I just found this:
Distrust is the central motivating factor behind why religious people dislike atheists, according to a new study led by University of British Columbia psychologists.
"Where there are religious majorities -- that is, in most of the world -- atheists are among the least trusted people," says lead author Will Gervais, a doctoral student in UBC's Dept. of Psychology. "With more than half a billion atheists worldwide, this prejudice has the potential to affect a substantial number of people."
The religious behaviors of others may provide believers with important social cues, the researchers say. "Outward displays of belief in God may be viewed as a proxy for trustworthiness, particularly by religious believers who think that people behave better if they feel that God is watching them," says Norenzayan. "While atheists may see their disbelief as a private matter on a metaphysical issue, believers may consider atheists' absence of belief as a public threat to cooperation and honesty."
"The only group the study's participants distrusted as much as atheists was rapists, said doctoral student Will Gervais, lead author of the study published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology."
I think we need to destroy the myths and misconceptions. However, the problem is that believing in things without just cause is how how the religious think...
I am far more worried about someone who's only reason for not raping someone is that they will be punished. Really? You have no conscience what so ever?
Susan, a child's fear of punishment might cause the development of conscience.
You perhaps never heard of a survey done (in Berkeley as I recall) during a dangerous period of the cold war between the US and the USSR, when fear of a surprise nuclear attack was high.
People were asked what they would do during the thirty minutes between the launch of nuclear missiles and the destruction of whole cities. A radio news report, describing only sound bytes and not the full results, told of a few men who said they would rape every woman they could.
Many people were surprised. The report said nothing of the survey's other findings so I don't know what other men or women said.
Why does this make me think of dirty cops? Athiests are like that one clean cop who threatens the status quo by not accepting the easy money (religious dogma) resulting in abuses, threats, and so on. Our honesty threatens all cultures because there is a growing population worldwide who regard their deepest beliefs are a deception and hinderance to progress. They should be scared, they are amoung the last generations who live their lives with blinders on.
Oh well . . . when everyone is an atheist, people will distrust the christians. Don't worry. Seriously. Any identity marker can have that effect to others with the same identity. "What? They are Trekkies? I'm a Trekkie. They must be OK." "What? You are biracial? I'm biracial. It's like we're cousins." These are the subconscious thought processes that go on.
1. I have long distrusted xians, even during my final years as one.
2. Imagine this thought, which might not be subconscious: "I'm a Trekkie/biracial/xian and you're a Trekkie/biracial/xian. Surely you won't cheat another like yourself."
Reagan's inviting the fundies into the Repub Party was a short-term political master stroke and a long-term disaster.
1. Fundies, who without thinking obey their leaders, made the Party almost a monolith.
2. A monolithic party drives moderates away and weakens the party.
I'm an atheist, and I know a lot of very moral atheists who are wonderful people. But, on the other hand, I totally distrust atheists who are followers of Ayn Rand. I regard her philosophy as being sociopathic in its extremes of selfishness and lack of empathy. And if she, or her followers, ever becomes what people think of when they think of atheists, then I think there will be much reinforcement of the already existent distrust of us.
It is a mental fallacy, when people mix up the lack of a belief with the declaration of proactively being guided by selfishness. Selfishness is independent of the religious faith.
Christians appear to be restricted in some way by religious rules. But they are dangerous in another way. They do not consider the evil done by them as so bad, because the believe, that their victims get an adequate compensation for their suffering in the afterlife. They consider their own transgressions as a business between themselves and the god. Once they have done enough repentence to believe to have earned the god's forgiveness, the victim is considered as god's business. This is why I do not trust christians.