Studies in the United States have shown that “many Americans are unlikely to vote for an atheist or Muslim political candidate, nor do they want their children to marry atheists or Muslims.” Notwithstanding, when it comes to the workplace, workers are much more tolerant of Christians, Jews, and Muslims expressing their religious views than they are of atheists doing the same, according to a new study by psychologists at Ohio University.
These results came to light after three separate studies were done to gauge attitudes towards atheists in the workplace. In the first study, participants were presented with a scenario where an atheist, Christian, Jew, or Muslim expressed their beliefs wearing a pin on their clothing or some display in their cubicle or office, respondents felt much more negatively toward the atheist. In the second study, when researchers probed why this scenario produced a lot of negative feelings aimed at the atheist, participants thought that the atheist was being a lot pushier and posed a greater symbolic threat than the Christian, Jew, or Muslim.
For the third study, an atheist expressing their beliefs with some sort of display in their work area or on their person was less tolerated than a Christian, Jew, or Muslim doing the same. Respondents felt that the atheist posed a realistic threat “
For the third study, an atheist expressing their beliefs with some sort of display in their work area or on their person was less tolerated than a Christian, Jew, or Muslim doing the same. Respondents felt that the atheist posed a realistic threat ” to others’ well-being or access to resources” and/or “to workplace values … as jeopardizing the company’s economic status and/or the employees’ general well-being.” Atheists were perceived as being more imposing with their beliefs than other religious people and were given a harder time as a result.
The researchers acknowledged the study was very limited since the participants were only reading hypothetical scenarios and weren’t real supervisors. However, they feel the results they got may call for workers being taught the importance of diversity of viewpoints and “the value of respecting others’ beliefs in the workplace.” But to make their conclusions more concrete, they believe broader studies should be done using real employers.
Assuming that the results found in their research is accurate, what could account for the underlying resentment towards atheists? Isn’t it possible that atheists themselves are responsible for how they are perceived? Given that some atheists have been seen in the news over the years in high profile cases expressing intolerance toward others and trying to force people via the courts to bend to their beliefs, the reactions are understandable. Atheists have often targeted Christians and Jews even when they do charitable work to help the community (e.g., the Salvation Army). When militant atheists go to great lengths to be in the media spotlight for these tactics, it could be that it offends more people than they assume. It also doesn’t help when atheists give off the attitude of superiority or that they know-it-all.
In conclusion, I would say that the researchers’ attempts to make atheists the sympathetic victims isn’t realistic. When atheists get power, history has shown that they tend to abuse power more than any other religious group. It’s proven by the blood of hundreds of millions who have died at their hands and the millions more whose human rights have been violated, with nations like China, Cuba, North Korea, and organizations like Antifa and BLM being the most prominent and most recent examples.
The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. Psalm 10:4
Source: Beth Ellwood, People are less tolerant of atheists expressing their beliefs at work compared to Christians, Muslims, or Jews, PsyPost.org, August 2, 2021.