Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Atheists are still the most disliked group in America. So we have that going for us.

Courtesy of World Religion News:

Ten years ago University of Minnesota sociologists conducted research showing that, among a long list of racial and religious minority groups, atheists were the most disliked group of people in the United States. Last month they followed up with new research that shows that Americans still have negative opinions of atheists and the non-religious–and now they have a good theory about why that is. 

Survey data collected in 2014 shows that, compared to data collected in 2003, Americans have sharpened their negative views of atheists, despite an increase in people identifying as non-religious and an increase in public discussion of non-belief. 

The findings of this most recent survey support the argument that atheists are persistent cultural outsiders in the United States because they are perceived to have rejected cultural values and practices understood as essential to private morality, civic virtue, and national identity. Moreover, any refusal to embrace a religious identity of any type is troubling for a large portion of Americans. 

Well I would argue that the second and fourth contention are pure bullshit, however depending on your definitions the first and third may not necessarily be incorrect.

Yeah if you are an Evangelical, I really DON'T share your vision of American society.

And if by "elite" you mean a critical thinker who is not easily duped by superstitious nonsense, and believes they are intellectually superior to those who are, then yes guilty as charged.

I guess the same probably holds true concerning "perceived to have rejected cultural values and practices understood as essential to private morality," if by that they mean Judeo Christian values, as well as rejecting a "national identity" if that national identity means describing oneself as a Christian.

So great it appears that I have confirmed all of the reasons that certain religious groups may distrust and even fear those of us who identify as "Atheists."

However I would argue that some of those reasons are also WHY some of us defiantly argue for the integrity of the title Atheist.

I cannot speak for the entire group as we are wildly eclectic, but for myself I have eschewed the safety of the less threatening label "Agnostic" because for one it does not adequately describe my point of view, and two I do not believe it right to judge people solely on their beliefs, or lack thereof.

If you want to dislike me, dislike me because I am an arrogant asshole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. THAT is a legitimate reason to dislike me.

However if you dislike, or distrust, me based on the fact that I do not attend your church, or worship your god, then I reject the legitimacy of your feelings.

For they are not based on anything to do with who I am, but only based on the misconception of the label with which I identify.

A misconception by the way which is changing ever so slightly every day, until at some point the labels will mean nothing, and all that will remain is the content of our character.

As it should be.


  1. Anonymous4:04 AM

    Add to that "don't share my holier than thou" attitude. Must be nice to be religious - means you can do anything horrendous thing you want and then get "forgiven" as many times as you need to enter the pearly gates. Delusional sods.

    1. Anonymous12:16 PM

      Gryphen married an evangelical and they had a kid (the order is suspect). What's up with that?

    2. My ex was not an evangelical when we got married.

  2. Anonymous4:21 AM

    Bravo, Gryphen! Thank you, as always, for representing us so beautifully and eloquently.

  3. Anonymous5:02 AM

    I'm not an atheist oddly enough because of my study of physics. But I do not belong to any religion, although I sometimes attend my childhood church for the art and music.) I find many scientists in this category btw (I live in a university community).

    I think this says it all:
    "And if by "elite" you mean a critical thinker who is not easily duped by superstitious nonsense, and believes they are intellectually superior to those who are, then yes guilty as charged."

    I think the deeply religious feel that they are being taken as fools, and of course they are, but nobody is comfortable with that.

  4. Randall5:09 AM

    If you've ever been fucked-over by somebody, beaten-up by somebody, bullied by somebody, cheated by somebody, lied to by somebody...
    think: was that person an atheist?
    Speaking for myself: every time I've been fucked-over in my lifetime it was by a 'Christian'.
    On the playground, in school, in business - even just playing cards...

    1. Anonymous7:15 AM

      And never ever do business with those businesses that claim to be a "xtian business", very common in the south.

    2. Hedgewytch7:36 AM

      yep. Me too. Every single time. When someone now tells me they are "Christian" it sets alarms bells off for me.

    3. Anonymous8:44 AM

      Same here. Ever watched 'The Moneypit'? That is what happened to us when we remodelled. The contractor was one of those 'Million Man March' in the 1990s, and very proud of it. And he fleeced us (first house, first remodel for us, didn't know the rules/law), and was later wanted for fleecing several senior citicens. (He had come recommended to us, and was upstanding, but unfortunately, he decided to go 'awry' with the job just before ours, and then ours. VERY 'religious' 'X-tian'!
      Ever since then, we stay as far away from Xtians as we can!

    4. Leland9:11 AM

      My biggest concern comes from those who will tell you loudly and proudly they are "born again Christians". When I hear that from someone, I say, "No thank you," turn and leave.

      After I got burned 3 times, I decided to never do business with a bragger again.

      In my experience, the ones who brag about that are worse than the gypsies in one of the towns in south central SC.

    5. Anonymous1:04 PM

      I have plenty of signs at the end of my 1/4 mile driveway, which has an electronic gate, but damn, sometimes we leave it open, but the signs make clear that you'd better talk to the speaker, hit the button tell us who you are before driving up to our home.

      Godamn proselytizing christians/mormons have not observed the rules and have been met at the back door with my shotgun more times than I can tell you. They leave really quick after I ask them are they ready to "meet their god".


    6. Anonymous1:05 PM


      Weren't there like only a hundred thousand people at that weird millions man march thing?

    7. Anonymous1:16 PM

      Lol! We just watched The Money Pit last week! We did a Tom Hanks film festival at home since Labor Day weekend was a washout from the storm( which never did amount to much in south jersey...arrrgh!)
      Anyway, great funny flick!

    8. Anonymous1:16 PM

      Lol! We just watched The Money Pit last week! We did a Tom Hanks film festival at home since Labor Day weekend was a washout from the storm( which never did amount to much in south jersey...arrrgh!)
      Anyway, great funny flick!

  5. Anonymous5:12 AM

    I have to say, I have never felt any persecution as an atheist, and I live in a VERY conservative military town. However, I don't doubt others of you have felt it.

  6. In my personal experience, here's what I find makes the believers most uncomfortable--we threaten their idea of eternal life, which I think is the main appeal of religion. As for morality and ethics, 95% of people in prison identify as Christian while a fraction of a percent identify as atheists. I still remember when I learned not to steal as a small child from my dad, a man who was always helping others. He owned a building that housed a grocery store and took my little brother and I along one day when he had to do some work there. After he was done he got three ice cream bars for us out of the freezer. No one would have known but he carefully counted out the correct amount of change and left it on the cash register. He's 93 years old now. I've never known him to go to church and I honestly don't know if he's a believer because we never talked about it. But he did teach us about good sportsmanship and service to others as being the right things to do without having to frame it as a damnation or salvation choice.

    1. Anonymous7:18 AM

      I have a very good moral compass and am an atheist. The funny thing is I think atheists have better moral compasses because we don't have the fallback of saying "oh I guess I sinned and now I just slipped up, but it's all good because I prayed on it".

    2. Not only that but recent research has shown that they raise better kids. The children of atheists tend to be less judgmental and more empathetic.

    3. Nancy at 8:09 AM, the children of atheists were more likely to think that aggressive children--those who pushed and shoved others in line--should not be punished.

      What do you conclude from that? That the atheist children were more forgiving of aggression? Or that they had less empathy for the children who suffered the aggression?

      Yes, the "atheist" children gave out more stickers, but they rewarded kids who violated social norms and the rights of others.

      You can't cite any evidence that atheists "raise better kids," because there isn't any.

  7. Anonymous6:14 AM

    Atheists are still the most disliked group in America.

    And here I thought it was the Palins.
    Don't hit me, I'm atheist! :)

    1. Anonymous10:11 AM

      Good one! Ha!

  8. Anonymous6:17 AM

    The only folks who do anything for my neighborhood are the atheists (us). No one else plows our rural road in winter, picks up trash, or returns lost dogs.
    Not the catholics, not the moromons, not the un churched christians... none of them.

  9. Anonymous7:12 AM

    o/t todd is looking pretty well "healed"..

    1. Anonymous7:53 AM

      Better find some more grifting cash for that pay-off somewhere, palins....could be another whompin' coming down the pike if you dont! Who'll it be, that gets the next ass-stomp?

    2. Anonymous1:01 PM

      Todd has been okay for a while, saw him at the fair with the special kid on his shoulders. What makes me sad is that these people kill animals to eat.

      They are such terrible people, there are so many other options these days other than killing other beings for our food, and they seem to take joy in it, which is just sick.

    3. Anonymous1:47 PM

      You are absolutely right 1:01. Around here, killing animals for sport and food is considered admirable. Gryphen isn't being too progressive when he raves about someone's hunting and fishing skills.

  10. Anonymous7:19 AM

    I have always thought your chances of being preyed upon were higher with the people who prayed. But that's just my personal experience in life.

  11. Anonymous7:53 AM

    A lot of public atheists act like jerks- not so different from many public Christians. No one likes a judgemental asshole. But these attitudes may change very quickly as more ordinary people identify as atheists.

  12. Good post, however I disagree that labeling onesself an agnostic as opposed to an atheist is "safer". Atheism impies certainty, which places that view in the same arena as those who are absolutely sure that their religious beliefs are true. To be affiliate myself with people who are certain about the unknowable, one way or the other, is unacceptable and, truthfully, somewhat dishonest. What's wrong with saying "I think it's highly unlikely there is a supreme being, but I don't know"?

    1. Anonymous11:27 AM

      I agree, AL. I'm agnostic and have been attacked here many times by the atheists, including Gryphen on a few occasions. The certainty of your beliefs is the difference between agnostics and atheists. When Gryphen attacks a reader, it seems to embolden others to do so.

      I do find it odd that Gryphen talks about "content of character" after he confesses to being an "arrogant asshole...". To criticize others for their "silly, superstitious beliefs" while spending years chasing various Palin conspiracy theories, many of which are quite specious, seems hypocritical to me. And no, I'm not Alicia, I'm not a Republican (never have been), I'm just a person who finds these atheism posts so angry and pissed off at the world, that it's really puzzling to me.

    2. Anonymous11:49 AM

      I support and respect the right to praying to whom ever you want. However, I would appreciate it if you would not fart on my God, The Chair.

    3. Anonymous12:57 PM


      Fuck those people why should we, who know better, exercise any careful speech and content when dealing with absolute idiots who refuse to see the truth of what life actually means?

    4. Anonymous12:59 PM

      FFS Alaskan Lizard, what part of religion and the afterlife has not been proven to be false? Why even give a moment of your time to idiots who won't exercise critical thinking?

      Life is short, life is finite and sorry, there is no heaven or hell or anything. You are born, you live, you die and then after death things are much like they were before you were born, meaning, you aren't here any longer, you weren't here for the 4.5 billion years of earth's history before you were born.

      You live, you die, that's it. It sucks but that's all this life has to offer so grab it by the balls and don't be a douchebag.

    5. Anonymous1:24 PM

      Anonymous 12:59, could you kindly state your proof there is no afterlife?? Frankly, you sound as judgmental as any Evangelical. You're the douchebag.

    6. Interesting comments, some not so civil. As with most of the folks on this forum, I am an unabashed liberal. As such we have to put up with the "always certain, often wrong" crowd. In their eyes, it's a weakness to examine both sides of an issue and very occasionally give credit where credit is due. Although no one is immune to emotional ideology, we have a tendency to rely on data and facts to support our positions. My only point is that when we are certain about the unknowable, we're being hypocritical and it makes us sound just as shallow and ignorant as the folks we have little regard for.

  13. Anonymous10:22 AM

    I have always felt uncomfortable with someone saying they are "God fearing Christians". Are they behaving just because they are fearful they might be sent to hell by their vengeful God? I am a generous,kind and honest person who does not steal or cheat on my spouse because that is the right thing to do, not because I am afraid my behavior will be judged. I am an atheist.

  14. Anonymous11:33 AM

    I am definitely an atheist and appalled that religion is necessary to have a moral compass. Christians are horrible to others and themselves. Religion is groupthink that allows strong personalities to manipulate vulnerable people.

  15. Anonymous11:38 AM

    Many years ago I watched Ted Koppel speak at the opening of the Holocaust Museum in DC. He asked rhetorically in his speech what kind of god would allow this to happen.

    There is no god.

    1. Anonymous1:21 PM

      People who hold on to their "biblically granted religious dominance" such as Jews do actually do no favors to themselves.

      They are insular, and do not encourage marriages outside their faith, they call themselves "god's chosen ones" which really has done them no favors throughout time.

      They like to write it off as biblical prophesy saying that "god's chosen ones must suffer" and as long as they keep beating that dead horse, suffer they will.

      Just get with the program folks, stop being so insular and them maybe you won't be so hated.

      This is the world, 2016, there is no god and there are no chosen people.

    2. Anonymous 1:21 PM

      I'm not Jewish, and I have no truck with notions of people being chosen by God, but there's much to admire about the Jews.

      Jews, as a group, revere education, family, and meaningful achievement. Jews make up only a tiny percentage of the world's population, yet they've won more than a quarter of Nobel prizes in the fields of science and medicine. In any hard science field you can name, you're likely to find Jewish people at the pinnacle. Jews are statistically over-represented in demanding professional fields such as academia, the law, the judiciary, high finance, and the entertainment industry. They also figure prominently in challenging "mind sport" games of pure skill and strategy, like chess and duplicate bridge.

      Jews have lower rates of alcoholism and suicide than most populations, across all age groups. Suicide rates among Jewish teens get even lower with increasing commitment to their religious faith. Life expectancy in Israel is higher than in the U.S.

      Years ago, in a CE summer intensive, I remember learning that a huge majority of gifted children in the greater New York school system were--you guessed it--Jewish.

      Anecdotally, I've experienced an example in my own life. I married a man with five siblings. He earned a master's degree, was a career army infantry officer, an Airborne Ranger, Vietnam war hero, member of Mensa and Intertel, black belt in tae kwon do (earned in Korea), and world-class tournament bridge player. His brother and sisters dropped out of college or never attended, and sadly not one has ever enjoyed economic or marital stability.

      In young adulthood, my husband learned that his biological father was an Ashkenazi Jew, a wealthy toy manufacturer from Overland Park, Kansas. His low-achieving half-siblings were fathered by a man of Scots-Irish/English descent. This kind and loving man was the only father my husband knew. All six children were raised in the same environment, but only one--the son of the Ashkenazi Jew--had a genius IQ and a drive to excel in everything he did.

      Coincidence? Maybe. But it only reinforces the high opinion I've had of Jewish people as far back as I can recall, when I was a little Presbyterian girl growing up in Mobile, AL.

  16. Anonymous12:55 PM

    I was raised Atheist, and really, I don't care if anyone likes me or not; I don't go through this life seeking acceptance.

    If you believe in any of the sky fairies I'll tell you to your face how stupid you are and how much you offend my rational sensibilities, then you god folks can turn around and tell me I'm going to hell.

    Ohh, I'm so worried, NOT!

  17. Anonymous1:10 PM

    No worries Gryphen,
    If we atheists were polled, results would show religious extremist of any formed are our lost disliked group.
    Also we have more advanced degrees by percentage and superior critical thinking skills.
    Probably we are more moral as well as we are responsible for our actions and can't have jeeebus make it all better for us.

    Lot to like in us!!

  18. Anonymous1:26 PM

    I am agnostic and honestly all these atheists with their superior critical thinking skills and vast intellects are muy boorish.


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