Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

The Limits of Tolerance

Posted in Atheist Revolution by Skepdude on December 11, 2008

With Christmas approaching, some atheists are starting to call on other atheists to be more tolerant of religious belief, nicer to believers, and the like. There may be some real merit in doing just that. But before we all hop on the tolerance bandwagon and convince ourselves that we should shelve our quest for equality this time of year and withhold criticism of an irrational and dangerous belief system, I’d like to offer a few words of restraint.

Do you know what a rape myth is? Briefly, psychological research has demonstrated that male rapists and other men predisposed to sexual violence against women are more likely than the average man to hold erroneous beliefs about male-female interactions, female sexuality, and the like. In non-offender samples (e.g., male college students), the tendency to agree with rape myths has been associated with negative attitudes toward women and more positive attitudes toward violence against women.

If we consider just a few examples of rape myths, these findings will not surprise you.

  • “Women secretly enjoy being raped.”
  • “Women ‘ask for it’ by their dress or actions.”
  • “If I spend a lot of money on our date, she owes me sex.”


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