What Is The First Association With Atheism?

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When one thinks of Catholicism, the first association they make with that is the ‘pope’ and now a new research from Pew Research Center confirms this theory. Actually, more than half of American adults named the pope (47%) or a specific pope (7%) when asked that question. The survey from the Pew Research Center, conducted Feb. 4 to 19, 2019, asked respondents to name the first person who comes to mind when they think about Catholicism, Buddhism, evangelical Protestantism, Islam, Judaism and atheism.

What about other religions? As the research says, for three of the religions, Americans are most likely to name a figure from long ago: for Buddhism, Buddha and the next most popular response was the Dalai Lama (7%); for Islam, the Prophet Muhammad; and for Judaism, Jesus. For evangelical Protestantism the first association was Billy Graham.

About half of respondents asked about Judaism named a person who appears in religious scripture, including Jesus (21%), Moses (13%) and Abraham (8%). And 7% name either a well-known historical figure, such as Anne Frank or Albert Einstein, or a celebrity such as Jerry Seinfeld. An additional 5% name someone they are personally acquainted with, and 4% say God.

When they asked people to say who comes to mind when they hear atheism, 6% of respondents said Satan, 4% said Richard Dawkins and 4% said Madalyn Murray O’Hair; one-in-ten respondents just name themselves or another personal acquaintance such as a relative, friend or roommate. And roughly half (51%) say “no one” or “don’t know” or do not answer the question. On the longer results list there’s also astrophysicist Stephen Hawking (2%), comedian Bill Maher (2%), author Christopher Hitchens (1%), etc. Atheism is, in the broadest sense, an absence of belief in the existence of deities. We can see that there are still people who believe that atheists both believe in and worship Satan, the evil opponent of God. Atheists who don't believe in a god also aren't going to believe in this god's supernatural competitor, Satan.

These results show that many people don’t know much about religion and often connect some terms with inadequate belief systems.

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