Tuesday, September 28, 2010

At least Atheists know what they don't believe

Interesting article in the New York Times today, it describes the results of a Pew survey on religion in America, 3,400 people were phoned and asked 32 questions about religion. The conclusion of the survey was that Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people but are also deeply ignorant about religion. Most people only got 50% of the questions right, most also flunked questions about their own religion.

The statistic I found most interesting was that the group of people with the best scores, i.e. those that knew most about religion were the atheists, yes, it seems that the best way to make an atheist is to give her a Bible or a Koran to study. This sounds about right to me since atheism and certainly the atheists I know are more often than not born out of an open minded and rational inquiry into the subject rather than via faith or by sticking rigidly to the dogma of the culture they happen to be born into.

Here are a couple of sample results,

- 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.

What can we say other than, "C- could try harder"...

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