Why do Americans still dislike atheists?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Fraggle Rocker, May 15, 2011.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Sociologist Gregory Paul and Pitzer College sociology professor Phil Zuckerman pose this question in the April 29 Washington Post. They point out that while America has gotten over its disrespect for Afro-Americans and Jews and is even becoming more civil to homosexuals, our people still don't like atheists very much. We're considered immoral, wicked and angry; we can't join the Boy Scouts; in the military we are rated as potentially deficient in our psychological evaluations; despite the constitutional ban on religious tests for public office, most Americans are reluctant to vote for a non-believer--much less marry one.

    This discrimination is rarely mentioned by the mainstream media. Christian conservatives loudly proclaim that our lack of belief in an invisible, illogical supernatural universe whose denizens capriciously and often cruelly interfere with the behavior of the natural universe is detrimental to society, in effect declaring us second-class citizens.

    Yet social research reveals that not only is this knee-jerk antipathy toward atheists unwarranted, but that we could be role models for the rest of you. According to sources that are cited in the article:
    • On basic questions of morality and human decency--issues such as governmental use of torture, the death penalty, punitive hitting of children, racism, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism, environmental degradation or human rights--the irreligious tend to be more ethical than their religious peers, particularly compared with those who describe themselves as very religious.
    • At the societal level, murder rates are far lower in secularized nations such as Japan or Sweden than they are in the much more religious United States, which also has a much greater portion of its population in prison.
    • Even within this country, states with the highest levels of church attendance, such as Louisiana and Mississippi, have significantly higher murder rates than far less religious states such as Vermont and Oregon.
    • As individuals, atheists tend to score high on measures of intelligence, especially verbal ability and scientific literacy.
    • We tend to raise our children to solve problems rationally, to make up their own minds when it comes to existential questions and to obey the golden rule.
    • We are more likely to practice safe sex than the strongly religious are, and are less likely to be nationalistic or ethnocentric.
    • We place greater value on freedom of thought.
    • While we appear to not fare as well as the religious when it comes to certain indicators of mental health or subjective well-being, new scholarship suggests that this correlation is more complex. For example, Denmark, one of the least religious countries in the history of the world, consistently rates as the happiest of nations. Apostates report feeling happier, better and liberated in their post-religious lives.
    • Some studies suggest that suicide rates are higher among the non-religious. But surveys can be misleading because they count the undecided agnostics as non-religious fence-sitters, whereas true atheists tend to do about as well as believers.
    • On numerous respected measures of societal success—rates of poverty, teenage pregnancy, abortion, STDs, obesity, drug use and crime, as well as economics, high levels of secularity are consistently correlated with positive outcomes in First World nations.
    • None of the secular advanced democracies suffers from the combined social ills seen here in Christian America.
    Despite this bigotry, the number of American non-theists has tripled as a proportion of the general population since the 1960s. Yhe younger generations have less tolerance for the endless disputes of religion than their elders.

    American atheists have the same reluctance to be candid with pollsters as gay Americans do, but surveys designed to overcome this have estimated that as many as sixty million Americans, one-fifth of the population, are not believers.
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  3. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    Acording to the last Australian census the biggest group in Australia are jedis: p
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  5. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    You are thinking aren't you . Where do you get this shit ? I wonder ? I think everyone should love at least one Atheist, or minimum have one for a friend . Socialize more and your group can get more notoriety . Its all about marketing Fraggle. You have to be a better marketer than the Jesus Business . That is pretty tough go, for people have a preconceived Idea that Jesus is a super star. It has been the major embed in language it self for 1700 years or so . 2000 if you count from when the little redheaded step son of Joseph started devising his plan to alter perception of a cruel world . Red headed step children will do that . Red Heads are evil if you haven't heard
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  7. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

    It's true that ages 35+ tend to dislike atheists, however, the younger generation 20-25, (from my experience) they tend to hate theists. 10s of millions of Americans are now atheists, or at best agnostic. What THEY do in the future will be very interesting.
  8. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

  9. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    What this really means is, Americans don't trust people who question God's role in the existence of the American Republic.

    God is none other than the Biblical God who led the Hebrews out of enslavement to the Egyptian Pharoah, and by extension the Americans out of enslavement to King George.

    I have this on good authority, btw. My source is impeccable.
  10. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    What are the sources? And what is the criteria by which they assess the qualities which qualify these atheists as role models?

    I am not American but personally speaking I have found that like everyone else atheists too can be hypocritical, lie, lack integrity and demonstrate abuse of power for personal gain or due to vindictiveness.
  11. valsartan Registered Senior Member

    I was under the impression that Atheism is accepted by the the Americans since there are already many open atheists there. Including the fact that they actually openly bash other religions such as the Roman Catholic Church?
  12. The Esotericist Getting the message to Garcia Valued Senior Member

    What is the source of an American's rights? The rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence? The rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights?

    The argument goes as follows. These rights are "god given." Or, they are natural rights. They are the rights of man (human). As soon as you deny that they are divine rights, you are on a "slippery slope." In many other cultures, they have decided that rights are granted by the King, or the government, or ruling bodies. We in America deny this notion, and we always will. End of argument. Because if you accede to this notion, then the government gets to determine what your rights are, yes?


    To Americans, no one, no matter how uneducated, how low of birth, how poor, how destitute, nobody is going to be used and abused in a game of political power for means to justify the ends. All life has value. Every soul has a purpose and intrinsic worth. In an atheistic political world view, this is not necessarily so. Sometimes the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the one. Unfortunately, with our fascist controlled press manipulating the simple minds of the poor masses, the wretched sods have forgotten this principle and WHY we were founded on this principle. More and more they have unwittingly surrendered their freedoms for "security."

    I don't see why this is so hard to understand. If you don't like it. . . move to Europe, Russia, or China.
  13. The Esotericist Getting the message to Garcia Valued Senior Member

    • ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    • ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
    • ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
    • ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
    • ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
    • ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
    • ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
    • ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    • ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    They say one becomes that which one fights against.

    Vocal atheists are just as bigoted, proud, obnoxious and violent as the theists they fight against.

    Pride goeth before the fall!
  15. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Um, pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty manner before a fall.
  16. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Uh. Let's not nitpick.
  17. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Hmm...I'm just thinking that some of that may be a partial spurious correlation...I'd suspect the biggest influence on crime rates is poverty and the biggest influence on nonbelief would be level of education...

    Hmm...so if you're an atheist you're more likely to be smarter, better off and well-educated (Though the ones I know IRL are less-well-off than me, although still very smart, but overall...) and poverty induces stress.

    Religious activities are one way of dealing with stress. ( So is crack.

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    So atheism is just more likely to come with good cofactors-high intelligence, better income, better education, IMO.

    I reject the idea that human rights are given by Jehovah.That God's a psychopathic ass. You might as well say human rights are given by Zeus the serial rapist...

    At least pick a decent deity like Maat!

    I think our rights are our rights because we all agree they should be, not because some random deity made it so.

    Nor can you expect to wield supreme executive power because a watery tart threw a sword at you

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    Last edited: May 15, 2011
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I read the Washington Post every day. I get it on my Kindle.
    We have the same problem as the Jews: We don't evangelize.
    Amusingly enough, archeologists are beginning to cast doubt upon that whole fairytale about slavery in Egypt. It appears that the Jews may simply have been that era's Gastarbeiter or braceros. Came to do the work, were paid, and went home when it was done.

    Considering that the entire Abrahamic canon is based upon the "exile" in Egypt and the "Covenant" that God made with the Jews (he promised to free them from bondage and in gratitude they promised to found Judaism as an evangelical religion and convert all of humanity to it, and guess who didn't hold up their side of the bargain), the falsification of that key part of the Abrahamists' fairytale will create quite a shock wave.
    Yes, it's often stated that the reason Americans have been so kind to the Jews (until we came along the best deal they'd ever gotten was genuine, legally-enforced second-class citizenship under the Ottomans) is that we see ourselves in them.
    I gave you the URL to the original article. The online version is full of hyperlinks, which is the whole point of online journalism.
    You shouldn't have any trouble tracking the links, after all these guys are professional scholars. I wasn't about to do an hour of data entry and create another post that gets me accused of writing "novels" on SciForums, for the benefit of the one or two people who care and can find the source material just as easily as I can.
    And those characteristics were not factored into the assessment precisely because there is no significant difference between the two populations by those measures. Duh?
  19. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Yes I know. Which is why I asked - we've already debated these tests here before. Do these scholars also believe in similar scholastic tests which indicate that black people are dumber than white? Because they are similar tests based on similar principles - what I call bad science.

    We've had atheists in government since our first elected Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947. Atheists in India are freely accepted, no one cares what the religious beliefs of people are. Has it made any difference to the caste system, to education, poverty, population, corruption, indices of social welfare, etc? Not that one could ascribe to anyone's religious allegiances.

    I think the whole reason Americans don't like atheists is the same as why Americans don't like theists - intolerance. Its got nothing to do with anyone being better or worse than anyone else.
  20. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member


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    Would you mind elaborating on that?
  21. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Its American theists vs American atheists. Do American atheists like the religious anymore than American theists like the areligious?

    Correlation is not causation, and if you ask Fraggle why black people are statistically dumb or violent, he will explain how those results are skewed. Similarly for statistics on atheism. Most atheists are young, this is true. I was atheistic when young as was Emptyforceofchi [he was born a Jew then became a Buddhist] - now we are both theists. Voila! People change their minds over a course of time. Sometimes people lie about their beliefs - its unpopular for physicists/biologists to admit to theistic leanings - people get sidelined in scientific academia if they admit to belief in God. GeoffP only came out as a Christian after several years of being an atheist. So making comparisons between two such groups based on alleged correlations is poor science.
  22. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

    Do you think Obama is a closet atheist? He seems obviously an atheist to me. (Wonder why the Republicans haven't tried to corner him on this yet.)
  23. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    I think Obama may be a closet Republican, it is quite clear however that he would never have been a presidential nominee on a republican ticket

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