Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart January 31, 2011 at 1:17 pm

“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 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…
Atheist: 39.6%
Muslims: 26.3%
Homosexuals: 22.6%
Hispanics: 20%
Conservative Christians: 13.5%
Recent Immigrants: 12.5%
Jews: 7.6%

I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this group….
Atheist: 47.6%
Muslim: 33.5%
African-American 27.2%
Asian-Americans: 18.5%
Hispanics: 18.5%
Jews: 11.8%
Conservative Christians: 6.9%
Whites: 2.3%”

Read more at News Junkie Post

January 31, 2011 at 1:32 pm
Al says:

It’s horribly alarming that more than 10% of people polled would disapprove of their child marrying a Muslim, African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic or Jew. Given how bigoted a proportion of the people polled must have been it’s no surprise that anyone tops the list – the prejudice seems entirely arbitrary.

January 31, 2011 at 1:41 pm
Lee Wilkins says:

Of course! To not have a faith must mean we are evil. We are not led or driven by divine guidance, therefore we cannot be trusted! Why? Well we have our own minds that’s what I think, To not take refuge in a greater good must strike fear into most, but not us untrusted atheists.
What a load of tosh!

January 31, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Curious, I never considered myself as a minority before. I knew America was a religious country but didn’t consider such a vehement anti atheist view.

January 31, 2011 at 1:49 pm
Jonno says:

So people are disapproving of those who see the world as IT REALLY IS? Gee, this world’s a crazy one but then I am an atheist homosexual so what do I know? :)

January 31, 2011 at 1:57 pm
Darrell says:

How do you draw the conclusion that atheist are the most hated and that people are bigots from this study? Just because I disagree with someones vision or would not want my child to marry a particular person because of their beliefs does not make a person a hater or bigot.

January 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Is it really surprising that more than 10% of people polled would disapprove of their child marrying a Muslim or Jew? Assuming they’re Christians, the reverse would be true as well. That only 6.9% would disapprove of their child marrying a conservative Christian simply reflects that there’s a lower percentage of other religions. Religion is simply a different category that doesn’t belong alongside race in such a comparison.

January 31, 2011 at 2:09 pm
Sara says:

Unbelievable, I suspect this boils down to ignorance. I guess this information has decreased DB’s chances of making it big in America.

January 31, 2011 at 2:10 pm
Claire says:

I’ve read things like this before, where in America it is harder to come out to your parents as Atheist than homosexual etc. I don’t understand why admitting that you have at least a shred of common sense and the ability to think for yourself begets such persecution. “An atheist is the least likely person that Americans would vote for in a presidential election” – this makes me wonder how well a presidential candidate who admitted to a belief in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy would fare in the elections, since belief in the utterly nonsensical seems to be so highly valued in America. It is disturbing that America is considered one of the world’s greatest political powers and yet so many of its inhabitants are unable to think for themselves.

January 31, 2011 at 2:23 pm
ANdrea says:

Based on the fact that this poll was taken in MInnesota I am not the least bit surprised. Perhaps whomever conducted the study should consider polling a more diverse group of people. We cannot conclude that the opinion of a small group of Minnesotans is representative of all Americans.

January 31, 2011 at 2:50 pm
Adam Luttman says:

If they don’t like atheists they don’t like me. I personally don’t like intolerant people.

January 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm
Danny says:

What about a *hot* atheist, would that change the poll?

January 31, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Well, I at least am one of the few Americans who distrusts conservative Christians and trusts Atheists. Most of the Conservative Christians I’ve encountered are personalities on the infamous(ly innaccurate) Fox News.

I would, however, be a little concerned if my child was getting married to any of the groups, mostly because… wait, since when did I have a child?

January 31, 2011 at 3:35 pm
Diana says:

I suspect the ones questioned didn’t even have a clue about what an atheist means.

January 31, 2011 at 3:50 pm
Vicki broadway says:

I wonder what a similar poll would look like if it was done in the uk. Sadly I don’t think it would be massively different. I’m trying to find a good independent school for my son and haven’t found one within 20 miles of my home.

January 31, 2011 at 3:53 pm
roz says:

holy crapolie! i knew about atheists because of a recent poll where people said that would be the least likely presidential candidate they’d vote fer. but the rest of that table of results is quite alarming… :0

January 31, 2011 at 4:07 pm
skullaria says:

I notice they didn’t include Wiccans and/or Neopagans in that study.

January 31, 2011 at 4:15 pm
Martin says:

Where do religious cults fit into all of this? It might also be pertinent to know whether the NASCAR track is next to the University in Minnesota

January 31, 2011 at 4:15 pm
Jane says:

Atheists are just as intolerant as the rest of us. See the comments from Claire and Jonno. Insulting others for not sharing their view, whilst simultaneously complaining that people insult their for the same reason. Ignorance is the same no matter who spews it.

I think Andrea’s got it right. If you took a poll from a more diverse group, the results would show that Americans have a more enlightened view than what’s described here. I’d like to see more studies, rather than just take Austin Cline’s word that most Americans are bigots who don’t like modernity.

January 31, 2011 at 4:17 pm
Jane says:

*insult them, not their. sorry

January 31, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Just to complete the perspective, it would have been nice if one of the alternatives for “daughter to marry” was “a lesbian.”

Overall the result isn’t surprising when you consider what atheism means. Most Americans think of faith as a good thing, a core value, and many even believe that all morality comes from God. If you ask them who doesn’t share their values a person without religious faith of any kind is going to be close to the top of nearly everybody’s list–it’s one thing that’s guaranteed to pull in high numbers.

This is likely to change over time, though, and I would be surprised if the numbers didn’t change significantly over the next couple of decades as atheists become more visible to their families and communities. Coming out is a powerful tool, but it takes decades and we’re still near the beginning.

January 31, 2011 at 4:23 pm
Scott says:

I’m confused by the fact that the percentages don’t add up to 100%. Unless a survey taker can pick more than one.

January 31, 2011 at 4:37 pm
Carol Bradshaw says:

It’s nice to know you’re wanted……

I thought America prided itself on freedom of speech – this bigotry kinda goes against that grain.

January 31, 2011 at 4:42 pm
Daniel says:

To everyone that’s surprised at the amount of people that voted against certain religions, races etc. – Probably 90% of the people questioned voted that anyone can be included in their “vision of American society” and that anyone can marry their child.

The breakdown here is most likely just out of the, say, 10% that are homophobic, racist etc.

January 31, 2011 at 5:35 pm
Bean says:

I would love to see an atheist for president here in the U.S. No doubt they wouldn’t get very far, but I don’t think there could be any other single thing that would get people thinking about it more. Especially if that atheist were an exceptionally qualified candidate.

January 31, 2011 at 5:38 pm
Tateohitika says:

Well, ANdrea, what is your basis for this assumption? The U of M is a very well established and respected school. I’m sure they are familiar with basic polling techniques to get a representative sampling of Americans. Of course, we’d have to read the primary literature (aka – the actual paper) to know this. Perhaps the article writer would care to link it instead to “” – hardly a credible source.

January 31, 2011 at 5:42 pm
Steffen says:

I’ve read once a true story from a young US student, who had a “coming out”. One day, she declared to her parents that she is Atheist.

Her parents were completely devastated. Her mother said nearly literally to her (this sounds like a joke, but it isnt!): “Had you lost your faith, I would understand it. But Atheist???”

I think this sad story gives some insight into this irrational hate widespread in the US. In reality, the USA is much less religious than they pretend. And at the same time. most people there simply have no idea what Atheism is. It is used and perceived as an insult.

This make it necessary to promote atheism further, by painting atheism in a favorable light. “You can be good without God” is a good start.

January 31, 2011 at 6:11 pm
David Anthony says:

I agree with Darrel.

I think it is unreasonable to extrapolate like this. Just because people don’t believe that atheism is part of their ideological American society doesn’t mean they hate us. My idealogical society would be all athiest, but that doesn’t mean I hate or even dislike religious people.

The marry question is more of the same, I wouldn’t like for my child to marry someone of vastly different beliefs to myself, but I would still put my chid’s happiness and the person’s kindness first.

January 31, 2011 at 6:19 pm
Sam says:

Just substitute “Minnesota” for every time “America” is used and you have a much more accurate study.

January 31, 2011 at 6:42 pm
Antony K says:

This study is quite disturbing.

Of course, narrow-minded people are also to be found amongst atheists, like the ones that reject completely the benefits of religion upon an individual’s life.

Jonno, I’d like to quote you : “So people are disapproving of those who see the world as IT REALLY IS?”.
It looks like you’re an atheist, but I don’t think you should say that your vision of the world is the only one that’s real, or that matters. I know some of some Christians that believe in God but don’t reject science facts. Please don’t adopt a narrow-minded vision, as it is exactly what most religious conservatives convey.

But religions are beliefs, science are facts. They are not on the same level. But I can’t write any further. So few characters left. 39. No, 31. 27 now. I. Must. Stop. NOW!

January 31, 2011 at 7:26 pm
devan says:

People who don’t understand a view or a way of life would transfer their lack of understanding into discrimination against the minority… It started of with racism, than homophobia.. Now its atheist-phobia…

January 31, 2011 at 8:21 pm
George says:

“When lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday, cash me out.”
— Frank Sinatra
And he could sing. How can you not like him. Perhaps the Mafia claims might put you off slightly.
I recently watched The God Delusion with the deliciously voiced Richard Dawkins and had I ever been religious to start with I think the amount of “special” people on that documentary would have made me drastically rethink my religious beliefs.

There is no God, but ice-cream is great. Never a truer word spoken.

January 31, 2011 at 8:54 pm
allan says:

I can’t believe the figures are representive for the US maybe for certain parts. Even so its deeply concerning that the worlds most powerful country might have chunks of population with views like this.

Personally it terrifies me that any modern country can cling to religious beliefs over science and people who choose science over blind faith are seen as abnormal. I can see the benefits of faith and spirituality but the benefit of thinking for yourself and working out for yourself what is right and wrong is surely more beneficial.

January 31, 2011 at 9:54 pm
Nikolay says:

Thank God im atheist!

January 31, 2011 at 11:56 pm
Darrell says:

So if I read this correctly, if someone disagrees with someone elses view then they are a hater, a bigot and intolerant. As a Christian do you disagree with my views? One finger pointing at me and 3 pointing back at you mister blog writer.

February 1, 2011 at 12:15 am
George says:

Haters gonna hate

February 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm
Dylan says:


I see your point about the first question. The second question is still relevant however. You can disagree with someone’s view, but still not be a bigot because you understand that the person can still be a good person, just with a different worldview. As soon as you start disliking your children’s choice of partner due to their personal beliefs, that’s where the bigotry starts.

It would be interesting to see how atheists alone would compare in a study like this. I would suggest that levels of bigotry would be lower, but by no means absent.
Still, I haven’t heard of anti-Christian hatred in ultra-atheist countries. Perhaps a repeat of this study on a Nordic nation would be interesting for comparison….

February 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm
Extropian says:

I can certainly understand why atheists make people uncomfortable. Nothing but a bunch of kill joys is what they are. From pointing out the futility of throwing virgins into volcanoes centuries ago all the way up to the present day, atheists have shown a complete lack of respect and manners vis-a-vis religious claims. The pesky “do you have any evidence whatsoever to support your views?” questions have been bad enough but lately atheists have been pointing out mistakes in the “infallible” scriptures (thousands of them, both mistakes and scriptures). The development of the Polio vaccine by atheistic, evolutionary, god hating medicine is another great example why atheists and their ilk provoke such bad feelings. The nerve of them!!!!

February 2, 2011 at 8:47 am
alan says:

It is said that like poles repel. What then, is the difference between an atheist and a zealot? As both express certainties which neither can confirm.

- A zealot confirms absolute truth (e.g. no debate – there IS a god! ) you’ll find it’s origin is that of a religious nature. An atheist simply states that there’s no current evidence, but should any arise they’re open to suggestion. Atheist do not say “there is no God”, they state “there’s no evidence for one, there’s probably or highly unlikely to be one”. The difference is small but significant and you will find some atheists who categorically state their position as absolute fact. They are few and far between, and they’re not welcome in my house! – Phillis

February 2, 2011 at 9:59 am
Berber Anna says:

Alan, I call myself an atheist because currently there is no proof of the existence of any of the gods that humans have worshiped over the ages. If such proof would turn up, I would of course change my point of view. I’d hardly call that zealotry.

February 2, 2011 at 11:43 am
Hamish says:

Presumably Christians think their child stands a better chance of getting to heaven through Islam than through atheism. No surprises there, since most American Christians worship the god of the Old Testament rather than the New one.

February 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm
Alfafan says:

Wow! Why do I feel happy abouth this? I obviously don’t like being just one of the crowd.
I would like to see results from the same poll in the UK though.

February 2, 2011 at 8:35 pm

If I’m honest, I’d be worried about my son marrying a young earth creationist. It’s one thing to say god directed evolution (although I don’t believe in god) and quite another to say that all the animals came out of Noah’s ark about 6,000 years ago, and then all the kangaroos hopped from Mt Arrat in Turkey all the way to Australia (How did they get across the sea? Did they fly with Quantas?) and none of them went anywhere else. And so on and on and on and on.

To me, god directed evolution is like saying the sky is blue because the tooth fairy did it – you have to go looking for evidence that it ain’t so, and young earth creationism is like pointing at the blue sky and saying, “See, it’s yellow.”

February 2, 2011 at 9:33 pm
Trey says:

@Phillis – it is my understanding that an agnostic would believe there is no evidence or proof enough to convince them of a God, but that they would be open to it. An atheist denies any and all possibility of a God. Semantics, I guess.

February 3, 2011 at 2:53 am

Well, I love atheist since they keep me on my toes. But I have this idea about condensing all religions down to one, or maybe two. I REALLY like the Church of Latter Days Saints, myself. If I was CHRIST, I’d return to marry that Church, especially since I’m from Missouri…. Ya know, I’d worry more about the new ‘King’ of America being the Anti-Chrishna. Our religions leave us wide open to be targeted and manipulated by an Alien Race looking to Enslave its populace. Thank God for Derren Brown who, in 2005, demonstrated how easy it is to have one’s beliefs manipulated by others.

February 3, 2011 at 10:45 am
Berber Anna says:

Trey, while there is some validity to that (agnostic means no belief, atheist means no god), I don’t think that anyone calling themselves atheist would in fact look at irrefutable evidence and go ‘nah, no God, I said so and I’m not changing my mind’.
I used to call myself agnostic, but I’ve found that the word is often used these days by people who don’t believe in the gods of organised religion, but do believe there is some kind of supernatural god-ish force. To avoid confusion, I decided to use the word atheist, as it more clearly shows my stance that by the current evidence, I do not think there is a god.

February 3, 2011 at 11:52 am
Scott says:

Atheists, the most hated minority in America? What a stupid country. Stop being stupid, America.

February 3, 2011 at 12:45 pm
Codifier says:

Religions are simply fairytales for adults. Is there a religion that DOESN’T offer happiness ever after? The question is, do we really want to take the fairytale away?

P.S. Phillis is terribly charming and attractive.

February 3, 2011 at 4:13 pm
Berber Anna says:

Codifier: Yes, there have been religions without the concept of an afterlife, where the gods simply personify forces of nature that need to be placated or worshiped.

February 3, 2011 at 6:35 pm
A.M. says:

I live in the Southern U.S. and I’m still shocked by these results! 10% wouldn’t want their kids to marry Jews?! That’s an awfully high number. However, I have seen some pretty close-minded people here. I haven’t seen as many racists, and I’ve even seen a few who “felt sorry” for Muslims or those of other religions, but I have seen a lot of anger toward Atheists (or “sinners” as they are called in this region) and homosexuals. I plan on moving soon though, regardless of the economy.

February 3, 2011 at 6:56 pm
Naushie says:

This explains so much. I’ve always wondered why people look at me funny.

However, I live in South Africa.

February 3, 2011 at 8:04 pm
Chris says:

And Christians say they’re persecuted. What a bunch of dicks.

February 3, 2011 at 8:46 pm
M says:

If you did the same research in Europe,atheists wouldn’t be on the list at all.

February 4, 2011 at 7:03 am
Codifier says:

@Berber Anna: I see where you’re coming from but I phrased that question in the present tense. I’m not sure there are any currently practiced religions without some sort of myth about afterlife, metamorphosis, enlightenment or resurrection. Do you know of any?

February 4, 2011 at 7:52 am
Trey says:

@ Berber Anna – My bet is that people will be confused either way. I’m still chalking it up to semantics! :)

February 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm
spiderabc1 says:

Watched South Park this morning. Apparently 1 in 4 Americans are retarded.

February 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm
Janelle says:

Survey UK or Australia, and you’ll see the difference.

February 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm
Berber Anna says:

Codifier: Yes, but I’m not sure whether you’d say they count as real religions. I know of various neopagan religions that don’t promise an afterlife, as well as some forms of theistic satanism. As for established pre-20th century religions, I’ll have to do some more research.

February 8, 2011 at 8:33 pm
goldandmudd says:

@Al: “It’s horribly alarming that more than 10% of people polled would disapprove of their child marrying a Muslim, African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic or Jew.”

…but isn’t it even more alarming that they are most intolerant of disbelievers who, after all, are only grouped together because of an absence of a certain belief? For a country founded on the principle of separation of church and state (which entails freedom FROM belief as well as freedom to believe whatever one likes) it sure is bizarre that the ABSENCE of a belief is most contemptible to them. Once again proves that most Americans who identify as religious don’t believe so much in a holy book so much as they “believe in belief.” Nevermind that crime, teen pregnancy, etc. is higher in the most religious states.

February 14, 2011 at 11:28 pm
Ian Adams says:

That survey is from 2006—they really need to do a followup.

February 17, 2011 at 11:55 pm
Robert says:

Now you know why I am an Atheist. And isn’t it odd how many of those “good Christians” in the USA embrace the Ayn Rand philosophy of objectivism….but ask all of those right wing, conservative and Tea Partiers if they, like Ayn, are Atheist and they’ll grunt and hmmm and haw and make up excuses then scatter like the wind. And tell any Protestant that they are heretics because their King James version of the bible lacks the Roman Catholic validation of the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur and they’ll come at you swinging with both fists. And the examples go on and on just on ‘believers’ behavior; and that’s before you even get close to the avalanche of scientific data that blows them all away. Yes, I am proud to be an Atheist and I don’t care who knows it.


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