Andrew Yang, a candidate for president running within the Democratic Party’s primaries, was recently asked a question regarding his views on atheists, and whether they deserved the same types of protections others in society did.
Yang decidedly answered in the affirmative.
“I just want to say to my atheist friends, some of my best friends are atheists, and some of them are also some of the best people I know,” Yang responded in a video clip posted to Reddit. “It’s ridiculous that people would think that you are somehow less moral or less worthy of the full protection and enjoyment of all of our virtues as a society” just because you’re an atheist, he added.
The belief that there isn’t any god or supernatural beings overseeing the world’s affairs “is just as sound of personal philosophy as someone who is brought up in an organized religion,” Yang explained. “So let’s make that the case that atheism gets the respect that it deserves.”
Such biases against atheists aren’t just perceived. One psychological study found that Christians are more likely to be biased against atheists than are atheists to be biased against Christians, per reporting from PsyPost.
Atheists are also viewed as being immoral by a significant population of Americans. While a majority of the citizenry (53 percent) believe that atheists are morally and ethically sound individuals, a sizable number, 45 percent, hold that a belief in God is necessary in order to have “good values,” per a report from Pew Research.
But morality and religion aren’t necessarily intertwined. While the Bible, as an example, may state that murder is a sin, an atheist doesn’t necessarily have to convert to a religious belief in order to understand how the taking of a life is wrong, for example.
“You don’t need a Divine Rulebook to come to a consensus on basic moral ideas,” Hemant Mehta wrote in a post for the Friendly Atheist in 2014.
Indeed, secular laws against murder and other egregious actions pre-date the 10 Commandments, as another example. The Hammurabi Code, for instance, was penned sometime in the 18th century BCE. The 10 Commandments, many scholars contend, didn’t appear until two to five centuries after that.
Watch Yang’s interview below:
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