Religious believers distrust atheists more than members of other religious groups, gays and feminists, according to a new study by University of B.C. researchers.
The only group the study’s participants distrusted as much as atheists was rapists, said doctoral student Will Gervais, lead author of the study published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
That prejudice had a significant impact on what kinds of jobs people said they would hire atheists to do.
“People are willing to hire an atheist for a job that is perceived as low-trust, for instance as a waitress,” said Gervais. “But when hiring for a high-trust job like daycare worker, they were like, nope, not going to hire an atheist for that job.”
The antipathy does not seem to run both ways, though. Atheists are indifferent to religious belief when it comes to deciding who is trustworthy.
“Atheists don’t necessarily favour other atheists over Christians or anyone else,” he said. “They seem to think that religion is not an important signal for who you can trust.”
The researchers found that religious believers thought that descriptions of untrustworthy people — people who steal or cheat — were more likely to be atheists than Christians, Muslims, Jews, gays or feminists. Read more