Society » Family
Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Would you marry an atheist?

The question of whether to believe in god in a democratic society can be solved easily. The right for the freedom of conscience is stated in constitutions of different countries. However, public opinion is extremely important as well for it always has a subtle reaction to the attitude to religion in this or that country. This attitude may very often dictate its own norms of conduct and adequate morals.

It does not really matter what a person has in their soul. It is much more important what a person says out loud, because the words from one individual can form an opinion of a great deal of people or even of the whole nation.

At the end of last century, there was an opinion conducted in the USA to study people's attitude to contracting marriage with atheists. The results of the poll showed that 46 percent of respondents were not happy about such an initiative. When the same question was asked about contracting marriage with African Americans, only 27,2 percent of respondents said no to it. As many as 33,5 percent said that they disapproved marriage with Muslims, whereas 18,5 percent of respondent said that they shared a negative attitude to marriage with natives of Asia and people of Hispanic descent.

Then there was another interesting question: "Which groups do not share your vision of the American society?" Even homosexuals and lesbians enjoy a better situation against such a background. Twenty-two percent of respondents voted for them. The Americans believe that even Muslims are more loyal to the American way of life than atheists are. At any rate, the followers of prophet Muhammad received 26,3 percent of votes. In other words, the non-acceptance of atheists is obvious.                     

What about Russia? Students of the Penza University asked similar questions to over 100 respondents in the city. This is not a lot, of course, but still it can give us an understanding of the situation. The results of the poll showed that 76 percent of Russian respondents were indifferent to whether a person was going to contract marriage with an atheist. Thirty-five percent of the polled said that they were not going to approve their child's marriage with an atheist.

Eighty-seven percent of the polled said that they were against the initiative to contract marriage with people of African descent. The majority of Russians do not welcome interracial marriage. When asked "Do you consider yourself an Orthodox believer and do you approve your child's wish to contract marriage with a Muslim?" 59 percent of the polled responded negatively. Only five percent said yes, which means that the Russian society does not approve inter-confessional marriage. Marriage with Asians and Latin Americans was disproved by 61 respondents. Thirty-eight said "yes" and 16 said "I don't know."

When asked "Which groups of people in the Russian Federation do you consider most loyal to the traditional Russian lifestyle?" nearly a half of respondents - 49 people - said that they did not know what the traditional Russian lifestyle was. The majority of respondents were between 18 and 30 years of age - the most active part of the Russian population.

When asked which groups of the Russian society do not share your vision of the society (the list contained such answers as conservatives, people from the Caucasus, Koreans, Chinese, pensioners, Nazis, people of untraditional sexual orientation, Jews, unemployed, wealthy people, parents), the opinions were as follows: 44 respondents said that people from the Caucasus did not share their vision of the Russian society. Thirty-four people said that they could not answer the question. Twelve others referred to those with untraditional sexual orientation. Six respondents said that Korean and Chinese nationals could not share Russian people's vision of he Russian society.

The conclusion from all this is obvious and not a very positive one. The Russian society still carries the burden of the patriarchal mindset, although we are living in the 21st, not in the 19th century. If we do not change in the near future, then Russian atheists will have to baptize their children so that those children, as they grow, could have a chance to tie the knot with the ones they love.

Anna Prokofieva

Vyacheslav Shpakovsky


Read the original in Russian