Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says

Sep 28, 2010 Full story: www.latimes.com 23

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."

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Since: Sep 10

Earth

#1 Sep 28, 2010
Where's the surprise?

The godbots claim absolute certainty and that they have all the answers, so they never read anything that disagrees with their beliefs. Atheists, on the other hand, read the books and writings of those who disagree with us. If you read, you know where the flaws in the argument are.

Or to put it another way, a godbot will say, "I'm right and you're wrong because 'god' says so!" Atheists, on the other hand, will say, "If your 'god' exists, then why...." which makes for a stronger argument or counter argument.
Epicurus

United States

#2 Sep 28, 2010
I find it hard to take seriouly anyone that believes in talking animals, witches and miracles.

Few Xtians have actually read the entire buybull.
Even ministers only cherry pick what they want.

When queried about various passages that defy logic and reason and common sense... the answer is all to predictable.... "Only god understands"

If there is a God who will damn his children forever, I would rather go to hell than to go to heaven and keep the society of such an infamous tyrant. I make my choice now. I despise that doctrine. It has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. It has polluted the hearts of children, and poisoned the imaginations of men. It has been a constant pain, a perpetual terror to every good man and woman and child. It has filled the good with horror and with fear; but it has had no effect upon the infamous and base. It has wrung the hearts of the tender, it has furrowed the cheeks of the good. This doctrine never should be preached again. What right have you, sir, Mr. clergyman, you, minister of the gospel to stand at the portals of the tomb, at the vestibule of eternity, and fill the future with horror and with fear? I do not believe this doctrine, neither do you. If you did, you could not sleep one moment. Any man who believes it, and has within his breast a decent, throbbing heart, will go insane. A man who believes that doctrine and does not go insane has the heart of a snake and the conscience of a hyena.
--Robert G. Ingersoll

And... perhaps a more acute obvservation...

The West is endangered, primarily, by the religious fragmentation of the human community, by religious impediments to clear thinking, and by the religious willingness of millions to sacrifice the real possibility of happiness in this world for a fantasy of a world to come. We are living in a world where untold millions of grown men and women can rationalize the violent sacrifice of their own children by recourse to fairy tales. We are living in world where millions of Muslims believe that there is nothing better than to be killed in defense of Islam. We are living in a world in which millions of American Christians hope to soon be raptured into the sky by Jesus so that they can safely enjoy the holy genocide that will inaugurate the end of human history. We are living in a world in which a silly old priest, by merely giving voice to his religious inanities, could conceivably start a war with 1.4 billion Muslims who take their own inanities in deadly earnest. These are real dangers. And they are not dangers for which more “Biblical faith” is a remedy.
--Sam Harris

“"I believe in humans." ”

Since: Apr 09

A place where peace reigns.

#3 Sep 28, 2010
Most of the godbots do little to no research on the cult that they've been raised in, or on other religions in that regard.

It's a fact. They're really too indoctrinated to know fact from fiction.

redneck

Cave Junction, OR

#4 Sep 28, 2010
Studying religion is what led me to atheism.
Richard

Ashfield, Australia

#5 Sep 28, 2010
kaitouinu88 wrote:
Most of the godbots do little to no research on the cult that they've been raised in, or on other religions in that regard.....
And why would they most people are sheep willing to let other people do their thinking for them. This applies to ALL religions and political parties in all countries.
Erich Fromm in his book "The Fear of Freedom" summed it up, probably the only book ever written where the title says it all.

“Darwin died for your sins”

Since: Aug 08

Nunya

#6 Sep 28, 2010
I saw some of the questions on that survey. Now, I am by no means a biblical scholar but I was able to answer the majority of those questions correctly. They were basic and simple. How a godbot could miss all those questions, I don't know. Prime example of blind faith, don't you guys think?
Epicurus

United States

#7 Sep 29, 2010
madscot wrote:
I saw some of the questions on that survey. Now, I am by no means a biblical scholar but I was able to answer the majority of those questions correctly. They were basic and simple. How a godbot could miss all those questions, I don't know. Prime example of blind faith, don't you guys think?
Faith is blind. One has to ignore reality in order to believe.
And... that test they gave... Simple for any atheist to answer.
I answered all 15 questions without any error. I'm sure most atheists will get a minimum of 80% correct.

FAITH as defined in the dictionary

1.Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2.Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See synonyms at belief, trust.
3.Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4.often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
5.The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6.A set of principles or beliefs.

"Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel." - Ambroise Bierce

Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived. Isaac Asimov

One Galileo in two thousand years is enough. Pope Pius XII

They came with a Bible and their religion, stole our land, crushed our spirit, and now tell us we should be thankful to the Lord for being saved. Chief Pontiac

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? Epicurus
redneck

Cave Junction, OR

#8 Sep 29, 2010
Strange that in religion, faith is a virtue and knowledge is a sin...
Epicurus

United States

#9 Sep 29, 2010
redneck wrote:
Strange that in religion, faith is a virtue and knowledge is a sin...
There is not one verse in the buybull in praise of intelligence.

"Faith means not wanting to know what is true.”~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis.-- Sigmund Freud

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." ~Carl Sagan

Bertrand Russell
"Religion prevents our children from having a rational education; religion prevents us from removing the fundamental causes of war; religion prevents us from teaching the ethic of scientific cooperation in place of the old fierce doctrines of sin and punishment. It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion."

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#10 Sep 29, 2010
“Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits.”~ Dan Barker

“Religion is the one place where people are honored for their ignorance.”~ Ignots Pistachio

“So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.”~ Bertrand Russell

“As people become more intelligent they care less for preachers and more for teachers.”~ Robert G. Ingersoll

“They were allowed to stay there on one condition, and that is that they didn't eat of the tree of knowledge. That has been the condition of the Christian church from then until now. They haven't eaten as yet, as a rule they do not.”~ Clarence Darrow

“The inspiration of the bible depends on the ignorance of the person who reads it.”~ Robert G. Ingersoll

"It is the inevitable effect of religion on public policy that makes it a matter of public concern. Advocates of religiosity extol the virtues or moral habits that religion is supposed to instill in us. But we should be equally concerned with the intellectual habits it discourages." ~ Wendy Kaminer

“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”~ Benjamin Franklin

“I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.”~ Arthur C. Clarke

“"I believe in humans." ”

Since: Apr 09

A place where peace reigns.

#11 Sep 29, 2010
I just took that quiz and I got a 93.

“"I believe in humans." ”

Since: Apr 09

A place where peace reigns.

#12 Sep 29, 2010
Probably more than any fundie like Paul WV or Yellodog would ever get.
Epicurus

United States

#13 Sep 29, 2010
kaitouinu88 wrote:
I just took that quiz and I got a 93.
Which one did you miss?

Among the topics covered in the survey were: Where was Jesus born? What is Ramadan? Whose writings inspired the Protestant Reformation? Which Biblical figure led the exodus from Egypt? What religion is the Dalai Lama? Joseph Smith? Mother Teresa? In most cases, the format was multiple choice.

The researchers said that the questionnaire was designed to represent a breadth of knowledge about religion, but was not intended to be regarded as a list of the most essential facts about the subject. Most of the questions were easy, but a few were difficult enough to discern which respondents were highly knowledgeable.

On questions about the Bible and Christianity, the groups that answered the most right were Mormons and white evangelical Protestants.

On questions about world religions, like Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism, the groups that did the best were atheists, agnostics and Jews.

One finding that may grab the attention of policy makers is that most Americans wrongly believe that anything having to do with religion is prohibited in public schools.

An overwhelming 89 percent of respondents, asked whether public school teachers are permitted to lead a class in prayer, correctly answered no.

But fewer than one of four knew that a public school teacher is permitted “to read from the Bible as an example of literature.” And only about one third knew that a public school teacher is permitted to offer a class comparing the world’s religions.

The survey’s authors concluded that there was “widespread confusion” about “the line between teaching and preaching.”

Mr. Smith said the survey appeared to be the first comprehensive effort at assessing the basic religious knowledge of Americans, so it is impossible to tell whether they are more or less informed than in the past.

The phone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish in May and June. There were not enough Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu respondents to say how those groups ranked.

Clergy members who are concerned that their congregants know little about the essentials of their own faith will no doubt be appalled by some of these findings:

¶ 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.

¶ Forty-three percent of Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the foremost rabbinical authorities and philosophers, was Jewish.

The question about Maimonides was the one that the fewest people answered correctly. But 51 percent knew that Joseph Smith was Mormon, and 82 percent knew that Mother Teresa was Roman Catholic.
Epicurus

United States

#14 Sep 29, 2010
redneck wrote:
Studying religion is what led me to atheism.
I think that statement is true for most atheists.

The more you learn the less you 'believe'...'faith' is abandoned.

BTW - For those that want to take the test...

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/09/28...

Shame on any atheist that does not get at least 80%!

<finger wags>

“No Bishop,No King,No Nobility”

Since: May 08

The Underworld

#16 Sep 29, 2010
It's a bit pathetic, but a lot of these don't surprise me.

It almost seems unfathomable that someone would not know that Mother Theresa was Catholic, but so many people are just simply oblivious to other cultures and religions that it doesn't surprise me that a lot of people didn't get that one right. It's somewhat incredible that people could not know such a key detail about someone so well known, but a lot of people just don't care that much.

I'm very much not surprised about most Martin Luther. Most people probably thought they meant Martin Luther King; they simply have no idea who Martin Luther is, or Jonathan Edwards (I wasn't even 100% sure on that one, and was mildly surprised I got it right).

They got me on the Jewish Sabbath. I forgot they count the start from sundown on Friday, and picked Saturday in error.(Can't win 'em all.)

I'm also very unsurprised most respondents couldn't get the Muslim and eastern religion answers right.

Nor am I surprised that a huge amount of Catholics don't understand the Catholic teaching of transubstantiation, let alone everyone else. It's just such a silly belief...

...

I am, however, surprised that so many got the leader of the exodus wrong. This is one of the key stories of the Abrahamic faiths... The vast majority of U.S. residents follow one of the three main Abrahamic faiths, and then a few more follow other Abrahamic faiths like Mormons... These people should know the exodus story...

Job is a pretty big one too, but if they couldn't get Moses I'm not surprised they couldn't pick out Job...(Funny that Mormons scored best on that; maybe a bit telling as well, regarding the focuses of their teachings.)

As much as the fundies throw the ten commandments around, they should know what is and is not in the ten commandments too... it's pathetic that they don't.(Mormons win again... interesting.)

It's interesting what group gets what questions right or wrong in general... it tells a little something about the group, like how much or how little they care about other religions.

i.e. Jews know a fair amount about other religions (sans transubstantiation) compared to the whole, but a large number of them flubbed on the golden rule being one of the ten commandments and Job being obedient despite suffering...

...

I really enjoyed the golden rule / ten commandments one. That one really reveals a focus; a sort of OT/NT divide.

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#18 Sep 30, 2010
Epicurus wrote:
<quoted text>
I think that statement is true for most atheists.
The more you learn the less you 'believe'...'faith' is abandoned.
BTW - For those that want to take the test...
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/09/28...
Shame on any atheist that does not get at least 80%!
<finger wags>
Yep, already took it.

Forget what score I got, but I only missed one. The same one 'Path' missed, the jewish sabbath. Oops.
redneck

Cave Junction, OR

#20 Sep 30, 2010
Epicurus wrote:
<quoted text>
I think that statement is true for most atheists.
The more you learn the less you 'believe'...'faith' is abandoned.
BTW - For those that want to take the test...
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/09/28...
Shame on any atheist that does not get at least 80%!
<finger wags>
Easy quiz- 6/6

“Snow days!”

Since: Nov 08

A winter wonderland

#21 Sep 30, 2010
Hedonist wrote:
<quoted text>
Yep, already took it.
Forget what score I got, but I only missed one. The same one 'Path' missed, the jewish sabbath. Oops.
I think they have various tests that come up randomly. The test I took didn't have a question about the Jewish sabbath. The only one I missed was who suffered the most because of god's wishes.

“"I believe in humans." ”

Since: Apr 09

A place where peace reigns.

#22 Sep 30, 2010
Epicurus wrote:
<quoted text>
Which one did you miss?
Among the topics covered in the survey were: Where was Jesus born? What is Ramadan? Whose writings inspired the Protestant Reformation? Which Biblical figure led the exodus from Egypt? What religion is the Dalai Lama? Joseph Smith? Mother Teresa? In most cases, the format was multiple choice.
The researchers said that the questionnaire was designed to represent a breadth of knowledge about religion, but was not intended to be regarded as a list of the most essential facts about the subject. Most of the questions were easy, but a few were difficult enough to discern which respondents were highly knowledgeable.
On questions about the Bible and Christianity, the groups that answered the most right were Mormons and white evangelical Protestants.
On questions about world religions, like Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism, the groups that did the best were atheists, agnostics and Jews.
One finding that may grab the attention of policy makers is that most Americans wrongly believe that anything having to do with religion is prohibited in public schools.
An overwhelming 89 percent of respondents, asked whether public school teachers are permitted to lead a class in prayer, correctly answered no.
But fewer than one of four knew that a public school teacher is permitted “to read from the Bible as an example of literature.” And only about one third knew that a public school teacher is permitted to offer a class comparing the world’s religions.
The survey’s authors concluded that there was “widespread confusion” about “the line between teaching and preaching.”
Mr. Smith said the survey appeared to be the first comprehensive effort at assessing the basic religious knowledge of Americans, so it is impossible to tell whether they are more or less informed than in the past.
The phone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish in May and June. There were not enough Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu respondents to say how those groups ranked.
Clergy members who are concerned that their congregants know little about the essentials of their own faith will no doubt be appalled by some of these findings:
¶ 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.
¶ Forty-three percent of Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the foremost rabbinical authorities and philosophers, was Jewish.
The question about Maimonides was the one that the fewest people answered correctly. But 51 percent knew that Joseph Smith was Mormon, and 82 percent knew that Mother Teresa was Roman Catholic.
I think I missed the question about Job, but the results said I knew more than 97% of my community. And only 1% knew more than me.

I have a kid, so I know that they still talk about it in public schools. My kid tells me they always talk about it as a work of literature, but they never try to analyze it. I mean, some teachers still refer to places before Jeebus was supposedly born.

They talked about that when I was in school, and they apparently still can talk about it, but you can never criticize it.
Epicurus

United States

#24 Sep 30, 2010
kaitouinu88 wrote:
<quoted text>
I think I missed the question about Job, but the results said I knew more than 97% of my community. And only 1% knew more than me.
I have a kid, so I know that they still talk about it in public schools. My kid tells me they always talk about it as a work of literature, but they never try to analyze it. I mean, some teachers still refer to places before Jeebus was supposedly born.
They talked about that when I was in school, and they apparently still can talk about it, but you can never criticize it.
With over 1200 Christian organizations, the USA has a greater number of Jesus fan clubs than any other country in the world. The proliferation of variegated brands of Christianity in America is so extreme that it acquires a comic dimension. One might discern only a subtle difference in name between, say, the "Evangelical Congregational Church" and the "Evangelical Covenant Church", or the "Church of God in Christ" and "Church of Christ" but miss a gulf of doctrinal distinction.

But then, who is bothered about doctrine anyway? Denominations, a source of so much anguish and bloodshed in the past, have diminishing importance in the era of evangelical psychosis, mega-churches and apocalyptic blockbusters. The important thing is to "have religion". "With religion" you are a patriot, defending the American way of life; without religion you are a subversive radical, an enemy.

Christianity USA is all show business and emotional razzmatazz. Organised as international corporations, with a globalised "mission" of subsidiary offices, its product is propaganda, pouring in prodigious quantity from a network of TV and radio stations and publishing houses. The intent is to draw further millions into the mass of devotees.

In choreographed extravaganzas Pastor whips up mindless love of Jesus and serious fund raising, and then retreats to his opulent sanctuary, content in knowing that he is a tireless servant of the Lord.

Want more...

http://jesusneverexisted.com/sheep.html

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