Researchers Say that Religious People Dislike Atheism (and Atheists) because They Associate Them with Death

Researchers from the University of Washington, Tacoma and the College of Staten Island have conducted a study that indicates American religious students who are instructed to think about Atheism think about death as well and to the same extent as when instructed to think about death itself. The researchers believe that this association between Atheism and death drives the religious to defend their values against Atheists in America and contributes to Atheism in America being held in low esteem. Per the article:  

…."Atheists in America have an image problem. Studies and surveys consistently rank nonbelievers as untrustworthy, threatening and un-American. Researchers reporting in a 2011 paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology even found that people viewed atheists as equally untrustworthy as rapists. This previous work found that atheists are perceived as without morals and values, Cook said….Now, research suggests one reason why: Thinking about atheists reminds people of death….We found that thinking about atheism actually increased thoughts of death to the same extent as thinking about death itself," said Cook…. These death thoughts help trigger a subconscious dislike of atheists, said study leader Corey Cook…. Not only do thoughts of death put people in a negative frame of mind, Cook told Live Science, but they also prompt people to hold more tightly onto their own values….When people are reminded of their own impending deaths, they become more protective of their worldviews and show increased prejudice against those with different worldviews….

The research has been reported in the journal, Social Psychology and Personality Science.

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Replies to This Discussion

Quite right sk8ycat.

I'm a godless communist sk8ycaf.

Thanks for the discussion on this topic.

No John, your trying to explain a metaphysical speculation in natural terms. How is it possible to  equalise a scientific discussion between two cavemen on the scientific probability of moon-walking, with a spiritual declaration of immortality?. The former has practical problems the latter has reality problems.

You need to read my posts again.




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