http://www.humaniststudies.org/enews/?id=281&article=0 Is the U.S. following Europe in becoming less religious and more humanist? This is the tantalizing prospect held out by some recent surveys. Matt Cherry, IHS Executive DirectorA new survey in the U.S. shows that the number of 18-25 year olds who are atheist, agnostic or nonreligious has increased from 11 percent in 1986 to 20 percent today. Meanwhile a survey of the United States and the five largest countries in Western Europe reveals that religious belief continues to plummet in Europe, with Italy being the only country with a majority believing in any form of God or supreme being. And even in these overwhelmingly godless countries, the young are still significantly less religious than their elders. A survey of young people ages 18-25 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press includes encouraging news about the growth of humanist beliefs among the so-called "Generation Next." Among the findings: * One-in-five members of "Generation Next" say they have no religious affiliation or are atheist or agnostic, nearly double the proportion of young people who said that in the late 1980s. * Nexters are among the least likely to attend church regularly: 32 percent attend at least once a week compared with 40 percent of those over age 25. * Nearly two-thirds of Nexters (63 percent) believe humans and other living things evolved over time. By contrast, Americans over the age of 40 favor Creationist accounts over evolutionary theory. * Nexters are the most tolerant of any generation on social issues such as immigration, race and homosexuality. * Nexters are among the most likely to say the will of the American people, not the Bible, should be a more important influence on U.S. laws. * And just 4 percent of Gen Nexters say people in their generation view becoming more spiritual as their most important goal in life.