Fear of God or Fear of Atheists?
Some recent ponderings about religion in Japan and America:
In Japan many people fear God/gods and hate religion. In America many people do not fear God/gods and hate religion. In Japan most people think that people who really believe in God/gods are weird and untrustworthy. In America most people think that people who don't really believe in God are weird or untrustworthy (see below). In Japan, religion is best when it is only culturally expressed and not believed seriously. In America, religion is best when it is taken to heart and not just a cultural repetition. In America people don't trust atheist politicians (see below). In Japan people don't trust religious politicians.
"In the United States, there is widespread disapproval of atheists. As a result, there has only been one openly non-theistic member of Congress in history; Pete Stark. According to motherjones.com, 52 percent of Americans claim they would not vote for a well-qualified atheist for president. More recently a 2007 Gallup poll produced nearly identical results. A 2006 study at the University of Minnesotasociologists Penny Edgell, Joseph Gerties and Douglas Hartmann conducted a survey of American public opinion on attitudes towards different groups. Forty percent of respondents characterized atheists as a group that "does not at all agree with my vision of American society", putting atheists well ahead of every other group, with the next highest being Muslims (26 percent) and homosexualsAfrican-Americans (27 percent).  Joe Foley, co-chairman for Campus Atheists and Secular Humanists, commented on the results, "I know atheists aren't studied that much as a sociological group, but I guess atheists are one of the last groups remaining that it's still socially acceptable to hate." Nevertheless, atheists are legally protected from discrimination in the United States. They have been among the strongest advocates of the legal separation of church and state. showed atheists to be the most distrusted minority among Americans. In the study, (23 percent). When participants were asked whether they agreed with the statement, "I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this group," atheists again led minorities, with 48 percent disapproval, followed by Muslims (34 percent)." - Wikipedia (read more here)