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Study: Atheists distrusted as much as rapists

From: Wilfredo P.
Sent on: Monday, December 12, 2011 8:50 PM


Gee, I wonder what these people think of Catholic priests?  I'd like to ask them when was the last time they heard of large number of atheists molesting/raping children and whether they have heard of atheist organizations covering up for the crimes of non-believers.

Note this from the article.  This is why we should have no fear or trepidation about identifying ourselves as non-believers.  How is society going to know we are nice, normal, kind, compassionate and MORAL people if we remain "in the closet," so to speak?

“If you manage to offer credible counteroffers of these stereotypes, this can do a lot to undermine people’s existing prejudice,” he said. “If you realize there are all these atheists you’ve been interacting with all your life and they haven’t raped your children that is going to do a lot do dispel these stereotypes.”

Lastly, I really like this reader comment:

Atheists don't know how to pick our battles.  
We're a tiny, misunderstood and apparently despised minority with an important message of reason and sanity in a world full of religious fanatics bent on using the most insidious or brutal tactics to impose their will on others, but we seem in the public mind to be more concerned with ruining Christmas and stealing crosses from war memorials and certain organizations, acting in the name of "atheism", do everything in their power to reinforce those notions. 
Why not conserve what little political capital we have for the big fights and let the kids have Santa Claus? Why are we not in the forefront of the fight against Jihadism and other forms of religious extremism? Why are we more concerned with dismantling nativity scenes than we are with the blatant violation of the establishment clause inherent in having some bureaucrat decide what is and is not a "religion" for tax purposes? Why do we keep attacking symbols and ignoring substance? 
We have the right idea and the right message and it is more important than ever in a world full of religious tyranny and extremism but no one on the other side will listen to us if we begin by attacking the symbols to which they are most attached and which are in the end, after all, just symbols. Even when we win these fights, we lose because maybe they'll take the cross out of the museum or what-have-you but we've reinforced every stereotype about joyless, strident atheists and turned off people who might otherwise listen to us about things that are far more important. 
I know not all atheists act that way because I am an atheist and I don't. Don't get me wrong, I won't shrink for a second from criticizing religion and the idea of gods but Santa Claus and crosses in War Memorials are small potatoes when we have nut-cases blowing up gay-bars, murdering doctors and flying airplanes into buildings while demagogues try to use the power of the state to impose their beliefs both on us and those theists with whom they disagree and force us all to subsidize them.


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