Talk:Irreligion/Archive 2

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The Phrase "Christians are irreligious."

I believe this phrase conflicts with the definition "absence of, indifference towards, and/or hostility towards religion." and should therefore be removed, because it exhibits a biase towards/for christianity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:30, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

It's been reverted as vandalism. Dougweller (talk) 16:42, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
Marxism is irreligion, whether Catholic liberation theology is a factor or not. One does not negate the other. Tracing the origins of irreligion in society, in modern times for credibility of the article, would fall on Marxism.
"We must war against all prevailing ideas of religion, of the state, of country, of patriotism. The idea of God is the keynote of a perverted civilization. It must be destroyed." Karl Marx
If you are a Marxist why not admit this? Your revert is without warrant. (talk) 02:40, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Karl Marx is not 'Marxism' or 'Marxists'. Find some reliable sources and we can discuss them. This is not a page for debating the issue. Dougweller (talk) 08:06, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
You can claim the apple is an orange, it is still an apple. Marx is expressing the views he put in the manifesto when he says "we must war..against religion". This is also found in the manifesto, feel free to add it to your little article.

Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, 1848 (excerpt), The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in favor of bourgeois property. The distinguishing feature of communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few. In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property. Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists. Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty. The Communists are further reproached with desiring to abolish countries and nationality. The charges against communism made from a religious, a philosophical and, generally, from an ideological standpoint, are not deserving of serious examination. "There are, besides, eternal truths, such as Freedom, Justice, etc., that are common to all states of society. But communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience." The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. (talk) 02:37, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

'Citation Needed'

There's an aweful lot of 'citation needed's in this article: someone has clearly made it their mission to be very critical of everything they read on Wiki. Now, of course, all articles should revoke some reliable sources when they make otherwise unsupported claims; however, I am of the view that not everything written on Wiki - as are most that are things written elsewhere on the web - needs to have citations, particularly when the sentence(s) in question does not make any bold claims about anything particularly of importance, and/or are so well-known and/or self-evident, that demanding citations seems down-right pedantic. Of course, we should include citations from reliable sources wherever we can; however, I really don't think they're always necessary, particularly when you're talking about an article published on one of the top websites on the internet that gets heavily scrutinised almost every day: if something is blatantly a lie, then people should and will remove it; however, if, conversely, something is blatantly true or, more generally, seems correct and everyone else agrees, then we should surely give the author the benefit of the doubt and just leave it and not demand citations which, in my experience, aren't always towards reliable sources.

Anyway, maybe I'm just being too diplomatic by writing this long argument over this small matter in this small article; if no one gives me good reason to do otherwise in the next few days or so, I will remove most of these 'citation needed's and probably replace with the 'This article needs more references' banner.

Lemony123 (talk) 12:29, 22 August 2010 (GMT)

I don't think there are too many citation needed-tags. The very subject matter is delicate and can be thought of as controversial to a lot of people, therefore it is important that any claims made regarding it should be well sourced. Although we do have a policy of assuming good faith here on Wikipedia, it is necessarily overruled about our policies on reliable sources. If we compromise the latter we will also compromise the reliability of Wikipedia itself. --Saddhiyama (talk) 16:23, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I suppose you're right, as the subject matter is rather delicate and, moreover, the article makes uncited claims as to people's beliefs.
Lemony123 (talk) 12:29, 26 August 2010 (GMT)

This article needs to be written

I don't understand why this hasn't been written as a proper article. There are numerous reliable sources on irreligion, irreligious movements, etc. Yet so far as I can tell, looking through the history, this has never been a real article, just a few definitions and tables of numbers. I'll try to do some when I can. Loads of sources, eg [1] [2] [3] [4]. Dougweller (talk) 16:28, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

Some would conclude modern atheist and irreligion thought developed as a result of the Age of Enlightenment, which later contribluted to the French Revolution of 1789 where "The Cult of Reason was an atheistic belief system, intended as a replacement for Christianity during the French Revolution."[1] This same revolution developed further when later joined by Marx and Engels. (talk) 01:50, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

This article has many biased views which suggest it has been adjusted in favour of the religious. For example the opening para states 'Worldwide, the overall number of irreligious people is in decline' However study after study and independent research shows the opposite to be true and that irreligion is growing faster and faster. eg Mythbuster121 (talk) 02:40, 23 February 2011 (UTC)A 2001 survey directed by Dr. Ariela Keysar for the City University of New York indicated that, amongst the more than 100 categories of response, "no religious identification" had the greatest increase in population in both absolute and percentage terms. This category included atheists, agnostics, humanists, and others with no theistic religious beliefs or practices. Figures are up from 14.3 million in 1990 to 34.2 million in 2008, representing a proportionate increase from 8% of the total in 1990 to 15% in 2008.[4] Another nation-wide study puts the figure of unaffiliated persons at 16.1%.[23] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mythbuster121 Mythbuster121 (talk) 02:40, 23 February 2011 (UTC)(talkcontribs) 02:35, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Strong Atheist bias on this No Religion/and or Irreligious article

Non-Religious Theists (and, at times, aka Spiritual But Not Religious) are groups who identify themselves as No Religion. In fact, it is primarily because of these people that the "No Religion" numbers are so high in many nation's polls. Yet these groups are not even mentioned here, eventhough they account for over 50% of the worldwide "No Religion" demographic. Atheists often only account for 0.5-1% in many nations with high No Religion numbers. The article needs to relfect this or else it is clearly dishonest.Please see following link for details/sources: --Jesspiper (talk) 03:13, 3 February 2011 (UTC) is a personal website, and we normally don't use those as sources. See WP:RS. Dougweller (talk) 19:43, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Here we have 33% of Americans saying they are spiritual but not religious: Here, we have out of the 16.1 that stated "Unaffiliated", only 1.6 self-identified as "Atheist". Ironically, there are more "Religious Unaffiliated" in the "Unaffiliated" section than "Atheists". Over double, in fact, at a whopping 5.8. Here, out of the over 29 Million who said "No Religion", just over 900 Thousand self-identified as "Atheist": Is this enough to show that No Religion/Irreligion is not synonymous with Atheism and that Spiritual But Not Religious people are part of this irreligious demographic?--Jesspiper (talk) 02:46, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Atheist writers on Wikipedia want to define religion and irreligion in a manner that maximizes the latter and minimizes the former. Note the banding together of very different and incompatible strands of thought from hostility to religion to deism in one category. This is nothing other than a political move and must be condemned as such without the slightest hestitation.

Unfortunately the opposite appears to be true and the religious are adjusting this article to try to suggest somehow that no religion is in decline whereas it is traditional religion that is, mainly xtianity. Irreligion ie people with no religion or a t least no deity should be grouped. There is some argument to include Buddhism in this too as this is a group that has no god. This would make those with no god almost the biggest belief system group in humanity. There are over 34,000 sects in xtianity (from the Westboro to Catholics) yet these are grouped together as one. Mythbuster121 (talk) 02:50, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

This entire series on "irreligion" shows a significant bias and blatantly ignores all scholarship in religious studies. As an obvious example, religious humanism is listed as irreligious. This is absurd. Also, the association with atheism and antireligion is a recent development. How is pantheism irreligious when most modern pagans adhere to this philosophy? Very biased and proof again that wikipedia is a collection of types with an agenda. (talk) 14:39, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Just to clarify my point, religion is not the belief in god. These two positions are pushed by the modern atheist movement, but are blatantly incorrect. (talk) 14:45, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Actually, there are other biases here, probably more significant. The entire article suffers from overemphasis on modern Western views on religion - most notably the idea that everyone has to have one, or to have actively rejected one. This is highly questionable. AndyTheGrump (talk) 14:58, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Then kindly explain why is the following totally irrelevant reference is in "Further Reading" -- John Allen Paulos (9 June 2009). Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-8090-5918-8. This is a book that argues for atheism not irreligion, which are two very different things. This article suffers from a severe pro-atheist bias and it is time to begin questioning some of the use of the wikipedia for this purpose. This is related to articles positing that atheists are somehow more intelligent than theists and related pap/propaganda that has no place here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:15, 5 June 2012 (UTC)


Marxism is a political socio-political worldview, not a religiou world-view. I am thus removing it (talk) 18:29, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
The marxist political view includes the abolition of religion as sourced quoted. (talk) 01:44, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Although there may be a reason to include Marxism at some point, at the moment this is WP:UNDUE. Worse than that, it's not representative of the situation. It quotes Engels and Marx but fails to look at Marxism as a movement and ignores completely the existence fo religious Marxists. Dougweller (talk) 17:09, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

History section

The history section needs drafting. My view after researching the irreligion and atheist development over the past few centuries in the western world is similar to these links on the Enlightenment.[1]. France had the atheistic Cult of Reason that slaughtered the priest hierarchy. This was a result of the loss of support of the holy roman empire due to the Protestant Reformation. Now free to openly express their irreligion views the Renaissance gained influence among the european elites resulting in the enlightenment and the French revoution. The same revolutionaries formed the League of the Just who would hire Marx and Engels to draft the manifesto. It was at this time the european revolutions of 1848 broke reshaping european government towards secularism and an increase in irreligion, humanism and atheism. Again, the pope was arrested by Napoleon in 1798 and the Papal States seized. The papal states were soon restored (1815) but were finally dissolved in 1870. These events are central to the developement of secular humanism, secular governments, humanist schools, reading clubs, et al. Amish 03:40, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for the link, but "The Enlightenment, Freemasonry, and The Illuminati" is just a rehash of the secondary sources listed in the footnotes. Who is Conrad Goeringer anyway? He has no grasp of the facts he presents. For example, he writes:
"In 1717, a United Grand Lodge was formed in London, using Dr. John Anderson's Constitution to standardize the rituals and practices of Freemasonry."
Two problems jump out. First, the "United Grand Lodge" was not formed until 1813. Yes, a "grand" lodge was formed in 1717, but not the "United Grand Lodge" (Capital U, capital G, capital L). Second, Anderson's Constitutions came after 1717, around 1723. This is not hair-splitting, just facts, and "facts are stubborn things". This is just one example, but most of Goeringer's essay seems to be just as sloppy. Take this egregious example:
"Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803), German philosopher, Atheist and composer was an Illuminist"
Philosopher, yes. Atheist, . . .what? The man was a clergyman; an honest to God Lutheran pastor. Team God. In fact, the Germans call the church in Weimar he was pastor of, the 'Herderkirche' (the Herder church). And "composer"? Composer of poems, yes. Of music. . .? Damn sloppy, start to finish. And why is "Atheist" capitalized? (I don't want to know).
I know Talk: pages should focus on the article at hand, but a possible source was brought up, and I hope, discredited.
Carl Nicoli was important as an Illuminist in this task.” Who the hell was Carl Nicoli? (Maybe he meant Christoph Friedrich Nicolai).
One last, and I will stop. ". . .it would be Jefferson who publically defended the Order and its founder, Adam Weishaupt." OK, remember "publically" means "in a manner accessible to or observable by the public", now follow Goeringer's footnote (# 14). The footnote: "14 See Jefferson's letter to Bishop Madison, January, 1800, noted in the Jefferson Cyclopedia." How do you construe "publically defended" from a private letter to a friend? Maybe, if the Jeffersonian Cyclopedia was published in Jefferson's lifetime, that would meet the "manner accessible to or observable by the public" qualification, but, of course, it was not. The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia was not published until 1900.
Please, just keep Conrad Goeringer off WP. Ingram (talk) 07:48, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Lede problems/trolling by IP

I dont see why marxism or deism deserves a seperate sentence. I also dont see why the definition of deism needs to be pointed out in the introduction when theres already a link. I also dont see why atheism is singled out as "not synonymous" with irreligion. I therefore added tags to the article. Also an admin above complained about the current ref use, and another admin complained about the layout. I tried to fix the introduction but keep being reverted because i'm an anonymous user. Looks like a case of biting WP:NEWCOMERs to me. (talk) 11:52, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Hogwash. You're too familiar with those tags you dumped all over the article to be a new user, and your tired red herring about newbies is familiar-I'd love to see a checkuser run on you to see whose sockpuppet you are. Your tag-bombing the article is as disruptive as your edit war blanking sourced material.--Kintetsubuffalo (talk) 12:38, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

I brought this website to the attention of RSN in 2008 - [5]. I don't think we should be using Hunter's personal analysis here. Dougweller (talk) 17:05, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

I read the conversation and that's hardly what I would call a strong consensus on the issue. That being said, please see the Gallup, Pew Forum and Graduate Center links I provided. Granted, the 50% of "Non Religious" actually being non-denominational theists is hard to cite outside of Adherents. However, Spiritual But Not Religious being part of the Irreligion demographic and (especially) Irreligion/No Religion not being synonymous with Atheism is easy to show and cite with the additional sources provided above. It's right there in the statistics in cold, hard numbers.--Jesspiper (talk) 01:00, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Irreligious movements


The secularist movement in Britain - Thomas Paine, Carlile, Robert Owen,George Jacob Holyoake

Secularism in America - Freethought, the Free Enquirer and the Boston Investigator

The Religion of Humanity

Ethical Culture and Felix Adler

The Free Religious Association

The Rationalist Association


Irreligion and atheism in France (we could easily have a summary in this article)

see Religion and irreligion in Victorian society: essays in honor of R.K. Webb as a possible source. This is just a start of course, there's the rest of the world.

Dougweller (talk) 17:54, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

See also [6] Dougweller (talk) 17:55, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
All looks great. Hopefully it will make it into the history section. Good start anyway. (talk) 01:22, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Problematic Marx quote

Really? I was reverted. Really? Any unprejudiced WP editor, please look at this critically. Here is a link to the source text. Notice the quotation marks? Anyone?

Full Quote:

The charges against Communism made from a religious, a philosophical, and generally, from an ideological standpoint, are not deserving of serious examination.
Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that man's ideas, views, and conceptions, in one word, man's consciousness, changes with every change in the conditions of his material existence, in his social relations and in his social life?
What else does the history of ideas prove, than that intellectual production changes in character in proportion as material production is changed? The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.
When people speak of ideas that revolutionize society, they do but express the fact, that within the old society, the elements of a new one have been created, and that the dissolution of the old ideas keeps even pace with the dissolution of the old conditions of existence.
When the ancient world was in its last throes, the ancient religions were overcome by Christianity. When Christian ideas succumbed in the 18th century to rationalist ideas; feudal society fought its death-battle with the then revolutionary bourgeoisie. The ideas of religious liberty and freedom of conscience, merely gave expression to the sway of free competition within the domain of knowledge.
Cquote1.pngUndoubtedly,Cquote2.png it will be said, Cquote1.pngreligious, moral, philosophical and juridical ideas have been modified in the course of historical development. But religion, morality, philosophy, political science, and law, constantly survived this change.Cquote2.png
Cquote1.pngThere are, besides, eternal truths, such as Freedom, Justice, etc., that are common to all states of society. But Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience.Cquote2.png
What does this accusation reduce itself to? The history of all past society has consisted in the development of class antagonisms, antagonisms that assumed different forms at different epochs.
But whatever form they may have taken, one fact is common to all past ages, viz., the exploitation of one part of society by the other. No wonder, then, that the social consciousness of past ages, despite all the multiplicity and variety it displays, moves within certain common forms, or general ideas, which cannot completely vanish except with the total disappearance of class antagonisms.
The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property-relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.
But let us have done with the bourgeois objections to Communism.

The quote as it stands is completely misleading. And then notice the Ellipsis (the dot-dot-dots)! The text following the ellipsis is at the end of the Manifesto. You can't do that! You can't dot-dot-dot the better part of the text!! That is not the correct use of ellipses. You can't go from "It was the best of times dot-dot-dot it is a far better place I go than I have ever known." Please, I will not edit-war this nonsense. A third party—a conscientious third party—needs to do the right thing and delete the quote. Ingram 22:44, 16 February 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ingram (talkcontribs)

A very strong case was made by Norman Cohn that Communism is a religion complete with scripture, doctrine, dogma, priesthood and inquisitions. In fact, the very vehemence displayed in the discussion here is nothing other than religious.

Religions are belief systems; ideologies are belief systems. That Marxism can be confused with religion I have no doubt, but that is not the issue. The issue is the dishonest misquote. Since my pursuit is truth (as is the pretense of sincere religious folk) I can see why you would call my insistence in this matter "religious". Ingram 05:46, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I've removed the Marxism section. It relies on primary sources and is thus original research, it doesn't even try to look at the issues around contemporary Marxism and religion, it ignores Christian Marxists, and could be seen to be simply a pov view. This isn't an article about Marxism and religion. Dougweller (talk) 18:20, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Good call i agree with Dougweller.Moxy (talk) 20:50, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, definitely POV. Actually believes irreligion comes from Marxism. Rediculous. (talk) 01:22, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Belief in God

An image under EU shows the belief in God in the European Union (EU belief in God). Are there similar files for the whole World to add to this page? Sae1962 (talk) 09:18, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

US study on charitable activities of religious and irreligious people section

This section does not fit/is not relevant to tis article, propose deletion or moving to an article on philanthropy or charity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:29, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Hello Everyone! I only a moment ago deleted a study featured in this article. The explanation is such: The study mentioned was one which compared non-religious to religious U.S. Americans, and reported that more religious people were giving and volunteer-devoted. As an encyclopedia, there are important reasons, based on sustaining the principle of objectivity, for which this study has been removed. If this article will serve to establish a definition for irreligiosity, then it must include only elements and information which produce a complete and conclusive definition of the idea as best known.


1) As the study focuses on U.S. Americans and not on sample groups worldwide, we can not draw defining conclusions about how people would act in other parts of the world. Irreligiosity is not specific to the United States, and any results found from this sample population can not be used to define a uni-national ideology. The study does not make comparisons of these groups amongst the populations of contrasting nations and/or cultures.

2) The study does not conclude that people are less giving as a fact of their irreligiosity, and therefore again does not offer information lending a definition to the philosophy. Such information, being so, could be coincidental and/or possibly entirely unrelated.

3) Irreligion is not a method of behaviour, but rather a philosophy/ideology, which inputs no necessities, restrictions, or regulations to those who name themselves as one. It is merely a defining word to separate one from what they are not, not define them as what they are. This involves factors of individual preference and choice, and has no relevance to the term. As a means of reference and levity, ponder over a moment why "off" is not a considered a television channel.

Please consider these arguments and the objective of this omission before making further changes/additions to the article.

May knowledge (Objective definition) spread, Brian Daniel — Preceding unsigned comment added by RailstoRuin (talkcontribs) 20:13, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Decline of irreligious

The article contained the following sentence with citation: "With the collapse of Communism in the USSR, the total number of irreligious worldwide have declined." However the source ( does not provide evidence for this claim. And its source do not give evidence either. I deleted the claim for now. I have no problem with it being restored if better sources are provided. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:30, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

So now citations need citations to back them up or what? It's a historical fact that the largest country on earth (USSR) forced, or at the very least coerced, its entire population to abandon religion. And when said nation collapsed, the population reverted back to Russian Orthodoxy. What more evidence do you need? Religious Tolerance is a reputable source and its claim is an observable historical event: the Atheist USSR reverting to Orthodox Russia. --Jesspiper (talk) 05:06, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

To answer your question, WP needs evidence to support the claim you actually made. First of all, despite being a generally atheistic nation, the claims about the number of self-described atheists changing after the USSR's decline would need a source (polls?). If you found that source, we would probably have to explain to the readers that "the change in self report may have been due to coerced results in the first place". And IF you find that source, it will not justify the claim that irreligion decreased worldwide on it's own - that's a big claim that would take a lot of data about a lot of countries.-14:52, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Fair enough, but I'm going to edit the structure of the sentence (not the content) because as is, it feels out of place. By the way, it's not a very big claim to say irreligion is in decline worldwide. It's pretty obvious if you step outside the box of The West and look at the rest of the world. The reasons irreligion is in decline worldwide are twofold. First and foremost, birthrates. The West is addicted to birth control, abortion and material success, all of which contribute greatly to single child or even childless families. Whereas The average Muslim, Catholic Hispanic and Hindu Indian families have twice, thrice or four times the amount of children Secular Western families do. The second reason, is that over 50% of people raised with No Religion eventually join one in their adult lives. The "apostasy" rate for people raised irreligious is actually quite high, rivaling those of people raised as Jehovah's Witnesses. But I won't add any of this because you'll obviously demand forty seven citations for the above, as it is clearly inconvenient to your worldview, and I only have two.--Jesspiper (talk) 23:59, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
This all sounds like original research which would need citations. If you can source it, and it's relevant to the article, feel free to add it but bare in mind WP:SYNTH and WP:OR. IRWolfie- (talk) 15:56, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Actually I accept the fact that the absolute number of religious people (e.g. Muslims and Christians) is increasing around the world thanks to higher birthrates. I would also be willing to believe that the apostasy rates out of the "Irreligious" category might be quite high, considering the Irreligious are mostly theists in the first place (followed by agnostics, at least, in the U.S.)

That second, apostasy claim is not as obvious to me, however. For that I would request a citation. And actually I hope you have one: that is interesting! To be clear, not forty-seven citations, but at times we may well demand at least one citation (and the request is not meant to offend you).-Tesseract2(talk) 03:04, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

The sources that you asked to see out of interest are as follows: Please see page nine for retention rates. As for an article on the birthrates of the religious vs. irreligious: I'm not overly concerned with all of the above making it into the wiki article or not (though the data is fascinating) but my point is that with the above and the collapse of the militantly atheist Soviet Union (and largest country on earth), it's not too difficult to see why Religious Tolerance Dot Org states that the numbers of unaffiliated are dropping worldwide. But in light of the lack of Religious Tolerance's sources and in order to avoid WP:SYNTH I'll just sit tight --Jesspiper (talk) 01:25, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
First of all, "unaffiliated" does not equate to irreligious, as it might actually mean people who are, for instance, raised in a religious family that was not practicing or "affiliating" with a specific group. So the retention rates reported by Pew are not for people who were born irreligious necessarily. That said, you're also drawing some poor conclusions from the retention rate data, because you're forgetting that a group doesn't need a high retention rate to grow. You just need more new new members then apostates, and the unaffiliated group has way more positive growth than any other over the last 20 years. For instance, in the United States this group doubled in size between 1990 and 2000.Griswaldo (talk) 03:42, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
And due to mass Hispanic immigration and birthrates, over the next 20 years it will be Roman Catholicism that has the most positive growth in the United States, becoming the largest religious group in the US by 2050, as per the article above. I'm not making any personal conclusions, but pointing to the claim/conclusion of Religious Tolerance Dot Org that was challenged and deleted.--Jesspiper (talk) 22:49, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

What is biased?

Title pretty much says it all.. (talk) 23:33, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

I'm not clear on what the above comment means exactly. In my opinion, at least, I see very little bias. Can someone really explain and justify the neutrality tag? Otherwise I shall delete

I'm going to remove the neutrality tag, there doesn't seem to be any clear reason why it's there anymore. IRWolfie- (talk) 17:54, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Requested quote

Per Jim's request for a quote, this is from Colin Campbell's, Towards a Sociology of Irreligion, p. 31.

  • "Although irreligion rarely has a dominant or established status in society, in the same way that religious traditions frequently have, this does not preclude the possibility of employing the notion of irreligious orthodoxy. Some organisation or body is likely to claim to represent the irreligious, and to the extent that it can be said to do so, its ideology can be treated as a notional orthodoxy. Even where there is no ideology which can be so treated, there will be a popular conception of irreligion which could be treated as a conventional norm. Thus, in very general terms irreligion would be Deism in the late eighteenth century but atheism in the nineteenth."

Underlying Campbell's attempt to sort out irreligion in the second chapter of is his book is that irreligion is defined against religion, and hence may vary depending on context. As the shape of religious orthodoxy changes so does irreligion (though irreligion may change for other reasons as well). I may not have expressed the point well enough, but I would much rather the change get reverted with a discussion starting here than those ugly tags being applied to it. After all that's what the talk page is for. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 04:42, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

This seems to say that the ideology that interested the irreligious, the way to be irreligious & still semi-conform, the sterotypical irreligion, was deism in 18th century & atheism in 19th. Deism can be irreligious in any century IF religion means belonging to a church--JimWae (talk) 04:56, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
From what source do you get "if religion means belonging to a church"? What I was trying to do was to replace an unreferenced claim with a referenced one. Perhaps rather inelegantly, perhaps even to the detriment of the entry, but the problem I was trying to fix remains a problem if we revert back.Griswaldo (talk) 05:02, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Also, my understanding of why Deism would be considered irreligion in the 18th Century is not tied to the notion of simply defining religion as "belonging to a church", but also reflects differences in belief. In the 18th century European context, where belief in a personal Christian God was virtually taken for granted, belief in an impersonal god would be considered irreligious. In today's context this changes.Griswaldo (talk) 05:19, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
I see no reason why it changes now. There still is effectively very little difference between Deists, Atheists and Agnostics so as to group them as irreligious. IRWolfie- (talk) 18:17, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
The religious context has changed rather drastically. "Religion" is no longer shorthand for the one "true" Christianity religion or even more charitably all the Abrahamic faiths. This means that as an idea religion is more inclusive now than it used to be. So by today's standards, Deism is considered a religion just as much as Buddhism or Hinduism, but in the 18th Century Deist beliefs would have been quite far afield of what was then considered "religion." Looked at from within Deism, this also still holds, because deism offered a critique of traditional biblical monotheism, and certainly of trinitarian Christianity. As such it critiqued religion itself. But the goalposts have moved, and it no longer really critiques "religion" or "religious beliefs" generically, instead it serves up another variety of religious belief.Griswaldo (talk) 19:55, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Secularization is not about irreligion

I still have a problem with the following material and have deleted it again. Please allow me to explain:

  • Decades of census data suggest religion may become extinct in nine countries, namely; Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.[27]

First of all if the information stays it has to be drastically rewritten. Decades of census data suggest no such thing. Three scientists merely claim that it does, and that they can prove it through their own modeling. Also, please note that we should not be presenting scientific studies as written about in newspapers. If it is a scientific study then let's see the peer reviewed publication of the results. But those aren't the biggest problems. Irreligion is the result of an attitude towards religion, or in other words a stance taken vis-a-vis religion -- as such it may range from indifference to antagonism. I understand that includes in their definition the very broad, "lack of religion." But the literature on "irreligion" does not include, for instance, those who are merely unaffiliated (who it could be argued would fit that general definition but who may also be quite distinctly religious!). It also does not include those who have no knowledge of religion. Infants, for instance, are not irreligious. The study in question is about the macro level decline of religion in various societies, or in other words it is about secularization. It is not about indifference towards religion or antagonism towards religion it is about the decline of religion, for whatever reason. It doesn't belong in the entry.Griswaldo (talk) 19:14, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Here is the paper they published in Physics and Society, where they conclude the following:
  • The model indicates that in these societies the perceived utility of religious non-affiliation is greater than that of adhering to a religion, and therefore predicts continued growth of non-affiliation, tending toward the disappearance of religion.
"The model indicates," and not "[d]ecades of census data suggest." What the model indicates is "a growth of non-affiliation, tending towards the disappearance of religion," and not that "religion may become extinct in nine countries." In other words the model is predicting a trend, while the text I removed claims it predicts an outcome. This is one of the reasons why standard news sources are not reliable for scientific studies. That said, note the imprecise use of language by these three physicists, and I can't blame them, they aren't social scientists studying religion or religious studies scholars. They use "adherence" and "affiliation" interchangeably, when the former refers to an individual's attachment, devotion or agreement with religious beliefs, ideas or doctrines, while the latter refers to an individual's association with a religious community or group. I point this out because I'm rather doubtful that this study has been well received among serious scholars of religion.Griswaldo (talk) 19:40, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Griswaldo's Reverts

Dear Griswaldo, in the introduction, I have added a statement stating that "Irreligion may also encompass those who are unaffiliated" and have added to references for the statement. One of these is from "The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief," written by Prof. Richard Dawkins. I have also added another reference by the Pew Research Center which states 'Pew Forum publications—including public opinion polls, demographic reports, research studies, event transcripts and interviews—about people who are unaffiliated with any particular religion. This group includes atheists, agnostics and people who describe their religion as “nothing in particular.”' Moreover, I have qualified the statement with another academic source titled "Religion in the Contemporary South: Changes, Continuities, and Contexts" which is published by the "University of Tennessee Press" which also demonstrates that many of the unaffiliated are irreligious and this trend is increasing: "Yet, as the proportion of unaffiliated persons grows, it will be increasingly difficult to assume that there is a religious base, such as Reed's orthodox Protestant consensus, supporting southern culture." This information is relevant to the article and should not be removed. If you disagree with the wording of the statement, etc. then please discuss it here. As a compromise with you, however, I have moved the study by the American Psychiatric Association to the unaffiliated article, as it specifically addresses unaffiliated individuals.

Regarding the other issue, I have, however, retained Harvard University's study by Prof. Robert Putnam, as the respected sources describing it use the term "nonreligious" in both sources. As such, the information should be retained in this article, which you had also suggested in the Atheism talk page. Thanks, AnupamTalk 17:51, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

None of your references equate irreligion with the unaffiliated. NONE OF THEM. The last one actually says the opposite. It points out that the unaffiliated consist of everyone not affiliated with a religious group, including the irreligious AND those who are not at all irreligious. That's exactly correct and exactly why your addition is problematic. The Putnam study, is again, not about the irreligious only.Griswaldo (talk) 18:01, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
In fact the first sources does the same: "With respect to understanding the irreligious, however, the relevance of data on apostates depends upon the orientation they have adopted by the time they are studied (such as unaffiliated religious belief, no stated religious ..." Apostate data is only relevant to the irreligious if the apostate is leaving religion behind altogether, and not if, for instance, they have "unaffiliated religious belief".Griswaldo (talk) 18:07, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Dear Griswaldo, please re-read the quotes from the references and understand that we must cite what the references state, not our own forumulations. The Pew Research Center, in their article on the Unaffiliated states that the ranks of the unaffiliated are composed of atheists and agnostics, both of whom are classified as irreligious by this very own article:

Pew Forum publications—including public opinion polls, demographic reports, research studies, event transcripts and interviews—about people who are unaffiliated with any particular religion. This group includes atheists, agnostics and people who describe their religion as “nothing in particular.”

Moreover, the reference provided by Prof. Dawkins also includes the unaffiliated with irreligion:

With regards to the last reference, I agree with you. Not all of the unaffiliated are irreligious, and this is stated in the reference. However, it also implies that many of the unaffiliated are irreligious and that this trend is growing: "Unaffiliated persons are not necessarily hostile to religion or even irreligious. Yet, as the proportion of unaffiliated persons grows, it will be increasingly difficult to assume that there is a religious base, such as Reed's orthodox Protestant consensus, supporting southern culture." It is precisely for this reason that the article before you reverted it stated: "Irreligion may also encompass those who are unaffiliated." The article never stated that all unaffiliated persons were irreligious but stated that they may be irreligious. I hope this helps and you can see the need for mentioning the unaffiliated in this article.

With regards to the Harvard University study by Prof. Robert Putnam, the respected sources state that the dichotomy is between religious individuals and nonreligious individuals. I will demonstrate this through the titles and quotes of the sources:

Pew Research Center The title of this reference is "Religious people make better citizens, study says." The following quote is taken from the article:

USA Today The title of this reference is "Religious citizens more involved -- and more scarce?" The following quote is taken from the article:

It is evident that these sources do discuss nonreligious individuals and therefore, the information should be restored to the article. If you don't think that this Harvard University study discusses religious vs. nonreligious people (which has been clearly stated in the title and references), what do you think it discusses? On which article in Wikipedia do you feel that this information belongs? I would appreciate a response from you. Moreover, I would appreciate if you could please kindly restore the paragraph concerning this study in the article as it stood in the article for quite some time, before before it was removed by an IP Address. I would appreciate this kind gesture on your part. Thanks, AnupamTalk 18:48, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Anupam, that is an unnecessary wall of text, none of it fixes the problem. The unaffiliated include both irreligious and religious individuals. You're trying to get survey information about the unaffiliated, which again includes religious people, into this entry and that is not going to happen. Putting uninformative sentences in the lead like "Irreligion may also encompass those who are unaffiliated" is just a way to seemingly justify these additions. You might as well write, "Irreligion may also encompass those who are criminals" and then add survey data that is generically about criminals (whether they are irreligious or not) into the entry.Griswaldo (talk) 19:30, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Griswaldo, you have neglected to comment on any of the references in favor of your personal opinion, which you have buttressed using a straw man argument. I just previously stated that to compromise with you, I moved the information about the study on unaffiliated persons from The American Journal of Psychiatry to the specific article on the unaffiliated. I only am properly seeking to report information about the study regarding nonreligious individuals here, which does not mention the word "unaffiliated" even once. Please comment on that. Thanks, AnupamTalk 19:35, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
What? All the references for your lead sentence say the same thing. You've even paraphrased them to say the same thing. What more do I need to do? It is not my personal opinion that the unaffiliated include both religious and irreligious people (all sources you have provided say this). That is not a straw man. Regarding Putnam, he's not differentiating between the religious and irreligious, but between those who regularly affiliate with other members of a moral community and those who don't. As your reference states: "'It's not faith that accounts for this,' Putnam said. 'It's faith communities.'" It also says, "The theory is: if someone from your 'moral community' asks you to volunteer for a cause, it's really hard to say no." Secularist, atheist, humanist, ethical culture, etc. groups also provide people with moral communities, yet they are all irreligious. Again you're trying to compare apples and oranges and it is becoming harder and harder to assume good faith, as these edits are increasingly in the direction of promoting the benefits of religion and making irreligion seem bad.Griswaldo (talk) 19:58, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Prof. Putnam himself used these words in the article: '"It's faith communities."' Also, you should assume good faith. There is no promotion occurring here but simply an adherence of WP:V. I have supported the inclusion of material in the atheism article since it meets WP:RS; many could perceive this to be promoting irreligion in a positive light. Both references themselves state that the study compares religious individuals and nonreligious individuals; your own interpretation disagrees with the references and this is addressed at WP:SYNTH. I think we should allow other people to comment here to see their views on the information. Also, you have not answered my question. Since you feel that this article does not present information about religious vs. irreligion, on which article in Wikipedia do you feel that this information belongs? I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks, AnupamTalk 20:09, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

It seems to me that there are two different issues being discussed here - or at least there should be. There is the question of the definition of irreligion in the lede, and there is the issue as to whether the 'studies' section should be included. I'll not comment on the former, but frankly I think the 'studies' section is entirely inappropriate - it is totally US based, and in any case tangential to the topic. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:31, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

User:AndyTheGrump, thank you for your comments. Could you please comment on the content here? I have supported the inclusion of that information because it meets WP:V. I also support information here because it meets WP:V. Just because one study concerns the United States does not exclude its mention from the article. That issue can easily be remedied by including the adjective "American" or the clause "In the United States." I hope this helps. Thanks, AnupamTalk 20:39, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Anupam, the study does not treat irreligion, it treats church attendance. It is about levels of participation in a moral community. Also, the source you keep on using is poor anyway. The source is Religious News Service, hosted by Pew, and not a peer reviewed publication of the study results. It appears to be a very preliminary blurb about Putnam's research.Griswaldo (talk) 20:42, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Articles should be discussed on their own merits, rather than by cross-referencing to other ones. If I want to comment on the Atheism article, I'll do it on that article's talk page. As for Anupam's suggestion that the 'study' section merely needs editing to note that it is US based, that doesn't address the question as to why it should be included at all. Why would a reader expect such a study to be mentioned in this article? AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:48, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Dear User:AndyTheGrump, I understand your point to discuss individual articles on their own merits. However, I must add that the Harvard University study is about religious individuals vs. nonreligious individuals. Not only the Pew Research Center, but also USA Today states that "The scholars say their studies found that religious people are three to four times more likely to be involved in their community. They are more apt than nonreligious Americans to work on community projects, belong to voluntary associations, attend public meetings, vote in local elections, attend protest demonstrations and political rallies, and donate time and money to causes -- including secular ones." I have not made any interpretation or synthesis of information but have rather, presented the information in both references, which openly present a dichotomy between religious and nonreligious individuals. I have only simply repeated this original quote, which is given in both the Pew Research Center and USA Today articles. User:Griswaldo has unfairly characterized me of pushing a position despite the fact that I have simply repeated the same quote given in both references. You are confusing the premise with the supporting examples in your previous comment. The article clearly states that:

The premise of the article discusses the behaviour of religious and nonreligious individuals, which is given in the first quote. As the references mention, church/mosque/temple attendance may be the reason for this behaviour; however, this is different from the premise of the article, i.e. the finding of the study. The issue should not be with me here, but with USA Today and the Pew Research Center. The issue should not be with me here, but with USA Today and the Pew Research Center. As a result the information should be restored to the article. Thanks, AnupamTalk 20:58, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

No. You have given no explanation for why you consider this particular study of relevance to the article. Without this, there can be no justification to include it. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:08, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
I expounded upon the justification in depth above. I think it is relevant to keep the study because its premise discusses nonreligious people, as evidenced by the quotes above. Thanks, AnupamTalk 22:24, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
You have not 'expounded on' anything, as far as I can see - you have merely shown that the study discusses a particular difference between two sub-groups of US citizens. Since the article isn't about these two sub-groups, it is tangential to the topic, and appears only to have been added to push a particular POV. Unless you can find others who support your position, and back it up with reasoned arguments, it should not be included. AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:10, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
What are those two sub-groups of US citizens, User:AndyTheGrump? According to the two references, they are "religious individuals" and "nonreligious individuals." I am saddened by your assumption of bad faith and do not understand why you do not object to the same situation here. The information is completely relevant. I agree to let other users offer their input. Thanks for your time in reading this comment. With regards, AnupamTalk 23:57, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Should this not all be at Irreligion in the United States and not this overview article? -- Side note: we should be linking to all the articles about Irreligion by country like with Irreligion by country were if a country has an article we link it by way of --> (Details)?
UserMoxy, I can accept your proposal. User:AndyTheGrump takes issue with the study itself. Could you please explain to him why it is relevant, in your opinion? Thanks, AnupamTalk 00:18, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
Where is the bad faith? I can see perfectly well what the two subgroups are. This isn't an article about religion/irreligion in the United States, so unless it can be shown that the study had more general relevance, it has no particular significance. as for your comments regarding other articles, I have already stated that I think each article should be treated on its own merits, and I'm certainly not going to have my editing habits dictated by people who assume bad faith, rather than accepting that I don't have time to look at every article in Wikipedia. Now, either explain why a reader would expect the study to be mentioned in this article, or accept that it is of little relevance. I'm sure we could compile an 'article' consisting of nothing but surveys comparing group X with group Y in location Z, but that isn't how you compile an encyclopaedia. Can you find sources elsewhere that attach any significance to this survey when discussing the article subject? Has this aspect of differences between the religious and the irreligious been commented on in other discussions of the topic? I very much doubt it. As I've already said, it looks intended to push a POV, rather than to inform about the subject discussed in the article lede. That is bad faith. AndyTheGrump (talk)
Dear User:AndyTheGrump, you make it seem that X and Y are not related at all. In reality, both you and I know that they are, for the base of the word irreligion is religion. The article on religion here at Wikipedia, itself has a section on irreligion. I am not acting in bad faith, especially when I have demonstrated that I am following a precedent established in other articles, such as this section in the atheism article, where irreligion is compared with religion. X and Y are indeed compared quite frequently and it is for this reason that the societal aspects of religion are criticized in their own article. The study is indeed relevant and your attempt to label my intentions as POV pushing is inappropriate and unprofessional; I do not make the same mistake with you, despite the fact that your Wikipedia userpage openly admits your preference for atheism. I have been polite to you and the other users here and ask to be treated with respect. I would suggest, that since the two of us respectfully disagree, to give some room for others to comment on the content of the article. Thanks for your understanding. With regards, AnupamTalk 01:43, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, my user page 'openly admits' my atheism. Can you explain why that is relevant? Since the article divides people into the religious and the irreligious, it is self-evident that contributors are going to fall into one camp or the other. Now answer the question: why should this particular study be of significance to this particular article? Where are the reliable sources that suggest that it is? AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:54, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
(Response to RfC)I would ask Anupam why adding a study that reflects only on one country's population is not giving undue weight to the results of that study in an article about a world-wide phenomenon. I also have concerns similar to those pointed out by others about "irreligious" being seemingly incorrectly conflated with "unaffiliated" in the study, which would give the reader the false impression that the definition of "irreligious" does in fact include the unaffiliated when in reality it does not. Lastly, why do you think inclusion of such a study is relevant to the article. Would studies comparing, say, marital fidelity or criminal activity between the two groups also be relevant?Shirtwaist 11:19, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This thread regarding whether the unaffiliated are irreligious is bizarre.

  1. The sources cited by Anupam state that the some unaffiliated are irreligious. In plain English. The objection that the sources don't say what they say smacks of WP:IDONTHEARTHAT.
  2. The objection that if this sense is included, it opens the door to a study that may not be relevant. This objection is not rooted in any policy of which I am aware.

The study in question is relevant and passes WP:UNDUE. That said, the treatment requires cleanup to indicate that the study is based on US participants. It might even be helpful to add a subsection for the United States. Lionel (talk) 22:55, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

It's not bizarre, but perhaps you're missing the point entirely. Here's an analogy for you. Some members of the Abrahamic religions are Jews, just as some of the unaffiliated are irreligous. It is true that a majority of members of the Abrahamic religions believe that Jesus was God incarnated. By your logic it would make sense to mention this, and any other statistical fact about members of the Abrahamic religions more generally in the entry on Judaism specifically. Now we all know that it doesn't make sense and that is precisely because of the reasons already explained above. When "unaffiliated" includes non-affiliated but religious people, it makes no sense at all to include statistics about the unaffiliated more generally in an entry that is only about "irreligion". Now the problem with the Putnam study doesn't relate to the unaffiliated problem. The issue with the Putnam study is that Putnam isn't comparing religion to irreligion, but instead participation to lack of participation in a moral community. Those who not only belong, but attend the organized activities of their moral community are also more likely to give to charity and it is correlated with levels of such engagement, according to Putnam's study. That has nothing to do with unbelief or the rejection of religion. There are plenty of irreligious moral communities, and plenty of irreligious people who participate in them. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 03:53, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Searchtool-80%.png Response to Third Opinion Request:
Disclaimers: I am responding to a third opinion request made at WP:3O. I have made no previous edits on Irreligion/Archive 2 and have no known association with the editors involved in this discussion. The third opinion process (FAQ) is informal and I have no special powers or authority apart from being a fresh pair of eyes. Third opinions are not tiebreakers and should not be "counted" in determining whether or not consensus has been reached. My personal standards for issuing third opinions can be viewed here.

Opinion: One particularly wise Third Opinion Wikipedian, RegentsPark, once succinctly put the purpose of Third Opinions like this, "It's sort of like if you're having an argument on the street in front of City Hall and turn to a passer-by to ask 'hey, is it true that the Brooklyn Bridge is for sale?'." This is an opinion of that nature. This opinion presumes that this edit defines this dispute. For this article to be valid it cannot merely define the term "irreligion;" it would, in that case, violate the Wikipedia is not a dictionary policy and the statistical and other material currently in the article would merely be an unacceptable coatrack. For this article to exist, it must be about the concept (or concepts) of irreligion. The discussion being carried out below on this page is a beneficial one insofar as it examines the question of whether there are or are not any accepted concepts of irreligion, whether there are so many concepts that each of them is idiosyncratic, or whether it is merely a definition or definitions without a specific concept. The answer to whether or not this particular study should be included turns on the answer to that discussion. If there is such an accepted concept (or a limited number of accepted concepts), then it seems to me that the effects of irreligion are a proper subject for this article and this study could be included. If, on the other hand, there is no such concept, then the entire article should be deleted and the inclusion or exclusion of this particular study is, of course, irrelevant. My suggestion is that this article should be listed at articles for deletion so there can be a community discussion of whether, under the policies mentioned above, it ought to exist at all. If not, it will be deleted and the issue will be solved; if so, then it will need to be expanded and reliably-sourced discussion of the effects of irreligion would seem to be appropriate.

What's next: Once you've considered this opinion click here to see what happens next.—TRANSPORTERMAN (TALK) 18:30, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

User:Dear TransporterMan, I agree with your statement that the "effects of irreligion are a proper subject for this article and this study could be included." Thank your for offering your third opinion, which helps out. I will wait for the end of discussion below on whether this article should be kept or deleted before I readd the information. I have accepted your opinion. If User:AndyTheGrump and User:Griswaldo decline to accept the third opinion, I will consider the options you listed in your policy link. Thanks again for taking the time to address this issue. With regards, AnupamTalk 01:53, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

we must specify for each study what IT included

The term "irreligion" is a generic word. There are no clear or even approximately clear boundaries for its usage; different people & different studies will include different groups within it. One cannot expect that this will ever change. If we are going to include studies about irreligion we must specify for each study what IT included. Comparing studies to one another is a nightmare.

It surprises me that anyone would want to self identify with irreligion as a group, or that any but the "anti-secular forces" would want to popularize its usage. Consider the following list of the most frequently occuring words starting with irr- (per The number indicates the approximate number of times the word occurs per million words. In a great many cases, irr- indicates there's something wrong -- it does not translate to not or non-. Irrational (eg) is not the same as non-rational. Irresponsible is much more negative than "not responsible", irresponsible indicates a deficiency. Irreligion and irreligious also carry a meaning of a "lack of", "deficiency in" and "hostility toward" religion. (Yes, "lack" usually also indicates a deficiency. We do not say our blood lacks salt unless it does not have enough. We do not say our blood lacks poison.) No attempt to modify its meaning will change these associations.

  • irrelevant (14)
  • irritation (14)
  • irritate (7)
  • irregular (7)
  • irrigation (6)
  • irrational (5)
  • irresistible (5)
  • irregularity (5)
  • irritated (5)
  • irresponsible (4)
  • irritating (4)
  • irradiation (4)
  • irritably (3)
  • irregularities (3)
  • irreversible (3)
  • irritable (3)
  • irritant (2)
  • irrationality (2)
  • irritability (2)
  • irrelevance (2)

Anyway, as far as this article goes, every study must specify exactly who they have included. Comparing studies could hardly ever begin with "nevertheless", "however", or "in comparison". --JimWae (talk) 21:19, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

All this article has is a lede and some graphics - it has no text in any sections except notes on graphics (one graphic does not even have a legend). I'd say, it is not much more than a STUB, yet it has 25 [unremarked upon] refs.--JimWae (talk) 21:36, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Presently that is correct. The question is whether or not it is worth expanding. Colin Campbell wrote an entire book 40 years ago about irreligion, but I'm not entirely convinced yet it's the best term for the book's subject matter anymore. It is a convenient term, but it is not in much use.Griswaldo (talk) 21:45, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
It has been edited almost 60 times in the lass month & hardly anything has been accomplished except to come to some kind of impasse --JimWae (talk) 21:50, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Ah, I found the "legend" for the 2nd graphic. Must be an antiBrights movement there --JimWae (talk) 21:59, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Personally, I can see no particular reason to have an article on the subject at all. If the only source that discusses it as a topic is a 60-year-old book, then frankly it has little justification to exist other than as a coatrack for whichever POV one might wish to push. Time for an AfD? AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:15, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
It is a 40 year old book, but it's not the only reliable source. See for instance, [7], [8], [9], [10], [11]. I'd be happy to do a survey over the next couple of days, looking also at journal articles, but it's not just a matter of one book. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 22:44, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
At least one of these ( ) uses irreligion only ONCE - and in a very qualified way--JimWae (talk) 22:58, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
There are also 3 templates to deal with: { {Template:Irreligion}} and { {Template:Irreligion sidebar}} and now { {Template:Irreligious people}} --JimWae (talk) 22:23, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
For this discussion & for discussion of meaning of term, please see: Template_talk:Irreligion#Summary_of_defs_for_IRRELIGION--JimWae (talk) 22:35, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Part of the problem, I think, is that "irreligion" as a meaningful category of social analysis seems to have been a term preferred by sociologists, but very little sociological study has been done on the subjects covered by irreligion. N.J. Demerath has a couple of journal articles predating Colin Campbell's book which invoke the category - "On Spitting Against the Wind: Organizational Precariousness and American Irreligion," American Journal of Sociology 1966, and "Irreligion, A-Religion, and the Rise of the Religion-Less Church: Two Case Studies in Organizational Convergence," Sociological Analysis 1969. Some historians also use irreligion as a meaningful category, see for instance David Wootton, "Unbelief in Early Modern Europe," History Workshop 1985 and Michael Hunter, "The Problem of 'Atheism' in Early Modern England," Transaction of the Royal Historical Society 1985. Between the mid-60s and the present day there are further examples in the sociological literature at the very least - Duke and Johnson, "The Stages of Religious Transformation: A Study of 200 Nations," Review of Religious Research 1989, William H. Swatos, Jr. "Cultural-Historical Factors in Religious Economies: Further Analysis of the Canadian Case," Review of Religious Research 1991, Phil Zuckerman, "Why Are Danes and Swedes so Irreligious?" Nordic Journal of Religion and Society 2009. I have not read the Zuckerman piece but I'm familiar with his book on secular culture in Scandinavia and his edited volumes on secularity and atheism. He is at the forefront of rekindling the faint flames of research on these topics within sociology and I'm not sure he prefers "irreligion" as a category ... despite the title of his Nordic Journal piece. That's actually why I said earlier that I'm unsure what the best term for this topic really is today. Either way, its not an irrelevant topic and there is literature out there.Griswaldo (talk) 02:41, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Definitely there is a literature out there. Copying a sentence from a section above that I wrote, Loads of sources, eg[12] [13] [14][15]. Also please see section Talk:Irreligion#Irreligious movements -- all these movements should be mentioned in the article. Dougweller (talk) 05:17, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
There's literature out there, but hardly any 2 studies use the term in the same way. In many cases, the literature slips into another term, like this article itself does in its 2nd paragraph --JimWae (talk) 09:46, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
"Hardly any 2 studies use the term in the same way" is an exaggeration and as such is not helpful. I assume you've slogged through all the studies then Jim if you are so certain of this. Is that correct?Griswaldo (talk) 12:23, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Review sources

Let's review some of the sources and see if they indeed use irreligion in similar ways, and in ways consistent with our current definition- Irreligion is an absence of, indifference towards, or hostility towards religion. I'll list them by date:

  • Demerath 1966 - Treats irreligion in terms of organized groups of individuals, (i.e. the Freie Gemeinde), who congregate with each other because they share prominent critique of religion (in this case anti-clericalism and anti-institutionalism but also unbelief).
  • Demerath 1969 - Same as his first paper, but this time he uses the American Rationalist Federation and the Ethical Society as examples.
  • Campbell 1971 - Treats irreligion as a very broad category of phenomena, united by the conscious rejection of religion, in some manner or another, and also focuses on organized irreligion (as Demerath did).
  • Campbell 1975 - Same as 1971.
  • Geade 1977 - Unknown because this is a conference paper I've not been able to track down yet.
  • Brinkerhoff and Burke 1980 - refer to Geade 1977 and Campbell 1971.
  • Veevers and Cousineau 1980 - Irreligion as unbelief
  • Wootton 1985 - Discusses irreligion in terms of unbelief, by which he means the conscious critique of mainstream religious beliefs.
  • Hunter 1985 - " ... irreligion in the sense of a more or less extreme attack on orthodox Christianity from a cynical or Deistic viewpoint." He is describing, a conscious critique of orthodox religion, or a religious "iconoclasm".
  • Nock 1987 - Irreligion as the lack of religion - correlating with survey responses of "no religion". In other words religious "nones".
  • Nock 1989 - see 1987
  • Duke and Johnson 1989 - Irreligious people as "non-religious" but in a manner that suggests the rejection of religion. For instance religious change is discussed in terms of either switching religions or switching to irreligion.
  • Swatos 1991 - refers to Nock 1987, 1989
  • Nelson 1991 - Irreligion as the critique of religion associated with freethought and atheism, in this case vis-a-vis organized social groups.
  • McCalman 1991 (in Webb, Davis and Helmstadter 1991) - irreligion as the critique of religion, especially the orthodoxy (i.e. Victorian free thought)
  • Young 1999 - Irreligion as the critique of religion (i.e. Voltaire)
  • Zuckerman 2008 - Irreligion as the lack of religion, or indifference to religion.
  • A. Geertz and Markusson 2010 - Ranging from unbelief to antireligious POV (i.e. New Atheism).
  • Bering 2010 - Refers to Geertz and Markusson 2010
  • Baker and Smith 2010 - Irreligion as no-religion, on a macro scale, e.g. as the outcome of secularization if it were happening.
  • Beit-Hallahmi 2010 (in Zuckerman 2010) - Irreligion as non-belief, or more precisely the irreligous as non-believers.
  • Pasquale 2010 (in Zuckerman 2010) - Following Paul Pruyser, treats irreligion as an active stance against religion.
  • Hearn 2010 - Irreligion as "indifference" towards religion.

OK, it seems one common usage above is something along the lines of "critique of religion". I am unaware of any great number demographic studies that ask people whether they critique religious beliefs. Another common usage is "unbelief" - which is itself a vague term with several opinions on how it is to be defined. I have not seen any demographic studies presented within the article so far, anyway, that use either of these ways of viewing irreligion. Being consistent with "our definition of irreligion" as "an absence of, indifference towards, or hostility towards religion" will not be sufficient - because that is really 3 definitions (which still omit at least 2 I can think of - one being the aforesaid "critiquing religion", another being "not living up to one's own religious beliefs"). We cannot compare demographic studies when one uses one def and another uses a different one, and another a still different one.-- JimWae (talk) 20:37, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Sure but we don't have to compare demographic studies to have an entry here. As Doug pointed out, organized irreligion is something we can discuss in the entry -- and that is what fills most of Campbell's book for instance. Irreligion is a suitable umbrella for free thought organizations, atheist organizations, ethical societies, skeptical associations ... etc. I also think that a more general idea encompasses most of the sources above, and that is irreligion as the "rejection of religion." This rejection may fall on a scale from passive (e.g. indifference or even disaffiliation) to active (anti-religion, anti-clericalism, etc.). What is being rejected may also vary from a complete rejection of religion to a rejection specific components of religion (theistic beliefs, institutional authority, and so on).Griswaldo (talk) 21:24, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

What's the difference between nontheism and Irreligion

I'm confused as to the specific difference between these two articles Irreligion and Nontheism seem pretty close. IRWolfie- (talk) 23:32, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Yes. Look at the roots for the answer -- theism vs. religion. The former deals with beliefs in and about deities and the latter with religion, which encompasses much more than theism (usually) and in fact religions can be nontheistic.Griswaldo (talk) 02:09, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
There is a huge difference. Example: My wife was never baptized and has no religious affiliation whatsoever, yet she would be offended if you called her nontheistic or an atheist, as she believes in the Higher Power which humans call God. I'm a Roman Catholic. Neither of us are nontheists; one of us is irreligious. Also, as mentioned above, some religions are non-theistic. Bhuddism comes to mind. Pantheism is also a very grey area between the two.--Jesspiper (talk) 22:29, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Albanian percentage doesn't stand

60% of Irreligious Albanians isn't real and current. It can be in the years after communism when people were not yet declared. I don't have real facts to prove this but I am sure after being a citizen of this society where most of the people are Muslims or Christians. --Gentthaqi (talk) 21:32, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Is there any relevant albanian census data available? IRWolfie- (talk) 22:11, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Population registration is happening soon which means data will be published publicly including information about religion in Albania then we can give proofs. -- (talk) 22:55, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

Gloopy Layout

The article layout, content, and formatting are all poorly done. I suggest removing one of the world maps, the bust of Socrates (not mentioned in the article), and moving to a multi-column table to improve appearance. aprock (talk) 23:38, 29 September 2011 (UTC)