How American Non-Atheists view Atheists

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"The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good."

Psalm 14 Bible-icon.png

"atheists are at the top of the list of groups that Americans find problematic"

— Penny Edgell et al., [1]

Minnesota study, 2006[edit]

American adults have less tolerance towards atheists than towards people who belong to a different Christian sect or a different faith. A 2006 study performed by the University of Minnesota found atheists to be the least trusted identifiable group in the United States, as well as the group parents would be least accepting of their children to marry. [1]

Gervais study, 2014[edit]

A study of Americans, including theists and atheists, found that they judged various immoral acts to be representative of atheists but not of other social and religious groups. [2]

Gallup polls[edit]

Gallup has been polling people on whether they would refuse to vote for "a generally well-qualified person for president" if they were an atheist for over 40 years; here are the historical data: (from the "Gallup Polls & Other Surveys" link, below)

February 1999 48%
August 1987 48%
April 1983 51%
July 1978 53%
December 1959 74%
September 1958 77%
August 1958 75%

The religious affiliations in America are changing rapidly. Between 1990 and 2001 the proportion of United States citizens without religious affiliations apparently rose from 8% to 14% while adults believing in Christianity dropped by 1% per year in that time. (2001 ARIS study; ReligiousTolerance.Org entry on it) If this drop continues over a generation the United States will change dramatically. Not all without religious affiliations are Atheists, agnostics, or freethinkers, but many are.

Overestimating numbers[edit]

People in the United States overestimate how many atheists there are in the country, with the average response being 40% and the actual proportion being 16%. [3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 [1], American Sociological Review, 71: 211-234. Journal publisher's press release; University's press release
  2. [2]
  3. [3]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

v · d Atheism
Terminology   Etymology of the word atheist · Weak atheism · Strong atheism · Agnosticism · Atheist vs. agnostic · Tenets and dogma
Contemporary literature   The End of Faith · The God Delusion · God: The Failed Hypothesis · Letter to a Christian Nation · God Is Not Great · Irreligion · 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God
Classic literature   Why I Am Not a Christian
Atheist and secular groups   Atheist groups · Secular charities · How American Non-Atheists view Atheists
Contemporary authors   Richard Dawkins · Daniel Dennett · A. C. Grayling · Sam Harris · Guy P. Harrison · John Allen Paulos · James Randi · Victor Stenger
Internet non-believers   Reginald Vaughn Finley · PZ Myers
Writers and philosophers   David Hume · Robert Ingersoll · Friedrich Nietzsche · Bertrand Russell · Carl Sagan · Voltaire · Jean-Paul Sartre · John Stuart Mill · Karl Marx · Heraclitus