Well, as Mike Pompeo says, we only have to worry about that until the Rapture.
I have always wondered if some politicians misrepresent their position on religious belief in order to be elected. I don’t want to veer too far into the political realm or mind reading, but does anyone think the current US President is really a christian?
As recent surveys have shown, the general public is strongly against the idea of voting for an atheist.
It’s interesting that Americans would more likely vote for a Muslim than an Atheist. This poll was from 2012, so perhaps there has been some change in the last 6 years.
I would vote either Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox. I could also accept a Jew. Sex would not matter, whether man or woman. I would not vote for an atheist. Marriage should be between a man and woman.
Edward Miller de Wynns
I never wondered about that. It always seemed trivially obvious.
People naturally prefer to affiliate and appreciate those with whom they feel the most “kinship” of shared values and experiences. It is a kind of “tribalism” attribute. Thus, lots of Americans who are not Jewish will nevertheless think: “A Jewish person believes in God and even respects what I call the Old Testament. A Jewish person also respects worshiping God every seventh day. So Jews are not all that different from me.” Thus, people naturally tend to evaluate “foundational similarities and differences” to ascertain how closely or distantly they can relate to someone’s tribe. So I’m not surprised that so many Americans might assume that atheists are radically different from them—and therefore would be reluctant to vote for them. And people tend to fear that and those which they don’t understand. Moreover, with a position so important as the Presidency, many Americans want to think, “The President shares my values and understands me. My prospects will be better if the President can personally relate to my viewpoint and will make decisions using the values I favor.”
Yes, a Muslim is a theist and even bows down reverently when praying, so lots of Americans would conclude from that: “OK, he/she is certainly not from my tribe per se but it’s a somewhat comparable tribe nonetheless. At least that person is not a godless heathen!”
It would be interesting to see how the same people who were survey sampled would rank those labels if the question were “Would you like for a _______ to move in to your community as your next door neighbor?” I think the order would be very similar. Many of the same dynamics are at play. (Of course, how various people answer such a survey question and how they actually privately feel may be two different things. After all, many studies have been done to quantify the degree in which survey respondents tend to give answers which meet the expectations of the survey and to conform to societal expectations about non-discrimination and avoiding the appearance of racism.)
POSTSCRIPT: These same tribalism and “Can that person understand me and relate to my experiences and values?” dynamics would explain why a combination of the surveyed labels would probably yield even more extreme responses. For example, if people were asked, “If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be a black, lesbian atheist, would you vote for them?” I bet the percentage of “No, would not” responses would be far higher.
I have my opinion on that, but I’ll not veer into that, but I’ll say this:
That’s my conclusion as well. To be clear, I’m not whining about atheists being discriminate against, or anything like that. It is what it is.
In my own experience, I have found that atheists share many more values with christians than christians think they do. The vast, vast majority of atheists I have met in person are very supportive of theism as part of a secular society, and would protect religious freedoms as vehemently as any christian. Where we may differ is where those religious freedoms lie, but that is a small difference in the end. Even more, almost all christians in the US support secularism in government, just as atheists do.
I think it really does come down to the effects of tribalism. The only atheists some christians know are the vocal anti-theists they are told to fear. I think it is a lack of communication between theists and atheists that fosters this type of distrust between groups.
I’ve heard quite a number of fundamentalist and evangelical Christians say things like “Trump obviously isn’t a Christian but I think he is more like Cyrus in the Old Testament, a ruler God used for his purposes.”
None of my Christian friends have said anything to indicate that they consider Trump a Christian. Indeed, many have even explicitly stated that his conduct and statements indicate a disregard for the teachings of Jesus. (Some even laughed heartily when Trump made his “I read it in Two Corinthians” blunder.) Yet, I have no idea if my Christian friends are typical in that regard.
That’s my experience as well. (I find that many theists who are so sure that they know exactly what atheists think and do have never actually gotten to know even one atheist face-to-face—much less a variety of atheists who could have taught them about the diversity of people who happen to not affirm the existence of God.)
Bingo. And I often get angry when I read and hear some Christian leaders (and their followers) “atheism-baiting” and encouraging what is all too often a kind of hatred of a people group. Jesus did not teach hatred of anyone. Such people need to re-read what Jesus had to say about love. (Of course, Jesus did sometimes show great anger towards some people. And who were the most common targets? He rebuked the religious hypocrites!)
Closely related to this all too common “hate on atheists” theme is the only slightly more subtle “We theists are superior/more-virtuous than atheists.” Nothing in the Bible claims that theists have somehow earned more points for themselves or are inherently more virtuous just because they believe God exists.
Sadly, a lot of theists on a great many Internet forums seem to be focused on promoting the “Theists are good and atheists are bad” message. It is not only silly, it is boring and pointless. It achieves nothing but promoting more tribalism and visceral responses.
Hello, Dr. Patrick.
Interesting, Pat. I hope you will have a good new year. I consider you a friend. I hope you consider me the same.
Edward Miller de Wynns
I like the pictures: Pictures tell a thousand words
Deacon Edward Miller de Wynns
Djordje, I liked both the quote and the picture. Very fitting.