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Study: More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures
August 11th, 2011
11:06 AM ET

Study: More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures

By Jim Kavanagh, CNN

People tend to become less religious as they become more educated, right? Not necessarily, according to a new study.

After analyzing data from a large national survey, University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist Philip Schwadel found that people actually tend to become more religious - by some definitions, at least - as they further their education.

“It all falls down to what you consider to be religious,” said Schwadel, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “If it’s simply attending religious services, then no. Highly educated people are not less religious; in fact, they’re more religious.”

“But if it’s saying the Bible is the literal word of God and saying that only one religion is the true religion, then they are less religious,” he continued.

Schwadel used data from the highly regarded General Social Survey, a cumulative and nationally representative survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago biannually since 1972.

Social scientists rely heavily on the “gold standard” General Social Survey, which provides cumulative data collected regularly between 1972 and 2010.

His study will be published in an upcoming edition of the journal Review of Religious Research.

Schwadel found that with each additional year of education:

- The likelihood of attending religious services increased 15%.

- The likelihood of reading the Bible at least occasionally increased by 9%.

- The likelihood of switching to a mainline Protestant denomination - Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian USA or United Methodist - increased by 13%.

Respondents to the General Social Survey were asked whether they believe in God without any doubts; with various levels of doubt; whether they have a different concept of God or a higher power; or whether they didn’t believe in any such thing, Schwadel said.

“With more years of education, you aren’t relatively more likely to say, ‘I don’t believe in God,’” he said. “But you are relatively more likely to say, ‘I believe in a higher power.’”

The findings makes sense to D. Michael Lindsay, president of Gordon College in Massachusetts and author of “Faith in the Halls of Power,” about the growing evangelical Christian elite.

“The more educated a person is in their faith, the more cosmopolitan they are in their religious outlook,” he said. “They’re worldly in the very best sense of the term. They rub shoulders with people of different kinds of faiths every day and as a result they have different visions of what it means to express your faith in the public square.”

“They’re more open-minded, but here’s the thing: They’re no less faithful.”

But a leading voice for atheists says the study’s finding about education increasing certain measures of religiosity may be less straightforward than it appears.

“There are plenty of people who go to church who are not believers,” said Ed Buckner, former president of the group American Atheists. “They go for all sorts of reasons. I don’t mean that they’re all frauds and deceptive, (but) they go for social reasons or (because) that’s what’s expected of them by their families or their peers. Sometimes they go so they can sell more insurance.”

“But there are a lot of atheists in the pews, or at least people who are not committed to and probably haven’t even thought about and examined carefully the religious views that are being expressed in that church.”

The finding that highly educated people gravitated toward mainline Christian denominations suggested class dynamics at work, Buckner argued.

As people become more educated, he said, they move into the middle and upper middle class. “And as they do so,” he said, ”they move into more establishment situations regarding the society, which means they join the churches that are the churches of the elite, or at least of the middle class.”

But Schwadel said respondents were discussing their actual beliefs, not just churchgoing habits.

“What it all says to me is that religion matters to people of all education levels in the United States,” he said. “It’s just that, depending on your level of education, you behave and believe differently.”

So why the widespread perception that intellectuals are less religious, even largely irreligious?

Academics are at least moderately less religious than the general public, Schwadel said.

“When we see these trends, we tend to exaggerate them,” he said. “Most people see a trend and they think everyone’s like that.”

Lindsay thinks there’s more to it than that.

“There has been a concentrated effort by a cohort of very smart people who treat religion as the panacea for the simple-minded,” he said.

Bucker disputes that.

“Do we think that anybody who doesn’t agree with us is an idiot or a fool? Well, some of us do think that,” he said of atheists. “But I don’t think it’s systematically true of everybody in the movement.

“… I mean, I do think they’re wrong. Anybody who believes that there is a sky god out there who is going to do anything good or evil for us, basically anyone who thinks the universe cares about us, is making a mistake,” he continued. “In the words of Richard Dawkins, they’ve been deluded.”

But some people’s religious beliefs are “deeply held and carefully considered,” Buckner said. “And I also realize that some atheists’ lack of religious beliefs are pretty superficial and they haven’t thought things through.

“I have a lot more respect for a religious person who has really considered this, thought it through, read some books that disagree with their point of view and still accepts that position than I do for somebody who just unthinkingly rejects any particular point of view.”

Lindsay said the study could help break down some of society’s religious barriers.

“It’s a problem of perceptions because it fuels the idea that there’s some kind of deeply entrenched culture war where smart people are opposed to religious people, when in fact it’s far more complicated than that,” he said. “And in fact, the old divisions between deeply religious and irreligious probably don’t apply.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Education • Polls

soundoff (1,651 Responses)
  1. Iceman

    @William Demuth
    You said: "If I see Christianity disbanded by Christ I might entertain buying him a beer, but thats the best he gets."
    .
    Good news, William- soon the UN will strike out and destroy Religion- for all her abuse, wars, terrorism, corruption, and crimes against humanity. This Truth has been prophesied in the Book of Revelation chapter 18. Now, it is just a matter of time before the governments act in harmony with this truth.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • heynow

      Wow, the UN is in the bible!

      August 11, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Iceman

      Hey -Ice...

      Please look up 'self-sealing' arguments and 'self-fulfilling prophecy' as fallacious and closed systems.

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Iceman

      @Heynow
      Yes, the UN is the 'eight king' to rule the world,and who remains 'a little while' it is in the Bible, check it out if you are so inclined.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Laughing

      @Peace

      THANK YOU!

      Then again, the other day I thought to myself, boy if we get downgraded by S&P , the economy is going to get hard. Then a looked at the news and saw what happened and congratualted myself on correctly prophesizing the future........maybe I'm a prophet sent here by god to help guide you all into a new enlightment. I predict that Snape will kill Dumbeldore.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • J.W

      I am a prophet. I am going to predict we are going to have peace in the middle east within the next few years.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Laughing

      No problem, brother...

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
  2. Matt

    "I believe in God but never seen him. so there is 50% chance he exist and 50% chance he doesn't exist. Take your bet."

    You seem to think that the two possibilities are equally likely, while this isn't necessarily true. I've never seen the Alamo. Does that mean there is a 50% chance of it not existing?

    August 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Bruce

      There might be a 50% chance of the Alamo not existing by the time you get around to visiting San Antonio...

      August 11, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Guest

      Maybe; or maybe it simultaneously exists and doesn't exist until you look at it, whereupon your observation changes the system and forces it to be one or the other–like Schroedinger's cat.

      But as for the existence of a supernatural being/supreme being, force, whatever–by the very nature of being supernatural our science cannot make any case for its existence or nonexistence, anymore than science can say something exists outside of our universe and beyond our ability to observe it, so what else would the probability be than 50/50?

      August 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Matt

      That was supposed to be a reply to an earlier post. It seems to me that an omnipotent, omniscient creator would have have to be more complex than his creation and the odds are then much, much less than 50-50.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Guest,
      Schrödinger's cat was not about existence, it was neither dead nor alive until viewed. In addition, there was a radiometric trigger within the box to kill the cat which essentially generated a random event, the outcome of which was neither death nor life until someone looked.
      Regardless, the Alamo does exist, to whatever extent it ever did, regardless of whether someone looks at it or not.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Bruce

      "God is so great, He doesn't even need to exist!"

      Victor Weisskopf

      August 11, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Matt

      @Guest - So god is a superposition of the eigenstates of existence and nonexistence and death is analogous to "cracking open the box." I like that analogy, but that still doesn't mean the odds are 50-50. The probability of finding a particular quantum state is the square of the wavefunction and can be heavily slanted to one of the two outcomes.

      About your second point, I'm assuming that the god in question would be active in the natural world and there should therefore be evidence of his/her/its existence. The current evidence is some book written by hundreds of authors and some Jehovah's witnesses who come by my house every so often and claim to have felt god's presence, which I do not find compelling.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Guest

      @nonimus–certainly Schroedinger's cat was not about existence (or the lack thereof) per se, but was about the th fact that the observation changed the nature of the object observed–so the alive/dead cat because alive or dead depending upon when it was observed. Of course, comparing it to the existence/nonexistence of the Alamo was more of a joke designed to show how the comparison of a tangible object in our universe to something which exists apart from it.

      @Matt–re evidence of any "god's" interaction with the natural world, you are presupposing that the supernatural being could not control whether the evidence is seen or not (much as we can cover up evidence of what we do). Certainly the results of the interaction(s) would be seen, but then in a stochastic universe, it could easily be attributed to chance and the interaction of a supernatural being could be dismissed. Either way, I don't see how not seeing evidence of such interactions would move the probability beyond 50/50.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  3. notborncynical

    Iceman – are you responding in the wrong place to an article on flying reindeer.? What are you talking about? Completely off topic and very weird.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Iceman

      Sorry, I was responding to some one here who made an earlier comment. I had no other way to contact him except here. sorry if you were put out...carry on my brother

      August 11, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  4. Heather

    A dear friend of mine headed to a secular college for a science degree as an atheist determined to prove to himself and his family that there was no god. He said that the more he studied, the less science proved the absence of a deity. He's now an agnostic who occasionally attends church. Really though, isn't education about opening your mind rather than clamping it down solid? I'm not at all surprised by the findings.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Matt

      To counter that example, I went to college as a Catholic, studied physics and biochemistry, and graduated as an atheist.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Matt

      Sorry for the double post. I agree that science doesn't disprove the existence of a god/creator. It merely provides alternatives to that creator. For instance, I initially believed in intelligent design as I didn't believe random chance could give rise to the universe in its current state. I took an upper-level biochemistry course, in which biochemists use random mutations to create new, revolutionary drugs, and became more comfortable with the power of chance. Throw in other courses on genetics and it didn't seem necessary to believe in a god.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Joshua

      "Sorry for the double post. I agree that science doesn't disprove the existence of a god/creator. It merely provides alternatives to that creator."

      Finally a sane comment. Science provides an alternative to a Creator, and also provides an alternative to the Big Bang and evolution. Both theories can be rationalized through science. Thank you for this.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  5. Nonimus

    Hmmm... Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this article a complete cut and paste from "Charisma News Online"

    http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/31750-does-education-influence-religious-beliefs

    August 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Good catch.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  6. Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

    So if you must accept jesus to get into heaven what happens to those who died before they could? There have been an estimated 100 Billion people born. Half of them died as children. There have been an estimated 250-300 Billion who have died in the womb. Not a very good design for such a poor birth to miscarriage rate and not very loving to kill so many kids and babies that can't go to heaven.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Earl1492

      Not a problem:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism_for_the_dead

      August 11, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • J.W

      I do not remember the verse, but somewhere it says that babies will be saved if they died.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Laughing

      @Earl

      PHEW! So that's a relief. After I'm dead can you baptize me, you know, hedge all my bets. I don't really want to do the christian thing NOW per se, but hey, if you're right and I do end up on a trip down to the bottom, all I need is for someone to baptize me after I'm dead and BAM! Here I come heaven!

      August 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  7. Iceman

    @GodPot
    No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer, which only Santa has seen.

    There are 2 billion children under 18 in the world. But since Santa doesn't appear to handle Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish children, that reduces his work load to 15% of the total 378 million or so. At an average rate of 3.5 children per household, that is 91.8 million homes. One presumes there is at least one good child in each.

    Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to time zones and the rotation of the Earth, assuming he travels east to west. This works to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say, for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, eat the cookies, climb back up the chimney, back into the sleigh, and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of the 91.8 million homes are distributed evenly (which we know to be false but for the sake of calculations we will accept) we are now talking about 78 miles per household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not including bathroom stops. This means that Santa's sleigh is traveling at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For comparison, that fastest man made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe moves at a pokey 27.4 MPS; the average reindeer runs at 15 MPH.

    The sleigh payload adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more that a medium sized Lego set (2 pounds) the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons not including Santa, who is invariable described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer could pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" could pull 10x the usual amount. we can not do the job with eight or even nine reindeer; we need 214,000 reindeer. This increases the weight, not even counting the sleigh, to 354,430 tons. Again, for comparison this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth 2.

    353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance. This will heat the reindeer in the same manner as a spacecraft re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 Quintillion joules of energy per second. Each, in short, will burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the next pair reindeer, and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire team of reindeer will be vaborized within 4.26 thousands of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times the force of gravity. A 300 pound Santa would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.
    Conclusion: Your Santa, is dead now.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      Santa sounds more plausible than Jesus. A+

      August 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • martinipaul

      As a gambling man I would love to put a wager on that.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Bruce

      Santa Claus is much more powerful than you describe, Iceman. He actually pulls all this off while handicapped with NONEXISTENCE.

      Through the sheer power of myth, Santa Claus is able to manipulate the will of millions of parents to not only put presents under the tree for their children, but then to stage the whole thing and tell a baldfaced lie to their children about how those presents got there.

      Don't mess with Santa Claus. He can mess you up if you don't toe the line!

      August 11, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • martinipaul

      No takers on the historical existence of Jesus? Put up or shut up.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Guest

      Of course you're assuming Santa cannot manipulate time and easily make all those visits in the 31 hours that we experience.

      But then, what this has to do with the belief in a higher power or force or supreme being escapes me, as does what this contributes to the discussion. But rant away; it's far easier than discussing the issues.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • HamsterDancer

      I saw Santa numerous times when I was a child. I sat on his lap and told him what I wanted for Xmas and I usually got it (or something equivalent). So don't tell me there ain't no Santa Claus. According to the scientific method of observable data and repeatable experiments I have proof that Santa exists. So don't you try to tell me different 🙂

      August 11, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Robert

      Santa actually has a time dilation devise which slows time around santa to 1:100,000,000,000 which allows him to make multiple trips and allows for only 8 flying reindeer.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Bruce

      Children are given a ton of "evidence" that Santa Claus exists. It doesn't matter that the evidence is fake. Children are given evidence from normally-trustworthy people (their parents, no less) and are told that Santa Claus exists. They actually have some pretty good reasons to believe it. I'd go so far as to say that some children are epistemically justified in believing that Santa Claus exists.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      Kid, remember how it turned out that Santa was really just your parents fooling you? We need to talk about God now . . .

      August 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  8. Stevie7

    Interesting study – though it's wide scope and somewhat inconclusive findings just lead to more questions – but any good research should lead to more questions. I would be very interested to see a break down in the numbers per education field. I'm guessing if you have a business degree there isn't nearly as much of a deviation than if you have a science degree.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  9. Nonimus

    In addition to the bullet points in the article, these were included in the university's blog: http://newsroom.unl.edu/blog/?p=667

    * The more educated respondents were, the more likely they were to question the role of religion in secular society. Yet, they were against curbing the voices of religious leaders on societal issues and supported those leaders’ rights to influence people’s votes.

    “The results suggest that highly educated Americans are not opposed to religion – even religious leaders stating political opinions,” Schwadel said. “But they are opposed to what may be perceived as religion being forced on secular society.”

    August 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  10. Guest

    There are amny people who choose to ponder our place in the universe and are content to believe their understanding is all there is; there are others who insist on/search for more. Neither deserves ridicule or contempt–no one person has all the answers (indeed, is this not the basis of most, if not all, religions?). So from the obnoxious bible thumpers to the sinde Dawkins clones, just tone it down and let each decide for his or herself. Of course, I doubt that will ever happen; people prefer snappy sound bites to legitimate debate and thought.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Coexist

      Like

      August 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • HamsterDancer

      Totally agree with you!

      August 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      Great idea! Now stop basing laws on your silly book and we'll get along just fine. Oh, you're not about to do that? Stick it in your ear, then..

      August 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Guest

      Don't allow religion to dictate laws? No argument from me.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  11. Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

    too bad that 25-30 years of these numbers were before the internet, you should really take a look at those that are currently 20-35. The people who have recently been educated will be most likely to be atheists.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  12. Ponderings

    "The belief that more education yields less faith is also a result of a limited definition of religion, Schwadel said. "Are more highly educated people less likely to hold certain beliefs, such as the Bible being the literal word of God? Yes. Does this mean more highly educated Americans are less religious? Well, if you define religion as literal belief in the Bible, then yes. If you define religion as attending services, however, then the highly educated appear to be more religious. The main point is, it all depends on how you define 'religious,' " he said.'

    This is from a different article talking about the study, I couldn't help but wonder that the more educated you become, the more money you make the more you get better at playing the political games that happen in our society. Let's face it – religion sells and religion can make people support you by simply saying you're Christian. Unfortunately, many are willing to assume you're honest. The Catholic preachers prove that point. I know many people that use the lord’s name in vain, are not so honest but regularly attend church to fit into their neighborhoods. It’s fun to watch the political side of our society and the length people go to play the game. It’s only now that many are freeing themselves from the crippling effects of religion in their lives because it’s ok to look at a Christian and say “you’re full of shit.”

    August 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  13. Athiest

    Christians have forced their ways on our country ever since the beginning of America causing multiple massacres. Religion is for the insecure that need a higher power to control their lives because they don't trust themselves enough to be successful. Religious people could be more educated than others because of their wealth but they are definitely not more intelligent.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Joshua

      "Religion is for the insecure that need a higher power to control their lives because they don't trust themselves enough to be successful. "

      What about all the successful believers?

      August 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Athiest

      I'm not saying believing makes you unsuccessful I'm just saying that the a key reason people believe is because they don't trust their own ability to be successful in life so they need a false sense of a higher power helping them out along the way. Another key reason people believe is because they can't face the fact that we all rot in the ground after we die and our "spirit" is irrelavent after we die except for what we passed on through other living beings.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  14. martinipaul

    Science! The great hope of atheism. But where are all these scientists working? Monsanto? The defense department? Big pharm? I did gmo research for a major global corp. I knew an atheist scientist, department head, who was in favor of child labor, no labeling the ingredients of food products, he even believed stores had the right to sell rancid meat, among other things. God will require an accounting of such wonderful scientific achievements such as thalidomide.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @martinpaul,
      "I knew an atheist scientist, department head, who was in favor of child labor, no labeling the ingredients of food products, he even believed stores had the right to sell rancid meat, among other things."
      Again, these things have nothing to do with the lack of belief in god(s), which is all Atheism is. You're talking about a Libertarian political philosophy not Atheism.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      convenient that this "atheist scientist" isn't here to defend his supposed comments.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I suppose Salk gets hell for the antibiotics the Taliban use as well?

      August 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • sbp

      And I know of this Norwegian Christian who killed 90 people. I guess that proves all Christians are bad. What a simpleton.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • martinipaul

      WD: my reply was censored. Probably by an atheist. See you on the dark side of the moon.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      martinipaul

      WD: my reply was censored. Probably by an atheist. See you on the dark side of the moon.
      -------
      Someone "educate" our religious friend about the program on this board that flags letter combinations.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • sbp

      martinpaul, it would be more reasonable to presume your post was censored by a Christian who is embarrassed by the poor job you are doing representing his faith.

      Or maybe it's the automated nature of the censor app.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • heynow

      You are a stunning ray of illogical, angry sunshine. I once knew a Christian who was a jerk, but I don't base my thoughts on all Christians by his behavior. Keep grinding that axe if it makes you feel better, tough guy.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Helpful Henry

      Your post will not appear because of an automatic word filter, which flags certain no-no letter combinations.
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      --–
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sh-@t.....but shat is okay – don't use the @ symbol there.
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!

      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      "I knew an atheist scientist, department head, who was in favor of child labor, no labeling the ingredients of food products, he even believed stores had the right to sell rancid meat, among other things. " I used to work with a Christian who said every black person should be tortured to death until they were all dead. What's your point?

      August 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      I'm the guy who deletes your posts. What are you going to do about it, punch me in the mouth? You are totally clbuttic.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  15. nagrom

    Anyone seen the religious righteous rightwing rednecks lately? Not sure if I would call them well to do and highly educated. Just my take on the subject. Of course, if they are leftist liberals they will declare that God wants you to take care of your brothers and sisters no matter the cost. Trouble is money doesn't grow on trees either. Just forbidden fruit.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  16. the truth you are NOTHING

    God put natural laws in every human heart.
    "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts". Hebrews 8:10.

    If a person become atheist because some stupid clergy behaviour like pedophile (the worst clergy would be Judas the Traitor – he saw Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but still he betrayed Him). God will judge them based on the law that He put in their heart.

    But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows (non-christian/atheist). From everyone who has been given much (christian), much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much (clergy/priest), much more will be asked. Luke 12:48 (So I don't worry about some stupid clergy/priest – they will suffer more for their wrong doing).

    But human being is full of pride – even he knows he can not escape death, he isn't richer than Bill Gates, he isn't smarter than Alber Einstein (e=m c square), he isn't better than his neighbor – he still boast himself.

    I believe in God but never seen him. so there is 50% chance he exist and 50% chance he doesn't exist. Take your bet.

    Again some of you will denied that God exists and give any reason, I would tell you again. YOU ARE NOTHING, You are not as rich as Bill Gates, not as smart as Albert Einstein, you are not even have girl friends as much as Hugh Heffner, you are not even better than your sibling (that what your mom told me), may be currently unemployed – again YOU ARE NOTHING AND LOSER how can you certainly think there is no God. ah well it because PRIDE.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      the truth you are NOTHING

      God put natural laws in every human heart.

      --------–
      Before I go any further on your post, I must ask where the source of this opinion comes from? Did god tell you this?

      August 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Bruce

      Actually, pride is what causes people like you to pat yourself on the back because you believe–you really really really believe with no doubt whatsoever–that God exists, and your personal opinion in this matter makes you better than that dirty stinking atheist who doesn't believe or has significant doubts concerning (1) whether or not God exists, and (2) what, exactly, "God exists" might even mean if it is true.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • the truth you are NOTHING

      Read again – I said there is 50% chance that God exists 50% chance does not exists.

      Because I'm NOTHING and I realize a lot of human being better than me (because of my pride I have to tell you I'm MBA and employed) – It's easy for me to believe there is God.

      Because YOUR PRIDE you think that you are better than everyone else and self sufficient you don't need God.

      I tell you you are NOTHING – not even as rich as Bill Gates, not even smarter than Albert Einstein, not have girl friends as much as Hugh Heffner (well – I don't like him). and your sibling is more successful than you in every way.

      I tell the truth, why are you mad? It does hit you hard – and now you realize you're NOTHING just like me except I take a chance to believe in GOD (50% chance to believe that God exists is enough for me)

      Cheers....

      August 11, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Bruce

      Tell me this, the truth you are Nothing:

      If you believe in God as you say, and you believe in the scriptures as you say, why is it you do not consult the scriptures for the answer to your questions? Do you not know they already answer your questions of why it is I don't believe, of why it is that people like me lack the "eyes to see and ears to hear" the truth? Do you not know that the scriptures record the contention that people like you believe and people like me do not believe because you were chosen and I was not? Do you not know that these scriptures claim that your belief was a gift from God, a gift that God did not give to people like me?

      Seriously. Why is it that I seem to know more about your scriptures than you do? Why are you asking questions you should already know the answers to?

      August 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Statistics is clearly not your forte

      August 11, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Atheist you are NOTHING

      Again I'm nothing – I'm not smart, I'm just his creation – I can not comprehend God my maker. (if God exists)

      I just want to point it out that you're just like me NOTHING. so don't boast yourself by saying there is no God (He might exists)

      August 11, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Laughing

      I'm confused, so if I say god doesn't exist I'm just the worst because I'm nothing? However you are very certain (but not) that god does exists, which also makes you nothing but more nothing than me?

      What?

      August 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Why is pointing out the most logical conclusion boasting? Seems to me like the one who has done the most boasting (and insulting) in this thread is ... you.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • NOo..oON

      @Stevie7
      Was that Forte percent or Forte basis points?

      August 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      the truth you are NOTHING

      God put natural laws in every human heart.

      --––
      Before I go any further on your post, I must ask where the source of this opinion comes from? Did god tell you this?

      -----------------–
      Not sure why you ignore the question??????????

      August 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  17. Bible Clown

    I think stupid people need religion. Education sure doesn't help them.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Bible Clown

      I think stupid people need religion. Education sure doesn't help them.

      ----------
      Made me chuckle lol

      August 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • oldfolkie

      I believe what Einstein said about religion closely parallels some of the thoughts in the article....and he wasn't too bright was he?

      August 11, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Anglican

      Sounds like you know everything. Wow.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @oldfolkie
      Einstein was an atheist. He said so himself.

      August 12, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  18. Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

    What is interesting is my nephew who was religious before joining the Army, is now quite non-religious. He told me after seeing what he has seen and what he has had to do, there cannot remotely be a loving god out there. He is only 23 years old and going on his 3rd tour.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Jon

      Proof that there are indeed atheists in foxholes. Believer or non-believer, your nephew is a hero in my book.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Joshua

      Can there be a loving God, and unloving people?

      Thanks to your nephew for his service.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  19. Bible Clown

    In other words, educated people are actually LESS religious. If you change the definition of religious to mean "not religious," then they are more "not religious." Yeah, whatever.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  20. Pat

    All that this survey and article really say is that education doesn't equal intelligence.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • WOBH

      No it doesn't... The article simply refutes the hypothesis that higher education reduces religiousity

      August 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      How do you know it refutes it???????? We have no starting benchmark to compare the end result to.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @WOBH,
      I don't know that it refutes that hypothesis, but it does call such concepts into question. I wish they had a link to the study or at least more details.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      It probably depends on what type of higher education you got. Someone with a degree in biology is probably going to be less religious than say someone who has an accounting degree.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE,
      ...or Theology or Divinity or Sociology etc.
      Yes, I think you are correct.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.