For Believers, Fear of Atheists is Fueled by Fear of Death

Featured image (Don't fear) The LEGO Reaper by Flickr user Tim Norris CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Corey L. Cook and Sheldon Solomon Skepticism about the existence of God is on the rise, and this might, quite literally, pose an existential threat for religious believers. It’s no secret that believers generally harbor extraordinarily negative attitudes toward atheists. Indeed, recent polling data show that most Americans view atheists as “threatening,” unfit to hold public office and unsuitable to marry into their families. But what are the psychological roots of antipathy toward atheists? 

Tongue in Cheek, Just in Case

Japanese shrine, 2014. Photo by "dewd82." Available via CC0 Public Domain and PixaBoy.

Jolyon Baraka Thomas Few people would think that the essence of Japanese religion could be encapsulated in an advertisement for antivirus software, but then again few people outside of Japan have seen this video.

Who’s Afraid of the Tooth Fairy?

"tooth fairy"

Kelly J. Baker My six-year old’s smile is missing yet another tooth. She lost her second incisor three weekends ago, and all that remains is a gaping hole where it used to reside. Since the start of Kindergarten, she’s lost four teeth in total. Her adult teeth are crowding into the small gaps left behind. The teeth that she fiercely cut as a baby are disappearing one by one, and now, she spends much time wiggling her loose teeth to determine whether they are ready to pull out. Wiggle, creak, wiggle, creak, wiggle, creak. Eventually, she cajoles me into offering a second opinion on a tooth’s looseness.