Atheism-o-phobia - Does it exist?

Uploaded by socrates856 on 23.06.2010

I think it is time to define a new phobia. Atheism-o-phobia.
Wait a minute. Phobias are irrational fears. You cannot just define a phobia out of the
You are absolutely right. Let's go ahead and do that. First does fear of atheists exist?
Absolutely. In fact a study conducted at the University of Minnesota showed that Atheists
were the least trusted group among typical socially recognized groups in the United States.
When asked if someone would disapprove of a marriage with a member of a given group.
Almost 47% of respondents rejected atheists compared to 33% against Muslims and 26% against
African American. Conservative Christian scored just over 6% and White American are at the
most desirable rate of 2% rejection. When asked if groups does not belong to the vision
of America one gets 40% atheists 26% Muslims 22% gays and 13% conservative christians.
White Americans again land at 2%.
I see. The conclusion sections starts off with this: "The core point of this article
can be stated concisely. Atheists are at the top of the list of groups that Americans find
problematic in both public and private life, and the gap between acceptance of atheists
and acceptance of other racial and religious minorities is large and persistent. It is
striking that the rejection of atheists is so much more common than rejection of other
stigmatized groups. For example, while rejection of Muslims may have spiked in post 9 11 America,
rejection of atheists was higher."
So there is definite distrust and fear of atheists. Now is that deserved?
There are multiple ways to assess the trustworthiness of a group. For example signs and representation
in highly esteemed groups or numbers in troubled groups or behavior.
A 2009 survey of Zuckerman writes: "Admittedly, when it comes to underage alcohol consumption
or illegal drug use, secular people do break the law more than religious people. But when
it comes to more serious or violent crimes, such as murder, there is simply no evidence
suggesting that atheist and secular people are more likely to commit such crimes than
religious people. After all, America’s bulging prisons are not full of atheists; according
to Golumbaski (1997), only 0.2 percent of prisoners in the USA are atheists – a major
underrepresentation." Zuckerman continues: "If religion, prayer, or God-belief hindered
criminal behavior, and secularity or atheism fostered lawlessness, we would expect to find
the most religious nations having the lowest murder rates and the least religious nations
having the highest. But we find just the opposite."
What about positive indicators?
Zuckerman also writes on altriusm: "What about altruism? Although studies report that secular
Americans donate less of their income to charitable causes than the religious (Regnerus et al.
1998), it should be noted that it is the most secular democracies on earth – such as Scandinavia
– that donate the most money and supportive aid, per capita, to poorer nations (Center
for Global Development, 2008). Furthermore, secular people are much more likely than religious
people to vote for candidates and programs that redistribute wealth from the richer segments
of society to the poorer segments through progressive taxation. Finally, Oliner and
Oliner (1988) and Varese and Yaish (2000), in their studies of heroic altruism during
the Holocaust, found that the more secular people were, the more likely they were to
rescue and help persecuted Jews."
So the large margin of distrust is really not justified by sociological indicators?
Correct. By an large atheists are no worse than believers and in fact there are indicators
that highly secular societies do better. There are also other indicators. Atheists are most
likely highly educated and financially well off.
Is there nothing where religion wins out?
Possibly. Studies show that well-being and happiness positively correlates with religion
in the USA and negatively correlates with suicide rates. However these relations do
not hold in other societies. There is some speculation that the stigma of atheism contributes
to the unhappiness. In fact other stigmatized groups such as gays also have higher suicide
So to the point. We have established that people fear atheists, and that the fear is
not founded in reality. So there really is atheism-o-phobia.
Sadly yes. In another video we can talk about how this negative image is established and