Relationship “Experts” Rip on Atheists

It’s hard enough meeting someone who understands and appreciates your atheism. Now, we have the relationship “experts” working against us?

Steve Harvey appeared on The Tyra Banks Show the other day to promote his new book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment.

He was discussing a section of his book in which he tells women to find out certain things about the man they’re interested in before pursuing something more serious.

Here’s the clip (5:57 mark):

And the transcript:

You need to get into some personal stuff: What’s his relationship with his mom? How does he feel about children? Does he have a relationship with God?

You sitting up there talking to a dude and he tells you he’s an atheist, you need to pack it up and go home. You talking to a person who don’t believe in God… what’s his moral barometer? Where’s it at? It’s nowhere. You gotta get into this stuff.

First of all, my answer to the children question should already give the girl an indication of my atheism.

Secondly, if the girl is foolish enough to actually believe what Harvey is saying, then she deserves what she can find. Not every God-fearing man is a great catch.

If any lady asks that question, I would hope the atheist moves on to someone more worthy of his affection.

Harvey isn’t the only relationship advice giver who has it out for atheists.

A couple weeks ago, Dr. Gian Gonzaga wrote an article for eHarmony in which the following was stated:

There are types of people that are more vulnerable to engage in affairs. It’s probably not surprising that men are more likely to cheat (especially those who feel powerless and socially isolated), but both genders can easily fall into the following groupings:

  • Those who crave excitement
  • Those who have a history of divorce, sexual abuse or such psychological problems as depression or bipolar disorder
  • Those who are not religious

Ouch. My feelings.

I don’t have access to the research cited for this data, but I’d like to know how accurate that statement is.

Can anyone give some real advice to atheists who are single?

What should we look for in another person?

What should be our warning signs that this relationship won’t work out?

  • Schlomo

    This is what the article cited has to say about the relationship between religiosity and what it calls EMI (extramarital involvement):

    “Religiosity, defined in a number of ways, has also been examined as a possible factor related to EMI. There is no evidence for a differential prevalence of EMI among different religious denominations (Edwards & Booth, 1976; Forste & Tanfer, 1996; Greeley, 1994), although those who endorse no religious affiliation do report higher rates of EMI (Greeley, 1994). Frequency of attending religious services and the self-reported religiosity of the respondent appear negatively related to both permissive attitudes regarding EMI (Cochran & Beeghley, 1991; Kraaykamp, 2002; Scheepers, Te Grotenhuis, & Van Der Slik, 2002; Smith, 1994) and actual history of engaging in EMI (Amato & Rogers, 1997; Atkins et al., 2001; Buunk, 1980; Choi et al., 1994; Hunt, 1976; Janus & Janus, 1993; Kinsey et al., 1953; Lawson & Samson, 1988). A minority of studies have found no significant relation between religious participation and lifetime prevalence of EMI (Blumstein & Schwartz, 1983; Spanier and Margolis, 1983), but Spanier and Margolis did find that the less religious the respondent, the earlier in the marriage he or she began the EMI. Controlling for other variables (e.g., permissive attitudes towards EMI) may affect the relation between religious attendance and EMI (Treas & Giesen, 2000). Atkins et al. found an interaction between religion and marital satisfaction, indicating that religious participation seemed to lower the risk of EMI particularly for those in very happy marriages; by contrast, those participants in ‘‘pretty happy’’ or ‘‘not too happy’’ marriages showed little or no effect of religious participation on their rates of EMI. Overall, greater religiosity is related to lower rates of EMI; however, the protective effects of religious involvement may depend on the levels of other salient variables such as marital satisfaction.”

    This appears in a discussion of a whole host of factors possibly linked to EMI, and I think the take-away message of the article appears in that last sentence: religiosity is one factor mitigated by many others.

  • bill

    god damn that’s annoying to hear bs like that. saying a non-religious person is more likely to cheat is like saying a non-religious person is more likely to rape, murder and pillage (although i do enjoy said activities, it has nothing to do with my non-religiousness. they are just fun). however, to me it sounds like the same type of discrimination we should already be familiar with. if you’re rejected by a man or woman because you’re an atheist, they are clearly not the type of open-minded person that i think most non-believers are looking for. the good thing is that these types of issues often come out relatively early in a relationship, so long as both are open and honest about their beliefs. my advice would be simply to be open about your atheism and wait to meet people that will accept you for who you are, then go from there.

    and if dating doesn’t work out you can always rape, pillage and murder, equally fulfilling to dating of course for such morally devoid persons as ourselves

  • bill

    and btw, wtf?! those who crave excitement more likely to cheat? how vague can you be? does that mean somebody like travis pastrana is more likely to cheat because he jumps motorcycles off cliffs?

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    As an atheist married to an atheist, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Imagine the outcry if instead of saying atheists cheat (which I doubt is backed by any fact) and that they’re not moral, (which is a lie and shows the lack of morals in the speaker), that they said don’t date Jews for those reasons.

  • JD

    Hopefully the girls I’m looking for don’t look to some washed up UPN actor for dating advice, otherwise I’m screwed.

  • Michael

    Hemant,

    Send me an e-mail if you want a copy of the paper.

  • Todd

    Steve Harvey needs to be called on that. There is absolutely no excuse to for that kind of blatant bigotry. As for Dr. Gonzaga, the fact that the article was written on eHarmony raises read flags, but without being able to read the study, it’s hard to say whether the numbers are being fudged.

  • Erp

    Suggesting that religious views don’t clash is one thing (if one side thinks the other is going to hell or is an idiot because of their beliefs, the relationship probably won’t work), but, claiming atheists are inherently immoral and therefore should be dropped is another.

  • cassiek

    Also an atheist married to an atheist – for 25 years. We have three children, also atheists, who have grown into kind, intelligent, thoughtful adults.

    I married my husband because we share values, such as respecting our fellow humans because this life is all we get, and a deep love of animals and Monty Python. He’s smart, nice and loves his family. He’s a good father and my friend. All of these things are so much more important than how he spends his Sunday mornings.

    Our marriage has not been perfect, but any bumps have been smoothed over because we care for each other and our children too much to just give up. Not because some book or preacher said divorce is wrong. And we haven’t been cheating although our “godly” friends have had numerous affairs. Even our Mormon neighbors. The husband was screwing his secretary.

    My advice for single atheists would be to look for someone who has the qualities you would want in a best friend. Someone who accepts you for who you are and loves you even on your worst day. Danger signs regardless of religious status are simple. Run far from anyone who has anger issues, addictions, won’t introduce to their family or friends, tries to “improve” you, or makes you feel anything but happy and relaxed in their presence.

  • http://tangential-anger.blogspot.com/ Lauren Cocilova

    Man, I know we’re hated but now we’re dissed on the hallowed Tyra Banks show? What horror! I mean, she’s got such a great grip on reality, of course I’m going to model my life after her advice!
    Seriously, when are people going to wake up and realize that doing the right thing because you’re afraid of God is doing it wrong and doing the right thing because it is the right thing is the far more nobler of options?
    What an asshat.

    As for single atheists, I don’t think things are much different for them than for anyone else who is single. You go on a date, you talk about your interests, you see if there’s a spark. Of course you have to talk about religion and children and family and pets eventually but it doesn’t have to be on the first date and, if you’re not planning to spend the rest of your life with the person your ideas don’t need to match up on every little thing -as long as the other person knows you’re not planning anything long term.

    But before things get too serious, you should make your atheist stance clear, as well as any childfree or nudist or ethical ideals you might have. And if the other person asks anything, you have to be honest about things right from the start. Otherwise, you’re just lying to each other and that’s no way to begin a relationship of any kind.

  • llewelly

    A couple weeks ago, Dr. Gian Gonzaga wrote an article for eHarmony in which the following was stated:

    There are types of people that are more vulnerable to engage in affairs. It’s probably not surprising that men are more likely to cheat (especially those who feel powerless and socially isolated), but both genders can easily fall into the following groupings:

    * Those who crave excitement

    * Those who have a history of divorce, sexual abuse or such psychological problems as depression or bipolar disorder

    * Those who are not religious

    The title of the cited research::

    Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Contextual Factors in Engaging in and Responding to Extramarital Involvement

    The abstract:

    Abstract

    Extramarital involvement (EMI) occurs with high prevalence among couples in clinical and community settings, frequently resulting in considerable distress both to participants and their spouses. The field lacks a synthesized review of this literature. Without such a synthesis, it has been difficult for researchers and clinicians to have an understanding of what is and is not known about EMI. This article reviews the large and scattered EMI literature using a framework that encompasses multiple source domains across the temporal process of engaging in and responding to EMI. In addition, this review delineates conceptual and methodological limitations to previous work in this area and articulates directions for further research.

    Not one of Gian’s Gonzaga’s items is mentioned in either the title or the abstract. Perhaps more importantly, the abstract describes the study as a literature review, not an attempt to draw specific conclusions.

  • http://foreverinhell.blogspot.com Personal Failure

    Atheists have a lower rate of divorce than fundys. I know that much.

    In fact, the more religious one is, the more likely divorce. I would personally ask a guy about his religious leanings, in the hopes of catchin’ me a keeper!

  • Taisen

    Just did a quick literature search on religiosity & infidelity – I was surprised by how few studies actually came up.

    I found three recent studies, excluding the one above. Then I gave up, as I was supposed to be marking undergraduate research reports, not procrastinating by doing research out of my specialisation! Anyway, brief notes:

    Atkins & Kessel (2008) note that it’s religious attendance rather than more implicitly motivated aspects of faith and prayer that predict infidelity – i.e. people who go to church are less likely to stray, rather than people who actually maintain a ‘relationship with god’. Interesting… extrinsic religiosity is more about what god can do for you, than what you can do for god, to paraphrase one of your leaders.

    Whisman, Gordon and Chatav (2007) and Whisman and Snyder (2007) both found a similar relationship to the one mentioned in your article, but their assessment of religiosity is woefully inadequate, and I wouldn’t want to put any great faith in their explanations. There are well-established instruments to measure religiosity that take into account such factors as intrinsic religiosity, extrinsic religiosity and seekership as well as differentiating between religiosity and spirituality… and yet for example Whisman and Snyder (2007, p.149) measure it with two simple questions:

    “Currently, how important is religion in your daily life? Would you say it is very important, somewhat important, or not important?” and “About how often do you attend religious services? Would you say more than once a week, once a week, 1–3 times per month, less than once a month, or never?” Items were scored such that higher scores indicate greater degree of religiosity.

    Then, they go on to eradicate the little power to distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation by conflating the two questions into a single index of religiosity:

    Because the two items were highly correlated (r=0.62), the mean of the standardized values of these two items was used to create a religiosity scale; items were standardized because of differences in scaling for the two items.

    A shame really.

    My guess, from reading around issues of religiosity rather than infidelity, would be that it would only be extrinsic religiosity that would predict infidelity. Further, it would be important to investigate marital satisfaction to see if the relationships themselves are any more successful than actual legal marriages.

    Refs:
    Atkins, D.C. & Kessel, D.E. (2008). Religiousness and infidelity: Attendance, but not faith and prayer, predict marital fidelity. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70 (2), 407-418.

    Whisman, M.A. & Snyder, D.K. (2007). Sexual infidelity in a national survey of American Women: Differences in prevalence and correlates as a function of method of assessment. Journal of Family Psychology, (21) 2, 147-154.

    Whisman, M.A., Gordon, K.C. & Chatav, Y. (2007). Predicting sexual infidelity in a population-based sample of married individuals. Journal of Family Psychology, (21) 2, 320-324.

  • cathy

    Just one more reason to hate those “We men will tell you women how to date (raise your kids/have sex/balance careers), because you can’t figure anything out with your stupid lady brains” people.

    Moving on, I think that you have to be careful with cheating studies because some consider any extramarital sex cheating, even if the couple is say, swingers, and they themselves don’t consider it so. It’s only cheating if it’s not an explicitly agreed on part of your relationship.

  • Julie

    Where can we email either Mr. Harvey or the clearly sensible Tyra?

    A few 1,000 repetitions of “how do you pick and choose which lines to follow from the Bible?” should set them straight on where morals really come from.

  • TXatheist

    My sincere opinion as an Illinois native. The pickins are much different down here in Texas. Florida was a very good place also. Southern Cal was much more superficial in general terms but Illinois is a horrible place imo. It’s also a completely different scenario once you are in your early 30′s. Prior to that too many Illinois ladies think the earth revolves around them…imo.

  • Tom

    Advice: do not marry preachers, they are too arrogant to care about you

  • http://www.raywhiting.com/MyLife Raytheist

    wait…. isn’t Steve Harvey just a 2nd or 3d rate stand up comic/actor? Who is he to be dishing out advice on relationships?

  • http://notapottedplant.blogspot.com/ Transplanted Lawyer

    My advice: don’t date anyone who takes Steve Harvey seriously.

  • Jack

    So from what I’ve found there could be a slight correlation between religiousness and self-reported infidelity. But this could easily be merely a difference in self-reporting. It actually wouldn’t totally surprise me if there was more marital infidelity among atheists only because marriage doesn’t have divine significance. A lot of times marriages are already basically over- the partners no longer in love when the infidelity actually occurs. It wouldn’t surprise me that those who believed marriage was an agreement not merely between two people but also with God would be less willing to violate that agreement even after the romantic relationship that led to the marriage is over.

    In contrast, there is definitive evidence that conservative Christians have a MUCH higher divorce rate than atheists and agnostics do (though I don’t know if this correlation remains once we control for education, income, etc.) Anyway, eHarmony should tell their customers that if they really want a marriage to stick they’re best off marrying an atheist.

  • http://twitter.com/untheist Eddie

    That just completely shows Steve Harvey’s ignorance. Statements like this just expose how little some people think critically about philosophical matters. Very sad, very irritating.

  • chancelikely

    Steve Harvey’s on his third marriage anyway.

  • poco bizzarro

    That’s a fairly ignorant statement from Dr. Gonzaga. All of the people I know who have cheated on their spouses were serious fundamentalists. One of them was even an associate pastor of my old church, who was caught with the church secretary – in the church office! I’m sure it won’t surprise you to hear that he was the same person who gave all of the abstinence speeches to the youth.

    On the flip-side, all of the non-religious people I know are in healthy, happy marriages.

  • Jeannie

    (TheSmokinggun.com)

    The ex-wife of comedian Steve Harvey claims that she was conned into a quickie divorce engineered by the entertainer and his lawyer, who allegedly sought to keep private details about the star’s adultery, poor and neglectful parenting, and “physical and mental abuse” of his ex-spouse. In a lawsuit filed against her ex-lawyer, Mary Harvey claims that she was defrauded by the comedian and the couple’s longtime attorney, who represented both sides in their November 2005 divorce. Harvey alleges that she was unaware of her right to independent counsel and, as a result, was severely shortchanged when it came to alimony, division of community property, and child support. In her District Court complaint, filed yesterday in Harris County, Texas, Harvey claims that the couple’s attorney, Ricky Anderson, told her she could not legally get more than $1000 monthly in child support for the couple’s son. Harvey alleges that Anderson was actually looking out for Steve Harvey’s interests, and sought to protect his client’s “packaged, do-good, likeable, Christian-type image in the public eye.” Anderson and the comedian sought to “quickly and quietly dispose of the divorce” because there were “many things that Steve Harvey…did during the Harveys’ marriage that he did not want the public to know about,” Mary Harvey charges in her lawsuit, which was first reported by Courthouse News. Those “things,” the complaint alleges, included “Steve Harvey’s adultery, his abandonment of some of his children, his poor and neglectful parenting of the parties’ child, and physical and mental abuse of Plaintiff.

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/1120071harvey1.html

    “This guy’s a great big phony”

  • Luke

    The infidelity literature is marred by self report contamination. Almost every measure of “moral” behavior shows a discrepancy between self report (e.g., questionnaire) and actual behavior. And there is evidence that this gap increases with increasing religiosity. For example, highly religious people report that they are more honest and cheat less in many domains, but behavioral literature and experiments show there is not the case. This is likely to be the case with infidelity as well; a religious person is likely to be less willing to ADMIT infidelity. As another poster said, we know that the divorce rate is higher for fundamentalists and pentacostals compared to atheists. And the predictors mentioned in the research article (e.g., education, older age at marriage, etc) are in favor of atheists.

    The problem with church attendence correlations like with infidelity and divorce is that they often do not take into account possible curvilinear relationships. For example, it may be that high attenders have lower infidelity than weak attenders or the “religious but not a member” people but often the completely non religious atheists look very different than the weakly religious on measures of morality; often they look more like the highly religious.

  • Siamang

    Ha! My atheist marriage has lasted longer than any of Steve’s (3!) marriages!

  • Richard Wade

    My ditto to Luke’s observation that any data gathered by self reporting is useless. As a marriage counselor, I interviewed many thousands of clients, and any question I asked where there was the slightest hint about the person’s conduct was answered with glossed-over generalities or exaggerated “good” behaviors drawn from social stereotypes of what admirable people are expected to do. Any objective measure of the client’s behavior would almost always show a less “good” set of behaviors. In short, they lied.

    A master’s degree in psychology taught me that a large part of the body of psychological and sociological research is sheer bullshit. Trust your eyes, not your ears. You have to observe people in action for a long time to know what they are about. Self reporting is evidence of only one thing: The ability to speak.

    So whether you’re looking for a partner in a relationship or assessing if a psychological study is reliable, ask yourself how much of the conclusion is from listening and how much is from watching. Observing takes time and people are impatient to ease their loneliness or to support their assertions about others, so we too often jump in with only a collection of words for guidance.

  • http://luckyatheist.blogspot.com Mike Caton

    I think it’s time for a boycott of Tyra. Not that I was a big fan, but it’s important to make it known when someone with a well-known program is giving airtime to bigots.

  • http://thinkingforfree.blogspot.com Eamon Knight

    Back in our fundamentalist days, we and a whole bunch of our fundamentalist friends got married within within a few years of each other (all being about prime marrying age, ie. early 20s, just finished college, etc). Most of them continued on the fundy path, while we drifted off into the liberal church, and eventually atheism.

    Through the grape vine, I find that a whole lot of our old crowd from those days are now divorced. But coming up on 29 years later, we’re still going strong, looking forward to retiring and growing old together….

    I think the’re something about the fundamentalist ideal of “Christian marriage” that frequently obscures the important things that really make a relationship work over the long term, under a pile of superficial sanctimony. Not that every Christian marriage suffers from this, but those that succeed, I suggest, do so in spite of the Holy Help, not because of it.

  • http://bornagainblog.wordpress.com Justin

    Notice that relationship advice is mostly directed at women. There’s a reason for this. Most straight men do not care if you’re an atheist, agnostic, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, scientologist… they care about one thing. “Do you have a vagina? Great. Maybe we can work something out.”

    That is, except, wait, now as I think about it, there is a group of men I know who care very much about who a woman is, how she thinks and how she sees the world. Atheist men care.

    When I’m considering dating a woman and I find she’s into astrology or Christianity or UFO’s or whatever, I know it isn’t going anywhere and I have a hard time continuing any pursuit. Unless she’s hot. But even then I feel bad.

    Atheists, agnostics, skeptics in general are the top tier of the dating world, because we’re the only ones who look beyond the superficial.

  • http://www.shadowmanor.com/blog/ Cobwebs

    Egad. It was just the opposite for me: Any hint that a guy was overtly religious was an immediate red flag. When I first started dating my husband, he told me that his degree was in comparative religion and I nearly gave up on him right there. (Fortunately he turned out to be an agnostic who had just chosen a really odd educational path.)

    As some of the other commenters have suggested, the things to look for in a partner are similar interests and shared values. A sense of humor also really helps.

  • http://www.dwasifar.com dwasifar

    Harvey’s statement (and to a lesser extent Gonzaga’s too) is interesting if you take it out to its logical conclusion.

    - Atheists are intrinsically undesirable as partners.

    - Therefore, no one should choose an atheist as a partner.

    - Therefore, atheists should not choose atheists as partners; and atheists cannot choose non-atheists as partners because non-atheists should not accept them.

    - Therefore, atheists should not be in relationships at all.

    How nice of Mr. Harvey. How christian of him.

  • Erik

    My atheist girlfriend is fine woman, especially when it comes to having a healthy relationship. And I’m Christian, so you know we must be doing something right if we can be together happily for over 3 years despite that difference!

  • http://lfab-uvm.blogspot.com chanson

    Can anyone give some real advice to atheists who are single?

    Ignore media personalities selling religious pop-psychology books.

    And to echo the others: I’m an atheist happily married to another atheist, 8+ years and counting.

  • Emily

    If you want that study, “Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Contextual Factors in Engaging in and Responding to Extramarital Involvement” try here:
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/118706634/HTMLSTART

    or even just check out all of these http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118706633/issue

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    That’s a fairly ignorant statement from Dr. Gonzaga. All of the people I know who have cheated on their spouses were serious fundamentalists.

    Dr. Gonzaga cited a scientific study to support his conclusion. Anecdotal evidence does not compare! You cannot wave away a study merely because you do not like its conclusions.

    However, as several commenters mentioned, self-reporting of infidelity may be unreliable. This is a far better reason to be skeptical of the study’s conclusions.

  • GullWatcher

    So then why does the bible belt have such a hefty divorce rate, and the godless northeast is so far below the national average?

    According to federal figures:

    Nationally, there were about 4.2 divorces for every thousand people in 1998.
    The rate was 6.4 in Tennessee, 6.1 in Arkansas, 6.0 in Alabama and Oklahoma.
    By contrast, the divorce rate is less than 3.0 in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.

  • Kayla

    I’ll be honest. When I was single and actively looking for someone to be with.. whether or not they believed in God was a major factor. It was one of the first things I asked/looked for. If yes, I moved on… Luckily, I’m going on 1 & 1/2 years with my wonderful agnostic boyfriend.

    Why was I so particular? I wanted someone who was MORAL. Ha!

  • beckster

    I hope the people that actually watch the Tyra Banks show follow that advice. That leaves more good atheist men for smart women who aren’t wasting their time on that silly show.

  • absent sway

    I saw this guy on Oprah last week (beware because someone more influential than Tyra is promoting him–this probably isn’t the last we’ll hear of his dating ideas) and thought his advice was weak. I think it’s important to take religious concerns (and lack of them) into account when looking to get involved with someone seriously but Harvey’s words (besides being bigoted) are a gross oversimplification of why we should pay attention to religion in potential partners. People are misled by this kind of advice to give someone a free pass just because the individual has mouthed the desired answer to a pop quiz. Nothing absolves us of our personal responsibility to take the time to really acquaint ourselves with others and judge them by their ideals and actions, the full scope of them. This is not a helpful shortcut.

  • Grimalkin

    On the one hand, I’m thinking “what putzes.” On the other hand, I’m thinking “fair enough.” Were I in the dating game, I’d consider “do you believe in god” to be one of the essential questions and, potentially, a deal-breaker if answered in the positive. I just don’t have the time to muck about with someone who, at the end of the day, believes in magical sky-daddies. Earthly in-laws are more than enough hassle.

    So to each their own. If that’s what’s important to them in a mate, more power to them.

    The only thing I dislike is taking onto that the statement that atheists have no moral barometer. That’s not only offensive, it’s just plain wrong (and stupid, and bigoted).

  • http://40yearoldatheist.com 40 Year Old Atheist

    Where is my moral barometer? It’s that part of me that treats people who I’d like to be treated. I won’t cheat on my wife because I love her and don’t want to hurt her – just as I would hope she would not want to hurt me.

    The guy is a moron.

  • absent sway

    “What should we look for in another person?”
    -someone with a lifestyle and/or worldview compatible with your own
    -someone who treats others in their lives with respect and patience
    -someone who can fight fairly
    -someone you’re attracted to
    -someone you are capable of having fun with while doing ordinary things, not just romantic dates

    “What should be our warning signs that this relationship won’t work out?”
    -one or both of you feel the need to change each other
    -one or both of you are not willing to prioritize the relationship
    -one or both of you are inflexible and closed to compromise
    -the obvious signs of trouble: abuse or violence of any kind, infidelity, addictions…

  • Claudia

    I’m not terribly worried about atheist guys losing the unending goldmine that must be women who take their relationship advice from the Tyra Banks show.

    However, I think this should not be taken lightly. If someone can point me to where you can write to give a complaint I would. If he had said that women should pack up and leave if they found out the guy was a Jew, the matter would have gone out on the AP wire. This is vile bigotry and it makes me ill. Mere custom should not make us complacent. He’s gone on TV and said that we are inferior beings and morally bankrupt. That is intolerable but socially acceptable. It won’t become socially unacceptable on its own, we have to make it.

  • Jen

    My sincere opinion as an Illinois native. The pickins are much different down here in Texas. Florida was a very good place also. Southern Cal was much more superficial in general terms but Illinois is a horrible place imo. It’s also a completely different scenario once you are in your early 30’s. Prior to that too many Illinois ladies think the earth revolves around them…imo.

    As an Illinois native, I would respond to this by rolling my eyes, but I am too busy lighting the galaxy and providing warmth.

    As for Mr. Harvey, I would point out that that atheists can be just as moral as the religious, or even more so, but I would rather the readers of his book snatch up all the religious people and leave the rest of us the atheists.

  • Pingback: Fuck Steve Harvey | Tangled Up in Blue Guy

  • DCKate

    Well. Steve Harvey is allowed to have his opinion. I’m not sure who made him a relationship expert to begin with. What exactly are his qualifications again?

    As for the eHarmony phrasing, it’s disappointing, but not surprising. They didn’t even cater to same-sex match-making until recently, and even now I believe it’s provided on a completely separate site. They don’t strike me as the most open minded company on the planet. Although, if they are claiming that it’s backed by research, they should definitely have to provide the research, especially if it’s requested.

    Recommendations for single atheists? Look for other atheists. Or agnostics/non-religious folks, at least. I’m sure there are plenty of very open-minded religious people out there, but when it comes to the types of decisions you have to make in a long term relationship (i.e. child rearing) you want someone whose values come from the same place yours do. You don’t want your spouse reverting to telling your five year old that his grandma went to heaven and he’ll see her again someday just because that’s the easy explanation.

  • Jesse

    Thats a shame, because I like Steve Harvey. :P

  • Jason

    From wikipedia (on Steve Harvey): “He has held jobs as both an insurance salesman and a boxer.”

    The sum total of his qualifications as a relationship counselor.

    And yes, he has been married thrice.

  • http://atheistlibrarian.blogspot.com Atheist Librarian

    So, if you want to go to the section of the Tyra website with this clip it’s HERE

    There have already been lots of people up in arms about the atheist comment on the message board, go leave one for yourself.

  • Robin

    Huh. That is terrible advice for an atheist woman. How strange to assume that all atheists are men. . .

  • http://jewmanist.com Rose

    My atheist marriage is almost a year old!! But we’ve been together for 5. We have a wonderful open honest friendship as well.

    Just thought I add mine to the list. :)

    When Jeannie said:

    “This guy’s a great big phony”

    I literally LOLed

  • Richard Wade

    Thanks Atheist Librarian, for that link to the Tyra Banks Show. I left a comment there and also this expanded version on a blog that is praising him, titled Doing the Right Thing and Still On Top. Apparently, many people disapprove of him for a variety of reasons. So far, mine was the only comment about his anti-atheist remarks.

    While promoting his book recently on the Tyra Banks Show, Mr. Harvey made several unkind and ignorant remarks about atheists being untrustworthy and having “no moral compass.”

    Mr. Harvey should look into his heart and admit that he has a bigotry. In his derisive remarks about atheists, if you substitute where he says the word “atheist” any other group name like Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, African American, Asian, Caucasian, Mexican, overweight person or dozens of others, you can immediately see how ugly his prejudice is. If it is unacceptable to dismiss with contempt those people simply because of their category, why does he think it is still acceptable to spit on atheists?

    Clearly, Mr. Harvey thinks that atheists are intrinsically immoral only because he does not actually know any closely. The old horrible stereotypes against African Americans were perpetuated by people who never bothered to get to know any of them. Ignorance and scorn support each other, back and forth.

    Mr. Harvey, apologize, clean out your prejudice and get to know some atheists. They’re all around you. They’re your neighbors, your co-workers, your doctors, your grocers, your accountants, your gardeners and even your fans. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  • http://thinkingforfree.blogspot.com Eamon Knight

    Lessee: this guy, about my age, is on marriage #3, cheated on ex #2, and then screwed here over during the divorce, and he’s writing a relationship advice book aimed at women? What woman in her right mind would listen to advice from an obvious jerk like this? Oh, right: he’s Born Again — the universal sanitizer that magically erases all past misconduct.

    Let me guess: his conversion happened conveniently after his last divorce.

  • Muffin

    I never care if a girl believes in god, that’s fine. But when a girl lives her life in gods service, that’s pushing it. We’re simply incompatible because that belief forces her to think about god with her every action and word. Everything she does will be dictated by what the bible tells her.
    It’s the opposite for me as an atheist. I never think about god. I never think about religion. I think mostly about the people around me, the people who I love, and doing right by them while maintaining a level of personal happiness and satisfaction. I am also not afraid to speak my mind.
    These two different mind sets are incompatible, but that is not the fault of the atheist. It is because the religious person feels the need to bring faith into every aspect of their life that this would never work. I can go forever without talking about my atheism if I know the other person doesn’t care, but if I’m repeatedly having my face shoved in religion then it’s bound to tick me off. I would just want them to shut up about it. Can’t we learn to live our lives without having to bring god into everything? That, to me, would be a better more sane life. It would also allow two people, who may be perfect for each other, to be together as opposed to being incompatible because of religions necessity to invade every aspect of the believers life.
    In short: I would never tell an atheist to not date a religious person, but I cannot see that relationship working out.

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  • http://www.bottle-imp.com Daniel

    To be fair, one of the first things I want to know about a date is if she believes in God. Because, it is a problem if she does. I mean, for casual dating I guess it doesn’t matter, but if you’re talking about long term potential, it will get in the way of things.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Daniel makes a point. it works both ways. I don’t want to be with someone who’s ultra religious.

    This is something that’s been an issue in relationships for years. Both spouses belonging to two different religions or having two sets of beliefs.

    While I understand the outrage at Steve Harvey’s comments, as I and Daniel above me stated, it works both ways.

  • fegu

    “If a man believes anything he reads in a book of myths written from the imagination of ignorant bigots from barbaric cultures thousands of years ago then you need to pack it up and go home ladies.”

    Fixed.

  • fegu

    “Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.” Psalms 137:9.

    Moral barometer.

    “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” I Timothy 2:11-14

    Moral barometer.

    “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” I Corinthians 14:34-35

    Moral barometer.

    Judges 19:24-25.

    Moral barometer…

    And so on and so on…

  • aina

    steve harvey is on his third wife. relationship expert? please. and further more, he is an example of how most blacks view atheism. i am a black atheist woman and i encounter this every day. blacks will support rapists, molesters, and murderers but if you are an atheist then, in the black community, you are beyond being saved. it disgusts me.

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  • etifaim

    Like others have mentioned, Harvey is really in no place to be giving relationship advice. I’m in the same boat as aina. As a black woman, I find other black folks telling me (or assuming)what I MUST believe as an atheist (“you don’t have moral boundaries, you worship science, you hate Christians, you turned your back on God,” and other nonsense). This is truly repulsive for him to be so discriminatory. But this freethinking, enlightened mind won’t be reading his rubbish book anyways, so he can keep telling the little girls about finding a relationship. This woman knows what she wants and how to get it.

  • lneely

    i know this is an old topic — sorry for being a necromancer — but steve harvey is apparently at it again on larry king this time.

  • mbx24

    I know this was posted several months ago(!), but it was the second search result for “friendly atheist” on the Internet, so I clicked on it and read it. I tried not to be too irritated, but seriously. And does he have to drag up that whole “atheists are immoral” argument?! I mean, seriously, a two-year-old could see through that.


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