Reason Freely

Atheists know what they’re talking about

Posted in news by reasonfreely on September 29, 2010

…but “nones” don’t.  This is according to a new Pew study on religious knowledge.

The exercise of reason requires unbiased, factual information; so it’s no surprise that atheists are the most knowledgable.  Those who care to reject religion in favor of rational secular ethics have typically studied it before they made that decision.  So, as the LA Times points out,

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.”

What interests me is that the “nones” have some of the lowest religious knowledge, lower than white mainline protestants, even.  Given what the LA times said about atheists, this implies that the “nones” are people who don’t think a lot about religion and don’t care about it.  And that’s OK, too; while it’s always better to think hard about your ethics, if you’re going to make a decision without engaging in a lot of reason and analysis, it’s better to disbelieve passively than to believe passively.

Other sources:  Times, NPR

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5 Responses

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  1. Dave said, on September 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Perhaps the creationism museum did not focus enough on standardized testing prep. I’d be interested to see the questions that were asked.

  2. toothlesshag said, on September 29, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    It’s terrible that religious people failed!

    I recommend CHURCH REFORM! It must be FIXED! Our SOULS are in trouble! And that starts with T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Pool!

    Pastors will be held accountable for the knowledge of their congregation. Congregations shall be tested each year. If a church does not make significant progress in knowledge each year, which shall be known as AYP, the pastor shall be removed from the church and all funding and support from any united denomination shall be pulled. A new pastor will be installed until test scores improve, but then that pastor has less funding, so . . .

    Nones can fail, but they will not meet the graduation requirement for getting into heaven.

    Each church denomination will be judged on the number of baptized members that get into heaven. This data will be collected by bishops and church leaders. How they acquire this data is up to the denominations and will be reported in the media.

    • reasonfreely said, on October 1, 2010 at 7:14 am

      Catholics actually have formalized curricula and required religious tests, yet only 45% knew that transubstantiation wasn’t symbolic, in their creed.

      Goes to show how much good highly regulated curricula do, I suppose 🙂

  3. Regan said, on September 29, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    This is proof people don’t pay attention.


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