September 28, 2010

Atheists score highest in religion quiz

Not surprising: they've looked closely at religion; that's why they don't believe its claims. I've seen this pointed out over and over again on religion discussion boards. The response from Christians is invariably the same: 'The Devil knows the Bible backwards and forwards also.'

The implication being, of course, that non-believers are under the spell of the believers' imaginary bugaboo, Satan. It's a classy retort, considering this character is purported to be the embodiment of all evil and vileness (and worse, an avid collector of Hummel figurines).
Associate professor of sociology Lakshmi Bharadwaj and Susan Wood, chairman of the Theology Department at Marquette University, say they've seen an erosion of religious knowledge among students over the last 30 to 40 years — brought on, they say, by the growing secularism of society.
Is that so.

Then how come the "secularists" scored the best, and the adherents the lowest? The latter didn't even know about their own religions.

Surely the secularizers are not responsible for that.

Telling, too, that when Stephen Colbert turns up in Congress and quotes — in complete sincerity, it seemed to me — the words of Jesus Christ, he's condemned by so-called conservative Christians.


Free Lunch said...

Reactionary Christians have no use for Jesus' teachings. They might have to admit that Jesus would have raised taxes on the wealthy and supported universal health care programs. It's a shame that there are so many people who call themselves Christian who have no idea what Jesus taught.

illusory tenant said...

Pious frauds, as Jefferson would say.

Grant said...

they've looked closely at religion

I don't necessarily disagree with that statement. But it seems to me to define knowledge rather narrowly to supernatural claims, religious institutions and texts.

To me the most interesting aspect of Christianity is as philosophical system and cultural phenomenon, and how it has shaped even the "secular" Western worldview in varied and strange ways.

I don't think most people understand how inseparably marbled western religion is with Platonic ethics and metaphysics, for example. As a long line of thinkers from Kierkegaard to Garry Wills have pointed out, the Jesus of "primitive" Christianity is an extremely weird character even if you put aside the claim of divinity.

illusory tenant said...

Excellent points all.

Unknown said...

A lot of people are just born into their religions, and accept it by default. They're not really required to do much learning on the subject, and it's probably not something that is particularly important in their lives. I bet you'd find that the people who scored lowest just aren't that into religion, but never bothered to rescind their religious identification.

Ordinary Jill said...

A lot of religious institutions do not encourage their followers to learn much about their sect. The leaders praise "simple faith" and liken themselves to shepherds, encouraging their followers to be sheep. If Christians actually read the Bible, they might ask uncomfortable questions of their pastor. They might question his authority.

Display Name said...

I wonder what Jesus would say about Milwaukee's poverty and underclass.