Atheists Aren't As Open-Minded As You'd Think
If you had to guess who is more open-minded between atheists and religious folk, you'd probably choose atheists without even putting much thought into it. "Conservative" tends to be synonymous with "religious," and "liberal" goes hand in hand with "atheist," right? Well hold onto your non-denominational butts, because it looks like there are some circumstances in which atheists tend to be more rigidly dogmatic than their happy Christian counterparts.
Now, don't go writing letters to your congressperson about what a lying asshole I am, because odds are they're probably more of a lying asshole anyway. Plus I'm Canadian, so I can abuse whatever narrative I want in the U.S. and no one can stop me, save a very skilled and unceasingly polite beaver and syrup technician. But I'm also citing a study which does support the notion that when "it came to subtly measured inclination to integrate views that were diverging and contrary to one's own perspectives, it was the religious who showed more openness."
Does this mean gay people are going to be way more welcome at Roy Moore's Evangelical Jamboree and Sidewalk Sale? Probably not. The point of the study was mostly to show that close-mindedness is not the exclusive purview of the religious, and that atheists can actually become so dogmatic in their disbelief that anything that challenges that lack of belief will be met with more rigidity than information which may challenge the beliefs of someone who is religious. In short, everyone loves to put their fingers in their ears and yell "Nuh-uh, I can't hear youuuuu" sometimes.
Atheists Are More Prone To Addiction
When you hit high school, a whole new world opens up to you, in which super cool kids who wear leather jackets and use switchblade combs offer you beers and cigarettes and that wicked electric lettuce. Will you give in to peer pressure, or will you remain stalwart and square? What makes you more likely to choose one over the other? Fear of divine retribution, apparently.
Studies of both Swiss and Mexican / Mexican American youth have shown that those who have a religious affiliation benefit from a protective effect when it comes to substance abuse. Religiosity is associated with less use of alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana ... despite the fact that even the godless teens grew up in a world full of anti-drug PSAs and preachy sitcom episodes.
Numerous studies show that if a religious or spiritual community expresses direct prohibitions and limitations against use or abuse, the followers are probably going to go along. This may not just be about fearing eternal hellfire; it could also be that simply having a community of like-minded people provides a sense of acceptance and belonging. That support group means you're less likely to want some sweet Schnapps for breakfast, and also they'll be able to help you resist it if/when you do.
Atheists Just Might Die Sooner
There's evidence to suggest that religious people who regularly attend church have a longer lifespan than people who don't, like your friendly neighborhood atheist. So the people who believe there's something after life have to wait longer to find out than the people who don't, on average. That's a final insult for someone -- you just need to decide for whom.
A study of 75,000 middle-aged nurses in the United States showed that participants who regularly attended church services over a 20-year period, as in once a week, had a 33 percent lower risk of dying during the study period than those who didn't. Jesus saves! Maybe!
The thing to keep in mind with this research is that it isn't exclusively faith that's keeping anyone alive. The same data shows that countries that are much more religious overall, such as places in Sub-Saharan Africa, still have much higher mortality rates than the U.S. Conversely, more secular nations like Japan have higher life expectancy overall. So what's the point? It's in the difference between the two.
People who are not religious in the U.S. are, as every other entry here shows, walking piles of rapidly steaming shit in the eyes of everyone else. Atheists are the gangly, body-odor-laden children of the Babadook. That special brand of ostracism places atheists, by and large, outside of social involvement. If you're not trusted as a politician, if you're not as able to engage in charitable and community outreach projects because most of them are organized by churches and religious groups, if people assume you're a rapist teacher, then you don't have that same support base as religious people. On average, you don't have the encouragement of others, or a ton of organized people who will take an interest in your welfare. And you would if you lived in a predominately secular nation, where many of these community groups are also secular and atheists are more accepted as part of the community.
Is the conclusion here that religious people are inadvertently killing atheists? I never said that, and neither did you. Not even sure who typed that sentence. But you can conclude that in a nation that leans more toward religion, those who do not partake have social disadvantages that the majority does not take into account. The majority just wants them to burn in a Hell they don't even believe in, which they'll get to slightly earlier.
Nothing wrong with being a child of the Babadook. Get Babashook!
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For more check out 6 Horrors of Being Atheist in a Fundamentalist Country and 5 Ways Atheists Argue Their Cause (That Aren't Helping).
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