Distrust of atheists

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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: Views on atheists)[1][2]

Concerning distrust of atheists, sociological research indicates that atheists are widely distrusted in both religious cultures and nonreligious cultures.[3][4][5][6] According to a study published in the International Journal for The Psychology of Religion: "anti-atheist prejudice is not confined either to dominantly religious countries or to religious individuals, but rather appears to be a robust judgment about atheists."[5] The study found that many atheists do not trust other atheists as well.[5]

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

Furthermore, atheism is often associated with immorality (see: Atheism and morality). In addition, historically atheists have frequently behaved in an immoral manner (see: Atheist population and immorality) and various atheists have committed capital crimes (see: Atheism and Mass Murder and List of atheist shooters and serial killers).

A Quartz website article indicates:

Evidence suggests that religion and sexual behavior are often linked. Many major religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam and some traditional religions, promote lifestyles emphasizing fidelity and underscoring the importance of caring for one’s family. And a large body of research suggests that such religions may be especially attractive to people who value such commitments—perhaps precisely because those religions help to reinforce their own lifestyle choices...

Still, knowing the perceived connection between faith and sexual commitment, we suspected that people may see atheists, relative to believers, as less likely to endorse values like monogamy and caring for one’s family—values associated with being sexually committed.

In such people’s minds, sexually uncommitted behavior is linked to several other traits and social behavior, such as opportunism and being impulsive—traits that hardly inspire trust [7]

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).

Science journal article in Nature on distrusts of atheism in countries

The atheist philosopher Peter Singer defends the practice of bestiality (as well as abortion and euthanasia).[8] See: Atheism and bestiality

The Special Broadcasting Service reported:

According to a new study published last week in Nature, people all over the world connect immorality with atheism. In fact, the moral prejudice against atheists is so strong that it holds even in countries like the Netherlands, where most people aren’t religious. Even atheists themselves, according to the study, are inclined to see nonbelievers as more wicked than the faithful.,..

“Entrenched moral suspicion of atheists suggests that religion’s powerful influence on moral judgements persists, even among non-believers in secular societies,” the authors wrote.

The study, led by University of Kentucky psychology professor Will Gervais, surveyed more than 3,000 people in 13 countries, including nations with Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and non-religious majorities: Australia, China, Czech Republic, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States. As they had hypothesised, the researchers found a universal suspicion of atheist morality across all 13 countries. “People overall are roughly twice as likely to view extreme immorality as representative of atheists, relative to believers,” they wrote. “Consistent with predictions, extreme intuitive moral distrust of atheists is both globally evident and variable in its magnitude across countries.”

The association was somewhat stronger in more religious countries, but even in very secular countries in the study — Australia, China, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom — people were more likely to associate serial killing with atheism, although the gap was narrower. The survey also asked participants to describe their religious beliefs, which allowed the research team to determine that even atheists connected immoral acts to atheism more often than to religious belief.[9]

Journal article: Global evidence of extreme intuitive moral prejudice against atheists

Distrust of atheists: Study indicates antiatheist prejudice is common and atheists are comnonly associated with various negative, steotypical attributes

The abstract of 2019 study related to distrust of atheists entitled Distrust persists after subverting atheist stereotypes published in the peer-reviewed journal Group Processes & Intergroup Relations states:

Antiatheist prejudice appears to be common. This prejudice may stem from distrust. However, the factors influencing distrust are not fully understood. The current research identified common stereotypes about atheists, tested the intuitiveness of those stereotypes, and determined whether distrust toward atheists depends more on the label “atheist” or the attributes atheists are thought to possess... Overall, the results of these studies indicate that atheists and Christians are explicitly and implicitly associated with different attributes and that, even when atheists possess stereotypically Christian attributes, Christians trust atheists significantly less than other Christians. These findings suggest that antiatheist prejudice is relatively insensitive to individual differences of the target.[10]

UK study finds atheists widely distrusted - even among themselves

See also: Views on atheists and Atheism and deception

In 2015, the Christian Post reported in a story entitled Atheists Widely Distrusted, Even Among Themselves, UK Study Finds:

Distrust of atheists is "deeply and culturally ingrained" among people, and even many atheists are not able to trust each other, according to a new study carried out by the psychology department at Nottingham Trent University in England.

Published in the International Journal for The Psychology of Religion, the study, "The Robustness of Anti-Atheist Prejudice as Measured by Way of Cognitive Errors," was conducted with 100 participants from the U.K. ....

The study shows that "anti-atheist prejudice is not confined either to dominantly religious countries or to religious individuals, but rather appears to be a robust judgment about atheists."[4]

The Independent reports about the participants of the study:

Professor Leah Giddings and Thomas Dunn led the study with 100 online participants from the United Kingdom, 70 of whom were women and whose average age was 21.

A total of 43 per cent of the contributors were atheist, 33 per cent were Christian and the remainder belonged to other faiths.[5]

Theodore Beale says about atheists not trusting other atheists: "The reason most atheists trust fellow atheists less than anyone else is because they recognize their own lack of integrity and morality."[11]

University of Minnesota study indicates that American dislike of atheists grew

A 2016 press release of a University of Minnesota study on atheists reported:

Survey data collected in 2014 shows that, compared to data collected in 2003, Americans have sharpened their negative views of atheists...

The findings of this most recent survey support the argument that atheists are persistent cultural outsiders in the United States because they are perceived to have rejected cultural values and practices understood as essential to private morality, civic virtue, and national identity. Moreover, any refusal to embrace a religious identity of any type is troubling for a large portion of Americans.[12]

The atheist Dan Arel reported:

In 2014, Pew Research found that atheists ranked down at the bottom of the list, only 1 point above Muslims as the least trusted religious demographic in the United States...

Now, according to a new study released by University of Minnesota sociologists shows that today, atheists are the most disliked.

The study compared a previous 2003 study with the new study, originally conducted in 2014, and found that Americans have only sharpened their dislike for atheists and religious nones.[13]

According the American atheist author Kevin Davis, atheism has an "unshakeable stigma".[14]

2011 poll: Americans and Canadians distrust atheists as much as rapists

See also: Atheism and rape and Atheism and social outcasts and American atheism and Canada and irreligion

Studies and web traffic data appear to indicate that women in the Western World tend to be more religious than men.[15] See: Atheism and women

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."[3]

In 2011, The Atlantic published the article Study of the Day: Religious People Distrust Atheists as Much as Rapists

See also:

2015 poll: Canadians' view of atheists

See also: Views on atheists

A 2015 poll of 3,041 Canadians conducted by Angus Reid Institute and Dr. Reginald Bibby of the University of Lethbridge found that 27% of Canadians had an unfavorable view of atheists while 27% of Canadians had an favorable view of atheists (the remainder were neutral).[16]

Barna Group studies related to atheism and morality

Barna Group study on behavior of atheists vs. evangelical Christians

Richard Deem wrote:

A random sample of 1003 adults were surveyed in May, 2008 by The Barna Group for their participation in a number of negative behaviors within the previous week. The results showed that there were vast differences in the behaviors of evangelicals compared to agnostics/atheists.

These results show that atheists/agnostics participate in morally questionable behaviors to a much greater degree than evangelical Christians - an average of nearly five times the frequency![17]

Barna Group study related to atheist beliefs about behaviors

The Barna Group found that atheists and agnostics in America were more likely, than theists in America, to look upon the following behaviors as morally acceptable: illegal drug use; excessive drinking; sexual relationships outside of marriage; abortion; cohabitating with someone of opposite sex outside of marriage; obscene language; gambling; pornography and obscene sexual behavior; and engaging in homosexuality/bisexuality.[18]

Given the many diseases associated with homosexuality, the biblical prohibition against homosexuality is quite arguably one of the many examples where the Bible exhibited knowledge that was ahead of its time. See also: Atheism and sexual immorality

Nordic Psychology journal article on public's perception of atheists

The abstract for the 2016 journal article entitled Atheism and how it is perceived: Manipulation of, bias against and ways to reduce the bias which was published in the journal Nordic Psychology indicates: "...atheists are distrusted, elicit disgust and are viewed as immoral both explicitly and implicitly".[19]

Atheism and historical revisionism

See: Atheism and historical revisionism

Atheism and morality

The perverse and cruel atheist Marquis de Sade in prison, 18th century line engraving.

See also: Atheism and morality

Not possessing a religious basis for morality, which can provide a basis for objective morality, atheists are fundamentally incapable of having a coherent system of morality.[20]

For example, atheists have been the biggest mass murderers in history (see: Atheism and mass murder). Dr. R. J. Rummel's mid estimate regarding the loss of life due to atheistic communism is that communism caused the death of approximately 110,286,000 people between 1917 and 1987.[21]

See also:

Atheist organizations and scandals

See: Atheist organizations and scandals

Atheism and theft crimes

See: Atheism and theft crimes

Atheist mass shooters and serial killers

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 NEWSWEEK Poll: 90% Believe in God, Newsweek 2007
  2. 2.0 2.1 Roberts, Jessica, et al. (June 19, 2007). "Interview with an atheist". News21. Retrieved on July 30, 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Study: Atheists distrusted as much as rapists
  4. 4.0 4.1 Atheists Widely Distrusted, Even Among Themselves, UK Study Finds, Christian Post, 2015
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Anti-atheist distrust ‘deeply and culturally ingrained’, study finds, The Independent, 2015
  6. Edgell, Gerteis & Hartmann 2006
  7. Intense prejudice exists against atheists in the US by By Jaimie Arona Krems & Jordan W. Moon, December 28, 2019, Quartz website
  8. Everyone’s suspicious of atheists — even other atheists, The Special Broadcasting Service, 2017
  9. Distrust persists after subverting atheist stereotypes by Richard C. Grove, Ayla Rubenstein, and Heather K. Terrell, Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, Volume 23, Issue 7, https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430219874103
  10. Fun with atheists, Theodore Beale/Vox Day
  11. Atheists Remain Most Disliked Religious Minority in the US
  12. Study: Atheists remain the most disliked religious minority in the U.S.
  13. An Atheist Walks into a Christian Meeting about Atheism by Kevin Davis
  14. Multiple references:
  15. A God? That's complicated. Canadians hanging on to personal faith as organized religion declines: poll , National Post, 2015
  16. Atheism Doesn't Lead to Immoral Behavior - Or Does It? by Richard Deem
  17. Practical outcomes replace biblical principles as the moral standard, Barna Group
  18. Atheism and how it is perceived: Manipulation of, bias against and ways to reduce the bias by Gerhard Andersson, Nordic Psychology 68(3):1-10 · January 2016, DOI: 10.1080/19012276.2015.1125304
  19. Paul Copan
  20. Rummel, R. J. (November 1993). "How many did communist regimes murder?" University of Hawaii website; Freedom, Democracy, Peace; Power, Democide, and War. Retrieved July 19, 2014.