General Article Atheists do not feel life is devoid of any meaning

Topic Selected: Religion Book Volume: 358

By Dr Jonathan Lanman

Last week, my fellow researchers and I released our initial report, Understanding Unbelief: Atheists and agnostics around the world.

This report is the result of the largest international research effort on atheism and non-religion to date and presents some interesting and encouraging findings in an increasingly polarised world.

We launched this report in Rome on the 50th anniversary of the first academic conference on unbelief, hosted by the Vatican in 1969. That conference was organised in the wake of the establishment of a pontifical secretariat for non-believers, one of the numerous efforts after the Second Vatican Council to encourage inter-religious dialogue, but faced a challenge in that data on unbelievers was minimal.

Since 1969, the number of those not believing in the existence of God(s) has been substantially increasing, with very rough estimates putting the global number at around 700 million, making ‘un

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