Pew has polled Americans about how warmly they feel towards other religious groups. The graph to the left shows the results sorted by political party.
It’s not surprising that Republicans really, really don’t like atheists. What’s more surprising is that Democrats really don’t like us either. A lot of that result is, I suspect, being driven by Black Evangelicals, who dislike atheists even more than other Democratic-allied groups do, scoring us a 30. The only groups that liked atheists (that is, gave us an average score above 50) were Jews and, well, atheists. Atheists, it should be noted, raked ourselves on average “82,” which is very high – only White Evangelicals like themselves as much as atheists like ourselves. Except for Jews – us Jews really love ourselves, ranking ourselves an “88.” Most modest group: Protestants, 64. (See the table at the bottom of this post for those numbers).
It’s somewhat notable that – even though conservative evangelicals pundits seem obsessed with the notion that they are The Most Hated And Discriminated Against Group In America – Democrats aren’t nearly as down on evangelicals as Republicans are down on atheists and Muslims. But, to be fair, atheists do loathe evangelicals quite a lot, scoring them a 28. In fact, the only group that hates anyone more than atheists hate evangelicals is – white evangelicals, who rate atheists a 25.
I don’t really take the evangelical love for Jews very seriously – I suspect it’s more performative than it is bone-deep. Among evangelical Christians, it’s sort of a social norm to make a big show of loving Jews, presumably because the elder generation really, really, really wants to conspicuously distinguish themselves from their openly anti-Semitic parents. And good for them! That’s an understandable and positive thing for them to want to do.
But they also believe that Jews are going to burn in Hell forever, and that this is a just decision made by a just God. So I’m having trouble feelin’ the love. (If Unitarians say they love Jews, I believe that.) I don’t think that most evangelicals hate Jews. I think they mostly mildly like or are indifferent to us, which is why they’re willing to tolerate the implicit anti-semitic (and anti-lotsofotherthings) in their religion. But for various prudential and cultural reasons, evangelicals feel the need to claim that they LOVE Jews more than chocolate, when in fact they only mildly like or are indifferent to us.
Unfortunately, presumably due to low numbers, what Muslims think isn’t reported. Neither is what agnostics or the unaffiliated think, although I would have been interested to know, and I doubt the numbers on the unaffiliated were too low to break out.
In the Religion Popularity Contest, Atheists are in a Statistical Tie for Last Place… but There’s Hope! This is “Friendly Atheist,” who points out that the most important factor in what people think of atheists is if they know any (admitted) atheists. No, no – it turns out that those who know us are the most likely to like us.
Weird Pew Stats | Out of the Ortho Box And for our final link, Ruchi Koval looks at what (according to Pew) Jews think makes us Jewish. Nothing reported on what the Reconstructionists think, but I assume they’d be like the Reform, only more so.