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Author/DatePost
mccorquodale
Sep 28 2010
SURVEY: ATHEISTS KNOW MORE ABOUT RELIGION THAN BELIEVERS

An interesting news story, available today from many different sources, reports that a poll of Americans to determine their religious knowledge found atheists and agnostics to the the MOST knowledgeable group!

Click Here

That link goes to the LA Times version of the story. Some other news sources are taking a different approach, just bemoaning the lack of religious knowledge among American in general. But, I find it very interesting that :

Atheists and agnostics those who believe there is no God or who aren't sure were more likely to answer the survey's questions correctly. Jews and Mormons ranked just below them in the survey's measurement of religious knowledge so close as to be statistically tied.

I also like the LA Times' answer to the question of why that might be:

American atheists and agnostics tend to be people who grew up in a religious tradition and consciously gave it up, often after a great deal of reflection and study, said Alan Cooperman, associate director for research at the Pew Forum. "These are people who thought a lot about religion," he said. "They're not indifferent. They care about it."

(Note: The study in question included involvement of Stephen Prothero, a religion professor at Boston University. Since including Biblical Literacy courses in public schools is one of his causes, I am not too surprised that the survey also addresses that, and that the press release says that "67% also said that such teachers are not permitted to read from the Bible as an example of literature, something the law clearly allows." I'm not so sure that the law clearly allows that as it would really depend on how the teacher handled this sensitive topic.)

Alex_Kasman
Sep 28 2010
Re: SURVEY: ATHEISTS KNOW MORE ABOUT RELIGION THAN BELIEVERS

Our own Herb Silverman was asked for his thoughts on these survey results here:

Washington Post: On Faith

For instance:

The results of the Pew Forum survey remind me of a quote from Isaac Asimov, the scientist and prolific author who wrote a comprehensive Guide to the Bible: "Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived." Those first two words, "Properly read," were key for me as a child. Raised as a religious Jew, I was taught to read the Torah (Bible) exclusively in Hebrew. When I began translating what I read into English and thinking carefully about the words, I started to suspect the God of the Bible couldn't exist, and probably neither did any god.

Laura_Kasman
Oct 23 2010
Re: SURVEY: ATHEISTS KNOW MORE ABOUT RELIGION THAN BELIEVERS

Reading the Bible cover to cover was certainly my first step to atheism, but you don't need to read that far. Just the first two books of Genesis contradict each other on what day in creation humans were made, whether men and women were created at the same time, and whether only two humans were created directly or many.

It's an odd book, to be sure.

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