Atheist Tuesday: Majority of sociopaths are atheists says Denzel Washington


Some interesting thoughts from Denzel Washington as written about in The Blaze:

While promoting his new movie “Safe House,” the actor described the difficulty of playing one of the main characters, Tobin Frost — an ex-CIA agent that has turned into an international (and infamous) criminal. When asked if it was challenging to portray the character, he said:

“There‘s a book I read called ’The Sociopath Next Door.’ And — I read something from it every day before I would go on the set. It really became my guide. When you think of a sociopath…you think of someone violent. The overwhelming majority of sociopaths aren’t violent. They just have a desire to win. They just don’t have a conscience — they don’t have it. The majority of them are atheists as well. So that was the book that was sort of my Bible if you will…in preparation for this part.”

And this from The Examiner:

“I think he is a sociopath. I think he doesn’t have a conscience. I think he is an atheist and a murderer and a liar.”

This is not so hard to understand. What worldview would be more consistent with a sociopath? To paraphrase Forest Gump: “Atheist is as atheist does.” Without accountability from a Supreme Being, a Higher Power—God—anyone is capable of doing anything.

If you are a Christian, you cannot be a sociopath. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love…” (John 15:10)

If you don’t like this or want to belittle my analysis, think about what District Judge Mark Martin said to an atheist who was choked by a man when he mocked Islam: “…before you start mocking somebody else’s religion, you might want to find out a little more about it. It kind of makes you look like a doofus.”

Now read my article, “Jeffrey Dahmer, Ex-Atheist” by clicking here.


  1. Nice flame, Steve.

  2. Steve wrote:

    before you start mocking somebody else’s religion

    Ahem, Steve; motes and beams.

    You have been guilty of this.

  3. And we should care what Denzel Washington thinks why?

    • BathTub,

      Denzel Washingotn is an actor and therefore he has a lot of free time in between movies to think about atheists. He is probably an expert on atheists.


  4. Thank you for the lovely post, but the book doesn’t talk about atheists.

  5. I thought Denzel Washington was an actor?

  6. So, you think it was okay for that particular judge to dismiss the blatant assault on that particular man because he mocked Islam?

    I thought you weren’t a fan of violence

  7. Were you having a bad day, Steve? Did an atheist cut you off in traffic? I’m hoping this is ‘humorous hyperbole’ but I fear you really believe this.

    Please tell me, what it is about me – granted you have only what I post here – but what have I said that led you to believe I’m a sociopath. What specific things have I done that makes you think, “Watch out for that perdita. She’s completely bereft of social conscience and will lie and cheat and steal.”

    Does it have anything to do with me — my actions and my motivations? Or are you just defining sociopath as atheist and, hey! here’s an actor that agrees with me so I must be right? Because right now, that’s what it looks like.

    Without accountability from a Supreme Being, a Higher Power—God—anyone is capable of doing anything.

    I know you can’t imagine how people can be accountable to each other without some outside source, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible or that it doesn’t happen. It only means that you don’t understand it.

    • whoa! Sorry for not ending the italics properly. Now that was antisocial behavior!

    • Just reportin’ an interesting quote. I’m not saying that all atheists are sociopaths; it’s just more likely that sociopaths are atheists. This is a big difference.

      • And your evidence for this is?

      • …it’s just more likely that sociopaths are atheists.

        And you know this, how? Do you have anything to support your opinion?

      • It’s a supposition. Read my comments on this article.

      • I’ve read your comments. So, it’s pretty much a baseless assertion – something you want to believe to be true, therefore, it must be true.

      • Why would you even feel the need to develop such a supposition Steve?

        Might it be that you just don’t like atheists very much? Is that why Steve?

        Let’s change the object of your supposition and we’ll see what happens shall we?

        it’s just more likely that sociopaths are Jews. That would be a racist statement wouldn’t it Steve?

        it’s just more likely that sociopaths are Catholics. That would be a bigoted statement wouldn’t it Steve?

        So if you write that “it’s just more likely that sociopaths are atheists” then wouldn’t that be a bigoted statement as well? Hmmm?

      • Jim,

        Reuben and Miano are nothing alike. Also, no true Christian is going to will fully live a life of sin.

      • Carl wrote “No true Christian is going to live a life of sin”.

        No true Christian? Is that anything like no true scotsman?

      • no true Christian is going to will fully live a life of sin

        Talked to Ray Comfort lately?

  8. Steve, what do you think of this part of the article (the Examiner) you linked to?

    Most atheists in America today associate themselves with Humanism, rationalism, science, and reason. Atheists tend to me more educated, are less likely to support torture, and have a long history in this nation of pushing for civil rights. Denzel Washington’s statement isn’t just hateful, it is also far from accurate.

    • An interesting statement. I like it.

      • Well if Denzel Washington has weighed in on the subject then its settled, did you see him in Remember the Titans? He can’t lose!

      • So, you agree with Washington that atheists are more likely to be sociopaths, but you also like the statement that points out that Washington’s opinion is unsupported, inaccurate, and hateful.

        Got it.

      • No. Sociopaths are more likely to be atheists.

        It’s just a man’s opinion.

        I do believe that a person without God is more likely to do horrible, ungodly things than a person who loves God. Just sayin’.

      • Steve wrote “I do believe that a person without God is more likely to do horrible, ungodly things than a person who loves God.”

        Really Steve? Let’s test your assertion.

        Just give yes or no answers please:
        1) Is the murder of small children wrong?
        2) If God appeared before you in an unmistakable fashion and told you to kill some small children would you do it?
        3) Would such murders be correct if God told you to do this?

        I’m sure you’ll agree the questions sort of blow your assertion apart don’t they?

      • You know Steve…. Hitler did love God as well, and he wasn’t prone to violent, sociopath-like tendencies…

      • Sorry, Vin. Hitler did not love God. Evidence: his actions.

        Same as yours.

      • Hitler was a sociopath. I wonder if he was an atheist at heart.

      • Tone B. Rown wrote “Hitler was a sociopath. I wonder if he was an atheist at heart.”

        Everyone sing along “and they’ll know you are Christian by your hate, by your hate, yes they’ll know you are Christian by your hate.”

        That must be the way you think the hymn goes ’cause that’s what your statement is all about.

      • No no Steve, Hitler loved God, just not YOUR interpretation of God, he had his own unique interpretation of God, and that’s what so scary about it. Plenty of people around the world have their own interpretation of what God is and means to them, Muslims have their own, Jews have their own, Hindus have their own, its really just a grab bag when it comes to belief in many cases, God can be whatever you need he/she/them/it to be really.

      • You’re right, Vin. Hitler loved God in the same way you do.

        Hey! We agree!

      • Hitler was a sociopath. I wonder if he was an atheist at heart.

        Thanks, Steve, for leading your flock to a new way to hate and mistrust us. I know you didn’t exactly say that atheists = sociopaths, you just carefully worded it so you could put the idea out there and have plausible deny-ability at the same time.

        Seriously, I have more respect for you than most of the other fundamentalist Christians out there, but then you go and do something like this. I’m sure you’ve searched your heart and found nothing wrong with this post, but sometimes our hearts tell us what we want to hear and not what we should hear.

  9. Although I am not an atheist, I am offended that you assume they have no accountability. That’s the same as saying every Christian wants to damage an abortion clinic. One of my best friends is an atheist and he runs a convenience store. You can be darn sure he is accountable to state general manager as well as his employees. He is also accountable to his wife for his actions. I have three friends who are very religious and they are all divorced. My atheist friend is going on 15 years of marriage.

    Making broad generalizations is not the way to get a point across.

  10. Jim, you’re as predictable as an Adam Sandler movie.

    • I agree with you Glenn. Jim is predictably correct. Take that Jim.

      We’ve already dealt with this. Ethics do not have to be absolute merely objective – e.g. Utilitarianism, Deontology. etc.

      Whereeas fundie Christians who believe hold to a relative morality [anything God tells you to do is, by your definition, good) are capable of anything.

      For example if God appeared to you and told you to go and kill all the babies in your street would you do it?

      The deed must be ok because God is telling you to do it and everything that God tells you to do is correct by definition according to you and Steve.

      Now if your like the other fundies here you’ll madly try and introduce a red herring argument and hope no one notices. Or you could actually consider the point. Your choice.

    • Chris, if God told you to repent of your sins, would you do it?

    • Well your question is a little bit off topic.

      However I would say that yes if Ahura Mazda appeared before me and told me to repent of any sin and explained why the sin was wrong then I would certainly do it.

    • Hi Glenn,

      I know that the question was directed to Chris, but I’d like to also answer it, if you don’t mind.

      You wrote:

      if God told you to repent of your sins, would you do it?

      Yes, I would, but that would be a long conversation, dealing with exactly what “sins” we’re talking about. I’d also ask why there’s the need to tell me to do something, instead of asking, but that’s probably neither here nor there.

      I would repent regardless, but I already do that. I just don’t repent to a God that I don’t believe exists; I repent to the people I sin against.

  11. Where do Atheists get their morals from?

    • I’m not an atheist but I’d say they get their ethics from reason.

      Who forced them to follow these ethical decisions? Themselves.

      As my old uncle used to say “do good because good is good to do. Not from love of heaven nor fear of hell!”

      • “As my old uncle used to say “do good because good is good to do. Not from love of heaven nor fear of hell!” -Chris

        Hi Chris:

        How did your uncle know what is good? I think he read the Bible.

      • How do Hindus, who have never read the Bible, know what is good, Tone?

        I encourage you to research the concept of “empathy”.

      • Could it be that morality found in other religions are all borrowed from the morality possessed by Noah and passed on to his descendants?

      • “…possessed by Noah and passed on to his descendants?”

        Very doubtful as this story is myth and has no basis in reality.

      • The Bible is true. Perdita it is not a myth.

      • When do you think this flood happened?

    • They get their morals ironically from Judeo-Christian beliefs.

      • Now Thomas you know that your statement is not true. Some atheists may well have been brought up in a Christian home but I know several who had little to no contact growing up and developed their ethics through reason.

        Not to mention all the atheists in asian countries. Did they develop their ethics from Christianity as well? 🙂

        Try thinking through your assertions before you post them Thomas. There’s a good chap.

      • Yep, I get my love of selling children into slavery from my Judeo-Christian ethics.

      • Where do Buddhists get their morals from? ‘Cause that Dalai Lama, he’s one mean, immoral guy, isn’t he? I hear he shot a man in Shigatse, just to watch him die.


        You know, I’ve never gotten an answer to this question, so I suppose I’ll just ask it again.

        Why does every advanced society (every one – without exception) develop some variation on “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”?

      • BathTub you have some interesting hobbies. May I recommend one? Read the Bible.

      • May I suggest one for you Nigel? Read a book on logic.

      • Glenn wrote “humans get their conscience from God”.

        Sorry Glenn old chap but your assertion doesn’t work. You see if God was responsible for all consciences then we would all have the same ethics even if we didn’t follow them. Fact is we don’t. That’s the reason different ethical systems exist – because of differing views regarding right and wrong.

        Some societies allow polygamy, some outlaw it and call it bigamy. Some societies think it acceptable to eat their grandparents while to others that is unthinkable.

        Good lord all you have to do is read your bible to realise you assertion isn’t true. For example revenge killings were allowed then they were banned. I can list several other examples if you like.

        As I told Thomas “Try thinking through your assertions before you post them. There’s a good chap.”

      • Nigel, I’m pretty sure that (i.e., The Bible) is exactly where BathTub got the idea for that “interesting hobby”.

        Of course, he wasn’t being serious; he was trying to make a point.

      • Nameless Cynic says:
        March 1, 2012 at 11:00 am
        Where do Buddhists get their morals from? ‘Cause that Dalai Lama, he’s one mean, immoral guy, isn’t he? I hear he shot a man in Shigatse, just to watch him die.

        Nameless Cynic I have to give you props for making a Johnny Cash reference.

        For anyone interested the song is called “I shot a man in Reno” by Johnny Cash.

      • Well, technically, carl, it’s called “Folsom Prison Blues”…

      • Some interesting posts that is for sure! I guess I need to expand on the comment I made. At the core of every human being is the God-given conscience that helps all of humanity know what is right and what is wrong. That is what I was meaning in the statement I made. Now it is a fact that not every culture agrees right down the middle on everything that is right and wrong there are cultural differences (sin and the fallen state of the world is also a cause of this). The fact remains though that across the board all human societies agree that murder is wrong, that stealing from others is wrong, that hurting your parents or hurting others is wrong and so on. All of these being apart of the 10 Commandments. So that is what I meant that Atheists of course fall into this category of having within themselves a God-given conscience.

        As a side note I find it interesting that for example when Hitler and the Nazi party took over Germany one of the things that Hitler proclaimed at one point was that he wanted to rid himself and Germany of the idea of a conscience because in his mind it was a Jewish creation. Hitler wanted to be free of the conscience that God had given him so he could do whatever he wanted to do, that would be the end result in doing that. Scary!

      • So Thomas basically you’re saying that our consciences are put there by God except when they’re not. See a wee contradiction there?

      • Thomas also wrote “The fact remains though that across the board all human societies agree that murder is wrong, [“cough” war, self defence, survival,”cough”],

        that stealing from others is wrong, [“cough stealing to survive “cough],

        that hurting your parents or hurting others is wrong [“cough” self-defence “cough”]and so on.

        All of these being apart of the 10 Commandments. [And let’s not forget they are parts of moral systems much, much older that the 10 commandments. The oldest religious sytem being the Hindu].

        “So that is what I meant that Atheists of course fall into this category of having within themselves a God-given conscience.”

        Even if you were correct since the religions teach different moralities, as I’ve just shown then consciences can’t be from God.

    • Leonard, humans get their conscience from God. He created us in His image; atheists can banter about what they believe, but they are constrained by the fabric of their being in His likeness. Now, they can suppress their conscience and some are worse people than others, but their innate desire to do good comes from Him.

      • Er, glenn… this is a thread abous sociopaths. People loosely defined as having no conscience.

        No conscience, no God.

        Well done glenn, you just argued away God in puff of logic.

      • That is a good answer Glenn.

    • Tone B. Rown wrote “How did your uncle know what is good? I think he read the Bible.”

      And your thinking would be incorrect sir. My uncle was raised a christian but abandoned it during the depression. Ethically he used reason to arrive at a solution to any moral question. We would often argue ethics and his were always reason based.

      • “We would argue ehtics and his were always reason based.” -Chris

        Reason based = Bible based?

      • Tone E. Brown wrote “Reason based = Bible based?”

        Afraid not sir. Reason based means based upon reason. Bible based would mean based upon the bible.

    • A non-snarky response? There are quite a number of well-developed philosophies of ethics that don’t rely on any appeal to supernatural authority. Atheists who take a serious interest in ethics generally study those. (I recently explored how you can derive the Golden Rule without any appeal to authority at all; you might or might not find that interesting.)

      As a practical matter, I suspect that most atheists get their morals – or at least their introduction to morality – the same way everyone else does: from parents and other authority figures as they’re growing up, and later through interacting with the people around them.

  12. “If you don’t like this or want to belittle my analysis, think about what District Judge Mark Martin said to an atheist who was choked by a man when he mocked Islam: “…before you start mocking somebody else’s religion, you might want to find out a little more about it. It kind of makes you look like a doofus.”

    I like that anecdote.

    • Repeating people’s bigotry kind of makes you look like a doofus too Mr. Brown.

      Hey I like it too. Insulting others is the way to go. 🙂

    • I agree with District Judge Mark Martin. Don’t taunt people unless you are prepared for the consequences.

      • Even when the law is quite explicitly against an action?

        Constitutional law [which trumps all local and state laws] declares that particular individual has the right of free speech.

        Not to mention the laws against assault also apply.

        But let’s go by the judge’s assertion. According to you he declared “Don’t taunt people unless you are prepared for the consequences”. Now since Ray, Steve, and so on often taunt atheists does that mean atheists can attack them?

        I’d argue no they can’t but it seems that you’d disagree.

      • In other words, who cares about the freedom of speech, eh?

        For the record, I absolutely disagree with the judge, and I would disagree regardless of the political/religious/whatever of the people involved.

        If an evangelical was wearing a sign saying something negative about atheists, and an atheist assaulted him, then the atheist should be charged with (and found guilty of) assault.

        You fight speech with speech; as soon as you get physical, you’re in the wrong.

      • I agree with Tone and the Judge too. A wise person thinks before they speak.

      • Chris and Nohm,

        I agree that no one should be assaulted. I think the Judge and maybe Tone’s point is that be aware of what you are saying and who you are saying it too.

        For example don’t go into a room full of (insert minority) and start using racial, ethnic, religious or sexist profanity and not expect some bad repercussions.

        On a side note a person can be arrested for inciting a riot. Free Speech doesn’t cover everything someone wants to say.

      • While it’s true that incitement to riot is against the law just issuing an insult which results in a riot is not!

        Incitement is not the same as provocation.

        As to the atheist being aware of possible offence – what difference would that make? There is no right to be protected from hurt gfeelings in US law. On the other hand there are laws against assault & for freedom of speech.

        Conclusion: The judge was wrong and I hope the guy takes his case to a higher court.

      • Basically this was a pretty flimsy case in court which turned into a basic, he said/she said situation with a video tape that revealed nothing but shouting. More than likely there was an altercation obviously, but because it was in public and people were around didn’t get out of hand. But this country was founded on free speech, and while we have curbed some speech (no shouting bomb on an airplane, etc.) because its a blatant danger to public safety that serves no other purpose other than cause a panic, the right to mock, ridicule, or satirize a person or idea is a fundamental aspect of a free society.

        The moment we let violence cow us into silence or force us to condone a political, religious or social figure,ideal or religion we are no longer living in a free society. If the man was assaulted and there had been more conclusive evidence his attacker should have been found guilty.

  13. Let’s give our religious cohorts a psych test and see how they fare.

    “The following questionnaire is based on research and experiences of socialised psychopaths. For each trait, decide if it applies to the person you suspect may be a socialised psychopath, fully (2 points), partially (1 point) or not at all (0 points).

    Do they have problems sustaining stable relationships, personally and in business?
    Do they frequently manipulate others to achieve selfish goals, with no consideration of the effects on those manipulated?
    Are they cavalier about the truth, and capable of telling lies to your face?
    Do they have an air of self-importance, regardless of their true standing in society?
    Have they no apparent sense of remorse, shame or guilt?
    Is their charm superficial, and capable of being switched on to suit immediate ends?
    Are they easily bored and demand constant stimulation?
    Are their displays of human emotion unconvincing?
    Do they enjoy taking risks, and acting on reckless impulse?
    Are they quick to blame others for their mistakes?
    As teenagers, did they resent authority, play truant and/or steal?
    Do they have no qualms about sponging off others?
    Are they quick to lose their temper?
    Are they sexually promiscuous?
    Do they have a belligerent, bullying manner?
    Are they unrealistic about their long-term aims?
    Do they lack any ability to empathise with others?
    Would you regard them as essentially irresponsible?

    A score of 25 or above suggests strong psychopathic tendencies.”

  14. Do you have any statistical data collected buy a legitimate authority, say pshychiatric reseachers, PhD’s on the subject, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, etc to support this very powerful statement? Also do you have any peer-reviewed articles or studies on which to back up your blog posting? Or are you just into reporting something you like because you heard it from someone who is famous?

    Answer those and I might have some belief in anything that comes spewing from your mouth Mr. Sanchez.

  15. WND, what a reliable source.

  16. You know, Denzel Washington is an OK actor (a little restrained, but OK), but anybody who reads one book, a book that supports his already existing beliefs, and then makes huge, sweeping generalizations like that? Well, until someone actually shows me some statistically-supported, verifiable data on the subject, I’ll just say that Denzel is just another small-minded bigot. There are a lot of them out there.

    Once again, let me just point out the obvious.

    Ed Gein was a Lutheran. John Wayne Gacy was a Catholic. According to FBI reports, Gary Ridgeway (the Green River Killer) “attended church regularly, read the Bible at home and at work, and talked about religion with co-workers” (quick search doesn’t tell me which denomination). Dennis Rader (the BTK killer) was president of his church (Christ Lutheran). Robert Lee Yates was a Seventh Day Adventist. Derrick Todd Lee was conducting Bible studies in Atlanta when he was arrested.

    Toquemada and Hitler were both good Catholics, as were most of the soldiers in the Crusades.

    Or let’s look at it another way. It’s called “math”

    Psychopaths make up 1% of the general population, but 25% of the prison population, according to Dr. Hare.

    OK, now. Let’s consider statistics from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which shows that atheists make up about two-tenths of one percent of the prison population.

    Huh. Those numbers don’t match up very well, do they?

    • The Athiests in prision just lie about not being athiests because they have no morals.

      • The prisoners aren’t really Christian because no one who has committed a crime is really a Christian, ‘Tub. Checkmate!

      • Somebody is seeing the light.


      • How can an atheist feel bad or repent for doing something bad when they believe that morality is an invention of religion?

      • Morality is an invention of humans. Religion is also an invention of humans. Laws and ethics – inventions of humans. That has nothing to do with feeling bad after doing something bad. Actually, the feeling bad part probably came first and then humans invented morality and ethics and laws.

        Empathy is one of the bases of morality. But empathy isn’t just a human thing. Empathy is found (in varying degrees) in other social animals as well. Rudimentary ‘morality’ has also been found in other primates.

      • If what you say is true, of course you have no need for God. Sad.

      • If what she says is true, NO ONE has a need for (your) God.

    • But…but Steve if what Perdita is saying is true then it would not be sad since they would not need God to supply them with their sense of right and wrong.

    • That has nothing to do with feeling bad after doing something bad. -perdita

      How do you feel bad about doing bad if you have no idea what bad is? God defines what is bad through the Bible and the Holy Spirit.

      • I’m saying feeling bad came first. ‘Feeling bad’ in the sense of being aware that what you did may not go down well with the others in your social group is not unique to humans. It’s found – to varying degrees – in other animals, too. Empathy is found to varying degrees. There’s no reason to think this must be God-given.

      • Tone B Rown. I agree

        God writes his laws on a believer’s heart. Atheists ignore God’s presence and eventually have a faulty conscience or no conscience.

      • Arlise, if I said my conscience told me that selling children into slavery was wrong, would you agree or disagree?

      • Jim wrote Then why is the atheist population so under represented in prisons?

        Probably because this is a “False Christian Nation“…

        PS. I’m betting Steve will like that. I’m also betting he’ll ignore what it suggests about his own theology.

  17. I suppose delusional idiots will say pretty much anything. That includes Denzel and all of the Christians spewing hateful things on this blog. Jesus would be proud I’m sure. Forget all that love thy neighbor crap, right? Christian, Muslim, what’s the difference. They both worship the same imaginary friend and HATE everyone with a different belief system than themselves. Religion sucks and so do the people that live by Iron/Bronze Age mythology and superstitions.

  18. Christians are the worst kind of hypocrits. Sin, ask for forgiveness from your imaginary friend, rinse and repeat, ad nauseum. Religion allows theists to commit crimes and be hateful persons because all they have to do ask forgiveness from some imaginary friend and all will be forgiven. Religion is a cop out and the BuyBull is not a hand book for morality. They are quite the opposite.

  19. Jesus loves you, but if you don’t love him back he’ll make you burn in Hell for all eternity. Ya, that makes perfect sense. Real nice savior ya got there Christians.

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