The Myth of Atheist Intolerance for Muslims

Tolerance for anti-American Muslims by Belief in gods, General Social Survey

Tolerance for anti-American Muslims by Belief in gods, General Social Survey, 2008-2014

Atheists have been getting a bad rap for sometime about picking on Islam and Muslims, largely because of some off the cuff comments by “professional atheists” who should stick to their day jobs. But, as in any collection of people who hold one particular belief, there is considerable variation in other commitments and identifications. There is a loud and obnoxious racist, sexist, and homophobic contingent in semi-organized atheism in online and even actual groups. And, they hate them some Muslins. But, is that representative of the average atheist? And, how does your average atheist compare with your average believer in one true God who is not Allah because Allah is Satan or something?

Above you can see the scaled results across religious belief groups from the 2008-2014 cumulative GSS. This is a sum of the three standard “Stouffer” tolerance items applied to “anti-American” Muslim clergy giving a speech, college professors who oppose America keeping their jobs, or retaining anti-American Islamic books in the library.  The summary scale goes from 0-3, with a 3 indicating supporting civil rights in all three cases.

As you can see, people who do not believe in a god are significantly and substantially more tolerant of individuals who hold opinions contrary to their own. On average, Atheists, Agnostics, and people who believe “in a higher power but not a god”  would grant civil rights in about two of the three cases (college professors get the hardest rap, on average). In contrast Believers in a One True God who Cannot Possibly Be Allah would grant only one right (generally, this is the book in a library).

So, all this shit about atheists being intolerant toward Muslims is bullshit. Stop watching television.


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