Atheists know so much about religion, because they were raised by religious parents. WASHINGTON, D.C, (ENInews/RNS)
— The typical member of a fast-growing U.S. atheist association is a highly educated, married white male who grew up with religious parents.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation, which grew from 5,500 in 2004 to about 16,000 members this year, announced results of a survey of its members on December , Religion News Service reports.
The Wisconsin-based organization received nearly 4,000 responses to its survey, which was mailed to all its members in May. Respondents replied to the non-scientific survey by mail, or online.
Asked about their primary reason for being "de-converted from religion to free-thought," about a third of respondents said "religion doesn't make sense." Seventeen percent said religious hypocrisy or bigotry was the cause; 9 percent said reading skeptical authors; 5 percent cited reading the Bible.
Most respondents said the religious denomination they left behind was Protestant (42 percent), but 30 percent said they were raised Catholic, and 27 percent were raised Jewish.
The overwhelming majority of atheist respondents — 95 percent — are white, but foundation officials hope that statistic will change.
"We've started to do more outreach to the African-American and free-thought communities of color, and clearly, this is a great untapped source for new members who support reason and secularism in this country," said foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor.
We will see a drastic change and a migration back to religion when age and sickness begin to set in. We are after all the church of reconciliation.