Atheists are often stereotyped as hard-nosed, deeply rational and thoughtful, against supposedly emotional, irrational and unthinking Christians, but a new survey finds that when it comes to business they are as smart as each other.
Overflow Cafe, a website promotion company in Toronto, spoke to 4,375 businesses in the USA and Canada, 2,416 owned by atheists, and 1,959 by Christians.
The results of their survey showed that business - a field where anything less than solid reasoning can result in quick failure - is something Christians and atheists do equally well.
The average age of the Christian business surveyed was 60 months against 63 months for atheist businesses, showing a comparable sample group.
Both Christians and atheists are adept at managing business debt, with 79% of atheist business owners reporting having less business debt than they did two years ago, along with 78% of Christian businesses.
Optimism abounds equally among both Christian and atheist business owners, with 75% of Christians saying they have a positive outlook for their business this year, and 76% of atheists feeling the same way.
Things are looking so good for the businesses of both Christians and atheists, that they are largely looking to hire (66% among Christians, versus 68% of atheists).
In fact, 31% of Christian businesses are contemplating expanding their businesses into new areas, as are 29% of atheist businesses.
Christians seem to have more struggles in business in general, but they definitely manage to overcome them. Just under half (47%) of Christian businesses asked said they had "overcome significant hurdles in the past 2 years".
In contrast, only 18% of atheist business owners felt like the last two years had involved overcoming hurdles.
But when Christians do overcome their challenges, there are substantial results. Over three-quarters (79%) of Christian business have reported a profitable past five years. Only 61% of atheist businesses said the same.
Overall though, both groups seem to be similarly on target, with 30% of Christians saying they have met their business goals for the past 12 months, with 32% of atheists saying the same.
Jeff Hall, a spokesperson and employee of Overflow Cafe said: "I'm on the phone every day with our long time clients who have no belief system and others who have deeply rooted religious beliefs.
"I find that both are equally successful (or failures) at businesses. They have relatively the same challenges and resources."