Study finds the awareness of death plays a role in anti-atheist prejudice

Researchers have found evidence that atheists are disliked and distrusted because of the widespread belief that people behave better when they think an almighty divine power is watching their every move. But Cook and his colleagues have proposed another hypothesis: Atheists are disliked because they pose a fundamental threat to the worldview of religious people, a worldview that helps them mitigate “the potential terror arising from the uniquely human awareness of death.” …

The findings support the idea that one of the reasons people dislike and distrust nonbelievers is because atheism poses a threat to theistic worldviews that help people cope with human vulnerability and mortality.

“There are currently 13 million self-identified nonbelievers in the United States,” Cook and his colleagues said. “Despite these large numbers, atheists remain stigmatized, and many are understandably reluctant to openly profess their disbelief in God.” …

5 thoughts on “Study finds the awareness of death plays a role in anti-atheist prejudice

  1. i have indeed experienced this stigma against not believing in a god, and believers do seem to feel that if there is no heaven, then life would be without reason, toil without some reward afterward. they feel this clearly explains why one MUST believe in a god and those who don’t are mistrusted, because they may be evil, working with the devil, corrupted or possessed to not believe in a god with a reward in heaven.

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