Itâ€™s no wonder that atheists poll so badly; according to the same survey, religious folks believe the godless are about as trustworthy as rapists.Â â€œWhile atheists may see their disbelief as a private matter on a metaphysical issue,â€ explained University of British Columbia psychologist Ara Norenzayan, one of the researchers, â€œbelievers may consider atheistsâ€™ absence of belief as a public threat to cooperation and honesty.â€
This article makes the astute point about belief: for some, it is metaphysics and an intellectual issue; for others it is a rejection of the very fabric of society. Of course, neither are probably quite right: religious belief was probably a result of, not a cause of, social formation; and belief is more than metaphysics, as it can often affect the decisions one makes on a daily basis. At Holey Books, we are trying to look at both the intellectual foundations of religious beliefâ€”and the moral ones.
It is still absurd and simplistic to think atheistsâ€”or the one of the growing contingent of Americans who don’t cite a particular religious beliefâ€”are “about as trustworthy as rapists.” Positively, the article also notes that this view of those with out-of-the-mainstream religious beliefs is declining.