Wednesday, May 06, 2015

GODLESS WEDNESDAY: Research Shows Thinking About Atheism Leads To Thinking About Death For Religious People

Friendly Atheist calls attention to research which shows that one reason cultural attitudes towards atheists are so negative is that most religious people associate thinking about atheists with death and fears about death.
 just thinking about atheism increased implicit death thought accessibility to the same level as [thinking about death itself]. These findings complement existing research and extend our understanding of anti-atheist sentiments by showing that hostility toward and mistrust of atheists is particularly pronounced when existential concerns are aroused and that, for believers, the mere contemplation of atheism can arouse intimations of mortality.
 The conclusion that the research leads to is that perhaps atheists like yours truly should be wary of making "militant denunciation of theistic conceptions of reality" regardless of how good it feels because just thinking about atheism makes some religious people conscious of their own mortality.

This does lead to a question of how can atheists engage in public policy debate if our very existence threatens our opponents? This is actually not that unusual, because opponents of LGBT equality often seem to feel an existential threat by thinking about homosexuality, but progress has been made in that arena. Hopefully, there will be progress in cultural and civil equality for godlessness in the future as well.

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