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Barry says that, similar to his encounters with Christians as a seeker, spiritual conversations and relationships are the key.
“Evangelism isn’t about giving people information,” he says.
Unsurprisingly, more than nine-in-ten self-identified atheists say religion is not too or not at all important in their lives, and nearly all (97%) say they seldom or never pray.
At the same time, many do not see a contradiction between atheism and pondering their place in the world.
About three times as many Americans say they do not believe in God or a universal spirit (9%) as say they are atheists (3%).
And roughly half of all atheists (54%) frequently feel a deep sense of wonder about the universe, up from 37% in 2007. Only about one-in-ten atheists (9%) say they do at least weekly, while roughly two-thirds (65%) say they seldom or never discuss their views on religion with religious people.
By comparison, 26% of those who have a religious affiliation share their views at least once a week with those who have other beliefs; 43% say they seldom or never do.
Although the literal definition of “atheist” is “a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, 8% of those who call themselves atheists also say they believe in God or a universal spirit.
Indeed, 2% say they are “absolutely certain” about the existence of God or a universal spirit.
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But one thing is for sure: Along with the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans (many of whom believe in God), there has been a corresponding increase in the number of atheists.