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How to spot a heathen

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NOVEMBER 30, 2011

At this present time in the United States, non-religious atheists, agnostics and other non-believers make up over 16 percent of the population, according to Pew Research Center data. This is to say that currently in America, the fourth largest religious tradition is not to adhere to any religious beliefs at all.

In this America of quickly deteriorating ethics and values, there is an increasing need to surround oneself with those who can be trusted to behave in accordance with values predefined by scripture. While more young people than ever are rejecting God, the political right reinforces its alignment with Christian conservative policy in reaction to this changing landscape. And therein lies the predicament: in a world of diminishing piety, it has become increasingly difficult to align one’s social and professional life with faithful believers.

While social circles are often easily protected from the hugely divergent views and practices of non-believers, it remains prudent to take precautions against their inadvertent admission — after all, people not rooted in religious belief are often accompanied by drug abuse, sexually transmitted disease, a wide variety of criminal activity and other unethical behavior up to and including bestiality in very rare cases.

In order to ensure that social circles, and less easily regulated professional circles, comprise maximum religious integrity, there needs to be a better way of distinguishing between those who choose to maintain a relationship with the Almighty and those who will eventually be punished by God for their betrayal. As always in a process of elimination, it is helpful to first determine any oddballs. Because about one in six Americans claims no religious affiliation, the task of spotting an unbeliever is simple once their tendencies and habits are identified. To help you do just that, I have compiled a list of personal attributes and habits generally associated with the non-religious:

Strong attachment to science and scientific theory

Persons who devote their careers to science, or accept without question scientific theory are likely non-believers. Be wary of someone with a strong educational background or tendency to think critically. Academic centers are hotbeds for heresy and the potential immorality that an anchorless belief system promotes. If you want to avoid personal contact with non-believers, stay away from colleges and universities. Of the more than 75 percent of Americans who identify as Protestant or Catholic, Catholics have slightly higher rates for completing college at 26 percent versus the national average of 27 percent according to Pew data. But especially stay away from post-graduate academia, where even fewer believers generally congregate due to widespread agnosticism and rampant atheism.

Unashamed of the human body and its desires

While religion generally teaches us to fear and reject the distracting nature of the human body and its carnal wants, non-believers typically embrace the physical aspects of the baser human desires. Many non-religious claim body-shame undermines self-worth, but theists understand that that all distractions should be suppressed so that God is elevated.

Telltale signs of carnal-shamelessness include an excess of skin revealed by the manner of dress, piercings, excessive levels of fitness, and if outside the continent, a lack of headwear.

Overseas travel to Europe

International travel to Europe is another indicator of potential atheism or agnosticism. According to a 2005 study, about one in five European Union citizens do not have religious or spiritual beliefs. If possible, check his passport to verify where in Europe he has traveled. France in particular harbors a 47 percent rate of agnosticism or atheism, according to a 2003 study. Generally, travel outside the US is indicative of a susceptibility to alternative thought.

Misplaced credit or gratitude

Listen to what people say. A non-theist comes to terms with many situations by thanking himself, and other extraneous details like, for example, the weather for a plentiful harvest. But religious believers will always give their gratitude to God if the explanation for an exceptional circumstance is not readily apparent, so keep your ears open to the vocabulary people use. Listen constantly — even in regular daily life many theists choose to attribute normal occurrences such as high marks on a test, good hair days, a fortuitous traffic-light sequence, or even something as trivial as a touchdown to God and give Him thanks.

Judgmentally challenged

While many atheists are just as vocal about their non-belief as the many Christians who preach the virtues of the Bible, there is a general reluctance to pass judgment among many of the non-religious. The most obvious example of this is in the widespread acceptance of homosexuality and the promotion of gay marriage by non-believers. Ignorance or acceptance of the homosexual agenda is a sure sign of non-belief. When in doubt about a particular person’s views, try to locate their vehicle and take note of any bumper stickers.

Is the person in question male?

One in five men are non-theists, according to the Pew research. Males are significantly more likely to be non-religious than are women. Also look for males who choose to display posters of the satanically influenced heavy metal bands Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin.

Belongs to a book club

Membership with a book club or frequent use of a library card can be an indication of non-affiliation. Most religious people cannot find the time to devote to a mindless and indiscriminate book club because at least one day per week is already devoted to the close reading and discussion of specific Bible passages and themes.

As you can see, much of this list consists of no-brainers, so if you are having difficulty distinguishing between believers and non-believers in your daily life, as always consult your brand of Holy Book in search of truth.

Contact Christopher Coulter at 


NOVEMBER 29, 2011