posted on Feb, 19 2007 @ 05:43 PM
I have my eyes on the congressional seat for my home district, somewhere between 2012 and 2016, depending how well certain plans I have for my life
develop in the intervening years, so this topic is of some obvious importance to me as someone who lost the faith years ago.
I wonder how the phrasing might have affected the question. In my experience with a baptist church, athiest and agnostic are very loaded words.
In churches as I have known them, your non-christian friends are people who haven't found Jesus or are unsaved or don't go to
church, while an athiest is synonymous with a secular humanist, which is a bitter old man with frazzled white hair and a mustache
who wears a badly out of date sweater-vest, smokes a pipe, and divides his time between sending his children on field trips to orgies, reading The
Origin of Species, and writing scathing letters to the editor of the local newspaper condemning anyone stupid enough to believe in a God.
I bet athiests would gain at least 10 points in that survey if they were referred to as "someone who doesn't go to church", and probably at least 5
if referred to as "someone who doesn't choose to practice any religion".
To the Christian mindset that I have witnessed, there is a big difference; athiests are often active enemies of religion in their parlance, as opposed
to people who just haven't been convinced.
The man who several years ago was my pastor is still my best friend. He wouldn't call me an athiest, although he knows I am. He'd say I'm unsaved.
Big difference. Not only am I not the enemy, but I still have considerable back-channel clout in church affairs (which badly need analysis by someone
who doesn't love and trust everyone who is financially and politically involved in the church), but that's another story.
It also bears mentioning however that the spread reflected in that survey is probably flawed, and it may hint at some very interesting perceptions.
For example, black candidates tend to poll higher than they actually get on election day because everyone knows its wrong to discriminate against
them. Everyone also knows that opposition to Catholic office holders proved rather backwards when it came to Kennedy.
So are women really less likely to be elected than blacks? That's hard to say. On the one hand, a black candidate might underperform that poll. On
the other hand, fewer people even feel guilty about being prejudiced against a woman.
That's what I feel that survey really reflects: people's comfort level in admitting to prejudice. This, however, makes the bias against athiests
even more disquieting. Look at the groups which polled outside lower than the 70s- the "D" to "F" range. At least you can see how people
rationalize their bias in some cases.
The divorce expert seems to have some problems with long-term decision making. The old guy might die or might be losing a step.
But then at the very bottom, gays and athiests. Where is the rationalization? It's a simple matter of "they aren't like us and we don't trust