Are You Smarter Than An Atheist?

I just love these surveys that the Pew Forum does.  They really shed light on the true condition of religion in America; often revealing the inconvenient truths that inevitably get lost within the powerful momentum of traditional religious practices.

One of these truths couldn’t have been better revealed than in the most recent U.S Religious Knowledge Survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

They randomly sampled 3,412 adults and have now offered a miniature version of the quiz online, in order for you to compare your religious intelligence with them.

So what did they find?  Two points summed it up for me.

  • Atheist, Agnostics, Jews, and Mormons scored best on the test, while Christians scored the worst.
  • The U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey shows that large numbers of Americans are uninformed about the tenets, practices, history and leading figures of major faith traditions – including their own.

Why You Need To Explore Your Beliefs`

In light of recent examples of compromised religious leadership, sex scandals in the Catholic church, the well documented changes within protestantism, and the general decline of church attendance, it is becoming more and more apparent that there are cracks within the foundation of institutional religion.

Maybe aspects of an individualist spiritual experience may have some merit?

I am not negating the benifits of community(in fact I am pushing for some major re-imagining in this area), however you and I, as individuals, need to become our own spiritual experts. After all, it is our lives.

No longer can we relegate the most important aspects of our lives to the comfort of spectating from the pews.  We are the players.  These studies keep showing that many of the religious community claim to believe what they have not personally understood.  So whose understanding is being leveraged here?  Yes,learning from those who can reveal genuine wisdom in the areas we wish to emulate has a ton of value.  BUT we cannot afford to outsource our spiritual lives or deep questioning, to men in robes.

Religion vs Faith

The U.S Religious Knowledge Survey conducted by the Pew Forum is eye opening; in that it shows that although we are the most religious developed country, it appears we don’t know what religion we are even following.  But maybe that takes a back seat to remembering that religious knowledge cannot be confused with faith and true character growth; where through our personal revelations, we become better people.

What are the chances that a survey could assess our ability to forgive? More important right?

Moral of the story: Build a strong foundation.  Know what you claim to believe.  Don’t blindly follow beliefs just because they were handed down from your parents, or socially, or culturally convenient.  Truth deserves more than that.

Where do you stand?

Take the short 15 question quiz here, and find out if you’re smarter than an Atheist.

My score says I’m “smarter” than an Atheist.  But you never doubted that right?  I missed 2 questions out of the 15.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the quiz, and your score here if you’d like.  Read the complete executive summary of the study here.

Quick question: Why do think this study reveals that so many do not know what religion they are following?


  • Metaphysical Singularity says:

    Got all 15. Ha! Go agnosticism. Kickin ur butts, atheists! ;) ;)

  • Wow I got 13 out of 15. Not too shabby for this Christian! I do admittedly study all religions as a hobby, though.

  • Got 15/15 from a confirmed theogeek.

  • veron says:

    Hey Jeffrey,
    Anything less would be uncivilized…AND I knew Pakistan was Muslim, but thought things had shifted…Good to know I'm surrounding myself with smart theogeeks.

  • veron says:

    Not to shabby at all Alisha. I was a bit surprised by the general results of the study. But then again it sort of makes sense that Atheist, and Agnostics would be a bit more open to learning about all religious thoughts. I guess more Christians feel they don't need the education. Interesting study though…Thanks for you mention today!

  • veron says:

    Haha…Now you know you don't surprise me at all! They should have given you extra credit ;->

  • You are very welcome. I just linked to this on my Facebook. By the way, have you hit the “Like” button for my blog's fanpage??? Hint, hint, hint…

  • veron says:

    Oh but of course!(Just did). BTW A lot of great links and post on the page. I really look forward to talking to you some more!

  • QuidQuintessa says:

    The results of the quiz were interesting, at least as they were reported — that atheists knew more about religion than religious believers! But then this all begs another line of questions about what is faith/religion, what is “knowing” in the religious sense? Is religion primarily a conglomeration of beliefs or is it to be an experience? If we evaluate religion in those terms, what would be the result? What would a survey of the experience of transcendence even look like?

    Another point is that atheists' level of religious knowledge, while higher, was still pretty poor. I am not a demographer, but 15 questions about scattered religious trivia should tell us … what?

  • gardening says:

    I have recently started a site, the info you provide on this website has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work.

  • I intended to put you a bit of remark to be able to give thanks yet again on the pretty opinions you have featured here. It is really remarkably generous with you to present unhampered what a lot of people could possibly have made available as an electronic book to get some bucks for themselves, even more so now that you could have done it in the event you wanted. Those inspiring ideas in addition worked to become fantastic way to be aware that other people online have the identical passion really like my personal own to find out more when considering this issue. I’m certain there are numerous more enjoyable occasions up front for folks who read carefully your website.

  • private bank says:

    I do believe all of the ideas you have offered to your post. They are really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for newbies. May just you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  • car shops says:

    My spouse and i have been quite thrilled Edward could finish off his homework from the precious recommendations he grabbed from your web pages. It’s not at all simplistic just to choose to be freely giving concepts which usually others have been trying to sell. Therefore we know we have got you to be grateful to for this. The illustrations you made, the easy site menu, the friendships your site assist to instill – it is mostly sensational, and it is making our son in addition to us consider that that subject matter is thrilling, and that’s rather essential. Many thanks for all the pieces!

  • Hola, buen argumento, buen contexto Saludos

  • Very good job. Greetings to the author.

  • I checked and all information in the text are correct. Congratulations and compliments to the author.

  • This is the perfect web site for anybody who wants to find out about this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject that’s been discussed for decades. Great stuff, just great!|

  • Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and located that it is truly informative. I am going to be careful for brussels. I’ll be grateful should you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!|

  • This post gives clear idea in support of the new visitors of blogging, that really how to do blogging and site-building.|

  • Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people consider worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  • CoyBFoulcard says:

    Greetings! I realize this really is kinda off
    topic having said that i was wondering should you knew
    where I was able to find a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m utilizing the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding
    one? Thanks a good deal!

  • Wonderful website. Plenty of helpful information here. I am sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks on your effort!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.