- List of Contributors
- Introduction: The Study of Atheism
- Defining ‘Atheism’
- The Case Against Atheism
- Critiques of Theistic Arguments
- Arguments for Atheism
- The Problem of Evil
- Atheism and Morality
- Atheism and the Meaningfulness of Life
- Aquinas and Atheism
- From the Pre-Socratics to the Hellenistic Age
- The First Millennium
- The Medieval Period
- Renaissance and Reformation
- The Age of Enlightenment
- The (Long) Nineteenth Century
- The Twentieth Century
- New Atheism
- Analytic Philosophy
- Jewish Atheism
- Naturalism and the Scientific Method
- Atheism and the Rise of Science
- Atheism and Darwinism
- Atheism and the Physical Sciences
- Atheism and the Secularization Thesis
- The Psychology of Atheism
- Atheism and Cognitive Science
- Atheism and Societal Health
- Atheism, Gender, and Sexuality
- Atheism, Health, and Well-Being
- Conversion and Deconversion
- A World of Atheism: Global Demographics
- Western Europe
- North America
- Central and Eastern Europe
- The Islamic World
- The Visual Arts
Abstract and Keywords
This essay provides an overview of what is known about atheists in North America. It begins with estimates of the total number of atheists in North America, including Central America, Caribbean nations, Mexico, Canada, and the US. Demographic characteristics of atheists in Canada, Mexico, and the US based on the World Values Survey are also examined. What life is like for atheists in the US, including the discrimination they experience and the issues they must address in developing an atheist identity in a predominantly religious country, are also detailed. The essay concludes with suggestions for future research.
Ryan T. Cragun is an assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Tampa. His research focuses on the nonreligious, secularization, and Mormonism.
Joseph H. Hammer is a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology at Iowa State University. His research focuses on stigma, with specific attention to how it impacts diverse individuals' willingness to seek counseling and psychological well-being.
Jesse M. Smith is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His interests include nonreligion, deviance, and the self.
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