March 2, 2009

Revealing the Atheist Stereotype

Gargamel and AzraelImage via Wikipedia
After Friendly Atheist's recent post in which he asked readers whether they fit "the atheist stereotype," I realized that I was not completely sure what this particular stereotype entailed. Sure, I had some ideas, but I also thought it fairly likely that I was missing some important ingredients.

I posed this question to my readers and received some useful input. Some of what I heard confirmed my hunches, but there were new aspects of the stereotype as well. In this post, I'd like to present the atheist stereotype in the hopes that it will facilitate future discussions of topics such as how atheists are perceived in society, the degree to which atheists fit the stereotype, and the like.

Below I have provided what appear to be components of the atheist stereotype. Please feel free to add to the list.

  1. are politically liberal (e.g., support gay rights and abortion)
  2. hate Christianity and/or the Christian god
  3. trample people's rights of free religious expression
  4. are always depressed, sad, or grumpy
  5. lack hope
  6. are immoral
  7. are moral relativists
  8. are uncivil and do not respect others
  9. are prideful and lack humility
  10. are angry
  11. are militant
  12. are evil
  13. are arrogant
  14. are mean, stingy, unforgiving, and generally horrible people
  15. are sexually promiscuous
  16. are more interested in science than the average person
  17. are ignorant of scripture
  18. have faith in evolution and worship Darwin
  19. are determined to convert everyone else to their religion of materialism and negativity (i.e., secular humanism)
  20. worship the devil or are agents of Satan
My goal here is not to challenge the accuracy of this stereotype but merely to uncover it so that we all know what each other means when we refer to the atheist stereotype. Again, please let me know if I have omitted anything you consider particularly important.

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