A study which found North Americans regard atheists as being as or less trustworthy than rapists has been making waves online.
The study, conducted by the University of British Columbia and published in the scholarly Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, quizzed American adults (14% of whom identified as atheists themselves, and 67% as Christians) and Canadian students on their attitudes to various groups.
According to one set of findings, atheists were regarded as even less trustworthy than Christians, Muslims, Jews, feminists and homosexuals, finding themselves only as trusted as rapists.
The study’s authors concluded that “people did not significantly differentiate atheists from rapists.”
The study was prompted by a 2007 Gallup poll which found only 45% of Americans would consider voting for an atheist president (which raises some interesting questions in light of the above findings).
One of the authors noted that it seems many find non-believers “a public threat to cooperation and honesty,” based on a belief that morality is impossible without a belief in god, an opinion expressed by nearly half of all Americans in a 2002 poll.
Japanese objections to these attitudes towards atheists seem to have more to do with hatred of foreigners than any actual religious or irreligious sentiment:
“This is why I hate religion.”
“This is crazy!”
“This is why Japanese will never be trusted by Americans.”
“Japanese are Buddhists and Shintoists, not atheists!”
“Rapists and feminists at least have a chance to be reformed. Atheists on the other hand are beyond redemption.”
“The guy who said Japanese are atheists is obviously a typical filthy Korean dog. Koreans only believe in rape, so there’s no way they could understand Shinto.”
“I think Japanese would be more considered polytheistic?”
“Japanese are basically atheistic. They happily celebrate Valentine’s Day and Christmas. They only go to shrines for matsuri, and temples for funerals.”
“The only people who have any real faith in Japan are cults…”
“This is why you can’t trust Christians. They just use justice as an excuse to go around butchering the non-white races.”
“Looking at this thread it is clear there are a lot of atheists about…”
“Religion is pure fantasy.”
“I think theists are the more dangerous lot for slapping a label on all atheists and distrusting them for it.”
“They believe the same about reds. Commies = atheists.”
“To be secular and without morals is to be like China.”
“Nietzschean atheism is harmless, but Marxist atheism is dangerous. The former is an individual creed, whilst the latter is a radical agenda for totally reshaping society.”
“Christianity is evil. They used to come to Japan and steal women and girls in Kyushu and sell them overseas as slaves. The Tokugawa oppression of the Jesuits wasn’t just to protect feudalism.”
“Slavery was common practice in the Warring States period… although I agree with you about the Jesuits.”
“Unlike Christians, Japanese are tolerant and respectful to other religions.”
Until the Meiji period Japanese were ruthlessly persecuting Catholics.
This is why Japanese are said to not know their own history. Catholic Japanese were killed by fellow Japanese. Japanese are extreme in their efforts to exclude other religions.”
“Japan’s religious repression was worse than ancient Rome’s. Japanese are known the world over for this. People who say Japanese are tolerant of other religions are idiots who know no history.”
“The worst are the ones who just label anything convenient to them ‘god’s will.’ Do Americans really think their precious god would forgive them slaughtering innocents at Hiroshima and Nagasaki using nuclear bombs?”
“If you believe you need to be constantly supervised by a higher power in order to stop you committing evil deeds then you really are scum, aren’t you?”
“West = culture of sin, afraid of God’s eyes
Japan = culture of shame, afraid of other people’s eyes”
“Anime otaku can be thought of as a religion. They believe they can interact with fictional characters, and go on pilgrimages to holy sites. All very religious.”