Why are Americans against atheism?

I live in Australia, and after reading Richard Dawkins's "The God Delusion", I was given the impression that there is some kind of religious oppression (particularly of the Christian faith.) I am an atheist and have no troubles or hesitations professing my stance on religion. America is portrayed as the nation of freedom and liberty and yet the thesis which Dawkins is presenting seems to prove (or at least suggest) otherwise.


I've never been to America, so I guess I'm in no real position to compare the religious condition in both countries. There is the occasional racial/cultural conflict (eg. The Cronulla Riot) however in general, people just accept the diversity in culture. The weather here is great at the moment, around 22 degrees (we use Celsius here and I cant be bothered converting to Fahrenheit =]) In terms of becoming an Australian citizen, it is certainly harder since September 11. In my point of view though, Australia is great (although stick to Sydney if you're the type that enjoys the city life) in terms of people and environment. Religion isn't such an issue here, although you will occasionally have a Jehovah's witness knocking on your door at 7 in the morning. Cheers ~!

Update 2:

More on the note of Atheism in Australia, I do believe that secularism is soundly maintained. There were a few cases where evangelists set up concerts in schools which were supposed to be strictly non-religious but video footage was leaked which showed the hosts attempting to convince students to join their church and handing out pamphlets etc. Fortunately, this was dealt with by the law firmly and I don't think it will be happening anytime soon (but i doubt secularism will always be upheld.) I think what America needs, is quite similar to Dawkins's idea; the Atheists of America need to form a sort of organisation (being careful not to exploit this power) and to get someone into the government who doesn't share the extremist Christian beliefs that I'm told is quite common in the American Government. Also, people (around the world) need to know that Atheists aren't necessarily more immoral and unethical compared to religious people. Imagine =]

18 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm an American atheist. I'm considered a bad influence and an hell-bound heathen by most people I know, but nonetheless...

    We're a rare breed, admittedly. We live in tiny secular pockets, hiding in the shadows from all the fundies...

    You're assumption is, for the most part, spot on. Unfortunately. In this country, founded by terrorists who wanted freedom of religion, we have "In God We Trust" inscribed on our currency, and have started a war against an idea; an idea called terrorism. They were slave owners, our founders... slave owners that wanted everyone to be free. (Except for native americans, women, blacks, and poor people.)

    In this place, logic is scarce.

    Honestly, though, you'd be hard pressed to attain any sort of government office if you weren't Christian, and generally speaking, atheism is looked down upon. It doesn't make any sense, but very few people will really talk about it publicly.

    Then again, with the sheer quantity of wack-jobs here, you really have to watch what you say; these are crazy motherf*ckers who would strangle you in a daycare center sooner than admit that it's okay that you don't have the same imaginary friend in the sky as they do.

    ...Now that I think about it, how's the weather in Australia? What's the process for becoming a citizen like?

  • 1 decade ago

    I love your question. I am an American, I read The God Delusion, and I am an atheist. I loved his book and agree with what he says.

    I know that it may seem from his observations that Americans are a bunch of religious nuts, but that unfortunate truth is only the truth in certain benighted areas of the country. And I believe that the rest of the country will catch up eventually. Indeed there have been studies suggesting that the Zeitgeist is changing, the patterns of thinking and of belief are coming around and that religious Fundamentalism is currently like a snake doing a death rattle.

    I hope so. I live in the San Francisco California area, and most people around here are thinkers, not believers.


    Lady Morgana

    PS I am dying to visit your country someday.

  • 1 decade ago

    i'm an american atheist and i have no idea what it feels like to live anywhere else, so i really can't say. you should read "american theocracy" by kevin phillips. i'm reading it and it is explaining part of how this came to be.

    edit: although there is some prejudice against atheists, it's more an issue of christianity being so in-your-face in this country. i haven't been fired for being an atheist or terrorized, but i am made uncomfortable sometimes by how most people expect me to believe in some kind of god and some think it's odd or even wrong that i don't.

    edit 2: i haven't read the dawkins book. it bored me in the preface and i put it down.

  • Silent
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Well, not all of us are (I'm not).

    But the answer to your question has to do with the frightening amount of power right-wing Christian organizations have in the United States and the number of right-wing Christian politicians we have somehow voted into power. Much of this started during the Cold War, when faith and conformity with others were promoted by the government as being beneficial traits because they were seen as the antithesis of so-called "godless communism". This is the sort of thing that happens when you let religion be a part of government.

    For the record, I have nothing against Christians in general, provided they don't try to force their beliefs on me.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Here in the U.S, conservative rural areas tend to have more uneducated yokel religious types than liberal metropolitan areas. You could walk down any street in New York City giving the finger to the churches and shouting "Hail Satan" if you like, and nobody would give a damn. In some Bible belt town, you might get your car or house trashed. But as a whole, anybody who is outspoken about being non-religious would be at a big disadvantage in politics.

  • Although we have high-minded ideals, religion is deeply ingrained in our culture - particularly in the South. It is deeply woven into the social fabric of our communities. As a consequence, people don't usually know much about atheists and don't want to believe that their friends or neighbors might be atheists.

    That said, I'm an open atheist in a Southern state and people treat me pretty well. I figure that's because I show them the same respect I want for myself.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Well, put it this way, the last time that was done, the Dark Ages came. So which verse does christians take into context without downgrading those ridiculous ones to metaphor and parable? In fact, if you put two christians together, they will most probable disagree with each other's interpretation of the bible.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Dawkins is not American so I wouldn't take his word on things as far as the US goes but in parts of the country non-Christians are distrusted and sometimes harassed.

  • 1 decade ago

    America is very Christian, by which i mean Protesant. This is due to all the imigrants from Europe after the Protesant Reformation. America still retains this.

  • 1 decade ago

    well a lot of Christians get very hostile in the U.S. about religion. The unforunate part of the U.S. is that you have freedoms as long as you agree with everyone else's view. In public they can get very sensitive about religion but you ask opinions of people and they are only pro freedoms as stated above in private

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