Would this make you feel safer (one for atheists especially)?

It would make me feel marginally safer, but only because it tells me they’re walking down the street for a reason, not because they’re loitering and looking for trouble. I’d feel the same way if you told me they were all dishwashers walking home after the restaurants shut down for the night.

Yes, I would feel much safer than if they were a group of filthy atheists; who I know willfully turn their backs on god so that they can kick kittens and such.
Of course, being an atheist myself, I have no belief in morals, so on discovering that they are a prayer group I might inverse gang-rape them at gunpoint.

Just because they came from a church prayer meeting does not mean that they have your best intentions in mind, remember the parable of the Good Samaritan, the religious folk didn’t help. While these people coming towards you may not outright rob you they may try to indoctrinate you into some religious order which is a form of enslaving you - not good.

What I would like to see is people coming to me with the Love of Christ/God in their heart and no religion binding them, and yes that is something I have been gifted in being able in seeing - external appearances are deceptive.

More seriously (than my last post), if the OP was changed to just be “You need to walk past a man in a dark alley. The only thing you know about him is that he sometimes prays to god. Do you feel more safe knowing that?” I could truthfully answer No, I would feel less safe.

In the OP it’s the fact that it’s a group of people who have just come from a peaceful public event that makes the situation less threatening.

Actually I’m an atheist too, I’m just always interested to see the responses of my fellows, seeing as we’re not a monolithic mass.

Non-believer. I’d feel slightly safer from being randomly beat up and/or robbed.

I’d feel somewhat more unsafe from being confronted for my non-belief in whatever they believe in. Because they are members of a religious group, with possibly fervent beliefs, I would suspect these men of being willing to bend their morality to fit those beliefs. Since I don’t know what those beliefs are, it would be wise to be on my guard.

In the end, my fears would change after hearing your information but it’s hard to judge whether my total fear would be greater either way. I think I would get a lot more useful information from observing their attitudes and clothes.

There’s a weird amount of polls like that at the minute though. “Atheists, what would you do if X?”

My life experience has been approximately the opposite of this. Perhaps because I am a big enough fella that I don’t usually feel threatened by the presence of one person (and because I haven’t encountered any real violent nutjobs, so far).

I have to agree that just because someone was in a prayer meeting doesn’t say much about what kind of person (or group of people) they are. Depends on the specific religion, the culture and country, and lots of other factors.

the op is far to vague for me, knowing they just came from a prayer meeting tells me nothing about them at all that would be of use. knowing the religion in particular might be of help.

(I might be a bit biased having watched a few documentaries recently on various religions and their evils)

I use the label “non-religious” for me. I am not a nervous person when confronted with the unknown. Knowing they came from a prayer meeting would not effect me one way or another.

Found where I got it from; not a debate but rather an account of a challenge by Dennis Preger in Hitchen’s book.

Here’s how he recounts and answers it.

If I were by myself, I’d probably feel safer knowing that.

If I were with my boyfriend, I’d feel significantly less safe.

I would feel slightly safer because churches, prayer groups, etc., are also civic organizations that promote better quality of life in their cities.

People participating in organized activity for such a group are slightly less likely to be criminals, I think.

Atheist (WTF is with the anti-theist/apatheist/panlackawannatheist crap? :dubious:), and it wouldn’t make me feel any better or worse. Either way, I’d probably just look for the nearest urine-scented doorway and curl up under a newspaper for a nap.

This would not affect how I perceived my safety. At least that’s how I answered the poll.

But then I realized that if you are letting me know that they have just left a prayer meeting, then you are probably also letting them know that I am an atheist. And this makes me feel much less safe.

As a pretty-well accomplished martial artist, I’m not inclined to be fearful of any individual or group approaching me at any time. I realize, however, that such an attitude is woefully naive in the worst of cases. Nevertheless it has, surprisingly, served me well in many places around the world. The additional information at that point helps me as much as knowing the price of Lima beans at that moment. I’d be more keenly interested in knowing what everyone is wearing and what is in my pockets.

Yeah, they’re just leaving the Community Safety Enforcement meeting – which is officially secular but, for some reason, they open every session with prayer and it’s always guest-led by a Christian official.* Upon seeing the foreigner in their town at an unreasonable hour for any honest activities, they decide to really enforce community safety by mustering their xenophobic solidarity and ejecting the Outsider…


  • Yeah, I know…That NEVER happens in real life :smack:

No dieties for me, but I would feel safer because I think there is likley to be
a pronounced negative correleation between prayer meeting types and the
type who would roll you.

There are sure to be exceptions, of course, such as:

Gods & Mobsters

(from link):

Yes, I’m sure that’s the norm. :rolleyes:

You ignored the OP. They just came from a prayer meeting. Have you ever been to any? I have been to many in the past, although it’s been awhile (and the last one I confess was to appease others). With exceedingly rare exception they were very nice, friendly, and not at all pushy in a “there’s my opinion and the wrong one!” kind of way in which theists (esp Christians) are so often accused of. Not everyone attends Westboro FYI.

PS I’m agnostic and agree that “believing” (or claiming to) is hardly a guarantee of the quality of a person, but on avg/all things being equal I easily find “believers” more trustworthy and just plain nicer. Whether that’s because of their beliefs or they just happen to be nice or a mix probably varies, can’t say.

Course there are people who really are believers and those who are or say they are because it’s how they were raised but they never go to church or try to practice the Golden Rule etc etc. Really it’s quite a broad brushstroke when you get down to it.

Yes, I’ve been to prayer meetings. Why do you think I’m an atheist? And in my experience, many people in those prayer meetings are nice and friendly. And others are nice and friendly until I reveal that I’m an atheist. Then they aren’t so nice and friendly.

I am religious.

And I have trouble with this answer.

I think it would ring truer if you saw a single person, although even then feeling considerably less safe doesn’t seem to make statistical sense. But of course the question doesn’t ask for statistical analysis – it asks how you’d feel.

Still, I agree that hearing a single person just left a prayer meeting is not any kind of rock solid guarantee of stable behavior.

But I’m trying to picture how often, statistically, a group of young men leaving a prayer group in this country are likely to be a threat. Even if one alone would be, it seems a vanishingly remote possibility that the group would be. And malefactors would not want to expose their behavior in front of their group.

So my follow up question to Lynn: do you think your feeling, here, is also statistically valid?