Atheism and social outcasts

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The new atheist Sam Harris said concerning the label of atheist, "It's right next to child molester as a designation."(see also: Distrust of atheists)[1][2]

According to an international study done by William Bainbridge, atheism is frequent among people whose interpersonal social obligations are weak and is also linked to lower fertility rates in advanced industrial nations (See also: Atheism and fertility rates).[3] See also: Atheism and social skills

In many religious cultures, atheists are social outcasts or choose to be closet atheists (see also: Views on atheists and Closet atheist).

In 2017, the atheist PZ Myers, quoting fellow leftist Alex Nichols, wrote: "...the growing popularity of jibes associating outspoken atheists with fedoras, neckbeards, and virginity, led to an exodus of liberals and leftists from the “atheist” tent. Those who remained for the most part lacked in social skills and self-awareness, and the results were disastrous."[4]

In Islamic countries, outspoken atheists can additionally face violence, imprisonment and violent deaths (see also: Atheism vs. Islam and Persecution of atheists ).

Views on atheists in theistic nations

See also: Views on atheists and Atheism and loneliness

Atheism is unpopular and looked down upon in many theistic nations. For example, in the United States and Canada, the public generally has a very low opinion of atheists (see: Views on atheists). Furthermore, people who join unpopular ideologies, religions and cults are prepared to be social outcasts (see also: Atheist cults).[5]

Various atheists have attempted to change the public's perception of atheism and atheists, but their efforts were largely unsuccessful (see: Attempts to positively rebrand atheism).

The BBC reported in an article entitled The stigma of being an atheist in the US, "A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Centre shows Americans would rather have a president who was either in their 70s, or openly gay, or who had never held any public office than one that was atheist."[6]

Dr. Sam Harris is a founder of the New Atheism movement. Sam Harris is quite aware of the stigma surrounding atheism and has even advocated that atheists no longer call themselves atheists.[2] In fact, Dr. Harris has said concerning the label of atheist, "It's right next to child molester as a designation."[2][7]

Research in the American Sociological Review finds that among several groups listed, atheists are the group that Americans relate least to in terms of their vision of American society and are the group most likely to be mentioned as one that Americans would not want to have marry into their family. [8]

Americans and Canadians distrust atheists as much as rapists

See also: Atheism and rape

On December 10, 2011, USA Today reported in a story entitled Study: Atheists distrusted as much as rapists:

The study, conducted among 350 Americans adults and 420 Canadian college students, asked participants to decide if a fictional driver damaged a parked car and left the scene, then found a wallet and took the money, was the driver more likely to be a teacher, an atheist teacher, or a rapist teacher?

The participants, who were from religious and nonreligious backgrounds, most often chose the atheist teacher.

The study is part of an attempt to understand what needs religion fulfills in people. Among the conclusions is a sense of trust in others.

"People find atheists very suspect," Shariff said. "They don't fear God so we should distrust them; they do not have the same moral obligations of others. This is a common refrain against atheists. People fear them as a group."[9]

Hate crimes in the United States against atheists/agnostics are very low in number

According to a 2007 Pew Forum survey, about 4% of Americans are atheists/agnostics.[10] A 2008 Gallup poll showed that 6% of the U.S. population believed that no god or universal spirit exists.[11]

According to 2013 FBI statistics, 6/10 of a percent of hate crimes were against atheists/agnostics.[12][13]

Mocking of atheism

See also: Mocking of atheism

Although the secular left is known for ridiculing religion since at least the time of French Revolution (see: Atheism and mockery), the secular left is known for its humorlessness when it comes to others mocking of its ideology (See also: Atheism and humor and Atheism and intolerance). See also: Mocking of atheism

Christian forgiveness and long-suffering towards atheists

See also: Christian patience, forgiveness and long-suffering towards atheists

Although it is not reported in the press often, due the press preferring to focus on controversy and conflict, as it garners more viewership/readers, many Christians quietly pray for atheists/agnostics - even those of the militant variety such as Richard Dawkins.[14] The late atheist Christopher Hitchens had many Christians praying for him before he passed away and were saddened when he died.[15]

Richard Wurmbrand, who endured years of torture by an atheistic communist government and wrote the wrote the book Tortured for Christ, indicated that he had a compassion even for those who tortured him by "looking at men .. not as they are, but as they will be ... I could also see in our persecutors ... a future Apostle Paul ... (and) the jailer in Philippi who became a convert."[16]

Jesus Christ said pray for those who persecute you and love your enemies (Matthew 5:44).

Atheism, marriage and quarrelsome individuals

The atheist divorce rate is a steep 37%.[17]

For more information, please see: Atheism and divorce

See also: Atheism and marriage

The Christian apologist Michael Caputo wrote: "Recently the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has published its mammoth study on Religion in America based on 35,000 interviews... According to the Pew Forum a whopping 37% of atheists never marry as opposed to 19% of the American population, 17% of Protestants and 17% of Catholics."[18] See also: Atheism and marriage

According to the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) over 50% of all atheists and agnostics don’t get married.[19] The fertility rate is significantly lower in the atheist population (see: Atheism and fertility rates).

For more information, please see: Atheism and divorce

Atheists as a population filled with many quarrelsome, socially challenged individuals

See also: Atheist factions and Atheism and hatred of God and Atheist population

Jacques Rousseau wrote in the Daily Maverick: "Elevatorgate..has resulted in three weeks of infighting in the secular community. Some might observe that we indulge in these squabbles fairly frequently."[20] An ex-atheist wrote: "As an Atheist for 40 years, I noticed that there is not just a wide variety of Atheist positions, but there exists an actual battle between certain Atheist factions."[21]

See also: Irreligion and domestic violence

Testimony of Blair Scott about atheist infighting

Blair Scott serves on the American Atheists board of directors.[22] Mr. Scott formerly served as a State Director for the American Atheists organization in the state of Alabama. On December 1, 2012 he quit his post as a director of outreach for the American Atheist due to infighting within the American atheist movement.[23]

Mr. Blair wrote: "I have spent the last week mulling over what I want to do at this point in the movement. I’m tired of the in-fighting: at every level. I am especially tired of allowing myself to get sucked into it and engaging in the very behavior that is"[23]

Testimony of the atheist Brendan O'Neil

"These days, barely a week passes without the emergence of yet more evidence that atheists are the most irritating people on Earth." - atheist Brendan O'Neill, The Telegraph, How atheists became the most colossally smug and annoying people on the planet, August 14, 2013 [24]

Atheists and physical attractiveness

See also: Atheists and physical attractiveness and Atheism and loneliness

Atheist killer Devin Patrick Kelley

The atheist PZ Myers, quoting fellow leftist Alex Nichols, said that jibes associating outspoken atheists with neckbeards (among other things) caused many liberals/leftists to leave the atheist tent and those who remained for the most part lacked in social skills and self-awareness.[25] See also: Atheists and physical attractiveness

The English anthropologist Edward Dutton indicates that using right-wing politics as a proxy for religiosity, there is evidence that atheists are less attractive and he pointed out that right-wing politicians are more likely to have symmetrical faces according to a study.[26]

The American contrarian blog Half Sigma declared:

...atheists are most likely to live alone.

This is not surprising. Atheists are less I observed this once when I was living in Washington, DC, and I wandered by an atheist convention happening on the mall. The atheist were predominately male, and significantly uglier than average.

This is because ugly people become social outcasts, and social outcasts are more likely to be attracted to outcast movements like atheism, libertarianism, communism, etc.

Jay Fink writes:

If you are attractive and have a good social life you will generally not be interested in out of the mainstream groups or ideas. Why buck the status quo when it's working in your interests?[27]

In 2011, only 2 of the Miss USA contestants thought evolution should be taught in schools.[28] Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the theory of evolution which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists or agnostics.[29]

The Audacious Epigone blog, which specializes in collecting data relative to stereotypes, writes about atheists having an above average propensity to live in single person households: "The low rates of multiple person households is part of the explanation, but the high number of lone wolves among their ranks illustrates their social marginality in another way relative to the cognitive endowments they enjoy. This does little to dispel stereotype I hold of atheists as cynical, single white guys who live in apartments downtown, work at used record stores, love George Carlin, and watch Adult Swim."[30]

Participation in the atheist community is often difficult

See also: Atheist factions and Internet atheism

In an essay entitled How the Atheist Movement Failed Me, an atheist woman noted that participation in the atheist community is often expensive due to the cost of attending atheist conferences and even local atheist meetings in restaurants and bars challenged her modest budget.[31] As a result of the challenges that atheists commonly have in terms of socializing in person, many atheists turn to the internet in terms of communicating with other atheists.[32] Often internet communication between atheists turns acrimonious and contentious.

See also: Atheism and loneliness

Atheist PZ Myers says atheists are largely a population of internet nerds and geeks

See also: Atheist nerds and Internet atheism and Atheism and marriage

PZ Myers declared, "...I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions..."[33][34] See: Atheism and bestiality

In 2013, the atheist PZ Myers declared:

If we're going to expand our base and we're going to draw in more people to recognize the virtues of living in a secular world, we need to appeal to more than just that geek and nerd subset of the population. We need to have a wider base. ...I seriously believe that we're on the cusp of a crisis. We're not there yet but it's looming in front of us. Will we adapt and thrive and change the world? Or will we remain an avocation for a prosperous and largely irrelevant subset of the population? Will we become something more than a scattered society of internet nerds? That's what we have to do.[35]

In response, Evolution News and Views wrote:

A crisis looms, in Myers's view, because he looks around himself and sees a not very promising basis for a mass movement. He's right. There is indeed a quality of geeky isolation from reality, common sense, and the fullness of life that I see as a motif in atheist and Darwin activism alike.[35]

Ostracization of atheists due to inappropriate behavior and victimization complex of atheists

See also: Closet atheist

The American atheist Richard Carrier wrote: "atheists know better than anyone else on the planet, if you say you don’t believe you often become a social outcast".[36]

The social ostracism of atheists in countries which are predominantly theists is often brought on by the atheists themselves through: inappropriate behavior (see: Militant atheism and Atheist bullying), their arrogance (see also: Atheism and arrogance), the angry and bitter demeanor of militant atheists (see: Militant atheism and anger) and their bizarre beliefs (see also: Irreligion and superstition) which they want to foist on others though public school systems.[37][38] Nevertheless, atheists often have a "victim complex" (see: Atheist whining).[37]

Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism

See also: Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism

Performing well in sports is often used by people to gain social acceptance. The non-religious have a low degree of accomplishment in sports (see: Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism ).

Social media and social ostracism of atheists in religious societies

See also: Social media and social ostracism of atheists

Psychology Today reports about social media: media has caused us to shift away from expressing our self-identities and toward constructing facades based on the answers to these questions, "How will others look at me?" and "How can I ensure that others view me positively?" The goal for many now in their use of social media becomes how they can curry acceptance, popularity, status, and, by extension, self-esteem through their profiles and postings. Self-awareness and self-expression give way to impression management and self-promotion.[39]

Buzzfeed reported about social media and the social ostracism of atheists in Bengladesh:

In 2013, after the murder of atheist blogger Rajib Haidar Shovon [one of several such murders in Bangladesh in recent years], I, along with other activists, bloggers, and campaigners, was targeted by the Islamists. They declared us atheists and wanted us dead. Old friends unfriended and blocked me on Facebook, very close relatives stopped contacting me, and some even threatened me to make me stop.[40]

Karen Garst wrote in her book Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life Without Religion: "...people stopped talking to me, and some even unfriended me on social media."[41]

Atheist social outcast David Patrick Kelley

See also: List of atheist shooters and serial killers and Atheism and psychopathy

Devin Patrick Kelley was the perpetrator of the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting at First Baptist Church. He murdered 26 people in November of 2017.[42]

According the New York Post: "Texas church shooter Devin Kelley was a “creepy” atheist “outcast” who never fit in and berated religious believers on social media, according to former friends and classmates."[43] Nina Rose Nava, who attended school with Kelley, said: "[I]n complete shock! I legit just deleted him off my [Facebook] cause I couldn’t stand his post. He was always talking about how people who believe in God [were] stupid and trying to preach his atheism.”[44] The Daily Mail indicated that his classmates have described him as creepy, crazy and weird.[45]

YouTube atheist Cult of Dusty on the atheist community

See also: Atheism and sexism

On December 9, 2019, in a video about David Silverman, who is being accused of inappropriately touching several women (see: Atheist Alliance International's hiring of David Silverman), the YouTube atheist Cult of Dusty said the atheist community is "cringe" and he doesn't want to have anything to do with it anymore.[46]

RationalWiki Administrator and RationalWiki Media Foundation board member DuceMoosolini said the RationalWiki website attracted "all sorts of weird people"

See also: RationalWiki is a politically left-leaning website that skews towards atheism/agnosticism in terms of its worldview.

In 2020, at the RationalWiki Discord server, the RationalWiki Administrator and RationalWiki Media Foundation board member DuceMoosolini said the RationalWiki website attracts "all sorts of weird people".

In 2020, at the RationalWiki Discord server, the RationalWiki Administrator and RationalWiki Media Foundation board member DuceMoosolini said the RationalWiki website attracts "all sorts of weird people".


Atheophobia is a fear and/or hatred of atheism/atheists.[47][48] For a number of moral/practical reasons, fear of atheism/atheists is unwarranted. For more information, please see: Atheophobia.

Atheism and nihilism

Atheism may be also linked to unattractiveness because of its innate association with nihilism and reductionism. The typical view of an atheist is that life is just an accident caused by chemical reactions in a pool of primordial slime; and that the existence of badness in the world or in their own lives proves the non-existence of God. Some psychology shows that people tend to model their lives and behavior to coincide with their worldviews; therefore if the worldview of said atheists is inherently anti-social, it makes sense that their lifestyle and social behavior will match their inner thoughts and beliefs.

See also



  1. NEWSWEEK Poll: 90% Believe in God, Newsweek 2007
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Roberts, Jessica, et al. (June 19, 2007). "Interview with an atheist". News21. Retrieved on July 30, 2014.
  3. Bainbridge, William (2005). "Atheism" (PDF). Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. 1 (Article 2): 1–26.
  4. Poisoning of a movement by PZ Myers
  5. The Manipulated Mind: Brainwashing, Conditioning, and Indoctrination by Denise Winn, page 34
  6. The stigma of being an atheist in the US, BBC
  7. NEWSWEEK Poll: 90% Believe in God, Newsweek 2007
  8. Edgell, Gerteis & Hartmann 2006
  9. Study: Atheists distrusted as much as rapists
  10. Pew Forum Religious Landscape Survey - Key findings
  11. Belief in God Far Lower in Western U.S. Retrieved on 2012-02-05.
  12. 2013 FBI hate crime statistics
  13. Atheism: The Next Civil Rights movement, Vlad Chituc, The Daily Beast, 4-6-2015
  14. Richard Dawkins upset that public doesn’t like him by Warren Nunn, Published by Creation Ministries International 13 May 2014 (GMT+10)
  15. Christians Grieve Death of Christopher Hitchens; Share Hopes for Deathbed Conversion by Eryn Sun, Christian Post Reporter, December 16, 2011
  16. dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs. Jesus Freaks: Stories of those who stood for Jesus: the ultimate Jesus Freaks. Bethany House Publishers, 1999, p. 67
  17. Post Scriptum to Original Article, "Atheism and Divorce.". Atheism Exposed (2008).
  18. Atheism
  20. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can rip my soul
  21. An atheist new world order? Is the Rational Response Squad making an attempt?
  23. 23.0 23.1 An Open Letter from Blair Scott
  24. Brendan O'Neill, The Telegraph, How atheists became the most colossally smug and annoying people on the planet, August 14th, 2013
  25. Poisoning of a movement by PZ Myers
  26. Defending Atheist Mutational Load Theory — Part 2 by Scott A. McGreal MSc., Psychology Today, June 22, 2018
  27. Atheism is lonely religion
  28. Miss USA 2011 One Of Only 2 Contestants Who Believe In Evolution
  29. Religious Denominations Ranked by Making Most of What Is Given
  30. Amanda (August 10, 2012). "How the atheist movement failed me–part 1: cost". Friendly Atheist blog. Retrieved on September 9, 2014.
  31. Norris, Chuck (May 21, 2007). "How to outlaw Christianity (steps 2 & 3)". WorldNetDaily. Retrieved on September 9, 2014. See Chuck Norris.
  32. Atheist Achilles Heels: Objective Morality and Sacred Life
  33. The “objective morality” gotcha
  34. 35.0 35.1 in Seattle, PZ Myers Reflects Candidly on His Constituency
  35. Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism By Richard Carrier, page 269
  36. 37.0 37.1 Richard Carrier on social outcasting
  37. Atheists to do religious education in schools
  38. Technology: Is Technology Stealing Our (Self) Identities?, Psychology Today, 2011
  39. How It Feels To Be An Atheist In A Highly Religious Society, Buzzfeed
  40. Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life Without Religion by Karen Garst, 2016
  41. Stanton, Jenny (November 5, 2017). Texas church shooter Devin Kelley was an 'outcast'. Daily Mail. Retrieved on November 5, 2017.
  42. [Texas church shooter was a militant atheist]
  43. The Man Who Slaughtered Twenty Six Christians In Texas Declared: ‘Anyone Who Believes In God Is Stupid!’ by Theodore Shoebat
  44. Stanton, Jenny (November 5, 2017). Texas church shooter Devin Kelley was an 'outcast'. Daily Mail. Retrieved on November 5, 2017.
  45. David Silverman Accused Of "Creepy Touching" Again! Plus 50 Other topics! (CODcast 78)
  46. Atheophobia
  47. Definition of atheophobia at