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September 29th, 2010
04:07 AM ET

Atheists & Agnostics Ace Religion Test

People of faith may "know God"…but knowing about God– that's a different story. The Pew Research Center quizzed Americans on their knowledge of religion. And listen to this: the highest scorers were not the devout believers... They were actually Atheists and Agnostics! The people who have rejected religion outright or aren't exactly sure. Mormons and Jews came a close second, outperforming Protestants and Roman Catholics when it came to knowing details about all religions. It was even more shocking to see that people claiming a religion couldn't even answer simple questions about their own faith!

For example, more than half of Protestants couldn't even identify Martin Luther as the man who led the establishment of the Protestant church. The quiz was 32 questions long... The average number of correct answers: 16. That’s half. Seems like a lot of wrong answers for a nation where just about four in five people says they belong to some sort of religious group.

World renowned spiritual leaders Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson and Reverend Art Cribbs of the San Marino United Church of Christ spoke with CNN’s Kyra Phillips.


Filed under: Anchors • CNN Newsroom • Kyra Phillips
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Dan

    I think we can blame a lot of this on the government/school system. When you can't even display the 10 commandments in government facilities or say prayer in school any longer, of course students aren't being taught what they used to be taught.

    September 29, 2010 at 5:52 am |
  2. A Passionate Atheist

    Great story, poor coverage. If you'd like to have a balanced discussion on this topic, please include an atheist/agnostic in your panel next time. Thanks.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  3. Algeron

    Love doesn't need a divine being to give it meaning. Love is meaningful in and of itself, whether God exists or not.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  4. Kent

    Dan– I'm an atheists. Read the story. I took a lot of theology in college. The fact in this story that atheists score better on a religion test should tell you something. Forced indoctrination in the public schools isn’t going to help one bit. As for the 10 Commandments…all but three of them have nothing to do with morals, but instead a rant of a jealous, insecure, and vindictive ancient desert god.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:26 am |
  5. Lowen

    @Dan, just for the record, you're allowed to pray in school, as long as it doesn't disrupt your or anybody else's learning.
    Thankfully, it's just not a requirement because we have a thing called the separation of church and state. Look into it sometime, it'll explain a lot to you.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  6. Chip

    Dan, it is not the responsibility of our government to instruct our nation's children in religious matters; we have the separation of church and state for a reason. Rather, it is the responsibility of parents and religious institutions to educate (or indoctrinate) children, which is why my parents sent me to Catholic school for twelve years. Further, your insistence regarding the display of the Ten Commandments supports the monolithic view that this is a Christian nation ONLY. What about Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, pagans, and a host of other religions? Are they just to be ignored? Shouldn't their sacred texts also be displayed on government property in the name of fairness? After all, their practitioners also pay taxes. What about agnostics and atheists whom, as this video clearly displays, know more about religion than its members? Should their tax money be used to support and further a religious agenda which is not theirs? Keep religion out of government. As a Republican, this is certainly what I wish my party would do.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  7. Mark

    The test results do not surprise me. As an Atheist, I find that I do know more about religion than the religious. Most Atheist have actually read religious text (which, in most cases, has led to the decision of non-belief), as apposed to the religious, who tend to rely on religious leaders to read to and give them a narrow interpretation of the text. I think that if more people of faith read their "bibles", they would understand better what they were being taught, and, ultimately, a greater truth would emerge for them.
    To blame the government/school system is wrong. The separation of church and state is fundamental to the survival of our (everyone's) freedoms. An Atheist government would be no more appropriate than a religious one. Religion has it's place in the lives and churches of the believer, but does not belong in schools and government facilities.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  8. A Passionate Atheist

    @Dan- The reason we can't include the Ten Commandments in schools is because there's a fine line between preaching and teaching. There's also an issue under Separation of Church and State where the government can't enforce a religion (obviously Christianity in this case) over another. It would be blatantly unfair to everyone else if only the Christian teachings were displayed in government buildings and schools.

    Would it be alright with you if instead of the Commandments they displayed equivalent quotes from the Qur'an? How about Buddhist teachings? Hindu? Jewish? Mormon? The fact is that we live in a multicultural society wherein the majority of believers happen to be Christian, and it's very easy for this group to forget about everyone else's point of view.

    Also, you CAN say a prayer in school but you can't lead a prayer. It was one of the questions. I think it's a good thing that we aren't taught what we used to be taught. It's a sign of progress and inclusion for everyone.

    About 20% of the population doesn't have any sort of belief in a higher power. This number is growing every year.

    Secularism is simply not finding convincing evidence for a god, so we default to not believing entirely. And just to put the icing on the cake, it's no accident that nearly 93% of scientists consider themselves atheists. It's not just a majority, it's an overwhelming majority.

    Thanks for reading. Have a great day.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:41 am |
  9. Dan

    Kent, I am glad you are so theologically smart. I am very secure about my future, I am talking after I depart this earth. I hope you are. Because once you take that last heart beat (and NO ONE knows whenthat will be), you don't get a second chance to change your mind. God Bless.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  10. BB

    Wow, Dan stirred up a hornet's nest among Atheists
    I was once one. A couple years ago, I read the book "23 minutes in hell" by Bill Wiese. It changed my mind. I highly encourage all to read it.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  11. Miguel

    I'm with Kent on this matter. People read the Bible and arrive to diffrent conclusions. I believe that many look at religions as an escape from the problems they face. Some use it as an alternative because they want to be in a wonderful place after death. Perhaps they believe that what is called heaven it's where they will live another life. Truly it is a very sensitive subject and not many like to discuss.

    September 29, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  12. Albert

    Dan, you don't want to see the '10 commandments' posted in schools. We would be better off with the 'Desiderata' which makes so much more sense for its understanding of human nature and guidance on practical matters.
    Using the ancient Jewish commandments which say nothing about rape, embezzlement, genocide yet allow Jews to kill non-jews and focus on silly stuff like "no statues of other gods" is anti-intellectual.
    Besides, the commandments are too closely related with religion, to wit: judaism, christianity and the other line extensions; moronism, adventistism, etc.
    Our children are woefully undereducated. Pew would do a great service and wake up call by financing a basic knowledge competition IN ENGLISH among totally randomly-selected high school children from America, England, Australia, Holland, Denmark, Germany – for examples.
    The Dutch and probably the Danes, possibly the Germans, certainly the Brits and Aussies would score higher on math, science, way higher on history (including U.S. history) and religion. Sadly, the Dutch and Danes would probably score higher on English grammar, vocabulary and sentence syntax.

    that's what we should be focusing on – education. We need to shake off being the world's laughing stock – anti intellectuals, parochial, ignorance of world cultures and history and knowing more about american idol people than what's happening in the news, etc.

    Forget "strange gods before me" and that juvenile nonsense meant for ignorant masses in little tribal communities in Palestine and surrounds. Let's grow up and shake off the puritanism and intellectual ignorance that allows the masses to claim righteousness while serving as puppets to a corrupt, criminal regime that invaded and occupied a near defensless country under obviously false pretenses; sacrificed 4000+ young Americans while slaughtering 600,000 innocent souls.

    Let's encourage the leadership of new politicians who will take the Obama potential to a higher level – real change – not having one foot in the same old political games (decrying legal bribery – lobbying while doing nothing about it, continuing the "they hate our freedoms" lie and exposing our unholy propping up Israeli existence and apartheid with $4 billion per year for decades, etc.).
    Dan and America – time to open your minds, your hearts, get off automatic in life, travel slowly through Europe and pay attention.

    AM

    September 29, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  13. Dan

    Good morning Albert,
    The 10 commandments was one of the first writings of all time, by Moses.
    My mind is open. I hope you open your heart and realize death is just a heart beat away (as experienced by the young Virginia Tech student last week falling off the balcony).
    Once we take our last breath (when will that be??) we get no more chance to accept the almighty.

    September 29, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  14. Mark

    Dan- You, like most of "faith", do not seem to understand what an Atheist is. I would suggest you do some research and try to understand who we are and what we are about. And maybe, after expanding your knowledge base, you will find that the "second chance" method, from our point of view, is the same sort of scare tactic that we have heard too often. Fear is no reason to believe in a "god". And you may also find that we are good and moral people.
    Peace to you.

    September 29, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  15. Dan

    Mark, God BLess you.

    September 29, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  16. Jacqueline (Nexx)

    Dan, everyone seems to be writing to you since you were the earliest post and, unfortunately, I will be joining them.

    I agree with you. If more religious facts were taught, more people would know their religion. However, some of the more inquisitive minds will not rest there. Earlier in my life, I attended a christian school. My hungry mind went on to study paganism, to better minister to the "unsaved", and went on to study Buddhism, the many offspring of Christianity (latter day saints, mormons...), Hinduism, Islam, Satanism, and have even spoken with cult leaders since my quest began.

    It began is a quest for the "unsaved", to help them and to impart the wisdom they had not, obviously, heard of as yet. It mutated into a quest for information; to find the information that was lacking in what I had learned about Christianity in addition to gaining the knowledge of other religions. If there was only one God, as I had been taught, everyone must be worshiping the same God in different ways. Eventually, all religions made sense to a certain point (this includes Christianity). Then the concept of no God was introduced...

    I am currently agnostic. Since I am young, this is something that I am sure will change again. I am a staunch agnostic, as far as one can be when questioning everything and believing in nothing, and after all of my studies, I know that I will never be engrossed in Christianity the way I once had been.

    I tell you this story to let you know that, yes, perhaps you can keep some religiously educated people around if you teach them about the Bible early on. What is more likely, however, is that you will entice the more inquisitive minds into studying all religions which, in my experience, draws them to atheism/agnosticism.

    This was written with all respects in mind and, in your language, God bless you.

    September 29, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  17. Dan

    @Jacqueline, I respect your thoughts. But, something I find out of your entire story, you say you studied Christianity.
    You never mentioned the bible. You never once mentioned reading/ studying the bible.
    Just curious to how much you read the bible.
    As far as Hinduism, Satanism, Buddhism, do they have a holy book? Yes, the Islamic holy book is the Koran; however, the difference between the bible and the Koran is the Koran was written 700 years AFTER Christ's death, by ONE lone author. Anyone could have put their thoughts on paper.
    The bible was written over 2,000 years, many of the writings long before Christ's birth, crucifixion, resurrection and asencion, which all came true.
    People state the bible is a fairy tale; however, there are eyewitnesses to all events in the prior paragraph, which are all recorded in the bible (i.e. the resurrection, when Christ entered the upper room while the disciples were there, and they thought he was a ghost, or he fed his disciples breakfast near the sea of galilee, or Mary, Peter, Andrew, etc seeing the empty tomb).
    I find this very credible evidence.

    September 29, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  18. Ray

    Dan, you gotta be specific with your prophesies. Plenty of other faiths make the same claims you just did with their own diety. Also, the gospels of the new testiment were written well after jesus' death... Hardly eye witness accounts (which aren't scientifically reliable anyway). You seem to have very low standards for evidence.

    Also, yes... those other faiths have holy books...

    Hinduism has Bhagavad-Gita, buddists have Tipitaka, and to be honest I never looked into Satanism.

    September 29, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  19. Joe

    Jacqueline, do you happen to know what the #1 selling book is of all time? Hands down, by a margin of at least 4:1, drum roll please – - – the Bible. Why is that?
    I have the same question as Dan above. You never once mention reading or studying the bible.
    Christianity is the ONLY faith that worships a living savior.

    September 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  20. Mike

    I'm agnostic, I scored 29 of 32 on this quiz.

    Christians can get the nastiest of all the Abrahamic religions. They have no censor. They rip on gays, Muslims, atheists (they don't know what agnostics are) and pretty much anything not Christian. THey like to say "secular" and blame everything on the "secular" culture in America.

    I fired my Christian real estate agent for saying this about an offer i put on a house:

    "let's pray to all the Gods out there that they accept this low-ball offer... well every God except Allah. Did you know they are having more babies than 'us' and will outnumber 'us' in the years to come? You better get cracking"

    My response "i'm agnostic..."

    The offer fell through, I told her I'm not looking for a house anymore but I went to another agent and put a higher offer on the same house... crossing my fingers.

    September 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  21. Eli

    Atheists and agnostics are what they are because they know more about religion.

    September 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  22. Kainenchen

    I read the Bible. Then I became a Jew. :)

    September 29, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  23. Mike

    Dan,

    Regardless, the bible is man made. There are "eyewitnesses" in every religion... No religion is right nor are they wrong and were invented for the same purpose. Nobody has the answer and everyone needs to get around to accepting that although i think Buddhism comes closest with their truths. I like the truths because it's not "be a good person or god will banish you to hell for eternity" but it's more like "be a good person because it's proven that you'll live a more satisfied life and you'll contribut to others living a more satisfied life as well.. which also contributes even more to your satisfaction in life".

    September 29, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  24. Dante

    All i will say is this atheists wouldn't no anything about religion and why? its because they do not beleive in god nor do they believe in christ and even more disturbing they don't believe in anything. All i can say is this If the people believe in this agnostics ace religion tests to be accurate all i can say is your stupid. Another thing is Dan is right, This tests was only taken by the antichrist and non believers of christ. I can garaunteed that if you put all religions together againts the atheists and others I can shure of it that christians and jews even muslim no more about religion than the atheists do expecially when it comes to God and Jesus. Palestinians,other arabs,Muslims and Jews even Italians all no more about Jesus christ than anyone else in the world. Americans is still learning from the three bibles that has been written two thousand years ago.

    September 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  25. Maxi

    Eyewitnesses? Please. It's a story, no different than Harry Potter. We can't properly report news today in an accurate fashion, but you want to rely on alleged eye-witnesses from 2,000 years ago. You have been brain-washed. Not your fault, you were probably just raised that way. Had you been raised Muslim that would be your faith. Most atheists and agnostics were raised with a religion and have been able to un-brainwash themselves.

    But to say that witnesses to the bible is credible evidence is just foolhardy.

    September 29, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
  26. Enlightenment

    Just because more people belive in a god, doesn't mean their invisible friend actually exists. You didn't choose your religion, your parents forced you to be brain-washed by members of their church. The ONLY reason that christians aren't muslim or some other religion is because of their parents. If their parents believed that a pink unicorn was god, then likely they would belive the same.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  27. Dante

    Here are some other bibles you can read. New Testsment and Old Testsment, Hebrew Bible,Quran,Greek and Arabic bible.
    There are Scriptures written 2000 years ago and it lies within Jordan. The text is so extreme. Other countries doesn't want the world to no the truth about it. There are text in the arabic bible in jordan that is so desiving the world fears if the people knew what the bible actually talked about they fear of an uprising as you atheists so called is trying to start. Until you actually pick up a bible and read it then you can gossip about religion until that time. keep your atheists mouth shutt. The reason why there isn't peace in the middle east is because of so many different types of religion. The holy lands is a land of all middle eastern religions. What happend in the middle east during the 1st century i can tell you this to school you on somethng atheists it was Romans,Muslims,Palestinians,Jews and persians,greeks,egyptians, that was all there during the birth of christ and they was there during his crusifix. Jesus christ final resting place is at the holy selplcure one of the first and oldest catholic churches to be built in that century.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  28. Dante

    Here are some places in the middle east you can learn that some places in the world don't teach. Jesus Lived in Ramallah, which is called and still today the Bride of Palestine. Jesus was born in Bethlehem,Jesus Taught and had the last supper in Jerusalem, He died on the cross in the old city of Jerusalem,which today the israeli forces too controll by force Not ownership also a 1948 written document doesn't mean they own jersualem. it just means britian gave them control and the old city it was the israeli forces that forced the palestinains out of there homes in the old eastern part of jerusalem, also it is propheside in the arabic bible. Now, ,Moses held the first and second ten commandments on Mount Si. How can you explain the twelve steps of the cross. I bet the atheists wouldn't no this answer. His final resting place and the tomb still lies today in the church of the holy selpcure, There where too mary. One was the mother of Jesus and the other was the prostitute that bowed down to jesus feet for forgiveness. and she was forgiving. Where did the three wise men lived at Persia.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
  29. Dac38

    @Dan
    "The bible was written over 2,000 years, many of the writings long before Christ's birth, crucifixion, resurrection and asencion, which all came true"
    Ha !! Right.. Dude , dont quote preachings of a bronze age book as historical Facts. Do your research and you will find that not a single historical fact of any significance has been proven to be true. Even if it were true, is it possible that the whole set of laws of nature were suspended so that god could show you miracles and charm you by resurrection - or is it more likely that some illiterate jew was lying.
    Do you know by the way ... If by ascension - travelling bodily at the speed of light (by itself impossible), Jesus of Nazareth would not even left the remote corner of our galaxy in the last 2000 years. Your Biggest mistake – philosophical arguements make you look wise , but quoting scripture as fact is like giving a nobel prize for quantum physics to Sarah palin - things dont tie up exactly what you believe to be "Truth".
    Also - the King James Bible was huddled together by "Constantine" 300 years after the supposed "ascension" of christ.
    If you claim Bible is the True word of God ... Where's Sodom? Where is Mt Sinai , where is the Tower of Babel etc ..
    I could go on an on ... but out of respect of your beliefs i wont.
    Also, your other questions - Hinduism does not have one but Many Holy books – Rigveda for one was 3000 years before Christ - so by your standards , since its the earliest one it should be a better religion to follow :
    –Buddhism – Google for "Gowtham Buddha " – a real person – with arguable historical evidence
    – Satanism - not sure what that is .. do you mean Jehova's Witness ?
    Anyway, this absolutely explains the survey though. People of ignorance tend to be people lacking rational thinking and tend to be more "sheep-like" religious.

    Moral of the message above - Quoting scripture for fact is dangerous online.

    September 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  30. John Horstman

    Uh oh, I can feel the Atheist scores slipping: the Ten Commandments are from the Torah, making them not just Christian doctrine, but Jewish and Muslim as well. The points are certainly valid with respect to lack of consideration for other religions (Buddhism, Confuscianism, Hinduism, Shinto, Taoism, and a wide variety of Animist traditions being very popular the world over). And @Dan, if the lack of religion in public school (actually, my public school taught about many different world religions, without the assertion that any were necessarily True or False), then where are all the Atheists getting their info? It's not like we go to church (which may have something to do with why we're better-informed than the faithful). It may also have to do, as has been suggested, that anyone actually reading the Christian Bible will be repulsed and reject any system treating it (if only nominally, in a pick-and-choose fashion) as a founding text. Slavery, rape, incest, genocide, abject female subjugation, and lynch mobs to kill non-believers, heretics, gays, women who engage in non-marital sex, people who eat pork, people who eat any meat on Friday, people who do work on Sunday, people who wear cotton-poly blends, etc. are pretty repugnant concepts to most people today.

    @Dan: On the Bible's authorship – nothing you point out suggests reliability. It's trivial to read a prophecy and write a selectively-biographical account of someone that makes it seem like they were about who the prophecy spoke. The Jesus story is also neither Jewish nor Christian in origin. It goes at least as far back as Ancient Egypt (and by their reckoning the prophecy was fulfilled before the Roman Empire existed). Multiple-authorship and thousands-of-year-old "eyewitness" statements mean nothing; by that logic, we should accept the Arthurian Legend as True, and the Robin Hood story as well, when they're demonstrably false (like much of the Christian Bible). Come on man, I could start a Facebook group for people claiming to have seen Christ incarnate, indicating that the Rapture has occurred already and we ALL backed the wrong horse, and get it to millions of followers no problem; you don't see how a few authors with a vested interest in the topic reporting on what they saw or what others say they saw might have colluded to create a preposterous story? They can't even agree upon the facts of e.g. Jesus's resurrection. The point is that the dubious morality and internal inconsistencies of the Christian Bible give many more reasons to doubt than to believe, hence the well-informed atheists. Also, consider this: you find your particular (biased and generally inexact) translation of the Bible convincing. Why do the billion+ Muslims find the Koran more convincing? Why do Taoists find the Dao De Ching more convincing? Might the fact that the overwhelming majority of people wind up thinking that their parents' religion is the most convincing (and people who grow up without a religion find NONE of them convincing) indicate that it has less to do with how convincing the religion is and more to do with being socialized into a particular belief system from birth?

    September 29, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  31. james

    just goes to show you these people who claim to know and follow the bible donty know whatt hier talking abought, or only like the parts they agree with

    September 29, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  32. Kandeda Trefil

    If Christians in the USA know less about their religion than atheists and agnostics, I propose that they know very little indeed. I tried to find the 32-question test and could find only 6 of the questions, which were extremely easy to accurately answer. Established (to my satisfaction at least) that most Christians know little about their religion, they therefore must have difficulty following it, because they don't know what to do.

    There once was purported to be a very wise man who is purported to have said, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."

    September 29, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  33. Iain

    @Dan You say there are eyewitnesses, but this is only according to the book. I could write absolutely anything and, as I'm sure you'll agree, just writing "and people saw this happen" doesn't make it true.
    I could say I find the fact that the mythology of the Roman gods was very old and that statues of their gods were built all over the Roman Empire, is very credible evidence, but it isn't. You also say that anyone could put their thoughts on paper, that is exactly how I feel about the bible.
    Unfortunatly you probably won't pay any attention to my argument and just say "God bless you" in an attempt to annoy me, which I'm afraid won't work.

    September 29, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  34. Allison

    I'm not surprised that Atheists and Agnostics would do better on a test of religious knowledge. I think it takes a serious decision to go outside of the mainstream, and I think a lot of time and effort is put forth in learning a lot prior to making that decision. How can you decide that you do not believe in God (or various religions) without learning about what they are, their history, and the philosophy? Not that people who subscribe to a religion can't or don't spend time thinking about religion or learning about it, but I think there's less of a need to do so when you are brought up in that religion and/or already fully believe in it.

    September 29, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  35. Mike

    @Dan

    Satanists have the Satanic Bible (most Satanists are atheists that don't actually worship Satan). Buddhists have the Tipitaka. Hindus have multiple holy books (Bhagavad Gita is the only one I can think of).

    First of all, you're argument is based off circular logic. You claim the bible has multiple witnesses. How do we know? Because the Bible says it does. This is fallacious logic. If I were to claim that I could fly, then wrote a book about it claiming that 5,000 people saw me, this does not equate to 5,000 witnesses. It equates to one: myself.

    Also, none of the authors of the Bible were eyewitnesses; the earliest of the New Testament was written about 20-40 years after the death of Christ. This may be rectified if we had multiple documents or reports of Jesus during his life. But we have nothing. No records of his death or life. Nothing. Historically, we can't be certain if the guy even existed.

    So, if you're going to claim that there is a God and that Christianity is the one true religion, stop claiming false evidence and dubious logic. Have the guts to choke it up to faith.

    Mike

    September 29, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  36. Marcia

    Just goes to show you that simpletons are religious and educated people know the truth about religion.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  37. Justin

    Hello,
    I'm an atheist and am not surprised in the least by the findings in this recent study. Reading about religion is a past-time of mine, and having read many religious teachings worldwide, I'm often shocked when I talk to dedicated Christians about the Bible and how little they often know about it. Granted, it is a lengthy book that is non-sensical in parts, contradictory in others painting a picture of a God (in both Old and New Test) that no one would choose to adopt... What it does show, is how all people WORLDWIDE adjust their religious doctrines to the culture in which they come. Christianity isn't alone in this respect. The Bible, Buddhavacana (buddhist text), Koran, and other religious texts are inflexible and so people pick and choose what works for them. So Islam in Saudi Arabia looks nothing like the Islam in Indonesia, and Christianity in Ethiopia looks nothing like the Christianity in the United States. You don't need to practice the religion prescribed in the Bible to be a Christian.. The Japanese have this part figured out, taking pieces from all religions and not allowing themselves to get dogmatic about any one religion. They marry in a Christian Church, bury their dead in Buddhist cemeteries, visit Shinto shines to bring in the New Year (an important holiday) and have ancestor shines in their home to ward off evil... Spirituality is personal, thus no one really thinks the same way about what God is, why are we here, what is it to live a good positive life. At the same time morality is pretty universal. Don't cause harm is what every religion and spirituality teaches in a boiled down form... I'll quote a historical figure, and say, "Treat others as you'd wish to be treated." You don't want someone else to jam their world view down your throat. Please offer atheists, Christians (of other denominations), Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, etc. the same respect.

    September 29, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  38. Red

    @ Dan- Correct me if I’m wrong, but are you saying that the eyewitnesses are the ones that did the recording? Either way, you may want to reconsider reading the Bible. The canonical Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, (and non-canonical gospels) have DIFFERENT depictions of Jesus. (Especially, when pertaining to your examples of the birth, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension narratives). This is most likely caused by authors targeting different audiences of their time period. Also, the narratives of Jesus were not written as they were happening, they were written long after his death. Therefore, your arguments of “eyewitnesses” and “credible” evidence are insufficient. Before we are subjected to yet another one of your feeble arguments, please consult further texts/research.

    September 30, 2010 at 1:41 am |
  39. Tom

    Dan, you said earlier in you last rambles that "anyone could have put their thoughts on paper" which also goes for your Bible. they are all refered to as religious BELIEFS for a reason. nothing factual about anything. its like a movie thats "based on true events", doesnt make it a true story. religions prey on the fears of the weak minded. i wont try and shame you or your beliefs (as many "religious" people do to non believers) but you shouldnt portray beliefs as facts.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:28 am |
  40. Charlie

    I am atheists as well and these test results do not surprise me. How else can we criticize or argue facts if we didn't know the "Story"

    September 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  41. May

    In order to determine yourself as an Atheist, Non Believer, Free thinker, Or Agnostic, You must know the the religions that you are claiming to disbelieve in. That is why they are more educated with many different religions and views on belief, Not necessarily because they spend time opposing religion.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  42. Alex

    I do not believe that religion should be put in schools because there are so many different ones. Therefore schools would be all about religion not learning, and when it comes to the real world religion doesn't matter to succeed in life. I am agnostic and alot of people in the south take that as devil worshiping, which it just shows how ignorant they are. I believe in a higher power but not per say god. I believe that if you do good thing and live your life well you might be rewarded in the end. I'm still sceptical on heaven and hell or anything like that. If you think about it the bible was supposed to be written in the words of god, but yet it was written by several different "men". And changed time and time again, how can you expect everyone to believe something like that. I do not push my beliefs on others and everyone should do the same. Karma is one of the best values to live your life by. Alot of so called people of the church i've met have been nothing but mean, hipocritical jerks. I'm not saying all of them are though. I am open minded, and I try to live my life right, but I honestly do not think religion matters as much as people try to let on. Why does it matter what you believe in? This is a free country right?

    September 30, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  43. Krissy

    the great thing about life and this world is that we're all different!!!! why is everyone trying to convince someone who has different beliefs to be just like them. how BORING would life be if we all believed the same things? we're human, we're designed to think differently...let's keep it that way. stop cutting each other's throats over our individualism.

    peace and love

    September 30, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  44. farreacher

    Here's something I never even heard mentioned! Were any of the atheists at one time part of a religion? I consider myself evolutionist, but once lived around nothing but believers. Much of what I read and heard made me less of a believer the older and wiser I got. Therefore could Christians who claim to have read the bible actually not have read it. If so, you're gullible into believing anything!

    October 1, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  45. Dr Homeskooled

    I am atheist and scored %100, but only because of a private christian school education, church 3 times a week for 20+ years, sitting thru 5000+ sermons, and a life long obsession with philosophy,mythology, religion ,science, ethics and natural history.....and yes DAN, I have read the bible cover to cover about a few dozen times

    October 2, 2010 at 5:47 am |
  46. Neal

    Dan. Not to rain on your parade but there is a period of time not discussed in the bible. This time period is an interesting one. Scholars believe, as do numerous Indians and Tibetans, that Jesus went on a trade caravan to the silk road. He traveled extensively in the subcontinent and learn about Bhudda and Hindu traditions. Jesus was really a Bhuddist. He and Bhudda, and a number of other prophets over a 1000 years, meditated for roughly 40 days and confronted the devil or an evil force.

    October 2, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  47. Dennis Kirby

    Religious "facts". LOL

    October 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm |