Research Finds that Atheists are Most Hated and Distrusted Minority
Intolerance is a bitter beast. There are many groups in America that are subject to discrimination and prejudice, but none are more hated than atheists. Research conducted a couple years ago at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis found that atheists are more distrusted than muslims or homosexuals in the US.
Austin Cline from about.com writes, “Every single study that has ever looked at the issue has revealed massive amounts of bigotry and prejudice against atheists in America. The most recent data shows that atheists are more distrusted and despised than any other minority and that an atheist is the least likely person that Americans would vote for in a presidential election. It’s not just that atheists are hated, though, but also that atheists seem to represent everything about modernity which Americans dislike or fear.
The most recent study was conducted by the University of Minnesota, which found that atheists ranked lower than “Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in ‘sharing their vision of American society.’ Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.” The results from two of the most important questions”
This group does not at all agree with my vision of American society…
Conservative Christians: 13.5%
Recent Immigrants: 12.5%
I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this group….
Conservative Christians: 6.9%
The degree of this intolerance is a bit surprising. My experience has taught me that atheists tend to be very intelligent, thoughtful people with a high standard of ethics that they carry through to their everyday lives.
So why the fear, why the hatred? This situation is not the norm for most of the planet. Most East and South Asian countries don’t exhibit this fear of atheists or agnostics. In fact, many of these countries have a significant portion of their population that does not believe in any deity.
European countries have large portions of the population that are atheist. There is not the mass discrimination there based on one’s freedom to believe or not to believe. About the only places in the world that tend to have intolerant attitudes are nations with strong monotheistic cultures, such as both latin and anglo America, and the Islamic countries (particularly Turkey).
Considering that atheist nations are more peaceful, it seems particularly odd that there would be a predilection towards animosity towards atheists. When one group is being discriminated against, it detracts from the freedoms of every group. A society based on tolerance must support the rights of minority groups, including atheists.