Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Will They Be in Foxholes?

Steven Prothero, author of God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run The World, lists Atheism as a religion.  The other seven are Islam, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Yoruba Religion, Judaism

Prothero is not alone in his belief that Atheism is a religon.  According to a New York Times article, "groups representing atheists and secular humanists are pushing for the appointment of one of their own to the chaplaincy, hoping to give voice to what they say is a large — and largely underground — population of nonbelievers in the military."

The article quotes Jason Torpy, a former Army captain who is president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers,as saying “Humanism fills the same role for atheists that Christianity does for Christians and Judaism does for Jews,” . . . “It answers questions of ultimate concern; it directs our values.”

According to the Times, "Defense Department statistics show that about 9,400 of the nation’s 1.4 million active-duty military personnel identify themselves as atheists or agnostics, making them a larger subpopulation than Jews, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists in the military."  I would guess the military has more Atheists than it has followers of Confucius or the Yoruba Religion as well.Christians are apparently overrepresented in the chaplain corps; "Christians represent about one million, or 70 percent, of all active-duty troops. They are even more dominant among the chaplain corps: about 90 percent of the 3,045 active duty chaplains are Christians, most of them Protestants."

Given that religious areas of the country seem to exhibit a stronger support for the military than some of the more secular regions, I wonder the reaction to this suggestion will be

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