If all the atheists left the USA


If all the atheists left the USA
If all the atheists left the USA
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  • gds

    Damn, it’s almost as if most prisoners come from low income families, where religious institutes allow for support among families and bonds people of similar socio-economic status together.

    • no, just no

      So what you’re saying is that, because I don’t pray to sky daddy, I have no familial support system or neighborhood friends?
      That right there is the definition of closed minded.

  • Bruce Johnson

    I’m atheist but there is problem here. I would imagine the majority of atheist / agnostic prisoners would not confess their beliefs. Because parole boards, which all but the the inmates sentenced to death, or life without possibility of parole will someday face, would be much more likely to parole a christian than a non-believer.
    Critical thinking must be applied to everything…

    • Dienekes

      I really think you are giving criminals way too much credit. Speaking of critical thinking, do you have any empirical evidence that criminals are lying about their beliefs?

      • Bruce Johnson

        Perhaps you’re not giving them enough. One would have to be rather stupid to reduce or even negate their chance of parole by steadfastly championing their atheism. That’s more like something the devout might do, you know, the christians fed to the lions insanity.
        And no, of course I don’t possess empirical evidence, one would have to track down each parolee and ask if they lied just to stand a better chance of early release. If you were incarcerated for decades, but freedom was possible in a few years if paroled, would you steadfastly maintain your atheism? If so you are not a very wise person.

        • Guest

          You’re making two unfounded assumptions that I can see: First, that every prisoner must “steadfastly champion” their theocratic beliefs. Who said anything about them running around the prison yard yelling “GOD IS IMAGINARY!!!” I know I didn’t. I seriously doubt that (most) parole boards demand that inmates declare their religious beliefs at every hearing. I’m pretty sure that if they did, their would be law suits all over the place. There are enough atheist organizations out there that are more than happy to take something like that on.

          Second, you are assuming that these surveys are done in a manner that would force inmates to expose their beliefs publicly. You are assuming that this statistic is acquired through parole board hearings, which I seriously doubt. Especially considering the fact that there are a lot of other religions represented in the penal system, so atheists obviously don’t HAVE to admit to xianity specifically.

          “If you were incarcerated for decades, but freedom was possible in a few years if paroled, would you steadfastly maintain your atheism?” — Like I said, I certainly wouldn’t run around the prison yard, naked screaming “You are all idiots for believing in fairy tales!!!”, but I certainly wouldn’t hide it, either. And if the parole board asked me about my religious beliefs, I would be in touch with a lawyer so fast it would make your head spin, suing the system for religious persecution and oppression. Sure, there are a lot of religious nutcases in prison, but that isn’t the ONLY aspect of personality that would get a person paroled.

          • Bruce Johnson

            Is there an echo in here?

          • Dienekes

            It appears so. LOL

        • Dienekes

          You’re making two unfounded assumptions that I can see: First, that every prisoner must “steadfastly champion” their theocratic beliefs. Who said anything about them running around the prison yard yelling “GOD IS IMAGINARY!!!” I know I didn’t. I seriously doubt that (most) parole boards demand that inmates declare their religious beliefs at every hearing. I’m pretty sure that if they did, there would be law
          suits all over the place. There are enough atheist organizations out there that are more than happy to take something like that on.

          Second, you are assuming that these surveys are done in a manner that would force inmates to expose their beliefs publicly. You are assuming that this statistic is acquired through parole board hearings, which I seriously doubt. Especially considering the fact that there are a lot of other religions represented in the penal system, so atheists obviously don’t HAVE to admit to xianity specifically.

          “If you were incarcerated for decades, but freedom was possible in a few years if paroled, would you steadfastly maintain your atheism?” — Like I said, I certainly wouldn’t run around the prison yard, naked screaming “You are all idiots for believing in fairy tales!!!”, but I certainly wouldn’t hide it, either. And if the parole board asked me about my religious beliefs, I would be in touch with a lawyer so fast it would make your head spin, suing the system for religious persecution and oppression. Sure, there are a lot of religious nutcases in prison, but that isn’t the ONLY aspect of personality that would get a person paroled.

          • Bruce Johnson

            You’ve given me visions of an imaginary naked straw-man running around the prison yard professing his non-beliefs…Thank you !
            I believe prisoners are ask about their faith for the same reason military inductees and hospital patients are. Some religions request the administration of last rites or the presence of clergy in certain situations…Dying comes readily to mind.
            Parole boards have access to all the prisoners information, the reasons for denial of parole can be many, one’s religion,or lack of it ,need not be stated as a factor in the decision. Many Christians believe morality must be derived from religion, that it cannot exist on it’s own, therefore one’s religion, or lack thereof, would factor into the decision to parole.
            I do know that prison results in a hell of a lot of religious “conversions”.
            I didn’t state any of this as fact, I stated it as a possibility, ergo the critical thinking statement. Now please excuse me whilst I bang my head off my desk…

          • Dienekes

            “You’ve given me visions of an imaginary naked straw-man running around
            the prison yard professing his non-beliefs…Thank you !” — Except it’s not a strawman. You specifically said that, if a person is an atheist, they MUST “steadfastly championing their atheism”. These are your own words. I merely pointed out that this need not be the case and that your assumption that a huge majority atheists (enough to skew the resulting numbers enough to render this statement fallacious) would overtly lie about being religious for the sole purpose of getting out of jail on parole sooner is potentially (and extremely likely) fallacious.

            “I believe
            prisoners are ask about their faith for the same reason military
            inductees and hospital patients are.” — Thanks for this. Since I joined the Marines after high school, I can tell you right now that I was not asked about my religion except one single time to have it applied to my dogtags. That response did not go into my records and they were perfectly happy with “N/A” as an answer. I’ve also been in hospital several times in my life and the only time it is asked in hospitals is when you are going into a potentially life threatening surgery. And, again, they are perfectly happy with N/A.

            “Parole boards have access
            to all the prisoners information, the reasons for denial of parole can
            be many, one’s religion,or lack of it ,need not be stated as a factor in
            the decision.” — Except that atheists (and all other religions represented) are paroled at the exact same rate as xians, so, once again, your assumptions are erroneous.

            “Many Christians believe morality must be derived from
            religion, that it cannot exist on it’s own, therefore one’s religion, or
            lack thereof, would factor into the decision to parole.” — But this is ONLY for a parole board that actually takes this into account. And, once again, if it were ever found out that it did, there would be major law suits. When I said “most” in my previous post, I acknowledged that there very well might be parole boards that do this, especially in the bible belts of this country. But I have never once heard of a parole board that actually did this, that would specifically deny parole simply based on nothing more than a person’s religiosity.

            “I do know that prison results in a hell of a lot of religious “conversions”.” — I’d like to see the peer reviewed research papers on this, if you don’t mind.

            “I
            didn’t state any of this as fact, I stated it as a possibility, ergo
            the critical thinking statement.” — Okay, so where is the critical thinking in your opinion? Personally, I tend to accept the results of scientific studies unless and until those results are proven to be fallacious. I have no problem with evidence disproving these types of conclusions, especially with these types of studies. And I have no problem with the opinion that the number might be slightly off because of the religious biased that you mention. I actually agree with you that this is a distinct possibility. But I don’t tend to accept “this seems counter intuitive to me, so I’m going to declare it invalid” as an argument against the results.

            But lets say you are right, and the number is off by a factor of 10. The results would be “we would lose 93% of the National Academy of Science but less than 10% of the prison population.” I would say that it still supports the underlying premise. 93% of 2600 people would be a HUGE impact on our scientific programs, but a mere 10% of 2.2 million still leaves a LOT of people in the prison system. I don’t think quibbling over immaterial minor details is all that useful.

          • Bruce Johnson

            Perhaps we might agree to disagree? It would seem to be the logical thing to do. But first: I never said ” You specifically said that, if a person is an atheist, they MUST “steadfastly championing their atheism”
            I said exactly the opposite.

            Also: “I do know that prison results in a hell of a lot of religious
            “conversions”.” — “I’d like to see the peer reviewed research papers on
            this, if you don’t mind.”
            Just as soon as you show me the peer reviewed research papers on, “Except that atheists (and all other religions represented) are paroled
            at the exact same rate as xians, so, once again, your assumptions are
            erroneous.”
            Human nature being what it is I still maintain that the beliefs of a parole board (If it was known to them) could make a great difference in any decisions they make. (I’m assuming you don’t believe in racial profiling either?)
            If a cop stops me for a moving violation I’m hoping he didn’t have a fight with his wife that morning, and if I have an atheist sticker on my vehicle I’m probably going to say ‘Oh F_ck”
            To make this short and sweet, people are seldom logical, there are a plethora of reasons for their actions, many of them illogical and prejudiced, and they do not have to tell anyone why they made the decision they did. If I’m ever incarcerated I’m declaring myself Protestant or Methodist…You can do as you wish.

          • Bruce Johnson

            Unless I’m in the Middle East of course, then I’m definitely Muslim….

          • Dienekes

            “I never said ” You specifically said that, if a person is an atheist, they MUST “steadfastly championing their atheism”I said exactly the opposite.” — Okay, I must have misunderstood. When you used the term “steadfastly champion their atheism”, I couldn’t think of another way to take that. My bad.

            “Also: “I do know that prison results in a hell of a lot of religious “conversions”.” — “I’d like to see the peer reviewed research papers on this, if you don’t mind.” Just as soon as you show me the peer reviewed research papers on, “Except that atheists (and all other religions represented) are paroled at the exact same rate as xians, so, once again, your assumptions are erroneous.” — Actually, this is shifting the burden of proof. Until evidence is presented that the parole system is skewed, the only reasonable conclusion is that it’s not. I’m certainly not saying that it’s not worth researching, but, again, the claim that the system is out of whack is the one that needs to be supported, not the other way around.

            Dude, I’m not saying you are definitely and completely wrong. Again, I’m just saying that, even if the numbers are skewed (even substantially), it still doesn’t change the underlying premise of the OP. Even if the prison population were exactly representative of religiosity in our country, the OP still has a perfectly valid point.

            “Human nature being what it is I still maintain that the beliefs of a parole board (If it was known to them) could make a great difference in any decisions they make. (I’m assuming you don’t believe in racial profiling either?)” — Sure, with the assumptions that they DO know and that they ARE bigoted in that way. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I’m just saying that we don’t know it is by far the most common practice.

            “If a cop stops me for a moving violation I’m hoping he didn’t have a fight with his wife that morning, and if I have an atheist sticker on my vehicle I’m probably going to say ‘Oh F_ck”” — I have atheist stickers on my cars and, coincidentally enough, get pulled over far less than I ever did when I had religious stickers on my car. I also never once got out of a ticket by having a religious sticker on my car, so at least anecdotal evidence doesn’t really seem to back this statement up.

            “To make this short and sweet, people are seldom logical, there are a plethora of reasons for their actions, many of them illogical and prejudiced, and they do not have to tell anyone why they made the decision they did.” — Sure, but when it comes to our legal system, we have the ability to fight this biased religious oppression and the parole panels know that.

            “If I’m ever incarcerated I’m declaring myself Protestant or Methodist…You can do as you wish.” — Thanks, I appreciate you giving me permission. 🙂 I think I’ll stick with honesty and hope they use that against me so I can sue the shit out of them. 🙂

          • Bruce Johnson

            “You can do as you wish.” — Thanks, I appreciate you giving me permission. :-)”
            You’re very welcome, I just don’t grant that permission to everyone. 😉

            Thank you for an interesting conversation and have a great day.