How many atheists do you personally know?  I'm not counting the ones you have met through this network.  I would say my number is at six.  My mother, my oldest son, three people at work and just found out that my family doctor was essentially one when we discussed my Reason Rally letter to the Toronto Star. I'm not sure about my daughter so I won't count her.

I would have a problem counting the number of religious people I know starting with my wife and my youngest son - Way too many.

Not everybody is going to be an atheist and join the Atheist Nexus which currently has
26656 members.  So inquiring minds want to know your number.  How many more more atheists are out there connected to our members who don't join these type of groups or conversely how alone are some of our members - is your number 0?

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My local number is 0 and for various reasons I'm fine with that. :)

various reasons? ....  

I think most of my friends would likely identify as atheist or agnostic, or apathetic about the entire god/religion question. If I had to put a number on it I would say it's between 5 and 10 people based only on conversations I have had with them, not because they said they were atheists flat out.

"How many atheists do you personally know?"

In Canada, ...I can't even estimate a count, probably at least 100.

Here in the Southern U.S. Bible-Belt, about 20, but then I've only been here a little over 2 years.

To those content to stay hidden, there are more of us than you think there are. But, there are many atheists who fear being associated with the Fundie Christian "evil atheist of straw" so carefully crafted; the invisible atheists help perpetuate that particular straw man with their silence.

Those fighting for secular issues, human rights, egalitarianism, rational legislation, etc. have a battle on two fronts; those who promote theocratic rule, and those afraid to speak up and be counted.

When I "wear my nonbelief on my sleeve", either by a t-shirt, hat or button proclaiming my atheism (which is almost-always), the only people who really take notice, make eye-contact and smile and nod. Aha!Another nonbeliever! Here in North Carolina, ...between 1:8 and 1:10.

As far as "the secular cause" is concerned, the worst enemy isn't the theocrats,'s complacency.

Trends being as they are, soon our numbers will reach, as Richard Dawkins calls it; Critical Mass. It's a shame that we probably already have the numbers, but lack a collective courage.

I wonder if the silent atheists will come out when it's safe?

In  the pacific northwest, atheists are fairly well represented thankfully. 

To qualify the sleeve comment, I meant spontaneous confrontational debate not a t-shirt or bumper sticker.  :)

After doing an actual count, 

  • At least 50 from different meetup and cfi meetings but sadlv don't see them often enough to be close.  
  • 3 co-workers that I know of. 
  • About 20 family members (thank you San Francisco!)  
  • About 10 additional buddhist friends/family that consider themselves atheist.  
  • Roughly 50 from high school, college, and former jobs that I am in touch with on facebook in a private freethinking subgroup. 
  • Lived overseas for a long time so about 20 people from there as well.  
  • There are more that don't think about atheism but religion is not part of their lives. Not sure what do to with them.  

I am apparently a super lucky person in this regard and will stop complaining so much. 

That is great you know so many atheists personally Richard.  We need people like you who are out there constantly reminding everyone they are among atheists.  We need to fight back against those who oppose secularism.  I understand your point about complacency and that is why after a lifetime of just being an atheist I attended the Reason Rally and joined this network with my real name.

Your silent atheist point reminded me I know seven atheists (and I was trying really hard to start with an accurate count when I came up with six).

The silent atheist I know is my Uncle. He had an entertainment career and is retired and has a different last name than me.  I will his respect his wishes to be a silent atheist.  

I would prefer not coming down too hard on those who wish to remain silent. Probably in his judgement coming out as an atheist would have been a career killer.  When you have fans, you might not want to have less fans.  

He recently sent me a recording of a radio program where there were people  phoning in and remembering his career over several hours. He eventually phoned in himself and said that the tribute is nice but - "I'm not dead yet".  

My mom who is 88, my doctor and my friends at work probably prefer to be silent atheists as well.  I'm confident that their vote will be used to support secularism and reason.  I will not question the courage of anyone who does not want to to speak up publically.  I haven't lived their life and been faced with their choices.

"I would prefer not coming down too hard on those who wish to remain silent."

For me, it all depends on whether or not they get in the way of those who wish to use their voices in order to cause change.

"I will not question the courage of anyone who does not want to to speak up publically."

Again, this all depends on whether or not they actively obstruct the efforts of others, while remaining silent themselves.

What does "coalition" mean to you?

It all depends what you define as friends. I have no friends that are close. I have work colleagues that may act as friends but they will stab you in the back if it is to their benefit. I have learned that lesson several times already. I have direct immediate family that are atheists but of the I don't care kind (spouse, and kids) and I think my sister is. I have about less than half a dozen local atheists that we meet for coffee occasionally and go to conventions. But they are not close. I would like to have closer friends but that doesn't seem to be in my nature. Wait, I have one true close friend that is an atheist, my dog!

Lorien I'm just curious on the number of atheists our members currently know about  - friends, family, colleagues and neighbours etc..  If we log on to atheist nexus - we know of 26000 people and made friends with a few of them, if we go to an atheist meetup we know maybe 30 atheists.  For me, I'm only counting the number of athiests I know in my regular life.  Someone who actually told me they were an atheist without any atheist group structure being involved.

My low number is seven. It is really interesting to hear even lower numbers from some of the nexus members.

About 8 then. Some at work came to me because of my bumpers stickers on my car. But you have to be careful with some of those because they may be lying.

'As far as "the secular cause" is concerned, the worst enemy isn't the theocrats,'s complacency'


I agree, this sums up the UK I think. Most I fear just can't be bothered or see the C of E as a traditional institution and fail to realise the impact and influence it has, particularly with 26 non elected bishops sitting in the House of Lords ( upper house).




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