Thursday, March 22, 2012

Who Knows More About Religion?

After spending some time on pew forum I found some interesting statistics.  There seems to be a definite pattern among these surveys. 
Jews, Mormons and unbelievers tend to know more about religion. Unbelievers scored the highest in the Religious Knowledge Survey, followed by Jews and Mormons. 
Mormons and Evangelical take the top two slots in knowledge of Christianity but followed closely by unbelievers. However, Jews and unbelievers know more about other religions.
I must admit, i did not know the bottom three facts but I suppose most people don't.
Now here is an interesting stat. The more education one receives the more one is likely to have greater religious knowledge. Jews, in general tend to be well educated. Mormons have BYU where they, thankfully, receive education in other religious traditions. But nonbelievers are a hard demographic to pin down. Is there are correlation between level of education and inclination towards religious affiliation and belief? Perhaps. If so, is this why people like Rick Santorum, and religions like Jehovahs Witnesses, are critical of secular, liberal education? Because, the more you know, the more you question? Because the more ideas you are exposed to, the more you are taught to think critically, the more skeptical you become of superstition? Perhaps. They have a term in social psychology called 'social polarization' that may fit well in this scenario. It says that with any group, nation, religion, or demographic, the more closed off they are to outside information, the more secluded from other ideas and worldviews they are, the more extreme their own beliefs and worldviews become. This can be applied to foreign affairs with nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia that limit the influence other cultures, especially the West, has on their own and it can also be applied to home schooling within the U.S. (as we are all aware that the vast majority of homeschooling is done in the name of religion; to protect children from the secular, religious agenda that threatens them with reason and evidence and critical thinking and a propensity toward pluralism and a celebration of diversity.

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