Atheists tend to be seen as immoral – even by other atheists: study

Source: The Guardian

Religious belief widely viewed as safeguard against ‘grossly immoral conduct’, according to new research

Karlskirche (St Charles’s Church) fresco by Johann Michael Rottmayr.
 Many still hold the view that people will do bad things unless they fear punishment from all-seeing gods. Photograph: Fred de Noyelle/Getty Images

Atheists are more easily suspected of evil deeds than Christians, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists – even by fellow atheists, according to the authors of a new study.

The finding suggests that in an increasingly secular world, many – including some atheists – still hold the view that people will do bad things unless they fear punishment from all-seeing gods.

The results of the study “show that across the world, religious belief is intuitively viewed as a necessary safeguard against the temptations of grossly immoral conduct,” an international team wrote in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. It revealed that “atheists are broadly perceived as potentially morally depraved and dangerous”.

 

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