Study Finds That Atheists Have A Good Moral Compass

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Study Finds That Atheists Have A Good Moral Compass

A new study carried out by Tomas Ståhl of the University of Illinois at Chicago has found that atheists tend to have the same level of morality as those that believe in God.


It has long been contested by some religious figures that it was not possible to be both moral and be an atheist.


The study looked at 4,622 atheists and theists in both Sweden and the United States and their attitudes towards ethical questions. These included the participant's endorsement of liberty/oppression and amoral tendencies, as well as the five foundations of the Moral Foundations Theory: Care/harm, Fairness/cheating, Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation.


In all areas, atheists were found to have similar moral attitudes as those who believed in God. However, they did find that atheists did tend to have less deference to authority, less support for authoritarianism, and less in-group loyalty and tribalism.


Ståhl said of the findings:


"The most general take-home message from these studies is that people who do not believe in God do have a moral compass. In fact, they share many of the same moral concerns that religious believers have, such as concerns about fairness, and about protecting vulnerable individuals from harm."


He added:


"It is possible that the negative stereotype of atheists as immoral may stem in part from the fact that they are less inclined than religious people to view respect for authority, ingroup loyalty, and sanctity as relevant for morality, and they are more likely to make moral judgments about harm on a consequentialist, case by case basis… Atheism merely implies the absence of religious belief, and says nothing about what positive beliefs the disbeliever holds."


Worldwide there is still strong aversion towards atheists. On average, 45% of people across 34 examined countries in a Pew poll said that a belief in God was necessary for morality. While a Gallup poll carried out a year later in the United States, found that only 60% of Americans would vote for an atheist presidential candidate.


[h/t: IFL Science]


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Thinking Humanity: Study Finds That Atheists Have A Good Moral Compass
Study Finds That Atheists Have A Good Moral Compass
A new study carried out by Tomas Ståhl of the University of Illinois at Chicago has found that atheists tend to have the same level of morality as tho
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