Would You Let An Atheist Teacher Babysit Your Children?

For adults living in North America, the answer is that it’s probably more likely that they would prefer a rapist teacher as babysitter over an atheistic one. Startling as that may seem, the conclusion is backed by some real science, excerpted below.

[div class=attrib]From the Washington Post:[end-div]

A new study finds that atheists are among society’s most distrusted group, comparable even to rapists in certain circumstances.

Psychologists at the University of British Columbia and the University of Oregon say that their study demonstrates that anti-atheist prejudice stems from moral distrust, not dislike, of nonbelievers.

“It’s pretty remarkable,” said Azim Shariff, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Oregon and a co-author of the study, which appears in the current issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The study, conducted among 350 Americans adults and 420 Canadian college students, asked participants to decide if a fictional driver damaged a parked car and left the scene, then found a wallet and took the money, was the driver more likely to be a teacher, an atheist teacher, or a rapist teacher?

The participants, who were from religious and nonreligious backgrounds, most often chose the atheist teacher.

The study is part of an attempt to understand what needs religion fulfills in people. Among the conclusions is a sense of trust in others.

“People find atheists very suspect,” Shariff said. “They don’t fear God so we should distrust them; they do not have the same moral obligations of others. This is a common refrain against atheists. People fear them as a group.”

[div class=attrib]Follow the entire article here.[end-div]

[div class=attrib]Image: Ariane Sherine and Professor Richard Dawkins pose in front of a London bus featuring an atheist advertisement with the slogan “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”. Courtesy Heathcliff  O’Malley / Daily Telegraph.[end-div]