Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bias Against Non-believers

The evidence of bias against non-believers is overwhelming, yet one meets many people who deny that this is true.  Some of those people are even non-believers themselves.  I can only assume that these non-believers who doubt that this bias exists are lucky enough to be in situations where they do not experience it themselves.  I have met a few, however, who were obviously simply in denial.  Needless to say, many if not most believers will either deny that they are biased in this regard or claim that their bias is justified on moral grounds.

So, first, let me address the reality of this situation--though full treatment of the reality of the situation is beyond the scope of this post.  I have already mentioned the cases of Prof. Zellner, the Smalkowskis, and Jeremy Hall.  Those incidents alone should be enough to convince any objective person that there is a problem because such overt discrimination and persecution can only be the tip of a much larger iceberg.  The media doesn't report these things because the victims are unpopular.  The victims themselves often don't report these things because they fear more persecution.  (I can attest to this fear from personal experience.  In fact, many of my observations in this post are based on my own personal experience because I have experienced discrimination over my non-belief on numerous occasions.)

Furthermore there have been numerous opinion polls and studies of bias that confirm that atheists are the most reviled minority in the U.S.  It is simply not credible to assert that the most reviled minority does not have its civil rights violated on a regular basis.  That much hate will manifest itself, it will cause the victims to be silent, and it will cause the other religious people to protect the ones who actually engage in the discrimination.  The result being that, even if the media were inclined to report such things, most incidents are never publicized enough to come to the attention of the media.  The few that do will seem like anomalies for the same reason.

In my post on the dishonesty of religion, I explained the basic problem inherent in the religious mindset as follows:

"If one were honestly seeking the truth, then one would judge all similar propositions by the same standards.  Thus, all religions would be examined with the same set of criteria.  Instead, the religious approach their own religion with unshakable faith--immune to all doubt or evidence--while at the same time they regard other religions (even closely related ones) with absolute skepticism, seeking only to find fault and reason to reject it."
It is essential to understanding the sort of prejudice faced by non-believers to realize that this is the way religious people usually approach everything--certainly everything that touches upon their religion and especially the validity of their religion--with unshakable bias.  To many of them, an atheist is the embodiment of a rejection of their religion, and they approach atheists with the same implacable hostility and bias that they approach direct challenges to their religion.  They attack them incessantly and obsessively.

Believers pick on non-believers because they can't separate the ideas from the person.  They feel a huge need to "prove" that they are smarter than the non-believer and will obsessively find things to criticize until they find something valid enough (at least, in their minds) to satisfy them.

In many cases, however,  no amount of criticism, valid or invalid, of the non-believer will satisfy them.  They will continue until either the non-believer finds a way to force them to stop--usually by virtue of some sort of legal action--or the non-believer breaks off all contact with them.  Even then, in some cases, the believer will try to find ways to cause distress or trouble for the non-believer.  In other words, the believer will engage in some form of stalking the non-believer.  This has happened to me personally.

This is not hard for them to do because the dominant religions form what can be seen as interconnected networks of self-righteous mobs for whom gossip is one of the most important things in life.  The stalker need only pick up a telephone and call someone who might know the person he is targeting or who might know someone who does, etc.  It has been said that we are all separated by six degrees of separation or less.  The religious and the manipulative psychopaths who use them count on this.

They also count on the bonds of the religious community being strong enough to protect them.  If they interact only with those of their religion or trusted allies, then they can be assured that the target will likely never have sufficient evidence to take any action.  In fact, the target may never even know what happened.  Notions of in-group morality and prejudice will protect them and condemn the target.

As I mentioned before, there need not be any truth to the things the stalker might say.  All he really needs to do is preface his comments with accusations that the target is a non-believer, someone who thinks believers are wrong or even stupid.  After that, it really doesn't matter what he says.  His fellow believer will be listening for something he can use to punish this person who dares to think his beliefs are nonsense.  He will be no more concerned about the truth of the allegations than he is about the truth of his belief.  Nor will he really care about notions that an objective observer would call justice.  To him, anything he can do to harm the non-believer will be justice.

In a previous post, I referred to situations where this sort of thing happened to Christians in Muslim dominated countries.  Follow the links in that post and you will notice that these stories of Muslim based mobbing of Christians are covered with outrage in the Christian press.  I can tell you from personal experience, however, that when a Christian does something similar to a non-believer in the U.S. the other Christians will not only try to pretend they never saw what happened, they will actually do their best to cover it up.  Their loyalty to the group trumps all other notions of morality--just as predicted by notions of in-group morality.

Most religious people have been well primed to take part in this sort of behavior and to believe that it is well-justified.


  1. Religions (plural) are a matter of geography & parentage. If you're born in the Middle East, of Muslim parents, take a wild guess at what your religion will be. Ditto with all the others. v And ALL are mere man-made nonsense.

  2. Is this a joke? A biased atheist among biased atheists who as a group killed 150,000,000+ million people in the past 100 years is complaining about biased "believers" (love how you just lump everyone in together and broadside them, no, no bias there, not)? You're joking right Mr. Totalitarian Communism is Great? Right Mr. Tyranny? So, you really don't see any bias from atheists against Christians anywhere huh? Not against any theist? So when you go to Yahoo Answers and see moderators to no end allowing atheists to harass Christians and break their rules while hounding Christians out, in the religion section of all places, you see no bias? When atheists squelch creationists and ID Theorists, accusing them of being Christian fundamentalists, and when they deny them tenure and vilify them, you see no bias? When they say "nothing they say is scientific and it must be peer reviewed (by us atheists and liberals for approval)" you see no bias? So when they trump up transitional fossils, which don't exist, and downplay living fossils, which do exist (though they aren't millions or billions and billions of pale blue dot years old) you see no bias? So when atheists typo and use poor grammar and mere insults for arguments, and less than 01% of atheists attack such atheists for doing so, but far more attack Christians and theists if they do, you see no bias? You truly are blind and biased, and a hypocrite.

    1. In case anyone is wondering, I decided to leave Mr. Knight's over the top comment just as he left it. It makes the case against religion almost as well as the best anti-theist essay could.

  3. Hey, have you heard about that new transitional life form scientists have found? It's a bird that has lost its ability to fly and instead swims and lives much like a seal or walrus. They decided to call it the penguin.