29th December 2010

“Americans are hardly more religious than people living in other industrialized countries. Yet they consistently – and more or less uniquely – want others to believe they are more religious than they really are.”

Shankar Vedantam

11 Responses to “29th December 2010”

  1. GreatEighthSin Says:

    Interestingly quite true. I’d say it’s even done to impress the nonindustrial countries. Sort of a way to puff up their chests and say “I’m better” and “this is the American dream”, yet fall short of being too prideful and greedy to the point it creates blind zealotry.

  2. Defiantnonbeliever Says:

    Is this true? How could it be quantified to verify the statement? I was under the impression that polls showed otherwise.

  3. Doubting Thomas Says:

    In the kindest way – I ask – is the belief that they are more religious in direct proportion to the small number of Americans in percentage terms who actually have a passport or have in the past used one.

  4. Admin Says:

    Defiantnonbeliever: “Is this true?”

    Survey results are discussed in the original article:

  5. The Heretic Says:

    Sounds true enough to me. Their parents believed in god, so they do too. But, they don’t go to church or anything, so they just pay lip service. And when asked about their religion (particulars), they are completely ignorant. I bet athiests know more about the Bible than most American Christians do.

  6. Defiantnonbeliever Says:

    The article seems to be about church attendance and reportage, but doesn’t go into the repressive political/legal/myth-educational effect, that I think is way stronger in influence.

  7. tech Says:

    Heretic saying you believe in God or that your a Christian doesn’t make you one. As far as you knowing more about the Bible than most Americans.Your atheist ,you know everything.Right?

  8. Dan Says:

    Do you really think that surveys of religiosity don’t take that into account???

    And besides, surveys of knowledge of the Bible do in fact show that in general atheists are more knowledgeable about the Bible than your average Christian. (Citation). It just goes to show that actually reading the Bible is a major factor in de-converting Christians.

  9. Greg Says:


    To be fair to tech (I know, it’s difficult), but according to the citation you provided:

    “On questions about Christianity — including a battery of questions about the Bible — Mormons (7.9 out of 12 right on average) and white evangelical Protestants (7.3 correct on average) show the highest levels of knowledge.”

    This means that your statement that “atheists are more knowledgeable about the Bible than your average Christian” is not entirely true. But I guess it depends on how you define “average Christian”. Am I splitting hairs?

    However, when taking religion as a whole – not just Christianity – atheists are demonstrably far more knowledgeable than Christians.

  10. Dan Says:

    Yes, but Mormons and evangelical Protestants still scored below atheists.

  11. Dan Says:

    Sorry, checking back I note that you said “On questions about *Christianity*,” while I responded with a statistic about questions about religions in general. So in a sense you’re right and I have to qualify my statement a bit.

    Even then, however, it needs to be pointed out to Tech and those like him that Christianity includes more than just Mormons and evangelical Protestants. Moreover I’m sure that the statistics show that Christians who are actually knowledgeable about Christianity are, in general, still ignorant of other religions as compared to atheists, which just reinforces the point that indoctrination yields uncritical minds.

    Am I splitting hairs? I don’t think so.