Atheism

Through findings of my primary and secondary sources for this big assignment about the identity as an atheist, I have found out that there are many myths because of the lack of exposure and contact with atheist individuals. I have also discovered that even though atheism is growing, the myths and misrepresentations of them never went away simply because of the lack of information one has on atheism. Atheism isn’t a very popular topic, but it is a growing group and people should be informed and corrected of any bias or misunderstandings of atheists.

In the Hollywood Atheist page on the Tvtropes.org website, it talks about how some common negative traits of the atheist characters.

“Atheists are depressed, lonely, anti-social”

“Atheists don’t just argue against theism, but may actively discriminate against, harass, and even persecute believers”

“Atheists are hedonists and selfish individuals who only care about themselves and their own happiness”

In the Supernatural, Dean, the atheist older brother, is always shown as a depressing character that that drinks a lot and that everything is about him. He can’t stand the death of his younger brother dying or leaving him, so he tries to revive his brother by making a contract with a demon. Whereas Sam, the younger brother that believes in the existence of God, is more social, thinks about other people before himself, and believes that everything happens for a reason. This is causing many misconceptions in one TV series, simply because one does not believe in the existence of God, does not mean people can label them with all the negative words they can think of towards an atheist. You can’t say they are evil, depressed, selfish, and have an attitude about religion.

In the article, College students’ appreciative attitudes toward atheists written by Bowman Nicholas, Rockenbach Alyssa, Mayhew Matthew, Riggers-Piehl Tiffani, & Hudson Tara discusses the studies that were done to assess what most college students thinks about atheists. In one study, students of different religions were chosen at random and asked to complete a survey about their opinions. They also brought up another study done by the Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project that used a feelings thermometer to see how people in general felt about each religious group where the participants indicate warm for favorable and cold for unfavorable. Surprisingly, about 40% of those that responded ranked Atheists as the lowest/coldest.

Doane Michael & Elliott Marta wrote in Perceptions of discrimination among atheists: Consequences for atheist identification, psychological and physical well-being that people would rather support one that is gay or African American than to support an atheist for the presidential candidate. That causes a major stress towards those that are atheists when they learn that they are being so disrespected and misrepresented within the society. Why do people treat atheists like this? Because some think that being an atheist means that they believe in the devil and not God. That is not true. An atheist is someone that actively disbelieves or simply lacks the belief that God exists. It is bias like those that causes discrimination towards atheists when there really shouldn’t be.

According to Religious belief and intelligence: Worldwide evidence by Cribari-Neto Francisco & Souza Tatiene, there is a positive correlation between intelligence and lack of religious beliefs. Cribari-Neto and Souza said that as economic development increases so does atheism. They gathered data that showed atheists are wealthier, more liberal, and more intelligent than average. Being religious limits ones view about the world and political issues, reducing chances to advance and become wealthy. Atheists don’t believe in religion, therefore are not bound/tied so they are more free and liberal whereas religious groups are more conservative.

In Atheist Marriages Last Longer Than Christian Marriages, Research Says written by Courtney Nunes, it said that they surveyed 3,854 people living all over the U.S. and found that divorce rated were highest among Christians and those that believe in religion than atheists.

Learning Moment

One significant learning moment in this class was when we were discussing about Wikipedia in the first week of class. It was intriguing to learn that many, including myself, still use Wikipedia as starter to obtain information even though we are informed that it isn’t a trusted site because anybody can alter the information in Wikipedia. Another significant learning moment is when we were discussing about the news, media, and advertisements and I learned that the society we live in now have turned most of us skeptic towards anything that is provided to us. It isn’t a bad thing to be skeptic towards things, but it is also sad to learn that the news and media is so hard to trust. As a result, it will make people trust others less. For example, when one person sees another out on the streets asking for money, it will make one think “is he/she really homeless or he/she is just lying to get money?”

References

Bowman, N. A., Rockenbach, A. N., Mayhew, M. J., Riggers-Piehl, T., & Hudson, T. D. (2016). College Students’ Appreciative Attitudes Toward Atheists. Research in Higher Education, http://dx.doi.org /10.1007/s11162-016-9417-z

Courtney, N. (2013). Atheist Marriages Last Longer Than Christian Marriages, Research Says. Retrieved from http://www.opposingviews.com/i/religion/atheist-marriages-last-longer-christian-marriages-research-says.

Cribari-Neto, F., & Souza, T. C. (2013). Religious Belief and Intelligence: Worldwide Evidence. Intelligence, 41(5), 482-489. http://dx.doi.org /10.1016/j.intell.2013.06.011.

Doane, M. J., & Elliott, M. (2015). Perceptions of Discrimination Among Atheists: Consequences for Atheist Identification, Psychological and Physical Well-being. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 7(2), 130-141. http://dx.doi.org /10.1037/rel0000015.

Eric, K. (2005). Supernatural. TV series.

Hollywood Atheist. TV Tropes. Retrieved from http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HollywoodAtheist.

 

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2 thoughts on “Atheism

  1. Chun,
    I found your topic to be very interesting due to its sensitivity. Not many people want to talk about religion, let alone being an atheist. I found your post to be very interesting. While reading your post, I found myself agreeing with you when you state that, for the most part, atheists are cast in a negative light on the various platforms of popular culture. I’m a big fan of Supernatural and I loved how you used that as evidence for your claim. Looking back, I completely agree with you when you talk about how Dean is the “darker” brother and is always the one either womanizing, drinking, gambling, stealing, etc. While Sam is the one who puts his head down and tries to do the right things to make up for his brother’s mistakes. In addition, I think your sources used are good, however, I would have liked to see you tie them into paragraphs to fit more fluidly instead of separating them into paragraphs. I liked your commentary and analyses on these pieces of evidence and I think you did a great job supporting your claim. I wonder what are some of the things that Atheists are doing to try to dispel the negative stereotypes and attitudes surrounding them. Overall, good post!

    Abbie

    • Hi Abbie,
      I agree, that is why I chose this topic because it is not talked about much. I like Supernatural too, it is a great TV series that still hasn’t ended yet! I will note your advice and do better on tying them together the next time I write papers.
      Atheists can correct others when they hear negative stereotypes about their identity as well as informing people what being an Atheist really means. There are also videos online regarding the Atheism too.

      Thank you for commenting!
      Chun

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