Faith

Apparently There Are 31 Types of ‘Microaggressions’ Against Today’s Atheists

Why didn't the researchers study anti-Christian bias instead? — that undoubtedly would have yielded more results worldwide

There’s a new worry out there in today’s hypersensitized culture: Some atheists are apparently suffering the effects of microaggressions due to their lack of faith.

As a refresher, here is the definition of a microaggression: It’s “a brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignity, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicates hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward any marginalized group.”

So atheists are getting dinged daily for having no faith?

Three researchers recently felt the need to create a psychological survey, called the Microaggressions Against Non-Religious Individuals Scale (MANRIS), to help therapists gauge how often atheists may suffer from slights due to their lack of faith. And they found a whopping 31 separate examples of microaggressions.

The survey will be used not only to identify microaggressions — but to help therapists as they treat clients suffering from them.

MANRIS was created by researchers Louis Pagano, Azim Shariff and Zhen Cheng, and published for the first time last week in a journal associated with the American Psychological Association, as Campus Reform reported.

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Zhen Cheng, who recently received her doctorate from the University of Oregon, led the study. Louis Pagano, who teaches at the University of North Dakota, and Azim F. Shariff, a psychology researcher at the University of California, Irvine, were also involved in the creation of the survey.

The three road-tested their work on the web; the ability of MANRIS to assess nonreligious discrimination was validated, apparently, by 765 online survey takers.

Many of these microaggressions reportedly occur when an atheist is assumed to be religious or when an atheist overhears stereotypes, the survey found. While Christians are in actual physical peril around the world — and when even a photo of someone praying can spark online outrage — there’s another persecuted population in town that deserves its moment in the sun.

(See more on the persecution of Christians worldwide in the video below.)

“Having this microaggression scale can empower nonreligious individuals to talk about their experience with prejudice,” the researchers asserted, noted Campus Reform.

They suggested this could help clinicians “better understand the types of prejudices that their nonreligious clients experience in their everyday lives,” while also making clients feel more comfortable “discussing these subtle experiences of bias with their therapists.”

Examples of microaggressions the MANRIS assesses include these: “Others have assumed that I am religious,” “Others have acted surprised that I do not believe in God,” and, notably, “Others have included a blessing or prayer in a public social gathering.”

Claiming to be a marginalized group might be a stretch when it comes to perceived microaggressions; a recent study from the University of Kentucky suggests many in the U.S. in fact identify as atheist.

“Widely cited telephone polls (e.g., Gallup, Pew) suggest a USA atheist prevalence of only 3-11 percent. In contrast, our most credible indirect estimate is 26 percent (albeit with considerable estimate and method uncertainty),” notes a 2017 study on atheists.

Microaggressions are also said to occur if and when “others have assumed I have no morals,” noted the survey, or when “others have suggested I am too sensitive about discrimination against nonreligious people.”

The article added that “despite its limitations, one of the important benefits of microaggressions theory is that it raises people’s awareness of their often unknowingly hurtful or othering behaviors.” This can then, therefore, “offer people the opportunity to avoid unintentional harm.”

“Because our study is not experimental, we cannot directly claim that microaggressions directly caused harm,” Cheng told Campus Reform — but then also said that early evidence suggests microaggressions can negatively impact mental health.

Related: Christians ‘See’ God’s Face by Doing This

“It’s not about any one comment, remark, or behavior,” Cheng added. “It’s about a feeling of judgment and/or exclusion that accrues from a pattern of microaggressions … There are constant cues that in aggregate make people feel excluded or othered.”

As for the term “othered” — it seems there’s a new term every day that essentially means, “Notice me.”

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