Martin's _Atheism: A Philosophical Justification_: 'The number of nonbelievers in the wor

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Martin's _Atheism: A Philosophical Justification_: "The number of nonbelievers in the world today [1990] is surprisingly large. The _World Christian Encyclopedia_, perhaps the most comprehensive source of religious statistics available, estimated in 1982 that by 1985 there would be about 210 million atheists and 805 million agnostics in the world. This means that about 21 percent of the world's poulation consists of nonbelievers. Moreover, this figure does not include members of religions such as Jainism that involve no belief in God. Since this calculation is based in part on public opinion polls and on governmental, church, and business statistics, as well as on other data, there is good reason, furthermore, to suppose that the actual number of nonbelievers is much greater. In many countries there is social pressure against expression of nonbelief in God. In addition, the yes-no format of typical surveys is likely to result in the recording of responses of unbelief only by hardened atheists." (p. 3). Furthermore, of those who report that religion is "very important to them", on further questioning many would likely reveal that they do not believe in the literal interpretation of the bible, or possibly even the existence of God or the divinity of Christ. Unfortunately, getting such admissions is often like pulling teeth, and simple "yes/no" surveys don't catch the full truth.


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