Ratio of atheists/agnostics/theists on the SDMB?

I put this here because it is obviously about religion.

I know the SDMB is thought of as mainly left-wing with a small gang of right-wingers. But what about religious belief? I sometimes see particular dopers declaring their atheism (and vice versa) but that doesn’t tell me whether I inhabit a board of mostly atheists or theists (or agnostics)

I suspect that most of the members, being American, would be theists but I could be wrong.

Has this ratio ever been discussed or even worked out before?

Not by me. I think of the bulk of dopers as fairly moderate/centrist (i.e. they tend to agree with me!) with minorities on both the right and left wings.

You mean you sometimes see particular atheists declaring their dopism? :wink:

Not aware that it’s ever been discussed or worked out. There’s presumably a large body of dopers who never post on religious topics and have never had occasion to indicate their own positions, and this in turn probably reflects a large number of people who just aren’t interested in religion. You could, I suppose, categorise them as agnostics, but I’m not sure that that would be useful. It would blur the important distinction between people who adopt an agnostic position on religious questions, and people who just don’t care about religious questions.

So I doubt that you could get much of a handle on the balance between theists, atheists and agnostics.

Czarcasm recently ran an informal poll on this which yielded the following results (consolidated by Metacom).

So it looks like a moderate majority identified as either atheist or agnostic. It might be a little higher because a couple of categories like UU and Buddhism can be theistically ambigous.

This was not a scientific poll, of course, but I think it seems to match my perception of the board.

Well, if you look at this chart in this thread it shows the political distribution on the SDMB. Notice the high concentration in the lower left quadrant…and the distribution left to right for that matter. It bears out the OPs assertion on the political side, though like the thread on religion this isn’t exactly scientific.

The religious ratio is pretty much what I figured though…over half of the respondents are agnostic/Atheist (including yours truely, who didn’t take the poll). The majority religion on the board is Christian. One interesting thing I note though is…where are all the followers of Islam? Only 1??


I’m a Gnostic Agnostic, does that count? :smiley:

Yes and no.

Judaism presents a problem. As I understand their religion, one can be an agnostic/atheist and be a Jew.

Another problem. I am a theist, but not a Christian (I believe in God, but not that Jesus of Nazereth was his only begotten son who died for our sins to provide us with grace so that we may be redeemed to God the father, etc.)

So what about “generic theists”?

I think they use the phrase “I’m spiritual but not religious” to cover that eventuality.

Mmm. As I understand it, it would be difficult to be areligious Jew while being an agnostic or an atheist, but I’m happy to be corrected by someone who knows better than I.

But it’s certainly possible to be a Buddhist, and I think a Unitarian Universalist, while being an atheist or an agnostic.

But I don’t think this is a great problem. The overall numbers of adherents of these faiths are not great, and if you make an assumption about their theist or atheist beliefs, even if your assumption is out it won’t greatly affect the overall balance between theists and the rest.

Are you a Deist? According to the table above you have at least six co-religionists.

The mods and “advisors” that responded to the poll were all atheists. (Unless I missed some.) Any significance in this? Any Christian admins/mods/advisors?

I remember that thread and posted on it.

I have now some songline in my mind “Only the Lonely”… Can’t place it but it gives me some flash of a rock and roll sound. I think it is time to run and hide because it is all too obvious now that the Western Demons of the SDMB are invading my brain.

Salaam. A

The Motels, from the album All Four One, track number 3.

Thank you.
Not that this information makes it clearer to me why this piece of unknown yet remembered music from an unknown yet remembered group came to my mind all of a sudden :slight_smile:

Salaam. A

Not quite.

The general rule in Judaism is “once a Jew, always a Jew.” A Jew could declare himself to be an athiest, but yet (according to Jewish law) he’s still a Jew. He could declare that he’s a Christian, a Hindu, a Rastafarian, a Muslim, a Wiccan or a grilled chicken sandwich, but he’s still a Jew.

Zev Steinhardt

Forgot: I think there are at least 3 other Muslim members, which as you all know is enough to claim that the True Believers form a majority.

Salaam. A

It’s actually a Roy Orbison song, although i think the Motels did a cover of it. The Roy Orbison version is probably the one you’ve heard, though.

I can’t live this lie any more. I officially renounce my atheism. I am a grilled chicken sandwich American!

Sorry, Diogenes, two different songs, sample of lyrics below


Only the lonely (dum-dum-dum-dumdy-doo-wah)
Know the way I feel tonight (ooh-yay-yay-yay-yeah)
Only the lonely (dum-dum-dum-dumdy-doo-wah)
Know this feelin’ ain’t right (dum-dum-dum-dumdy-doo-wah)

There goes my baby
There goes my heart
They’re gone forever
So far apart

But only the lonely
Know why
I cry
Only the lonely


The Motels’

Only The Lonely
The Motels

We walked the loneliest mile
We smiled without any style
We kissed altogether wrong
No intention

We lied about each other’s drinks
We lived without each other thinkin’
What anyone would do
Without me and you

It’s like I told you
Only the lonely can play


  1. In response to query: I am theist; I believe in a personal God, not an impersonal force. Maybe if I knew more about Unitarians, I would go that way.

Here is the rub: I love the Bible (teach Hebrew Bible), and I love studying and teaching religion, especially gnosticism and mysticism. I am a theistic / mystic / gnostic; I just don’t believe in any one religion, or at least one out there today.

If I had to choose one, it would be kabbalah, but I am not Jewish and don’t see the need to become a Jew to study and practice kabbalah.

  1. Zev Steinhardt and I agree.

Lynwood - my take on Judaism (and I think that’s what zev was getting at, too) is that Judaism is a word used to describe more than one thing. It is both the name of a religion and of a cultural entity (and I won’t get into whether it’s an ethnicity, a culture, a nationality or something completely different again).

So, yes - it is possible to be an Atheist and at the same time a Jew, with special ties to Judaism and even to the religion that goes along with it (when viewed as a cultural/historical “glue”). Proof? I exist :slight_smile: - q.e.d

(to get back on topic - I’d still like to be listed as “atheist” on any such poll. In fact, I’m pretty sure I actually am…, but I’m not going back to check right now)