The More You Know About Religion, The Less Likely You are to Be Religious

 The More You Know About Religion: The Less Likely You are to be Religious

By David G. McAfee 

 

                It’s official. The more you know about religion, the less likely you are to be religious. The news is all over the web and national news programs, so I’m sure you’ve heard. But if you haven’t, you can catch yourself up here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/us/28religion.html. Essentially, we learn from this New York Times article a few basic things.

                Atheists/Agnostics were ranked the highest in overall knowledge about religion, when asked “32 questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, famous religious figures and the constitutional principles governing religion in public life” according to the recent NY Times article. The survey gave insight into an issue that I (and many others) have been talking about for years, and that’s ignorance on religious topics among individuals who classify themselves as “religious”. Generally, in America, this problem is associated with the Christian majority- and the survey validates this by showing the following statistics regarding Judeo-Christian literacy:

  • Fifty-three percent of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the man who started the Protestant Reformation.
  • Forty-five percent of Catholics did not know that their church teaches that the consecrated bread and wine in Holy Communion are not merely symbols, but actually become the body and blood of Christ.  
  • Forty-three percent of Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the foremost rabbinical authorities and philosophers, was Jewish.

               It is not surprising to me that this phone survey sponsored by independent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which contacted more than 3,400 people for these religious inquiries, had such a gloomy outlook regarding religious knowledge in the United States of America- it is, however, quite disheartening. Given that US Citizens are now aware of this blind-faith sense of religion that is so popular, perhaps this will spur some people to have an interest in religious affairs, and do some independent research for themselves. Personally, the part that bothers me most about this recent poll is simply the number of people who consider themselves “Christian” (perhaps as a default, cultural, setting) but know little to nothing about the founding principles and pillars of their religion.

               More important than this hypocrisy of religion, however, is the direct correlation that now exists (in a documented survey format) between biblical knowledge and atheism/agnosticism. In the comments section, I’d like to hear what everybody thinks about this- regardless of your religious affiliation.

 

Pew Research Study

Pew Research Study

Advertisements

4 responses to “The More You Know About Religion, The Less Likely You are to Be Religious

  1. Kinda dishonest in the presentation of these findings… In fact when you look at the questions answered correctly, when asked about the Bible and Christianity, the White Protestants and Mormons out performed everyone else. It was in areas of history and politics that seem to have tipped the scale in favor of the atheists and agnostics. What is interesting is why “nothing in particular” was bracketed off as its own category rather than included with the agnostics. If this were done then their average would drop down to something like 17. Again, I’m surprised that as a skeptic, your normal skeptical abilities dont start tingling whenever someone (including yourself) tries to draw hard and fast inferences from the statistical results drawn by surveys.

  2. @Tyler – As far as this comment from David, “Personally, the part that bothers me most about this recent poll is simply the number of people who consider themselves “Christian” (perhaps as a default, cultural, setting) but know little to nothing about the founding principles and pillars of their religion.”, I would say that was definitely a false assessment of the numbers shown. Everything else presented though was a fair assessment of what the overall study presented. And as far as your questioning of not lumping in “nothing in particular” with the atheists and agnostics, why would they? Did they lump all the I Don’t Follow Any Religion, but I’m “Spiritual” people in with christianity? Of course not. That would make the results an inaccurate representation of the people actually proclaiming themselves as christian or atheist.

  3. If Atheist can’t understand the Bible their not the only ones. Still I’m missing the logic that suports Atheist belief. Since you can’t serve two masters Atheist would no doubt believe there is a Devil. huh?

    • they’re* definitely not the only ones. But NO, I can without a doubt tell you that a true atheist would not believe in the devil- as he is the “god” of his realm. And I, personally, don’t believe in any gods, angels, devils, talking snakes, santa, Easter Bunny, or any other mystical, supernatural beings for which we have no evidence.

      For more info on the “logic that supports atheist belief” (not, at all, how I’d phrase it) see this article:
      https://davidgmcafee.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/morality-vs-worship/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s