Atheism Kills: Gallup Poll Reveals
Published on: December 23, 2010
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  • Paul

    Sir, if you chose to worship a bronze age Caanite war god at the time of a pagan celebration of the solistice so be it. Your conclusions about this poll are bullshit and you know it. Americans are the most unhealthy, overwieght stressed out peple on the globe with the lowest life span of any industrialzed nation. Europe is an atheist block of countries, all whom have higer life expentancies better heath and in every poll are happier. Asia by your religious bias is also atheist (Buddhists are and shinto is very fuzzy) average age is what 90. Plus your wild correlation on “if the poll is correct” about atheists costing the us hundreds of billions of dollars is beyond absurd. The founders were athests, yes they were sorry. And a final note I am an iraq war veteren. I served in Karma iraq during the “surge” in the Airborne infantry. And just about all of the soliders I served with are or were atheists. we did have the luxury to believe in maddness. So when you go to your house of worship if you can fit in the pew ( i have seen you on tv) Just remember that neither I or any of the soliders with whom I served will be there or any of Americas top scientics or the spirits of our founders. and which house of [cattle dung– ed] I mean worship are you talking about, I did notice you did not mention it. I bet a baptist may have a problem with it or a morman or a cathloic, what blasphamy are you engaging in this christmas the devisive dogma that religon is. Why don’t you calulate the cost ( you can apparently do so at the speed of light) that religion costs this country’s national interest. How many millions go into mega churches and feeding the unbelievable inequality of this country (Just as Christ preached).

  • Jeff Bessen

    Mr. Mead,

    Please note that you have just lost a follower of your blog. It’s hard to imagine that a mind I respect as much as yours could draw such reckless, baseless, and offensive correlations from a simple poll. I am severely disappointed by this article.


  • “If atheism were a commercial product like Happy Meals or cigarettes, there would be calls to ban it or at least tax it to the gills in the hopes both of discouraging it and offsetting its costs.”

    When atheists start flying planes into buildings, murdering doctors or bombing buildings in the name of atheism, let me know. In the meantime, by your own logic, religions should be banned based on the astronomical costs to the US in lives and money spent.

  • Doyle

    I think you were a little too subtle for Paul, Walter.

  • Michael

    People in this survey who were defined as nonreligious were those stated that religion is not an important part of daily life and church/synagogue/mosque attendance occurs seldom or never. This group constitutes 29.7% of the adult population.

    Where does this say these folks all would define themselves as atheists? It doesn’t. Your title is quite ridiculous.

    I suppose those who are banned by their religion from drinking and smoking may very well live healthier lives. Good for them. I’d rather live a shorter life without the fear of eternal damnation. I don’t drink or smoke myself, so I guess I’m gonna be on the higher end of the curve.

    Interesting poll, but extremely misguided response Mr. Mead.

  • Ira Morris

    I am an atheist, but, I do not drink, do not smoke, exercise, work and study full-time, and pay my taxes☺

    I know some religious people in my community who smoke, drink ,and not faithful to they partner. And I know many non-religious people who pretty healthy, educated and devoted to they partner. I would not put a stamp on “religious “or “non-religious.” Good people are everywhere, in any nation, and any religion, but unfortunately, some bad people u can meet among religious and non-religious individuals. It would be cool, that all religions in the world would stop fighting with each other, and came to some sort of common ground.

    I study Chinese Medicine, and in my college we have people from various religious back grounds, and we all get along, because we have same passion and need to help other people.

  • Stephen Silverthorne

    Judging by these comments, atheism also makes you desperately insecure. So the good professor thinks you’re wrong. Boo hoo. Get over it.

  • Luke Lea

    I’m not an atheist myself but most of my family are and many people I know. “If you believe you’ll live longer,” is not going to convince them.

    The source of the problem, in my estimation, is a lack of familiarity with the literature of the Bible, which leads to a lack of religious imagination. The “God” they don’t believe in is usually an idea so ridiculous and absurd that no educated person would or should believe in it.

    Better to try to imagine the fairest and most beautiful possible thing, given everything we know. That may not be the way things actually are, but at least it would be possible and is a better place to start.

    Fundamentalists and atheists share one fault in common: they both favor literalist interpretations of metaphorical language. Mother imagined God as an old man in the sky with a long, white beard, and she didn’t believe there was such a God.

  • Randy


    I’m guessing the insecurity is really due to the inconvenient truth that atheism’s most prominent belief system has, as Mr. Mead observes, caused more deaths than “all the religious wars of Christendom and Islam combined”.

  • Marcus Brody

    I get it! You’re drunk. That’s so funny. Merry Christmas!

  • Paul S


    How can a lack of belief in something be a belief system? Atheism is a lack of belief in god or gods. It is not a belief system in and of itself. Just like your lack of belief that Allah is the true god is not a belief system.

  • Randy


    Read my post more closely. My point is about atheism’s most prominent belief system; i.e., communism. If you don’t like the term ‘belief system’ you can substitute the term ‘worldview’.

  • Lot

    Atheism isn’t the mere disbelief in a particular entity or entities known as God or gods; it’s the belief that the universe requires no supernatural agent or first cause to exist. That most certainly is a belief system. Also, whether they’re ultimately right or wrong, belief systems, like all ideas, have consequences.

  • David Hoffman

    Atheists and the secular also tend to have fewer children than believers. It would seem that non-belief is not a desirable trait from a Darwinian natural selection point of view.

  • Pete Dellas

    Some people may not read well. First, the poll was American not world-wide. Second, religion doesn’t necessarily mean Christianity. Third, the argument some have here seems to be more with the poll’s findings that with any conclusions being drawn by Mr. Mead. Have you read the poll? Finally, it seems anytime atheism gets a bad rap some people will defend it with religious zeal. Atheism defended and expounded with such vigor become a religion in itself.

  • John

    Whoa…atheists seem to be a really thin-skinned lot…right up there with bible-thumpers in their ability to be offended about anything they find offensive about what they (dis)believe in….

  • Caesar Neron

    “This is simply a study that shows that the more religious you are, the more likely it is that you will have good habits that prolong life and promote health.”

    I won’t bother disputing this obviously fallacious conclusion, but if this is your premise then it really has nothing to do with religious belief at all, it has to do with health regimen. What has spiritual belief got to do with it? A recent study shows that people who believe in Santa Claus lead happier lives, too. Of course, the responders were all six year-olds.

    Further, your none-too-subtle association of Communism with atheism in the second paragraph was massively lame. You’re putting the cart before the horse. While institutional Communism espoused atheism, it was not a product of atheism, nor is atheism essential to Communist philosophy. Even if all Communists were atheists, it still would not result in all atheists being Communists.

    Lastly, if atheism is, in fact, a religion, as some of the posters here maintain, then this entire article is rendered meaningless.

  • Liza

    I am highly amused at how the defenders of atheism in these comments manage to put atheism and atheists in a worse light than anything Mead wrote or implied. It’s almost enough for me to ascribe Machiavellian motives to the good prof.

  • mike walker

    Who did ya poll the christian kkk group?

    • Walter Russell Mead

      Not my poll.

  • Tom

    “Not my poll”

    Walter, you are being coy. It is YOUR tendentious interpretation. Your inclusion of reckless assertions loaded with “self-evident” assumptions that you were unprepared (likely due to space limitations) to actually argue is a bit off-putting as well. Your facile association of atheism with totalitarian atrocities, as though these were necessary consequences or intrinsic qualities, bespeaks either your ignorance or mendacity. You are no more justified that those who erroneously point to the Crusades as proof of the essentially violent nature of Christianity in any form.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      Perhaps, but I’ve found that atheists — not many, but a depressingly large number — are quite comfortable routinely using these tactics against religion, but get very, very angry when served a small dose of what they so generously give out. There’s not much of a sense of humor, either; tongues in cheek seem particularly hard to spot. Obviously this isn’t true all over the world, but the Angry Atheist actually seems more common than the Angry Believer in the US today. Fortunately in the US both atheists and theists generally frown on violence as a tactic in religious disputes. That’s too rare in too many places.

  • Daniel

    None of this is an argument for the truth of any religion. And that’s my concern. I’d rather be logical and not jump to conclusions by saying “God did it” than being healthy while also ignorant to the reality of our world.

  • Baal

    Atheists make up 10% of the Us population. and less then 1% of the total prison population. Christians make up 50% of the prison population. Atheists get divorced less than christians, and on average atheists actually have a lower BMI then christians. As far as wealth goes, I have 2 names for you, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates.

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