Thursday, March 23, 2006

America to Atheists: We Don't Trust You

Via an University of Minnesota Study:
Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.

[...]

Edgell believes a fear of moral decline and resulting social disorder is behind the findings. “Americans believe they share more than rules and procedures with their fellow citizens—they share an understanding of right and wrong,” she said. “Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good.”
Ouch. That's always been a curiosity to me -- to where or what do atheists appeal for moral values? Absolute or not? If so, what is the standard? If not, if our moral values are just expressions of preferences, then the question Ravi Zacharias often raises seems pertinent. Some cultures greet their guests, other cultures eat them. Which would you prefer?

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