Atheists Know the Most About Religion: Study

Average member of the faithful has big knowledge gap
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2010 7:28 AM CDT
Atheists Know the Most About Religion: Study
They may not read it, but they know what's in it.   (Getty Images)

The people who know the most about religion are the people who don’t have one. In a recent Pew survey, atheists and agnostics knew more, on average, about religion than followers of any of the major faiths, the LA Times reports. The faithful displayed startling gaps in knowledge—a majority of Protestants, for example, couldn’t identify Martin Luther as the man who kicked off the Protestant Reformation.

Why are non-believers so knowledgeable? Probably because most grew up religious, but turned from the faith after study and soul-searching, says one Pew researcher. “These are people who thought a lot about religion.” They also tend to be well-educated, although they also outperformed believers with similar education levels. Among the major faiths, Jews and Mormons ranked most knowledgeable, followed by evangelical Protestants, Catholics, and others. Muslims and Hindus weren’t polled in large enough numbers to be ranked. (More religion stories.)

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