Originally posted by RBHILL
I heard now that atheist of 20% pray daily
Okay, since everyone is getting their knickers in a twist over this, let me try to explain these stats.
First, the Pew Forum poll is from 2012, the latest year that they have stats for.
The first number is correct, and can be found on page 52 of the PDF. 6% of those describing themselves as "Atheist OR Agnostic" say they "Pray Daily". 11% say they pray "Weekly or Monthly", while 82% say they pray "Seldom or Never". The only explanation I see is that this prayer activity must be the Agnostics and they are lumped in together with the Atheists.
This next number is misrepresented. RBHILL says that "20% of atheists pray daily" is incorrect. Clearly, if only 6% of atheists AND agnostics pray daily, then 20% of atheists can not be praying every day.
There is a section of those responding in the category of "Unaffiliated". This section is made up of all those who self-describe as Atheist, those who self-describe as Agnostic, and those who claim they are "Nothing in Particular", meaning they are not Atheist, not Agnostic, not Christian or other faith (and this is separate from those who answered "Don't Know" ).
The Unaffiliated group is made up of all those who claim Atheist, Agnostic, or Nothing in Particular. Yes, they lump them together. They make up 19.6% of those responding. (2.4% were Atheist, 3.3% Agnostic and 16.9% Nothing in Particular.) (See page 13 of the PDF for this breakdown.)
I might remind everyone that this "Nothing in Particular" group includes people like divegeester who claim to believe in God but has no affiliation with any particular religion.
But back in the Executive Summary section, speaking of "the country’s 46 million unaffiliated adults", it says: "Two-thirds of them say they believe in God (68% ). More than half say they often feel a deep connection with nature and the earth (58% ), while more than a third classify themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious” (37% ), and one-in-five (21% ) say they pray every day."
Speaking of the country's "Unaffiliated" respondents, they say that 21% say they pray every day. This is the source where RBHILL's erroneous statement that "20% of atheists pray daily" comes from. First of all, it's not 20%, it's 21% and secondly, it's not atheists, but "Unaffiliated Adults" which include "Atheist", "Agnostic" and "Nothing in Particular". Much of the PDF talks about these who responded "Nothing in Particular" and find that many of them are religious, it's just that they are Unaffiliated with a particular religion.
So I correct RBHILL's statement that "20% of atheists pray daily" with "21% of Unaffiliated adults say they pray daily", which is something very different.
Here's a direct link to the PDF: http://www.pewforum.org/files/2012/10/NonesOnTheRise-full.pdf