BeeOasis Step 2
Atheism is the belief that God does not exist. An atheist does not believe in God. Recently, atheism has become a topic in the news. This is because famous authors have written books on the topic. For example, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have sold well over a million of books about atheism. Now people have a renewed interest in the subject.
Just the same, in 2008, about 78% of Americans said they believe in God. These numbers went down 8% since 1999. Even so, 78% is a high number. And America is still a religious country. Belief in God is important in the daily life of many Americans.
Religion is less important in Europe than the US. About 52% of Europeans believe in God. And church attendance is generally low. In Japan, about 26% feel they are Buddhist. And another 11% follow Shinto beliefs. But religion is not important for daily life in Japan. One survey showed that 63% of Japanese do not believe in God. But these Japanese are different from western atheists. Western atheism is a rejection of belief in God. In Japan, religion is just not important. People are not interested in it.
Some countries promote atheism. Chinese law strictly limits religious practice. And many Chinese grow up without religion. Countries that promote atheism by law often limit other freedoms. However, the new western atheists, like Richard Dawkins, do not want to limit freedom. They want to challenge people’s beliefs. And they want people to think clearly about their beliefs. Ironically, this has helped some believers to search for better reasons for their faith.