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Tolerating the "doubting Thomas": how centrality of religious beliefs vs. practices influences prejudice against atheists.

Hughes J, Grossmann I, Cohen AB - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: Past research has found a robust effect of prejudice against atheists in largely Christian-dominated (belief-oriented) samples.Studies 1-2, in surveys of 41 countries, found that Muslims and Protestants (belief-oriented) had more negative attitudes toward atheists than did Jews and Hindus (practice-oriented).This research has implications for the psychology of religion, anti-atheist prejudice, and cross-cultural attitudes regarding where dissent in beliefs or practices may be tolerated or censured within religious groups.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo Waterloo, ON, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Past research has found a robust effect of prejudice against atheists in largely Christian-dominated (belief-oriented) samples. We propose that religious centrality of beliefs vs. practices influences attitudes toward atheists, such that religious groups emphasizing beliefs perceive non-believers more negatively than believers, while groups emphasizing practices perceive non-practicing individuals more negatively than practicing individuals. Studies 1-2, in surveys of 41 countries, found that Muslims and Protestants (belief-oriented) had more negative attitudes toward atheists than did Jews and Hindus (practice-oriented). Study 3 experimentally manipulated a target individual's beliefs and practices. Protestants had more negative attitudes toward a non-believer (vs. a believer), whereas Jews had more negative attitudes toward a non-practicing individual (vs. a practicing individual, particularly when they had a Jewish background). This research has implications for the psychology of religion, anti-atheist prejudice, and cross-cultural attitudes regarding where dissent in beliefs or practices may be tolerated or censured within religious groups.

No MeSH data available.


Negative feelings toward target, by target religion and target level of beliefs (Protestant participants only). Error bars indicate ±1 SE. Different subscripts indicate that these bars differ from each other at the p < 0.05 level.
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Figure 3: Negative feelings toward target, by target religion and target level of beliefs (Protestant participants only). Error bars indicate ±1 SE. Different subscripts indicate that these bars differ from each other at the p < 0.05 level.

Mentions: For Protestants, we found a two-way target religion × target beliefs interaction, F(1, 306) = 5.01, p = 0.03, η2 = 0.012; however, the two-way target religion × target practices interaction was not significant for Protestants, F(1, 306) = 0.41, p = 0.52, η2 = 0.001. As Figure 3 indicates, Protestants felt less negatively toward a Christian who believed than one who did not believe, F(1, 148) = 63.51, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.300 (see Table 5). They similarly rated a believing Jew less negatively than a non-believing Jew, F(1, 158) = 32.17, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.169, though this effect was about half the magnitude.


Tolerating the "doubting Thomas": how centrality of religious beliefs vs. practices influences prejudice against atheists.

Hughes J, Grossmann I, Cohen AB - Front Psychol (2015)

Negative feelings toward target, by target religion and target level of beliefs (Protestant participants only). Error bars indicate ±1 SE. Different subscripts indicate that these bars differ from each other at the p < 0.05 level.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4561750&req=5

Figure 3: Negative feelings toward target, by target religion and target level of beliefs (Protestant participants only). Error bars indicate ±1 SE. Different subscripts indicate that these bars differ from each other at the p < 0.05 level.
Mentions: For Protestants, we found a two-way target religion × target beliefs interaction, F(1, 306) = 5.01, p = 0.03, η2 = 0.012; however, the two-way target religion × target practices interaction was not significant for Protestants, F(1, 306) = 0.41, p = 0.52, η2 = 0.001. As Figure 3 indicates, Protestants felt less negatively toward a Christian who believed than one who did not believe, F(1, 148) = 63.51, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.300 (see Table 5). They similarly rated a believing Jew less negatively than a non-believing Jew, F(1, 158) = 32.17, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.169, though this effect was about half the magnitude.

Bottom Line: Past research has found a robust effect of prejudice against atheists in largely Christian-dominated (belief-oriented) samples.Studies 1-2, in surveys of 41 countries, found that Muslims and Protestants (belief-oriented) had more negative attitudes toward atheists than did Jews and Hindus (practice-oriented).This research has implications for the psychology of religion, anti-atheist prejudice, and cross-cultural attitudes regarding where dissent in beliefs or practices may be tolerated or censured within religious groups.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo Waterloo, ON, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Past research has found a robust effect of prejudice against atheists in largely Christian-dominated (belief-oriented) samples. We propose that religious centrality of beliefs vs. practices influences attitudes toward atheists, such that religious groups emphasizing beliefs perceive non-believers more negatively than believers, while groups emphasizing practices perceive non-practicing individuals more negatively than practicing individuals. Studies 1-2, in surveys of 41 countries, found that Muslims and Protestants (belief-oriented) had more negative attitudes toward atheists than did Jews and Hindus (practice-oriented). Study 3 experimentally manipulated a target individual's beliefs and practices. Protestants had more negative attitudes toward a non-believer (vs. a believer), whereas Jews had more negative attitudes toward a non-practicing individual (vs. a practicing individual, particularly when they had a Jewish background). This research has implications for the psychology of religion, anti-atheist prejudice, and cross-cultural attitudes regarding where dissent in beliefs or practices may be tolerated or censured within religious groups.

No MeSH data available.