envious of their happiness, the latter is a fairly big but generally obvious assumption … of course.

    • The reason they’re all in the same basket is because they all have a deity in their back pocket. It doesn’t matter what that deity has to say.
      Atheism= no god (gods)

  13. Note: In this article, when citing the Pew research, you incorrectly state that: “In the United States alone approximately 22.8% of the population now identifies as atheist, up 6.7% from 2007.” However, the 2007 United States figure from the Pew article is 16.1%. This is an enormous difference. Further, you incorrectly identify the group to which these figures correspond as “atheist,” when in fact the Pew article identifies them as “the religiously unaffiliated.” This is an important distinction as the Pew identification includes not only those who identify as atheist, but also those who identify as agnostic and those who do not identify as anything in particular. The actual 2007 U.S. figure for the atheist subset is only a meager 1.6%.

    • Whoops, I just realized that the “up 6.7% from 2007” is technically correct (I was mistakenly reading it as “up from 6.7% in 2007”). However, my point still stands that these figures do not represent atheism but rather the religiously unaffiliated.


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