...according to the Pew Religious Landscape survey
, as reported by Steven Waldman
. As Inigo Montoya famously said in Princess Bride
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
What this means is that Atheism has become a cultural designation, rather than a theological statement. Some are likely declaring themselves atheists as a statement of hostility to organized religion, rather than to God. This might help explain polls showing rising numbers of Atheists.
Oh great. I suppose I should be happy that the term "atheist" is losing its stigma enough that people who clearly don't know what it means want to identify with it. But the discussion of religion is already marred by enough imprecise language. If the Pew study had been a qualitative study, it would have been fascinating to ask these folks what atheism meant to them.