Bias against atheists

An international study claims that there is bias against atheists in countries around the world, with the only exceptions being in Finland and New Zealand. Our tolerance to religion and our tendency to keep religion to ourselves are likely factors.

RNZ: Study shows international bias against atheists

According to a new study, some atheists even have an in-built “anti-atheist bias” when it comes to judging a person’s morality.

But anti-atheist bias was strongest where there are high numbers of believers, like the United Arab Emirates, United States and India.

A diverse bunch of biased countries.

Only New Zealand and Finland did not exhibit a clear bias against atheists.

The study, put together by an international team and published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, was based on the responses of more than 3000 people across 13 countries and five continents.

Across the study group, it was found people were twice as likely to believe the killer was an atheist.

Study co-author Will Gervais, a psychology professor at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, told news agency AFP: “It is striking that even atheists appear to hold the same intuitive anti-atheist bias.

“I suspect that this stems from the prevalence of deeply entrenched pro-religious norms.

“Even in places that are currently quite overtly secular, people still seem to intuitively hold on to the belief that religion is a moral safeguard.”

But apparently not so in New Zealand. Which doesn’t surprise me, generally here people have no idea whether people are religious or not, and don’t care if they are because it impacts little outside where the practice their religion.

And a significant proportion of the Kiwi population are virtual atheists or are barely or nominally religious.