Atheism and religion has always been at loggerheads with each other, ever since the concept emerged that one can choose to believe the fact that there might be no God.
That one can choose to follow no religion and still live on.
Atheism was once a hidden secret, but nowadays is something that people are proud to be, and the tables have turned onto the religious people, who are said to be intolerant and unprogressive.
But as per the latest study done by researchers at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, the result is actually more surprising than you’d think.
The study finds that religious believers might have a higher tolerance level for differing viewpoints than atheists and that they ‘seem to better perceive and integrate diverging perspectives’.
Just An Overview Of The Study
The study that was conducted over 788 people comprised of places in UK, Spain, and France concludes that while on their own atheists and agnostics might believe themselves to be open-minded and the religious to be close minded, the result was quite the opposite.
It showed that atheists and agnostics are in fact less tolerant and patient to ideas and opinions that differ from there.
The message that this study showed as stated by Filip Uzarevic, co-writer of the paper was that “closed-mindedness is not necessarily found only among the religious”.
Uzarevic was also quoted saying that, “Somewhat surprisingly, when it came to subtly measured inclination to integrate views that were diverging and contrary to one’s own perspectives, it was the religious who showed more openness.”
The reason behind the study as stated by Dr. Uzarevic was the unfair segregation of religious people or conservatives as being close-minded.
Another thing that the study seems to have found is that the tolerance level of a person is directly correlated to how strong an individual’s belief is in what they follow be it a religion or be it atheism.
2 Things To Keep In Mind Here Though
First thing I would like to point out here that the study is very subjective and no metadata was published, which means that we do not know what the questions asked were and in what manner were they asked.
Also, the subjects, on further research, in order to categorise their level of tolerance, were given 2 statements and asked to rate them based on how true they were.
The religious in this aspect were allegedly rating both the statements as true while the atheists rated one statement as false and the other true. So not really ‘tolerance’ in the true meaning of the word.
The second thing that I wanted to point out is that just being tolerant of different opinions and ideas does not automatically translate to allowing those ideas be expressed and shown out in the word.
There is a difference between just accepting that there are ideas that differ from yours and actually accepting them as legitimate and worthy to be expressed without much prejudice.
I do not condone any kind of pigeon-holing of religious people as close-minded because we have seen some great people who although religious were really open minded. But this study does not seem to be doing either of the groups any favours.
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