27 March 2006

Atheists Need Better P.R. Agent

Atheists are America’s least trusted group, according to a national survey conducted by University sociology researchers.

Based on a telephone survey of more than 2,000 households and in-depth interviews with more than 140 people, researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, homosexuals and other groups as “sharing their vision of American society.” Americans are also least willing to let their children marry atheists.

More fully described here

This quote, also stuck out, as I hear it often:

Cole Ries, the president of the Maranatha Christian Fellowship said . . . “I don’t believe that anybody is really an atheist. I believe that deep down everyone knows there is a god.”

Clearly, atheists, with our low divorce rate (only Lutherans rival them), our low rate of criminal activity, and generally humanistic values (of course, like any group, there are exceptions, with Libertarians views being next most common among us), need a better P.R. agent. And, no, we do not "know there is a god" deep down.

UPDATE: Another story on the same study is somewhat more encouraging as it has actual numbers:

Ninety percent of respondents thought whites and blacks could share their vision of society. About 80 percent said the same of Hispanics, Jews and conservative Christians. More than 70 percent said it of immigrants, and 64 percent said it of Muslims. Atheists had the lowest rating at 54 percent. . . . people with more education, those with more exposure to diverse populations and those from the East and West coasts expressed the highest regard for atheists.

What people think they don't like about us is notable too:

[M]any people "believe atheists have no sense of community and promote cultural elitism and the almighty dollar," Edgell said. . . . "They're associated with moral and social disorder," she said.

Most people think belief in God is closely associated with being law abiding. This isn't true, but it is a common belief.

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