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Atheists know more about religion than the Believers

CriticalThought

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An interesting story...

Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says - latimes.com

If you want to know about God, you might want to talk to an atheist.

Heresy? Perhaps. But a survey that measured Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists and agnostics knew more, on average, than followers of most major faiths. In fact, the gaps in knowledge among some of the faithful may give new meaning to the term "blind faith."

A majority of Protestants, for instance, couldn't identify Martin Luther as the driving force behind the Protestant Reformation, according to the survey, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Four in 10 Catholics misunderstood the meaning of their church's central ritual, incorrectly saying that the bread and wine used in Holy Communion are intended to merely symbolize the body and blood of Christ, not actually become them.

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.

I'm an agnostic and was raised as a Christian and I find it funny that so many Christians I encounter assume that my lack of faith is simply the result of not having heard the story of Jesus Christ. To the contrary, I attended Sunday School, youth groups, scout groups, and sermons over the course of my childhood but as I grew up and learned more about the history of the Bible, I stopped taking it seriously. While I won't profess whether or not there is a God, what is clear is that humanity does not have a workable or testable definition of God. Furthermore, I detest some of the philosophers of the Bible, particularly Paul. Like Thomas Jefferson, I think Paul was the first person to truly distort the teachings of Jesus Christ and he also introduced some Greek philosophical views, at times verbatim, that science has thoroughly debunked.
 

Cephus

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The majority of atheists started out as religious, we know all about religion and, in fact, tend to know a lot more about religion because we've not only been involved, but studied it in detail. Perhaps that's why we're atheists, the more we studied religion, the sillier it got. The death of religion is the rise of knowledge about religion.
 

Technocratic

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This has implications for politics, as well. If average Joe can't even comprehend his own religion, which is something supposedly deeply personal and of high interest, how can he be allowed to make important political decisons on issues far more complicated and out of his expertise?
 

soccerboy22

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Hell I just study religion because I think it is interesting. Plus you need some religious context when you read some classics.
 

Catz Part Deux

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I'm an agnostic and was raised as a Christian and I find it funny that so many Christians I encounter assume that my lack of faith is simply the result of not having heard the story of Jesus Christ. To the contrary, I attended Sunday School, youth groups, scout groups, and sermons over the course of my childhood but as I grew up and learned more about the history of the Bible, I stopped taking it seriously. While I won't profess whether or not there is a God, what is clear is that humanity does not have a workable or testable definition of God. Furthermore, I detest some of the philosophers of the Bible, particularly Paul. Like Thomas Jefferson, I think Paul was the first person to truly distort the teachings of Jesus Christ and he also introduced some Greek philosophical views, at times verbatim, that science has thoroughly debunked.

I think that most people tend to subscribe to the religious beliefs that they were raised with. The overwhelming majority of people don't change religious paths from the religion they were raised in. There are always a few exceptions to that rule, but in general, research indicates that our worldview is shaped from a very young age, and the majority of people don't deviate from the path.

What that means is that those who DO change paths tend to think and seek and struggle with their faith more than the average believer. It's only natural that those people would have done a considerable degree of research before changing.

I certainly did.
 

Dogger807

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Ignorance is the refuge of faith


yup that about sums it up right there.
 

Civil1z@tion

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15/15

The last one I knew the answer to, the Great Awakening was a post-Revolution rise in religion that in many ways was the starting place for the modern evangelical movement. Its the one question though that I wouldn't expect most people to get (I'm probably one of the few people who bothered to retain that tidbit of high school US history).

BTW: atheist here so more evidence that atheists know more about religion :p

(though seriously Catz Part Deux's explanation makes a lot of sense and atheists/agnostics almost always have changed their belief system over time thus leading to a higher proportion who actually know what they're talking about regarding at least the major religions).
 
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obvious Child

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14/15.

Guessed right on the last one. That was 50-50. Not Mr. Graham for sure.

Well, Shiva is going to rain all kinds of destruction down for Americans' failure. Way to piss off The Destroyer Americans. Way to go.
 

Cephus

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U.S. Religious Knowledge Quiz
13/15
miss 2 14,15
should have got 14
had no ideal on 15

You answered 15 out of 15 questions correctly
for a score of 100%.

Although most of those weren't questions about religion, but about people who played a role in religion, or about what people in a particular region believe. That has nothing to do with what the religion actually teaches, therefore I don't know that it's a good test of knowledge, it's just trivia.
 

rivrrat

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As an atheist, I study all religions. I don't just blindly follow the teachings of one I was born into. From my experience, many atheists are similar so the fact that in general, atheists tend to know more about religions than religious people is not surprising. Many religious folks I have spoken with don't have a ****ing clue what their religious texts actually say. Except for Hindus. In my experience, Hindus have a superior knowledge of their own religion.
 

Infinite Chaos

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-- Perhaps that's why we're atheists, the more we studied religion, the sillier it got. The death of religion is the rise of knowledge about religion.

I agreed the first bit you wrote, most atheists were probably raised religious and then began to question religion. I did too and I would consider that at the time I questioned it that I knew a hell of a lot about religion. I am an atheist who questioned and found no satisfactory answers in religion.

Faith however is something I didn't know much about, faith is what (I think) separates those who question and find no answer from those who find no answer but that reinforces their faith. I never found religion "silly" or that it got "sillier." I simply didn't have the propensity to faith that some others have. Some of the most intelligent people I've argued with have been religious and I would never call them silly.

I do however respect them (and most people who have a faith) for an ability that I don't have.
 

TaskmasterX

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This can explain why there weren't many atheists (if any at all) at the time of Moses, Jesus, or Muhammed. To question your religion or the prophets was to question your faith or the messengers of God. Doing so would cause you harm or even death at the hands of those who refuse to question the religion and its prophets. Now, with the accumulation of more knowledge and with it the evolution of free societies, more and more are questioning religions and their prophets. Faith is merely choosing NOT to find answers to the hard questions that arise when questioning your religion.
 

Hatuey

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Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says

Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey saysReport says nonbelievers know more, on average, about religion than most faithful. Jews and Mormons also score high on the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey. - Los Angeles Times

Heresy? Perhaps. But a survey that measured Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists and agnostics knew more, on average, than followers of most major faiths. In fact, the gaps in knowledge among some of the faithful may give new meaning to the term "blind faith."

A majority of Protestants, for instance, couldn't identify Martin Luther as the driving force behind the Protestant Reformation, according to the survey, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Four in 10 Catholics misunderstood the meaning of their church's central ritual, incorrectly saying that the bread and wine used in Holy Communion are intended to merely symbolize the body and blood of Christ, not actually become them.

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.

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."

Atheists and agnostics also tend to be relatively well educated, and the survey found, not surprisingly, that the most knowledgeable people were also the best educated. However, it said that atheists and agnostics also outperformed believers who had a similar level of education.

The groups at the top of the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey were followed, in order, by white evangelical Protestants, white Catholics, white mainline Protestants, people who were unaffiliated with any faith (but not atheist or agnostic), black Protestants and Latino Catholics.

Don't take that to mean that Christianity, Islam, Judaism etc don't look for answers to explain the world around them. They explore the world around them but are simply looking for evidence to validate their beliefs. As opposed to atheists who simply have no beliefs and are looking to see how far down the rabbit hole goes. It's the difference between wondering if there is a rabbit at the end of the hole and knowing there is a rabbit at the end of the hole.
 
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Jetboogieman

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Re: Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says

I was once a really devout Christain, actually read the entire bible cover to cover. But the more I actually educated myself about all the religions, the more I finally realised it's all hog wash.

Sorry to all believers. But it's hog wash.

One thing that's always struck me. Is if people are willing to believe in the bible, that all this crazy **** went down over 1000 years ago. How come nothing is happening now?

Possibly because anyone who goes up to the top of a mountain, comes back down and tells us he just spoke to god is going straight to the loonie bin...
 

BCR

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Re: Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says

lol, I wonder the same thing jetboogieman. People 2,000 years ago could walk on water, part the seas, and talk to burning bushes. For some perculiar reason all these supernatural events have occured less and less as people became more knowledgable.

Somethings fishy.
 

digsbe

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This is sad but most likely true. It's a shame that many religious people are ignorant of their faith. Most likely they just go through the motions and don't really believe what their religion teaches. When I was an atheist I researched many faiths.
 

snbl11225

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This has implications for politics, as well. If average Joe can't even comprehend his own religion, which is something supposedly deeply personal and of high interest, how can he be allowed to make important political decisons on issues far more complicated and out of his expertise?

I disagree on several levels. First, religion is something that is closely personal. It transcends politics and deals with issues that for many are not measured by ideas that can be broken down into black and white. I have voted in every election since I was 18. I am now 61 years of age. I was rasised Catholic but was agnostic until my mid 50's. It was much easieer to resolve political beliefs than those of Christianity. I finally accepted Jesus Christ, but I did so after much thought and research. If people question their beliefs it implies to me that they would take that same introspection into there political beliefs as well.
 

Tashah

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Moderator's Warning:
Two threads merged
 

OscarB63

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wow, I didn't know a teacher could read from the Bible as an example of literature.
 
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