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Irreligion (adjective form: non-religious or irreligious) is the absence, indifference, rejection of, or hostility towards "religion.[1]

Irreligion may include some forms of "theism, depending on the religious context it is defined against; for example, in 18th-century Europe, the "epitome of irreligion was "deism,[2] while in contemporary "East Asia the shared term meaning "irreligion" or "no religion" (無宗教, Chinese pron. wú zōngjiào, Japanese pron. mu shūkyō), with which the majority of East Asian populations identify themselves, implies non-membership in one of the institutional religions (such as Buddhism and Christianity), and not necessarily non-belief in traditional folk religions collectively represented by Chinese "Shendao and Japanese "Shinto (both meaning "ways of gods").[3]

According to the "Pew Research Center's 2012 global study of 230 countries and territories, 16% of the world's population is not affiliated with a religion, while 84% are affiliated.[4] By 2060, according to their projections, the number of unaffiliated will increase by over 35 million, but the percentage will decrease to 13% because the total population will grow faster.[5]

Contents

Kinds of irreligion[edit]

Human rights[edit]

In 1993, the UN's human rights committee declared that article 18 of the "International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights "protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief."[6] The committee further stated that "the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one's current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views." Signatories to the convention are barred from "the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers" to recant their beliefs or convert.[7][8]

Most Western democracies protect the "freedom of religion, and it is largely implied in respective legal systems that those who do not believe or observe any religion are allowed "freedom of thought.

A noted exception to ambiguity, explicitly allowing non-religion, is Article 36 of the "Constitution of the People's Republic of China (as authored in 1982), which states that "No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion."[9] Article 46 of China’s "1978 Constitution was even more explicit, stating that "Citizens enjoy freedom to believe in religion and freedom not to believe in religion and to propagate atheism."[10]

Non-denominational[edit]

A non-denominational person or organization is not restricted to any particular or specific "religious denomination. The term has been used in the context of various faiths including "Jainism,[11] "Baha'i Faith,[12] "Zoroastrianism,[13] "Unitarian Universalism,[14] "Paganism,[15] "Christianity,[16] "Islam,[17] "Judaism,[18] "Hinduism,[19] "Buddhism[20] and "Wicca.[21] It stands in contrast with a "religious denomination.

Demographics[edit]

Although 11 countries listed below have non-religious majorities, it does not mean that the majority of the populations of these countries don′t belong to any religious group. For example, 67.5% of the "Swedish population belongs to the Lutheran Christian Church,[22] while 58.7% of "Albanians declare themselves as Muslims.["citation needed] Also, though Scandinavian countries have among the highest measures of nonreligiosity and even atheism in Europe, 47% of atheists who live in those countries are still members of the national churches.[23]

A Pew 2015 global projection study for religion and nonreligion, projects that between 2010 and 2050, there will be some initial increases of the unaffiliated followed by a decline by 2050 due to lower global fertility rates among this demographic.[24] Sociologist "Phil Zuckerman's global studies on atheism have indicated that global atheism may be in decline due to irreligious countries having the lowest birth rates in the world and religious countries having higher birth rates in general.[25]

According to Pew Research Center's 2012 global study of 230 countries and territories, 16% of the world's population is not affiliated with a religion, while 84% are affiliated.[4] A 2012 "WIN/Gallup International report on a poll from 57 countries reported that 59% of the world's population identified as religious, 23% as not religious, 13% as "convinced "atheists", and also a 9% decrease in identification as "religious" when compared to the 2005 average from 39 countries.[26] Their follow-up report, based on polls in late 2014, found that 63% of the globe identified as religious, 22% as not religious, and 11% as "convinced atheists".[27] However, other researchers have advised caution with the WIN/Gallup International figures since other surveys which use the same wording, have conducted many waves for decades, and have a bigger sample size, such as World Values Survey; have consistently reached lower figures for the number of atheists worldwide.[28]

Being non-religious is not necessarily equivalent to being an atheist or agnostic. Pew Research Center's global study from 2012 noted that many of the nonreligious actually have some religious beliefs. For example, they observed that "belief in God or a higher power is shared by 7% of Chinese unaffiliated adults, 30% of French unaffiliated adults and 68% of unaffiliated U.S. adults."[29] Out of the global nonreligious population, 76% reside in Asia and the Pacific, while the remainder reside in Europe (12%), North America (5%), Latin America and the Caribbean (4%), sub-Saharan Africa (2%) and the Middle East and North Africa (less than 1%).[29]

The term nones is sometimes used in the U.S. to refer to those who are unaffiliated with any organized religion. This use derives from surveys of religious affiliation, in which "None" (or "None of the above") is typically the last choice. Since this status refers to lack of organizational affiliation rather than lack of personal belief, it is a more specific concept than irreligion. A 2015 "Gallup poll concluded that in the U.S. "nones" were the only "religious" group that was growing as a percentage of the population.[30]

Country Percentage of population
that is non-religious
Date and source
 "Estonia 70.4 [31]
 "Netherlands 68 [32]
 "Czech Republic 67.8 [33]
 "Vietnam 63 [31][34]
 "Denmark 61 [31]
 "Sweden 54 [31]
 "Albania 52 [35][36][37]
 "Japan 52 [31]
 "Azerbaijan 51 [38]
 "China 50.5 [31][34][39]
 "Uruguay 47 [40]
 "France 44 [31]
 "Cuba 44 [41]
 "Russia 43.8 [34]
 "Belarus 43.5 [34]
 "South Korea 43 [34][42]
 "Finland 42.9 [31]
 "Hungary 42.6 [34]
 "Iceland 42 [43]
 "New Zealand 41.9 [44]
 "Latvia 40.6 [34]
 "United Kingdom 37.9 [45][46]
 "Belgium 35.4 [34]
 "Germany 21–34 [47][48][49][50][51]
 "Luxembourg 29.9 [34]
 "Slovenia 29.9 [34]
 "Chile 25.0 [52]
  "Switzerland 23.9 [53]
 "Canada 23.9 [54]
 "Spain 23.3 [55]
 "Slovakia 23.1 [34]
 "United States 22.8 [56]
 "Australia 29.6 [57]
 "Botswana 20.6 [58]
 "Lithuania 19.4 [34]
 "El Salvador 18.6 [59]
 "Singapore 17–18.5 [60]
 "Italy 17.8 [34]
 "Ukraine 16.3 [61]
 "Argentina 16.0 [62]
 "Nicaragua 15.7 [63]
 "Belize 15.6 [64]
 "South Africa 15.1 [65]
 "Croatia 13.2 [34]
 "Guatemala 12.5 [66]
 "Austria 12.2 [34]
 "Portugal 11.4 [34]
 "Costa Rica 11.3 [67]
 "Puerto Rico 11.1 [34]
 "Bulgaria 11.1 [34]
 "Philippines 10.9 [34]
 "Honduras 9.0 [52]
 "Brazil 8.0 [68]
 "Ecuador 7.9 [69]
 "Ireland 7.0 [70]
 "Mexico 7.0 [52]
 "India 6.6 [34]
 "Venezuela 6.0 [52]
 "Serbia 5.8 [34]
 "Peru 4.7 [34]
 "Poland 4.6 [34]
 "Greece 4.0 [34]
 "Panama 3.0 [71]
 "Turkey 2.5 [34]
 "Romania 2.4 [34]
 "Tanzania 1.7 [34]
 "Malta 1.3 [34]
 "Iran 1.1 [34]
 "Uganda 1.1 [34]
 "Nigeria 0.7 [34]
 "Thailand 0.27 [72]
 "Bangladesh 0.1 [34]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^
  2. ^ Campbell, Colin. 1971. Towards a Sociology of Irreligion. London:McMillan p. 31.
  3. ^ Bestor, Theodore C.; Bestor, Victoria; Yamagata, Akiko, eds. (2011). Handbook of Japanese Culture and Society. London: Routledge. pp. 66–67. "ISBN "0415436494. 無宗教 mushūkyō, "no religion", in Japanese language and mindset identifies those people who do not belong to organised religion. To the Japanese, the term "religion" or "faith" means organised religions on the model of Christianity, that is a religion with specific doctrines and requirement for church membership. So, when asked "what is their religion", most of the Japanese answer that they "do not belong to any religion". According to "NHK studies, those Japanese who identify with mushūkyō and therefore do not belong to any organised religion, actually take part in the folk ritual dimension of Shinto. Ama Toshimaru in Nihonjin wa naze mushukyo na no ka ("Why are the Japanese non-religious?") of 1996, explains that people who do not belong to organised religions but regularly pray and make offerings to ancestors and protective deities at private altars or Shinto shrines will identify themselves as mushukyo. Ama designates "natural religion" what NHK studies define as "folk religion", and other scholars have named "Nipponism" (Nipponkyō) or "common religion". 
  4. ^ a b Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. "The Global Religious Landscape". Retrieved December 18, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Why People With No Religion Are Projected To Decline As A Share Of The World's Population". Pew Research Center. April 5, 2015. 
  6. ^ "CCPR General Comment 22: 30/07/93 on ICCPR Article 18". Minorityrights.org. Archived from the original on 2015-01-16. 
  7. ^ International Federation for Human Rights (1 August 2003). "Discrimination against religious minorities in Iran" (PDF). fdih.org. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  8. ^ Davis, Derek H. "The Evolution of Religious Liberty as a Universal Human Right" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ People's Republic of China 1978 Constitution (PDF). 1978. p. 41. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  11. ^ Jainism in a global perspective: – Page 115, Sāgaramala Jaina, Shriprakash Pandey, Pārśvanātha Vidyāpīṭha – 1998
  12. ^ Earth Versus the Science-fiction Filmmakers – Page 70, Tom Weaver – 2005
  13. ^ Zoroastrianism: An Introduction – Page 227, Jenny Rose – 2011
  14. ^ Resourcewomen (2000). Religious Funding Resource Guide. p. 439. 
  15. ^ Mammone, Andrea (2013). Varieties of Right-Wing Extremism in Europe. 
  16. ^ Models for Christian Higher Education, Richard Thomas Hughes, William B. Adrian – 1997, p 403
  17. ^ Pollack, Kenneth (2014). Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy. p. 29. Although many Iranian hardliners are Shi'a chauvinists, Khomeini's ideology saw the revolution as pan-Islamist, and therefore embracing Sunni, Shi'a, Sufi, and other, more nondenominational Muslims 
  18. ^ Continuity and Change, Steven T. Katz, Steven Bayme – 2012, p 268
  19. ^ Personality Of Adolescent Students – Page 42, D.B. Rao – 2008
  20. ^ The Buddhist Experience in America – Page 147, Diane Morgan – 2004
  21. ^ Wiccan Warrior: Walking a Spiritual Path in a Sometimes Hostile World – Page 173, Kerr Cuhulain – 2000
  22. ^ "Kyrkan i siffror, Swedish Lutheran Christian Church in numbers". 
  23. ^ Zuckerman, Phil, ed. (2010). "Ch. 9 Atheism And Secularity: The Scandinavian Paradox". Atheism and Secularity Vol.2. Praeger. "ISBN "0313351813. 
  24. ^ "The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010–2050". Pew Research Center. April 5, 2012. 
  25. ^ Zuckerman, Phil (2007). Martin, Michael, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge Univ. Press. p. 59. "ISBN "0521603676. 
  26. ^ "Global Index of Religion and Atheism" (PDF). WIN/Gallup International. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  27. ^ "Losing our Religion? Two Thirds of People Still Claim to be Religious" (PDF). WIN/Gallup International. WIN/Gallup International. April 13, 2015. 
  28. ^ Keysar, Ariela; Navarro-Rivera, Juhem (2017). "36. A World of Atheism: Global Demographics". In Bullivant, Stephen; Ruse, Michael. The Oxford Handbook of Atheism. Oxford University Press. "ISBN "0199644659. 
  29. ^ a b "Religiously Unaffiliated". The Global Religious Landscape. "Pew Research Center: Religion & Public Life. December 18, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Percentage of Christians in U.S. Drifting Down, but Still High". 
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h "Zuckerman, Phil (2007) [First printed 2006]. "Martin, Michael, ed. "Atheism: Contemporary Rates and Patterns" (PDF). The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (Essay collection). Cambridge Companions to Philosophy, Religion and Culture. Cambridge, UK: "Cambridge University Press: pp. 47–66. "doi:10.1017/CCOL0521842700.004. "LCCN 2006005949. 
  32. ^ Bernts, Tom; Berghuijs, Joantine (2016). God in Nederland 1966–2015. Ten Have. "ISBN "9789025905248. 
  33. ^ "Population by religious belief and by municipality size groups" (PDF). Czech Statistical Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af Dentsu Communication Institute Inc., Research Centre for Japan (2006)(in Japanese)
  35. ^ "Albania". State.gov. 2006-09-15. Retrieved 2011-02-04.  US Department of State – International religious freedom report 2006
  36. ^ "Lycos.com" (PDF). lycos.fr. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-03. 
  37. ^ "Adherents.com". Adherents.com. Retrieved 2011-02-04.  Some publications
  38. ^ "Global Index Of Religion and Atheism" (PDF). Redcresearch.ie. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2011-11-01.  Publications are taken from Gallup
  39. ^ "Adherents.com". Adherents.com. Retrieved 2011-02-04.  Some publications
  40. ^ "Atheism to Defeat Religion By 2038". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  41. ^ https://fusiondotnet.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/fusion_cuba-poll-charts-1.pdf
  42. ^ According to figures compiled by the South Korean "National Statistical Office. "인구,가구/시도별 종교인구/시도별 종교인구 (2005년 인구총조사)". NSO online KOSIS database. Archived from the original on September 8, 2006. Retrieved August 23, 2006. 
  43. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2013-09-03. 
  44. ^ "2013 Census totals by topic". stats.govt.nz. 
  45. ^ "UK Census". "ONS. 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  46. ^ Philby, Charlotte (12 December 2012). "Less religious and more ethnically diverse: Census reveals a picture of Britain today". The Independent. London. 
  47. ^ "End of year 2016 Germany" (PDF). "WIN-Gallup International. p. 40. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  48. ^ "End of year 2014 Germany" (PDF). "WIN-Gallup International. p. 38. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  49. ^ "Religionszugehörigkeit Bevölkerung Deutschland" (PDF) (in German). Forschungsgruppe Weltanschauungen in Deutschland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  50. ^ (in German) Religionen in Deutschland: Mitgliederzahlen Religionswissenschaftlicher Medien- und Informationsdienst; 31 October 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  51. ^ REMID Data of "Religionswissenschaftlicher Medien- und Informationsdienst" retrieved 16 January 2015
  52. ^ a b c d "Las religiones en tiempos del Papa Francisco" (in Spanish). Latinobarómetro. April 2014. p. 6. Archived from the original (pdf) on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  53. ^ "Ständige Wohnbevölkerung ab 15 Jahren nach Religions- / Konfessionszugehörigkeit, 2015". www.bfs.admin.ch (in German, French, and Italian). Neuchâtel: Swiss Federal Statistical Office. 2015. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  54. ^ "96F0030XIE2001015 – Religions in Canada". 2.statcan.ca. Retrieved 2013-05-08.  Canada 2011 census
  55. ^ [2] Socialogical Research Centre, January 2012
  56. ^ "America's Changing Religious Landscape". "Pew Research Center: Religion & Public Life. May 12, 2015. 
  57. ^ "Census shows result of mining boom, with increased cost of housing and higher wages", PIA AKERMAN, The Australian, 21 June 2012.
  58. ^ "Pew Research Center", Accessed 23 March 2016.
  59. ^ "International Religious Freedom Report for 2012". U.S. State Department. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  60. ^ "Youth in Singapore shunning religion". The Straits Times. Retrieved March 21, 2016. 
  61. ^ Релігія, Церква, суспільство і держава: два роки після Майдану [Religion, Church, Society and State: Two Years after Maidan] (pdf) (in Ukrainian), Kiev: "Razumkov Center in collaboration with the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches, 26 May 2016, pp. 22, 27, 29, 31, archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-04-22 
    Sample of 2,018 respondents aged 18 years and over, interviewed 25–30 March 2016 in all regions of Ukraine except Crimea and the occupied territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
  62. ^ "Table Of Statistics On Religion In The Americas". Prolades.com. April 2001. Retrieved 2011-02-04.  Gallup-Argentina survey
  63. ^ "2005 Nicaraguan Census" (PDF). National Institute of Statistics and Census of Nicaragua (INEC) (in Spanish). pp. 42–43. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 
  64. ^ "Table Of Statistics On Religion In The Americas". Prolades.com. April 2001. Retrieved 2011-02-04.  Gallup-Belize survey
  65. ^ [3] Güney Afrika 2001 census Archived April 11, 2005, at the "Wayback Machine.
  66. ^ The Latin American Socio-Religious Studies Program / Programa Latinoamericano de Estudios Sociorreligiosos (PROLADES) PROLADES Religion in America by country
  67. ^ International Religious Freedom Report 2008: Costa Rica. United States "Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the "public domain.
  68. ^ "Census 2010; Sistema IBGE de Recuperação Automática SIDRA". Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  69. ^ (in Spanish) El 80% de los ecuatorianos afirma ser católico, según el INEC
  70. ^ "This is Ireland. Highlights from Census 2011, Part 1" (PDF). March 2012. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  71. ^ "Religión en Panamá" (PDF). 
  72. ^ ประชากรจำแนกตามศาสนา หมวดอายุ เพศ และเขตการปกครอง (in Thai). สำมะโนประชากรและเคหะ พ.ศ. 2543 (2000 census), "National Statistical Office of Thailand. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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