10 August 2017

Study Shows People Automatically Assume Atheists Are ‘Morally Depraved And Dangerous’


A new study has confirmed what we all know – people are prejudiced against atheists.

Obviously, since most of the world is religious, and many people equate religion with morality (they’re not the same), it automatically follows that someone’s who’s not religious is seen as not moral.

A study carried by a group of international researchers and published in the journal ‘Nature Human Behaviour’ found that people generally thought of atheists as ‘morally depraved and dangerous’.

It surveyed people in 13 countries across all five continents and found that people were more likely to assume someone involved in an immoral act was more non religious than religious.

“Those who took part were asked whether an imagined person, who tortured animals as a child before becoming a teacher and then killing five homeless people, was more likely to be religious or atheist.” the BBC described the study.

“Across the study group, it was found people were twice as likely to believe the killer was an atheist.”

The bias was stronger in religious countries such as the UAE, the USA and India.

Interestingly, the bias was even apparent in some secular countries with high number of atheists, indicating that the ingrained bias against the non religious is not something they themselves are immune from.

Said study co-author Will Gervais,: “It is striking that even atheists appear to hold the same intuitive anti-atheist bias.

“I suspect that this stems from the prevalence of deeply entrenched pro-religious norms. Even in places that are currently quite overtly secular, people still seem to intuitively hold on to the believe that religion is a moral safeguard.” he added.

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