Oh Ye Of Little To No Faith–Better Keep One Eye Open As You Sleep

popesyeviewYeesh. Just when I thought we were making some kind of progress (slow but steady wins the race is the saying), something like this crops up, spoils my optimistic mood, and activates my inner curmudgeon:

Atheists roughly as distrusted as rapists, UBC study finds

Atheists are distrusted to roughly the same degree as rapists, according to a new University of British Columbia study exploring distaste for disbelievers.

The research, led by UBC psychology doctoral student Will Gervais, found distrust to be the central factor motivating antagonism toward atheists among the religious.

“Where there are religious majorities – that is, in most of the world – atheists are among the least trusted people,” Gervais said in a release.

“With more than half a billion atheists worldwide, this prejudice has the potential to affect a substantial number of people.”

Researchers believe the negative perception of atheists may stem from some people’s understanding of morality; a 2002 Pew poll suggests nearly half of Americans believe morality is impossible without belief in god.

For one part of Gervais’ six-part study, researchers compared views of atheists, homosexual men and the general population, noting that the first two groups are “often described as threatening to majority religious values and morality.”

Which is disheartening, to say the least. We are an ideological minority, which is why some folks like to suggest we shut our traps – a simple change of mind would help us fit in better. Never mind that discrimination is discrimination, regardless of abstract versus physiological differences. Never mind that we are as underrepresented in government as we are in prison (the former is sigh worthy, the latter YAY!). Or that the majority of criminals are usually fundamentalist delusionists. Or that the Crusades, the Inquisition (Spanish and otherwise), were perpetrated by Christians – let’s amp that one up, and say good god-fearing, praying self-flagellating Christians.

Because really, if you need to have someone (invisible or otherwise) peering over your shoulder and taking notes for future punishments to keep you in line, just how fucking moral are you then? Maybe it’s been done to death on the blogosphere, but it bears repeating. If someone’s invisible friend is suddenly absent (or proven to be absent), and that person became an atheist, just how often do we see headlines where someone has actually run riot with pillaging, rapine and murder? Has this ever happened? The recent stats show that there are approximately 4.7 million of us in America alone. So outside of the usual finger-pointing (“Look! That kid shot people because he didn’t believe! The economic downturn can be blamed on atheists! If there was more prayer in schools, children would be more moral!”), where are the numbers? Where are the press releases? If the scare-mongers are even CLOSE to being correct about atheism being a threat, where is the proof?

The simple answer: it’s not happening. Sure, there is the occasional crime committed by an atheist (we are all human, after all, there’s bound to be someone transgressing), but not even 1% of the approximated 4.7 million are rampaging through the streets threatening society at large. In fact, if we actually look at the drug cartels, the Mafioso, or any of the white-collar criminals of the last decade who stole and scammed millions of people, I’d bet we’re underrepresented there as well. The cartels as well as the Mafioso are predominantly Catholic. The white collar guys are likely Protestant.

It’s this concept of an invisible ledger that keeps track of all injustices that’s the real problem. Most people have this ridiculous idea that at some undefined point in life/time/the universe, all accounts will come due, be balanced, all scars and savagery healed and all bad guys will get their come-uppance. I’ve said it before: it’s a comic book perspective unfounded in reality. A lot of life’s villains died natural deaths in their sleep, and to go about believing that some nosy asshole in the sky’s going to take care of your injuries (real or imagined) is just a fantasy.

The afterlife concept. It’s poison.

Till the next post, then.

This entry was posted in Absurdity, America's image, Atheism, Bad God!, Delusion, Education, for fuck's sake!, Free speech, Morality, Mythology, Politics, Religion, Skepticism, Stupidity, Superstition, Values. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Oh Ye Of Little To No Faith–Better Keep One Eye Open As You Sleep

  1. Lynda M O says:

    Your topic list just above that starts with Absurdity and end with Values tells me volumes about the post itself. We may be only one in fifteen or so, but we are logical, proven, evidentiary-based thinkers and create morality common to thoughtful people everywhere across our globe.

  2. I dig the comic, clever.

  3. vjack says:

    Looks like we’ve really got our work cut out for us. And that survey was from Canada, which many of us in the U.S. regard as relatively more civilized. Yikes!

  4. Sue Blue says:

    Somewhere I remember reading about a survey of the religious beliefs claimed by prison inmates. A huge percentage claimed to be christian, or were raised as christians. So those rapists and murderers? A lot more likely to be religious than atheist. Several studies widely available online show a high correlation between the rate of violent crime and religiosity (the more religious the area, the higher the crime rate) in the US.

  5. KA says:

    Several studies widely available online show a high correlation between the rate of violent crime and religiosity (the more religious the area, the higher the crime rate) in the US.

    I’m just guessing here – but I’ll bet the areas in question are also poverty-stricken.

  6. Sue Blue says:

    Well, as we all know, correlation does not always indicate causation, but yes – poverty is a usually associated with crime too. And poverty is also correlated with religiosity. The same highly religious areas also have a high divorce rate, a high teen pregnancy rate, higher infant mortality, etc. There’s no doubt that all these things are interrelated, but then there’s the chicken/egg question – do these problems result from religiosity, or is religiosity a result of the problems?

    I think religiosity is both a cause and result of poor education, which leaves people mired in superstition, seeking help from “higher powers”, ignorant, frustrated, and resentful. It’s also well known that atheism is more prevalent among the college educated. Our last president and his party glorified stupidity and cast doubt on science and education in general. Atheists tend to be seen as uppity know-it-alls, whilst conservative church-goers are seen as good ole average Joes, trustworthy and good-hearted. Pure bullshit, of course, but the uneducated, superstitious and ignorant don’t tend to order their lives based on evidence.

  7. Mark says:

    In the Shanda Sharer murder case, the most violent of the four girls were of religious upbringing.

    Laurie Tackett; was raised in a fanatical religious home, her mother once exercised one of Laurie’s friends home after she heard they had played with a Ouija board there. Laurie drove around with Shanda in the trunk of her car periodically stopping to beat her with a tire iron and lit her gasoline soaked body causing her death when she was burned alive.

    Melinda Loveless; whose jealous hatred for Shanda organized the whole incident. Though not heavily involved with the church at the time of the crime, she was brainwashed at a young age when her father became a elder for one of the local church cults. Melinda recruited the other three teen girls and devised the plans to kidnap Shanda. She also rode around with Laurie when Shanda was in the car trunk and stabbed her while Laurie beat her with the tire iron. After the crime she was worried that her magical deity would be angry with her for committing the sin of murder but was reassured of her goodness as a person when one of her fanatical friends told her, “all you have to do is prey and ask for forgiveness and you will be forgiven.”

    Hope Rippey; was raised in a moderate religious home but was detrimental to Shanda’s death as she was the one who conned Shanda from the safety of her home. Than stole her cloths and Micky Mouse watch after she was abducted. She also drove Laurie’s car some 50 miles while Melinda and Laurie held Shanda captive in the backseat at knifepoint. After Laurie and Melinda took Shanda for that fateful ride in the trunk of Laurie car they opened the trunk to show Hope Rippey their handiwork where Hope proceeded to spray Windex into Shanda’s open wounds. Hope than suggested, and led them to the field where Shanda would be burned alive at…where Hope poured the gasoline that Laurie would lite onto Shanda’s body. Hope joined the fanatical right wing religious groups while in prison and they used all their political and financial pull to free Hope Rippey because she became born again in prison.

    Toni Lawrence; the only atheist of the group, was along because she thought they were only going to go to a rock concert that night. She thought they were only going to scare Shanda after she was first kidnapped, but became trapped within her surroundings. At one point she was threatened at knifepoint by Melinda when she protested the violence they were inflicting to Shanda…Toni was sentenced to 20 years for not calling for help while she was trapped at Laurie’s home in the wilderness with her fanatical and unstable family…as Hope Rippey watched her every move.

    Many have tried to analyze why these young teen girls had did what they did but no one is willing to admit the obvious. Laurie, Melinda, and Hope are lesbian and were raised in homes, and in small town fanatical conservative environments that taught them their sexual orientation is a sin, and they are a scourge of their earth, to be singled out and hated throughout their lives for this. I’m sure this had an effect and led to their violent dispositions, and now they are hated for what they did to Shanda.

  8. pitbullpony says:

    To those that feel I MUST believe in SOMETHING; I suggest they stop worrying what I believe and enjoy each day to it’s fullest. We are all living the giant flowchart; and the bottom square = DEATH.

  9. ChuckA says:

    If you’ll pardon a bit of inter-atheist Site linking…
    here’s a recent (12/7/11), somewhat relevant Austin Cline Post regarding some of Newt Gingrich’s current election bullshit; linked here, in particular, for a 3 part (rant-like) comment of mine about the utter insanity of believing in the Abrahamic…or, for that matter, ANY…notion of a deity.
    http://atheism.about.com/b/2011/12/07/newt-gingrich-secular-government-is-a-nightmare.htm#comment-612298

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