Last week atheist bloggers expressed their frustration when Oprah Winfrey suggested that distance-swimmer Diana Nyad’s atheism wasn’t really atheism. Op-eds from authors in the secular community reminded us that atheists appreciate lots of wonder in the world, and warned about stereotypical views of non-religious people. A few pieces of sociological work can also help explain the weight of her words.
Americans already hold negative opinions about self-identifying atheists, and many say atheists “don’t agree with their vision of American society.”
- Penny Edgell, Joseph Gerteis, and Douglas Hartmann. 2006. “Atheists as ‘Other’: Moral Boundaries and Cultural Membership in American Society.” American Sociological Review 71(2):211–34.
- Ryan T. Cragun, Barry Kosmin, Ariela Keysar, Joseph H. Hammer, and Michael Nielsen. 2012. “On the Receiving End: Discrimination toward the Non-Religious in the United States.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27(1): 105-127.