Secular Sunday #33 – No Sects Please, We’re Irish

Welcome to this week’s Secular Sunday.

In this issue:

  • News
  • Upcoming Events
  • Blogs


  • The latest Global Index of Religion and Atheism released by WIN-Gallup International has revealed that Ireland is one of the least religious countries in the world. Only 47% of the Irish population consider themselves religious, a drop of 22% since 2005 and considerably less than the global average of 59%. Additionally, 10% of people surveyed in Ireland identified themselves as “convinced atheists”, a figure that puts Ireland in the top 10 atheist countries of the 57 surveyed, and up from 3% when the same question was asked in 2005.
    Worldwide, atheism is strongly correlated to education and, hence, with income. 19% of those with a university education are atheists compared to only 7% of those with no education or a primary school equivalent education.
    It’s important to note that these results are based on surveys of relatively small samples of the population, 1000 in the case of Ireland. Also, the survey in Ireland was conducted online and, while Red C and Gallup claim a 3.5% error margin, it’s possible that the collection method has skewed the results slightly, in that people without Internet access are likely to have a different rate of religiosity to those who do. That being said, it’s clear from this survey, from other recent surveys and from last year’s census, that the population of Ireland is moving away from organised religion – and Catholicism in particular – at an unprecedented rate.
  • Atheist Ireland chairman Michael Nugent was on BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence this morning talking about the survey with host William Crawley and David Quinn of the Iona Institute. If you missed it, you can listen here (segment begins at around 53:30)
  • We have some new videos of recent Dublin Atheists in the Pub events on our YouTube channel. In July, Aoife McLysaght spoke on becoming an atheist and defending science against religious arguments. Last Thursday, we had two speakers talking about how and why they left their religions: Vahid Bokharaie who was raised as a Muslim in Iran, and Victor Diac who studied to be an Eastern Orthodox priest in Romania.
  • Our Kiva team has almost reached its August goal of raising $1000 in loans. One more loan will do it. And remember, when you join Kiva your first loan is free. If you hurry, it could be your loan that helps us hit that target.
  • Our AGM will be on one of the last two weekends in September. We are working around the availability of Sanal Edamaruku. We should be able to provide an exact date shortly

Upcoming Events

  • Monday 13 August, 8:30 pm, McSwiggans Bar and Restaurant, Woodquay, Galway (map)
    Galway Skeptics in the Pub are meeting to discuss logical fallacies. Facebook event page.
  • Wednesday 15 August, 8:00 pm, Absolute Hotel, Sir Harrys Mall, Limerick (map)
    The Mid-West Humanists will be meeting to discuss their campaign for a secular constitution.
  • Saturday 18 August, 8:00 pm, Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork (map)
    Cork Skeptics will be hosting a talk by Reg Murphy on the industry of modern art. Facebook event page
  • 31 August – 2 September, Carlingford Heritage Centre, Co. Louth
    All-Ireland Humanist Summer School, organised jointly by the Humanist Association of Ireland and the Humanist Association of Northern Ireland.Facebook event page
  • Saturday 8 September, 1:00 pm, Bórd Gais Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2 (map)
    TEDxDublin.  The biggest TEDxDublin to date: 15 speakers will take to the stage to share ideas and explore the unexpected. The theme is ‘A City of Ideas’. Speakers announced so far include internationally renowned architect Daniel Liebskind, artist Dorothy Cross and inventor Jane ní Dhulchaointigh. Read more. Tickets are €30.


  • “We should not tolerate, in any of our online or offline communities, any sexual harassment or abuse or threats of violence against women that we would not tolerate if they were directed against our family or close friends.” Michael Nugent’s guest post on Skepchick.
  • “Earlier in the week the Belfast Telegraph reported as “news” that the face of Jesus had been spotted in a tree stump. This newspaper has a very vague definition of news, but we could spend a long time discussing that.” Belfast Skeptics report and debunk the latest example of religious pareidolia.

That’s it for this week. If you have something to share, contact us by any of the usual methods.

Take care,

Derek Walsh
Editor, Secular Sunday
Atheist Ireland



Secular Sunday