Christians vs Atheists in Prison

These are very interesting statistics collected in 1997 by Rod Swift.

Response		Number	%
Catholic		29267	39.164%
Protestant	26162	35.008%
Muslim		5435	7.273%
American Indian	2408	3.222%
Nation		1734	2.320%
Rasta		1485	1.987%
Jewish		1325	1.773%
Church of Christ	1303	1.744%
Pentecostal	1093	1.463%
Moorish		1066	1.426%
Buddhist		882	1.180%
Jehovah Witness	665	0.890%
Adventist		621	0.831%
Orthodox		375	0.502%
Mormon		298	0.399%
Scientology	190	0.254%
Atheist		156	0.209%
Hindu		119	0.159%
Santeria		117	0.157%
Sikh		14	0.019%
Bahai		9	0.012%
Krishna		7	0.009%

I’m not quite sure what to make of this.

On the one hand, I suppose the population of Atheists in the United States is already low (around 8%-16%) and many inmates will turn to religion after being incarcerated. On the other hand, I don’t know how many Atheists renounced their previous religions before or remained so afterwards. So this information is still incomplete.

I should note that Rod makes a few cheeky comments toward the bottom of the page so be prepared to have a sense of humour. ;)

I was a bit surprised to find Buddhists and Hindus in there. Then again, along with Islam, Buddhism is one of the fastest growing religions in prisons.


8 thoughts on “Christians vs Atheists in Prison

  1. What about agnostics? I have done Christian volunteer work in prison and have met a number of what I would call agnostics.

  2. I wondered about this too…
    Unfortunately the responses he got from the Bureau of Prisons doesn’t appear to seperate Atheists, from Agnostics or Secular Humanists.

    One more reason why it’s incomplete.

  3. It also might have something to do with the fact that, out of the entire population, you have much higher chances of a randomly selected individual being either Catholic or Protestant than you do, say, Sikh. So in that vein, it would make sense that most people who are incarcerated are Catholic…that is, if we assume a certain level of equal-opportunity criminality. :P

  4. I think that’s what is really happening here.
    Even though inmates do tend to become religious, chances are that they’re just reaffirming their pre-existing beliefs.

    So, statistically, these are representative of the population.

    Well, it’s good to see that at least religion appears to be equal-opportunity. ;)

  5. I think there is definitely something to feeling comfortable with the faith one was brought up in. For every rule there is an exception but as much as things change they also stay the same.

    • Thanks!
      I’ve always been very curious about the religious and religions. It never ceases to amaze me at how different a conclusion each of us will reach, given the same information, based on religious convictions.

  6. It doesn’t surprise me that all the religious guys are still living in the stone age, even with all the scientific proof out there that says religions are just lies.
    Death is a scary thing. No one wants to believe that they are gonna DIE and they will never see their loved ones again. You can’t beat death my friends. Deny all you like and it’s still coming whatever you believe so you better start to appreciate life as it is right now or change it here. There is no old man in the sky and your not gonna be sitting around for all eternity in a circle holding hands and making daisy chains and singing christian songs with jesus as your band leader. There is no perfect place. everything is all relative. The weather in Hawaii is average for the Hawaiians because they see it every day and don’t notice it anymore and if there was a perfect place that would happen to you too. You have to have something to compare it too or you forget how to appreciate it and after hundreds of zillions of years later you too WILL FORGET.

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