Atheists and other cultural outsiders

Moral boundaries and the non-religious in the united states

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We use data from a nationally representative survey to analyze anti-atheist sentiment in the United States in 2014, replicating analyses from a decade earlier and extending them to consider the factors that foster negative sentiment toward other non-religious persons. We find that anti-atheist sentiment is strong, persistent, and driven in part by moral concerns about atheists and in part by agreement with cultural values that affirm religiosity as a constitutive moral grounding of citizenship and national identity. Moral concerns about atheists also spill over to shape attitudes toward those who are spiritual but not religious (SBNRs) and influence evaluations of the recent decline in religious identification. Americans have more positive views of SBNRs than of atheists, but a plurality of Americans still negatively evaluate the increase in the percentage of Americans who claim no religious identification (nones). Our analyses show the continuing centrality of religiously rooted moral boundary-making in constituting cultural membership in the American context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-638
Number of pages32
JournalSocial Forces
Volume95
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

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national identity
citizenship
human being
evaluation
Values
Outsider
Atheist
Religion
Sentiment
Evaluation
Religiosity
Cultural Values
Citizenship
National Identity
Plurality
Centrality
Person
Grounding

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Atheists and other cultural outsiders : Moral boundaries and the non-religious in the united states. / Edgell, Penny A; Hartmann, Douglas; Stewart, Evan; Gerteis, Joseph H.

In: Social Forces, Vol. 95, No. 2, 01.01.2016, p. 607-638.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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