Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta published a response to yesterday’s Pew research in one of the local rags. This was my favorite part:
Study after study have shown that there is a correlation betwen a person’s level of education and that person’s level of religiosity. The more education we get, the less religious we are. It’s no surprise that college-educated scientists have a problem with, say, the evangelical Christian stance on evolution. It’s no surprise that educated people have a problem with how women are treated in the Catholic Church and in certain Muslim nations.
Educated people also tend to be more skeptical and critical. We don’t take what religious leaders say at face value. We want to study their claims for ourselves and, too often, we’ve come to find that those leaders are on the wrong side of the truth. The same applies to their holy books. It should be noted that the Pew Forum study showed that atheists/agnostics fared better than “believers who had a similar level of education.” So while education helps, it isn’t the only factor at play.
As I said at the beginning, these are only my theories as to why we atheists scored higher in this study than people from other faiths. As this study makes the rounds, I’m really curious to hear why church-goers feel they scored lower than we did. And I’d love to know if (and how) they plan to fix that.
I would add one thing: We nonbelievers don’t take what anyone says at face value. It’s not just religious leaders.