In the United States, more than 13 million people identify as atheist or agnostic (Pew Research Center, 2012). However, members of this group are considered threatening and 41% of atheists report having experienced discrimination based on their lack of a religious affiliation (Hammer, Gragun, Hwang, & Smith, 2012). Evidence suggests that athetists are viewed negatively (Write & Nicholsa, 2014). For example, Gervais and colleagues (2011) found that Christians in the United States view those who do not believe in a higher power as a less trustworthy than either those of their own faith or Muslims. In addition, results of a recent survey (Doane & Elliot, 2015) showed that an atheist who was a candidate for political office would receive fewer votes than an African American, female, or homosexual candidate.
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, 130-141.
Hammer, J. H., Cragun, R. T., Hwang, K. & Smith, J. M. (2012). Forms, frequency, and correlates of perceived anti-atheist discrimination. Secularism and Nonreligion, 1, 43â€“67.
Wright, J., & Nicholsa, R. (2014). The social cost of atheism: How perceived religiosity influences moral appraisal. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 14, 93-115.