In today’s post-Christian world, various groups compete with each other to be known as the most “victimized.” This makes sense. For being perceived as a “victim” is a way of acquiring power. The more you can come across as a victim, the more power you can accumulate.
Not surprisingly, atheists too seek such power. A few weeks ago, an article entitled YES, IT CAN BE HARD TO BE AN ATHEIST IN AMERICA; NOW WE HAVE THE DATA. was published. The article was written by Chrissy Stroop, who self-identified as an ex-evangelical Christian, a queer nonreligious American, and a transgender woman. Stroop also has connections to American Atheists. The article reads:
According to a new report from American Atheists* called Reality Check: Being Nonreligious in America, those living in “very religious” communities reported substantially more discrimination in employment, education, and other services than those living in “not at all religious” communities.
A report from American Atheists that portrays atheists as victims is about as meaningful as a report from the tobacco companies that tells us cigarettes are not as harmful as people think. In other words, consider the source. Not that is completely invalidates the report. But it does raise a huge red flag. American Atheists is invested in the notion that atheists are victims. That’s how they seek to acquire more power. And now they have a “report” that backs them up.
Well, not really.
Now that the red flag has been raised, let’s take a closer look. Lucky for us, Stroop let’s the cat of the bag when trying to make another point:
The representation of nonreligious Americans as a stigmatized minority is bound to be contentious, particularly when the Secular Survey’s respondents—a convenience sample recruited through secular organizations rather than a representative sample—skew so disproportionately white (92.4% vs. a U.S. Census Bureau estimate of 76.5%, including white Hispanic/Latinx) and male (57.8% vs. 49.2%), a profile that inevitably recalls elevatorgate and the racism, misogyny, and alt-right views that have come to characterize far too much of visible movement atheism in recent years.
Did you catch that? Let’s zero in on it:
the Secular Survey’s respondents—a convenience sample recruited through secular organizations rather than a representative sample
In other words, and unless I am missing something, they came up with an online survey and advertised it on the web sites of various atheist/secular organizations. As such, the data are garbage. It’s not a random sampling of atheists. It’s atheists self-selected for their involvement with atheist organizations. And these people are precisely the population who would know it was in their political self-interest to answer questions to make them sound like a victim.
If you think this survey has meaningful data, it’s only because you don’t know how to think like a scientist.
But it gets worse. The victimization of atheists is built around “microaggressions”:
Nearly two thirds of all survey participants were sometimes, frequently, or almost always asked to join in thanking God for a fortunate event (65.6%). Nearly half (47.5%) of survey participants recalled sometimes, frequently, or almost always being asked to or feeling pressure to pretend that they are religious. Nearly half of participants were sometimes, frequently, or almost always asked to go along with religious traditions to avoid stirring up trouble (45.3%), and nearly two in five (37.9%) were treated like they don’t understand the difference between right and wrong.
First, note that to get these numbers (which are only a majority in one case), the report actually combines “sometimes, frequently, or almost always .” But, of course, “sometimes” is quite different from “almost always.”
Take this example: Nearly half of participants were sometimes, frequently, or almost always asked to go along with religious traditions to avoid stirring up trouble (45.3%).
If we break it down, this is reported to have happened “almost always” by 6.9% of respondents. In contrast, almost 35% said it never happened.
In other words, the political organization, American Atheists, is trying to spin their junk data and even then, they have trouble making the victim card stick.
I would also mention that all these types of “microaggressions” need not apply solely to atheists. Similar issues will surface if you find yourself in a setting where your political views are in the minority. For example, I’m sure Trump supporters living in deeply progressive areas would have stories to tell. So is there really a point to these “microaggressions?”
The article also notes:
Of participants, 26.3% reported that sometimes, frequently or almost always “others have rejected, isolated, ignored or avoided me” and 17.3% reported sometimes, frequently, or almost always being excluded from social gatherings and events because of their nonreligious identity.
Again, the three are combined. For example, only 1.8% of participants claim they are almost always being excluded from social gatherings and events because of their nonreligious identity. Nearly 65% said it never happened.
Among the minority of atheists who feel socially shunned, we again have to keep in mind the non-random nature of this sample. Atheists who visit atheist organization web pages might be more likely to publicly scold religious people for their “idiocy.” Remember Dawkins encouraged them to go out and publicly mock religious people. Hemant Mehta applauds and encourages such mocking. So maybe some of the atheists who complained about being “rejected, isolated, ignored ” were the types who obnoxiously mock religious people on social media and in real life.
All in all, these data are garbage and tell us nothing about how “hard” it is to be an atheist in America. It’s just pseudoscience that is part of the propaganda of an activist organization.
I should mention that it’s worth reading the rest of Stroop’s article for entertainment purposes. As we know, when it comes to social justice groups trying to be the most victimized, competition can get brutal. Stroop goes on Twitter and solicits feedback from people about atheists using the term “coming out.” Needless to say, many members of the LGBTQ community are upset that it is not being reserved for them.
And then there is this gem:
If we recognize that forced religious conversion is an act of violence, then we should recognize that living in a community where it’s unsafe to disagree with the prevailing religious consensus and to refuse to participate in religious activities is also to experience violence.
LOL! So the junk survey shows that these atheists are the victims of violence. Violence. Sorry, but the survey never provides a shred of evidence about it being “unsafe” for atheists to disagree with Christians. Not a shred. If you disagree with me, it’s simply because you are a crackpot.