Atheists are Less Moralistic” says a New Study
Atheists “are broadly perceived as potentially morally depraved and dangerous” – even in secular countries.
You might think that people simply associate immorality with disbelief in general, but further studies seem to point out that the sentiment is specifically expressed towards those who don’t believe in God.
Religion has played an important part in countless wars, conflicts, terrorist attacks, murders, and genocides, yet people seem to associate it with moralit
According to a new study, some atheists even have an in-built “anti-atheist bias” when it comes to judging a person’s morality. But anti-atheist bias was strongest where there are high numbers of believers, like the United Arab Emirates, United States and India. Only New Zealand and Finland did not exhibit a clear bias against atheists.
The study, put together by an international team and published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, took into account the responses of more than 3,000 people across 13 countries and five continents. Participants came from Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Mauritius, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.
While the amount of anti-atheist sentiment varied between countries, folks were always more likely to say the man was an atheist teacher than they were to say he was 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. Across the study group, it was found people were twice as likely to believe the killer was an atheist.
Study co-author Will Gervais, a psychology professor at the University of Kentucky in Lexington said, “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.”
“Even as secularism reduces overt religiosity in many places religion has apparently still left a deep and abiding mark on human moral intuitions,” the authors write.