Atheists About As Trustworthy As Rapists, To The Faithful

There are seven billion people in the world. Two billion of them are Christians. Another 1.5 billion follow Islam. Hundreds of millions follow Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and a number of other organized religions. In America alone, 75% of the population identifies as Christian, while only 4% of people identify as Atheists – or having no belief in deities.

And those 4% are apparently about as trustworthy as rapists to the 75% – at least, that’s what a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says (Link to a PDF of the full study here).  The research was aimed to determine how society at large feels toward atheists; whether society trusts atheists; and how much. The results were surprising: Among societies with a religious majority, atheists are among the least trusted people, on an equivalent with rapists.

Yes, rapists. One part of the study described to participants an individual  who committed selfish and illegal acts whenever they felt like it – such as backing into someone’s car in a parking lot and pretending to leave insurance information but really leaving nothing, or finding a wallet full of cash then stealing the money and throwing the wallet in the garbage. Participants were then asked whether they thought it more probable that the man was a teacher, or was a teacher and a Christian, a Muslim, a rapist, or an atheist. Participants felt it was highly unlikely the man would be a Christian. On the other hand, they felt it highly believable that a rapist or an atheist would behave this way.

Perhaps the results aren’t entirely surprising – only 45% of Americans said they would vote for an atheist to be President, while 72% would vote for someone on his third marriage. But still, to attribute “trustworthiness” to a belief system is fundamentally disturbing – especially given many of the sins “Christians” are accused and convicted of every day.  Where does this unreasonable fear come from?
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Photo Credit: TheOwl84 on Flickr


Mary T.
Mary T4 years ago

Wow, Christians find me less trustworthy than a - thank you for the article

katarzyna phillips

all i can say is "what a load of f***!ng b0ll0ck$!" if a lot of americans feel that way, maybe they should take a good, long, hard look at their lives and try not to pull faults with their neighbours and friends like they do. if that's the case, explain to me why so many rapists are 'people of god' [don't even get me started on priest fiddling with alter boys!] and why so many murderers claim that 'god' told them to do it [peter sutcliffe as an example] ? to me, those who are fanatical about their religious beliefs are the ones NOT to be trusted

Victoria Weber
Victoria Weber4 years ago

Well I didn't know that Rape was a religion, totally biased statement, i'm sure the Atheist would say the rapist because obviously he lacks humanity, so This comment basically states that Atheists have no humanity, moral code or the like. Do you even know any atheists how about Pagans for that matter? What the hell is wrong with you to even comparatively ask such a question

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

paul grabenstein
paul grabenstein5 years ago

At least we are honest about being atheists!

Thomas J.
Thomas J5 years ago

And I am sick to death of these persons and their faith lectures. If they hadn't been programmed since birth or dropped out of 7th grade Science Class, they might just see where they sound so utterly ridiculous when they try to pick at evolution. Little Leaguers up against the New York Yankees.

Brandon V.

That's a survey designed to lump categorizations together. Let's see the results if 20 different categories of people were offered.

Thomas J.
Thomas J5 years ago

When the world outgrows your unsubstantiated beliefs and we are in the majority, PRAY to your non-existent god that we forgive you for your years of discrimination. No offense to any of my believing friends, but until we elect an Atheist Senator or start getting a few in the Cabinet, then I and the rest of atheists in this country are part of a discriminated minority.

Glenn Byrnes
Glenn Byrnes5 years ago

When it comes to being a scapegoat in this country, Atheists are the new homosexuals.

Marianne B.
Marianne B5 years ago

Viewing many debatable comments on this subject. I do not think I'm as"qualified" as they are to comment.