Tuesday, September 28, 2010


According to a recent survey, the people most knowledgeable about religion are atheists and agnostics -- not surprising, really; part of understanding why we don't believe is understanding what is is that others do believe and the history of both the religion and the scripture of the major religions, and many religious sects strongly discourage that sort of knowledge, for fear it will detract from faith.

I got 100% on the sample quiz (15 of the 32 questions that were given to the phone survey participants). I'm curious what the rest of the questions were -- they seemed pretty basic (I'm surprised that over half of all protestants don't know that Luther inspired the Protestant Reformation, for example, that seems to be a core sort of understanding of church history).

I'm a little fuzzier on Jewish history, though. One of the questions (not in the sample) was about Maimonides..I had to go look that one up. Although I think I might have guessed he was Jewish, since it was a multiple choice question.

Ah, well. What does this mean? I'm not sure. It certainly doesn't mean non-believers are smarter and believers are stupid -- as some of the comments have suggested. But it might give us a hint into what and why people believe the way they do, and how they approach that knowledge. Most atheists and agnostics are non-believers because they have studied the lessons of the religion they left - often in-depth and often with the hopes of rekindling faith, if you read any of the stories they tell of their passage to atheism.

Interesting, at any rate. And sure to raise a lot of hackles.

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