January 19, 2012

Study: Atheists Aren't Trusted That Much

Lets face, atheists are not trusted as much as theists are. Not only that, there are quite a few people out there who wouldn't vote for an atheist politician, especially a President. Not to say that some Presidents in the past may have been agnostic or even atheist (they feigned belief in Zombie Jesus to get the vote), but that is another story.

In a new study, a researcher concludes that atheists are disliked mainly because of trustworthiness.

Not to take anything away from the studies, but I'm pretty sure that atheists are disliked because we throw away the crutch that believers hold near and dear to them, and have no problems surviving our lives without belief in a higher power. I don't think there is much of a difference between why atheists are disliked today versus how Jews were disliked at many times during the past 2000 years (in the case of the Jew, it was not accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior that was the root cause).

I do think that atheists hit believers square in the eye though, because based on the same information we conclude it is highly unlikely God or Gods exist. In other words, atheists create more doubt than the theist really wants to deal with.

OK, back to the study. I do think, intuitively, it makes sense that an atheist would be more likely to commit a crime or do something ethically wrong than a theist. However, unless atheists are that much better at outsmarting the law, empirically, this belief is wrong, as atheists are underrepresented in prisons.

Although atheists go through life under the guise that no one is watching or making judgment, it is also realized that we only have one life, and the last thing most of us want is to be Bubba's boy in 3 by 4 cell.

A theist on the other hand, might be more inclined to break the law or throw away ethics. Why? Because most believe they are dealing with a forgiving God. Catholics just have to spill their guts to their Priest, Baptists just have to accept Jesus prior to the Big Sleep (and though they can't do it on purpose, they are allowed to turn their back on God as many times as they like, just as long as they believe in the end), and Muslims just have to bang their head on the ground 6 times a day just before they meet Allah. Jews are a bit different. Jews sort of believe that if there really is a heaven, it is a bonus, but don't piss God off too much while you are living, because it could get bad for you either while you or on earth, or in the thereafter.

Back to reality, even I would concede that there are certain positions where I would rather deal with an everyday church goer if I had a choice over an atheist. For instance, a car mechanic and a home renovator comes to mind. However, when it comes to leading a country, I don't want belief in a deity to even enter the equation. No country should be run by someone who even considers Armageddon to be a realistic scenario. I can't trust that they won't try to help it come along.

Finally, I would really like to see a study that asks the question: If your 10 year old boy had to be locked in a room with an adult for an hour, would you prefer the adult to be an atheist or a Priest?