Something-You-Already-Knew of the Day: Atheists Know More About Religion than Religious People, Study Finds

This should surprise no one.

Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.

On average, Americans correctly answer 16 of the 32 religious knowledge questions on the survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Atheists and agnostics average 20.9 correct answers. Jews and Mormons do about as well, averaging 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers, respectively. Protestants as a whole average 16 correct answers; Catholics as a whole, 14.7. Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons perform better than other groups on the survey even after controlling for differing levels of education.

It’s easy to see why this is true. The people who know a lot about religion are the people who ask a lot of questions. And the people who ask a lot of questions eventually find that religion either doesn’t have any answers or offers answers that don’t make any sense.

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