I just read in the NY Times that the incidence of Americans who identify as atheists is 1.2%.
That is the percent who self-identified specifically with the A-word in this poll. Another 12% described their religion as "nothing in particular." (I'm not making that up.) I think it's harder to declare you're an atheist than it is to say nothing in particular. It means you've thought about it and come to a decision, rather than simply waiting for a sign either way. (Actually, the nothing people worry me - to be indifferent to such a core issue seems profoundly apathetic, but that's another post.)
I've written before about the anomaly of being a church-going atheist. It appears that Unitarians make up .7% in this poll, so I'm one of the smallest of the small percents. Funny. I don't feel that way on Sunday mornings, singing "Spirit of Life" along with my fellow congregants. Thank God (oh, wait, I can't -) that I have found a place where even the smallest point-somethings feel welcome, "a place of solace, comfort and community" as we say in the opening words.
So this gives me the chance to tell my favorite Unitarian joke (of which there are so many):
“How many Unitarian Universalists does it take to change a light bulb?”
“We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that a light bulb works for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship to your light bulb and present it next month at our annual light bulb Sunday service. We explore a number or light bulb traditions including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted; all of which are equally valid paths to spiritual luminescence.”