It’s news to no one that those who reject science are overwhelmingly religious. The anti-evolution crusaders, the Earth is 6,000 years old Young Earth Creationists, the Man-Walked-With-Dinosaurs morons (they even have their own museum!), the climate change deniers – all religious fanatics or mentally ill. (Redundant? You decide.) And now we have evidence that these holy rollers are even ignorant of their own beliefs.
According to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and reported by the AP, atheists and agnostics know more about religion than the followers of the world’s major religions.
From the AP article via Netscape:
“A new survey of Americans’ knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.
Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn’t know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.
More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and intellectuals in history, was Jewish.”
As expected, education was the greatest predictor of religious knowledge; those with the most schooling performed best on the survey. Here we must also note the inverse correlation between education and religious beliefs. Is it a wonder the religious-right in American politics has demonized education through short, easily-remembered slogans such as “the northeast, liberal elite” or “liberal academia”? The rabid anti-intellectualism of the Republican Party is, no doubt, a pandering to the religious fundamentalists whose very faith is predicated upon profound stupidity.
The survey also found that bible thumpers do not know that public school teachers may use Biblical passages as examples of literature (I personally recommend any of the frightful passages from Leviticus and Deuteronomy for the Halloween season), but they are aware – furiously so – that teachers cannot lead students in prayer.
Beyond the obvious implications of this – socially conservative, populist politics, etc. – we should note that our Supreme Court consists of six Catholic justices, four of whom are of the hellfire variety (I’m looking at you, Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts!). Thank, er, Yahweh for the three Jews on the court.
Take the survey for yourself here.