Thursday, January 08, 2009

Zimbabwe is more accepting of atheists than America:  There's been a lot of talk about Obama's religious faith.  Some have speculated that he is actually a non-believer.  How many Americans are strongly against an atheist President, and how does that compare with the rest of the world? 

The World Values Survey asked respondents in many countries if they agreed that an atheist is unfit for high public office.  Here are the percentages who strongly agree:

Percent who strongly agree 
Pakistan 82.4
Morocco 72.4
Egypt 70.1 
Jordan 66.6
Iraq 66.1
Indonesia 59.2
Nigeria 56.8
Tanzania 53.4
Algeria 51.7
Puerto Rico 36.5
Venezuela 35.5
Bangladesh 30.2
Turkey 28.4
Philippines 26.8
Uganda 25.2
Romania 23.0
South Africa 22.9
Macedonia 17.7 
USA 17.6
Greece 17.5
Albania 16.1
Zimbabwe 14.9
Mexico 14.9
India 14.5
Chile 14.0
Argentina 13.7
Moldova 11.7
Ukraine 11.7
Malta 10.7
Kyrgyzstan 10.5
Serbia 8.7
Slovakia 8.7
Croatia 8.5
Bulgaria 8.1
Lithuania 7.2
Poland 6.7
Belarus 6.7
Canada 6.6
Russia 6.4
Hungary 5.5
Latvia 5.3
Luxembourg 5.1 
Bosnia 5.1
Austria 4.6
Vietnam 4.5
Italy 4.4
Ireland 4.0
France 3.9
Finland 3.5
Estonia 3.5
Great Britain 3.3
Belgium 3.3
N. Ireland 3.2
Iceland 2.6
Portugal 2.6
South Korea 2.6
Germany 2.4
Slovenia 2.4
Czech Rep 2.4
Japan 2.2
Spain 2.2
Sweden 1.7
Denmark 1.3
Netherlands 0.6

No big surprises here.  The United States is above average, and sits with with non-Muslim, less developed countries.  That's not exactly right since America is not as tolerant as former Soviet countries.  It is very different from First World Europe.  

I don't get this.  I'm in the pews every week, but whether the Prez is a believer is simply not the question.  The question is whether his politics match mine.  Any person with my political views who would vote for Nancy Pelosi because she is a fellow Catholic over Newt Gingrich because he doesn't seem to be religious enough is a retard.  If a candidate is pro-life, what do I care if he doesn't believe in the Bible?  

Perhaps I should give people more credit and assume that they believe that an atheist is very likely to be a liberal, but doing even a little bit of homework will get beyond the stereotype. Unfortunately, too many religious people believe that atheists must be bad people--that is pure stupidity.  


  1. I wonder how much, if at all, these percentages would change based on whether the candidate were openly, as opposed to privately, atheistic.

    For some people, the word "atheist" suggests an obsessive crank who proclaims his non-faith from the hilltops, as it were. These same people may be more comfortable with someone who sees faith as comfort and solace for others, but who doesn't personally think there is any objective truth behind it.

    It's a little like "Don't ask, don't tell."

  2. Certainly tends to confirm (along with other evidence) what folly it was for The Netherlands to importing so many Moroccans for all these years.

    The N.Irish and Serb and Croat numbers show that historical grievances based on past religious persecution hold power long after religious belief itself has become a trivial matter.

  3. Anonymous7:58 AM

    Do you have the percentages for atheists who are small government, pro-life, anti-immigration (ie properly conservative)? I suggest it is indeed much lower than the amount of Christians in that camp.

  4. Atheists tend to make war on Christians and expression of same in the public square. While backing Muslims, any other faith, etc.

    This probably explains the strange split with America vs. say Russia.

  5. Anonymous6:52 AM

    Whiskey's right: most atheists hew pretty closely to the left-liberal line, which kind of annoys me. Islam is sixty times worse than the Christian Right when it comes to freedom of religion, largely because it doesn't grow out of the West.

  6. Anonymous6:53 AM

    Have you seen the Secular Right blog, btw? Might be a little too libertarian but it couldn't hurt to add a paleocon perspective to the comments.

  7. Anonymous7:19 AM

    Michael Ignatieff, the leader of the Canadian Liberal Party and likely future prime minister, is an atheist, but a thoughtful atheist who shows a decent knowledge of and respect for religious. Even as a religious socon, I'm perfectly happy with Iggy, from a religious point of view. But a Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins-style ranter? No way.


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