A letter to the editor from a local NOSHA member, Timothy Ruppert, deserves our applause. It's imporant when someone takes up our cause and lets the public know more about non-believers and that we are paying attention. Even better when it's in New Orleans.
The Times-Picayune's coverage of the Pew Research Center report glossed over the major finding.
If you have a question about religion, the best person in America to ask is an atheist or agnostic.
Bruce Nolan's coverage leaves one with the impression that non-believers were merely among the highest-scoring in the test of general religious traditions and beliefs. In fact, atheists and agnostics came out on top, scoring above everyone else including Catholics, Protestants, Mormons and Jews.
On questions specifically about the Bible and Christianity, atheists and agnostics ranked third, behind only Mormons and white evangelical Christians. Non-believers knew more about Christianity and the bible than Christians of every other stripe and flavor.
I am not surprised.
Atheists and agnostics are often well-educated people. They are open to inquiry and learning beyond the religion of their childhoods.
My experience has been that religious believers typically wall themselves off from information and learning about other religions and any topics they deem threatening to their belief systems.
The Pew study confirms this. They found an inverse relationship between educational level and religious belief.
So the headline, "Most Americans flunk basic religion," might more appropriately have been, "Atheists have correct answers to religious questions."