By Agence France-Presse
Atheists are more easily suspected of evil deeds than Christians, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists – even by fellow atheists, according to the authors of a new study.
The finding suggests that in an increasingly secular world, many – including some atheists – still hold the view that people will do bad things unless they fear punishment from all-seeing gods.
The results of the study “show that across the world, religious belief is intuitively viewed as a necessary safeguard against the temptations of grossly immoral conduct,” an international team wrote in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. It revealed that “atheists are broadly perceived as potentially morally depraved and dangerous”.
he study measured the attitudes of more than 3,000 people in 13 countries on five continents. They ranged from “very secular” countries such as China and the Netherlands, to those with high numbers of religious believers, such as the United Arab Emirates, the US and India.
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