This is the thought of a dreamer (admitted). To some extent I am depending on the more practical minded to test it: (Please refer to the story and the last several posts):
At any given point in history, some thirty percent of the population will be confirmed theists. (One will step out in faith, a second will follow, and a third will pray about it).
Forty percent in the middle will be uncommitted theists. They may have faith enough, but the concerns of this world will eat them up, or they may be supportive (like give money) but not willing to get involved for some reason or other, or they may be simply afraid to get too deeply involved.
Thirty percent (or 3 in 10) will be unbelievers, but not strictly atheists. 2 of those 3 will have doubts, one wanting to believe and one preferring to disbelieve until they can see some evidence. These might best belong in the agnostic camp. Only 1 of those 3 (roughly 10% of the general population) will be atheists in the true sense of the word.
Now, I know there have been studies. Some would say plenty of studies. Gallup is probably one of the best and has been at it for a long time. It has shown a decline in those Americans who believe in God from 86% in 2000 to 78% in 2008. But this is considered a highly religious country on the world stage. Meanwhile, atheism has stayed roughly between 6 and 5% of the overall American population. I wonder how we compare with the world, overall.
For me, I have questions. I would like to see world figures. I know there are secular Moslems (plenty of them), but I wonder if there are atheist Arabs (and if they would admit it). And I wonder about conversion, too. That is the big question for me.
I know that sword cuts both ways. Believers have given up all faith at times. A simple change of mind or heart can do it. So-called “evidence” cannot do it because it is, of course, impossible to produce evidence for something that (presumably) doesn’t exist. Still, there are some in the atheist camp who appear firmly committed to converting the masses.
At the same time, though, history is the story of conversion to theism in one form or another. Christians and Buddhists tended to convert by persuasion, Moslems by the sword (and restructuring society), but subsequent generations of believers have proven the efficacy of the approaches.
The main question I have here is not how does it happen? But this: Will the Christian Church ever convert the world as hoped or will the Moslems be successful or others? My suggested answer is no. My hypothesis is there will always be more or less 10% of the population that will remain unbelievers (for the most part if not entirely atheistic) regardless.
On the other hand, will the atheists succeed in so secularizing culture and remove God so entirely from the public sphere that a majority of people will give up theism altogether. My hypothesis also suggests, no. I hypothesize that 30% of a given population will believe, regardless, and another 40%, while perhaps driven out of faith and into the world, will still have more in concert with believers than unbelievers.
You see? There are so many questions to ask and so many unresolved issues. Who will test this? Let me know what you find out.