Atheism on the rise

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 10, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Back of the Book" segment tonight, atheists on the rise and some are attacking Christianity.


According to a survey the Pew Research Center, just 2.4 percent of Americans say they are atheist. Just over three percent say they're agnostic, that means they don't know. But about 14 percent are not affiliated with any religion.

Now, on Times Square this Christmas season, there's an obnoxious sign put up by an atheist group that says, "Who needs Christ during Christmas, nobody," blatantly offensive, totally unnecessary.


Joining us now from Washington, Fox News Political Analyst, Charles Krauthammer. So, the rise of people who are not religious in America, does that signify anything. Does that mean anything.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I didn't see much of a rise in those graphs. There was a tiny increase in the numbers of those who are unaffiliated.

I think that's more of a statement about the churches, perhaps, than it is about atheism. I saw the lines about atheism and agnosticism, they were pretty flat.

Look, the United States is, by far, the most religious country in the west. It's not even close. And I don't see any eruption of atheism upon the land.

O'REILLY: But they are very aggressive, vocal, well-funded. And they target -- you know, this year the -- since they got their butts kicked in the department stores by me, primarily, now they're targeting little kids in Minnesota and South Carolina saying, "Don't you dare sing `Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful' or we'll come in and sue you."

What is the reasoning behind that. I mean, did they think they're going to get more recruits doing that kind of stuff.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, look, I think you've got to draw a distinction between the militants who want to stick a finger in your eye, and who put up that stupid and offensive sign in Times Square.

That's not exactly a persuasive piece of advertising. I don't think you're going to get a lot of people who walk by that sign, having epiphany and decide, "Oh, I think I'll give up God," as a result of that.


KRAUTHAMMER: This is small group of extremists. And when you think about it, -- you know, there are a lot of minority groups in the country that have their extreme elements.

You've got the -- you know, the tree huggers who have people who go out and who destroy logging cabs, you've got the animal rights people who break in NIH and let the monkeys go, you've got the vegans, you know, the extreme ones who will undress in the middle of a city square.

So, you've got people in a lot of minority elements who want to get attention or who want to be offensive. And you've got them among the atheists.

But I would bet that the vast majority of atheists are silent atheists who move among us, and don't announce it and don't wear it on their sleeve, simply have their own world view, and leave other people alone.

O'REILLY: No, I would agree with that. I mean -- but I'm interested of that it's such a small number but they have such an inordinate amount of -- I don't know, the ACLU and people like this, I mean, they take up their causes all the time.

And that leaves me to be -- to discuss the secularism. We see Washington State and Colorado legalize marijuana, gay marriage, pretty much, they've won that battle, I mean, perceptions have changed of gay marriage, you know. So, more and more states will do that particularly in the north and the west.

So there is -- we are becoming a more secular nation. It's true, we still maintain a high level of religiosity -- is that a word, religiosity.

KRAUTHAMMER: Religiosity, yes, it's a word.

O'REILLY: We're becoming more secular and, especially among younger people. I mean, that's the trend of the future, is it not.

KRAUTHAMMER: Bill, even if it isn't a word, you're big enough that if you say it, it becomes a word.

O'REILLY: Thank you. And I'm glad I have -- "Word of the Day."

KRAUTHAMMER: It's religiosity. There's an "i" in there somewhere.

O'REILLY: Got it.

KRAUTHAMMER: I don't think these are necessarily signs of secularism. Smoking pot, I would bet there are people who believe in God who smoke pot, and people who don't.

I'm not sure it means that you become an atheist if you're smoking pot. And a lot of --

O'REILLY: But it's a more permissive culture, you know. Surely, you see that. Maybe you don't, you live in Washington.

But it's a more permissive culture, unfettered abortion, OK, for any reason, up until the birth process. There's a struggle.

And the struggle is between, usually, people of faith and the secular progressives. And the secular progressives have the media in their pocket, so they're powerful.

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, I don't know where to start on this. So much air and so little time. Look, I would start with a proposition that, somehow, you know, all of these things, the permissiveness is radically increasing.

I would say, one of the more remarkable phenomenon of the last 30 years is the increase in opposition to abortion among the young people. You would have thought, together with other trends, yes, the permissiveness on drugs and other stuff and on sex and all that, that you would get an increase in the lassitude for permissiveness about abortion.

But it's the reverse. I think there has been an interesting relationship between the new sides, the imaging, the sonograms, the idea of the fetus as a person and actual increase in resistance.

So, I think that the trends are going in both directions. And I wouldn't worry terribly much about the faith of the republic.

O'REILLY: All right, Charles, as always, we appreciate it. You might want to check out --


-- Krauthammer's book, "Things That Matter," huge bestseller. It makes a great Christmas gift.

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