April 04, 2011
Atheist groups in the US military
Some non-religious members of the US military at Fort Bragg in North Carolina have formed a group called MASH (Military Atheists and Secular Humanists) and applied for official recognition so that they receive the same benefits as religious groups. There are 20 similar unofficial groups of non-theists in US military bases around the world, according to the president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers.
This is not a trivial development. The US military has long had a 'God and country' mindset that is hostile to nonbelievers. These developments show that more and more atheists feel comfortable declaring their nonbelief. The numbers are potentially large. A Pentagon report "concluded that about 20 to 25 percent of military personnel have no religious preference. Up to 3.6 percent identify themselves as humanist — a catchall that can refer to a nonreligious ethical philosophy." Religious non-preference, like saying one is 'spiritual', is often (though not always) a temporary refuge for those who seriously doubt the existence of god but are uncomfortable coming right out and saying so.
We are rapidly approaching a critical point when religious beliefs will collapse because their lack of any rational basis will become increasingly apparent as people in every walk of life begin to point it out.