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Princeton Review ranks most and least religious schools
A survey listing the nation's most religious colleges revealed some surprises.
August 19th, 2011
11:53 AM ET

Princeton Review ranks most and least religious schools

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Bennington College students recently learned that their Vermont school had received an honor that some might consider dubious: They attend the least religious college in America, according to an annual educational survey.

Bennington’s selection was part of an intriguing national survey listing the Top 5 colleges in the U.S. for most and least religious students.

The survey is part of a larger study conducted by the Princeton Review, a Massachusetts-based educational services company, for its new book, “The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 edition.”

Princeton Review interviewed 122,000 students at 376 top colleges to rate their schools and describe their campus experiences. Some of the categories included: Top colleges for “Most Conservative/Most Liberal Students,” “Best Professors,” and “Great Financial Aid.”

The survey’s questions about religion, though, caught our attention.

The 5 colleges with "most religious students” were: Brigham Young University, which is Mormon, in Utah; Hillsdale College in Michigan; Thomas Aquinas College, a Catholic school in California; Wheaton College, an evangelical school in Illinois; and Grove City College, an evangelical school in Pennsylvania.

The 5 colleges with “least religious students” were: Bennington College; Reed College in Oregon; Bard College in New York; Vassar College and Sarah Lawrence College, both in New York.

Robert Franek, author of "Best 376 Colleges," says the survey’s method for determining a college’s religiosity was simple: The Princeton Review just talked to students.

“We wanted to hear from whom we consider the college experts - current college students,” he says. “Those are the folks who are the real experts.”

Franek says students were asked if they strongly agreed or strongly disagreed that other students on campus were religious. Students were asked to give their answers on a five-point scale. The results were used to tally the book’s ranking lists of the top 5 finishers in each religious category.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Culture wars • Education

soundoff (1,058 Responses)
  1. JiminTX

    Espousing fairy tales, the existence of the Invisible Sky Friend, his virgin-born son, and transubstantiation are all inconsistent with higher learning, critical thinking, and reason.

    August 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Aquinos

      Nicole, it's interesting that you single out Christianity. At the worst it indicates that you have an axe to grind. At the best it is an incomplete analysis, or perhaps cowardly. In either case your analysis falls far short of academic objectivety. In other words, your own statement is the best evidence of its invalidity. Get off your high horse.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Jeff

      I'm going to guess that he singled out Christianity because all of the universities that were listed are Christian schools. Sensitive much? Sheesh!

      August 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Herpicus Derpicus

      Or...it's just one example – perhaps also the most easily-recognized one for Westerners – about why religious thought defies logic?

      If I want to argue against communism, and I speak only about the Soviet Union, is my argument invalid because I didn't mention China, Vietnam, Cuba, etc.?

      Sheesh, you religious folks.

      August 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Aquinos

      Jeff, no i not sensitive, just intellectually curious. I have a similar view of religion as Einstien and Ben Franklin – kind of agnostic. As an additional point for Jimin (sorry for getting the name wrong last time): if you have ever delved into the philosophies, especially metaphysics, you would know that the academic position is, generally, that it is quite impossible for us to know the true nature of the universe and our own existence. Science continues to probe further and further and that's great but it does not nullify the "academic" philosophical analyses.

      August 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • Jeff

      I have no problem with that. I think the universe is a big, crazy, fascinating place and it just loses some of it's luster when people get lazy and just drop the "god made it" tag on it. I think the real story is far more interesting. Cheers!

      August 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  2. todwith1d

    The honor may be dubious to the author but not to me. All other things being equal, I'd love for my kids to go to a "least religious school". As religious indoctrination decreases, IQ increases. Additionally, the most successful societies by any measure are in the least religious nations.

    August 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Aquinos

      The Soviet Union was "anti-religious" and it collapsed. My God (no pun intended), I wish some of you posting comments actually had some education.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Herpicus Derpicus

      So's Sweden and it's one of the only countries in Europe that's doing OK despite how the rest of the world is going.

      Simply being anti-religious isn't enough – a country has to have sound fiscal policy as well, which the Soviet Union most certainly did not. Stop setting up strawmen. Of course every single anti-religious country won't be successful if their political system is a disaster waiting to happen.

      August 19, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • devils advocate

      Name a society that has ever been truly successful, or, sustaining. Any society ever in existence has collapsed or been wiped out or conquered, as far as I've known. Santa's workshop excluded. Maybe i'm wrong.

      August 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  3. George

    Religion and education have nothing to do with one another. Education invalidates religion.

    August 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  4. ck1721

    They asked an average of 324 student at each school. Not my idea of an accurate study or explanation of the results. "Least/Most Religious School" should have been "School with the most students who feel their schoolmates are religious". Big difference in those viewpoints-especially when you are only asking a small handful of people. I'd like to see their margin of error.

    August 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • cmills88

      I'm not concerned with the sample size – 324 per school is HUGE (30 is usually the minimum for analysis). I am concerned, though, with the nature of the questions. Why didn't they just ask the students about their religious affiliations, how often (if) they attended services, etc? I think that would have been much more scientific.

      August 19, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  5. rh

    I can't believe none of the Ivies are on the list, however I guess a lot of students see the networking potential of keeping a religious affiliation.

    The campus was full of atheists and a few devout people trying to convert the rest of us.

    August 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • hehe101

      What about yeshiva? That's a JEWISH school. Like, "I want to become a rabbi" reigous.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  6. wes

    really cnn? you make middlebury the picture even though its not listed in the story? poor editing...

    August 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Midd

      I thought the same thing. Go Panthers

      August 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • f

      C-N-N, = crap, not news

      August 19, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Righton

      I thought that was Hogwarts.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • j money

      MIDD RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  7. Susan

    DoctorJ, even though I don't agree with you about religion, I love your answer. Clever!

    August 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  8. ben

    funny that the non-religious schools are all better than the religious ones. Oh wait, that's not funny, that's obvious.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      Funny how your arrogance makes you look weak.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • ben

      I am pointing out a FACT discovered by a survey. SOrry if you think "arrogance makes you look weak" (which makes no sense, by the way) The better schools are the non-religious ones. Period. Fact. The end.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • faustus

      Funny thing is that in numerous fields BYU is highly ranked. The only colleges which I heard about previously were Sarah Lawrence and Vassar.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • ben

      you're right, BYU does have some decent courses. The ones NOT related to religion, ironically. However Bennington College; Reed College in Oregon; Bard College in New York; Vassar College and Sarah Lawrence College, Etc. Are all better.

      Point remains. Secular schools are FAR better than religious ones, for obvious reasons.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • faustus

      Decent course? BYU has one of the best business schools in the country. Since you are making broad statement, what makes these schools better than the others? Does harboring trust fund kids make them better?

      August 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • ben

      no silly. Being RANKED higher makes them better. having more prestigious graduates makes them better. having better professors makes them better. Here, let me give you an example. Einstein and Hawkings are/were the two best scientifica minds of our time. They are/were college professors. Do you think either would EVER take a position at a nonsensical religious school? LOL! Of course not!

      Are you being intentionally thick?

      August 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • faustus

      Hurray, I love condescension. Ok. How are these schools ranked and based on what programs? Come on provide facts. I don't care if Vassar has a better acting program. As far as "usable" degrees, how are these superior?

      August 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      @ben "SOrry if you think "arrogance makes you look weak" (which makes no sense, by the way)" I meant "weak minded," a concept you are probably all too familiar with, even if you don't comprehend its meaning.

      And I wasn't debating your point, but more the implication. Your statement implies that non-religious individuals are somehow smarter than those that believe in a Higher Power. Why else would you say, "that's not funny, that's obvious."? Unfortunately on this front, your only support is correlative, and a weak correlation at that. I've known some brilliant people who accept the existence of a Deity, usually one that falls under an "organized religion."

      August 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • ben

      let me make this easier for you simpletons to understand. BYU a MORMON school, is ranked 71 in the nation (facts, do you like them?) Reed is now considered IVY LEAGUE.. Do you see the difference? Can you think of ONE good reason a world famous professor would want to teach a bunch of religious idiots? I cannot. Answer my question: why does Stephan Hawking not teach at a christian private school?

      August 19, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • ben

      WhySoSerious- You weren't debating my point, because you'd lose. Badly. I notice you are still avoiding it. You can call me 'weak minded' if you wish, but I am clearly more intelligent than you. By the way, religion encourages weak minds to remain ignorant. Suffice it to say, that if you believe in talking snakes, a man living inside a fish, and noah putting a 2 of every animal on a boat....it is clear who is weak minded, isn't it?

      You take what fools say as fact. I research actual facts. That is the difference between me, and a troglodyte as yourself.

      Get it?

      August 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      I guess you were too lazy to read my comment. I agree that they are better schools. I was refuting the implication your statement made as to WHY they were better schools.

      And why wouldn't Hawking teach at BYU? Because it's not ranked number 1 in physics, but you can bet all the tea in China he'd teach at Princeton or Harvard or Stanford even if it was considered a "religious" school. It has to do with expertise, not intellect.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Newo

      oh simmer down. The best (ie highest ranking) schools in the country didn't make either list.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      "I am clearly more intelligent than you" . That made me chuckle. Cute. I'm not about to do some sort of comparison of credentials to boost my own esteem and show "who is smarter?", but, seriously, show a little humility. You just met me... over the internet.... 😛 You know absolutely zero about me just as I know zero about you, which is why I said, "it makes you look weak" as opposed to "you are weak." It's elementary rhetoric.

      And even if you are smarter than me, are you smarter than every person who ever claimed to believe in a God? Because my point was simply that intelligence and Atheism are unrelated.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • ben

      um, no, it has to do with intellect. Oh, and the fact that Hawkings is an admitted atheist. I read your post, it was just....stupid.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      @Newo Thank you. My point exactly.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • ben

      yes, share your credentials, and then tell me how they are more impressive than a PHD in philosophy from Columbia. Chuckle all you want, your arguments are all....terrible.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • ben

      "My point exactly" No, that wasn't your point. Feel free to copy/paste you ever saying anything like that. You are a liar. Oh, and check out rates of religious fanaticism at HARVARD. Then get back to me. You'll find out that as IQ and education increase religion DECREASES.

      again, another FACT you are apparently unaware of.

      SO sad 🙁

      August 19, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      Uh, no. I said I wasn't going to play that game, because 1) it proves nothing about my argument–especially in the grand scheme of all intellectuals–and 2) you can make any claim you want over the internet. And now I'll 3) because your credentials don't impress me.

      I do have to say, for a PhD in Philosophy from Columbia, you have terrible reasoning skills. Where did you do your undergrad? Whether they're true or not, I have to say more than anything, I pity you. I'm sorry that you believe one of the world's leading physicists would refuse to seek answers about the universe simply because his collaborators believe in a God (see my point about Harvard if you've already forgotten). You could learn a lot from people who have different beliefs from your own, as I have found throughout my time debating Atheists and other faiths alike.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      And yes, it was my point. I refute your statement that intellect and Atheism share a causal relationship. They may be correlative, but clearly they are not causal, or else Harvard would be on the list of non-religious schools. "Smarter" people tend to be more anti-religious, but it's simply untrue that their intellect is always the cause for disbelief. One can be intelligent and believe in a God.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • iminim

      Religious belief, or lack of belief, has nothing to do with intelligence. People who equate the two are often those who think people who agree with them are more intelligent than people who do not. It is interesting to see how nonbelievers are so quick to define what believers opinions are on issues like creationism, evolution, a deity, etc. In response, believers are quick to criticize those in the atheism/agnostic spectrum for perceived immorality. Reading the dogmatic responses from both the religion & nonbelief camps, I wonder how many of those responding have really discussed their opinions in a civilized fashion with a variety of people from different types of belief & nonbelief systems.

      August 19, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      @iminim I believe that it often has to do with an insecurity of one's own creedence. Christians–and other faiths–attempt to seek a high ground by absolving themselves in morality. Atheists–or more broadly, objectivists–seek security in "reality" and what the scientific method has provided. It would be best if both really considered why they believe what they believe, and instead of lashing out defensively towards others, sought open discussion and wrestled with their own beliefs. There's nothing worse than a stagnant mind!

      And I totally agree, intellect and belief are not interdependent (despite the correlation that the more "academic" tend to be less religious).

      August 19, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • Wheaton graduate

      Just a quick response of "ben:" The Ivy League is actually a league, technically an intercollegiate athletics league which mostly plays NCAA Division I schedules. Reed is not in the Ivy League. I'm sure Reed is a very good college, as are many others that are not in the Ivy League - MIT, Duke, all West Coast and Midwest schools, all small liberal arts schools, and so on.

      August 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • devils advocate

      @ben How does a subjective list make it all the way to FACT in your mind? SURELY, even you know that the princeton review rankings aren't objectively based. So how can they be used as facts considering the consistent fluctuation in ranking position of each school?

      August 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  9. smrtaz

    Nice picture. What was the subject again? Top 10 schools that have nothing better do than stick a broom between their legs?

    August 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • hehe101

      they're playing quidditch. Hence the quaffle.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  10. Jared Curry

    Thanks, now I know the top five school to send my children to.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  11. littleln

    I went to Vassar (Class of 2000). I totally agree that it belongs on the list.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  12. Please read and comprehend

    The study was of the top 376 colleges. There are way more than that in this country. Consequently, Oral Roberts, Liberty, Bob Jones, and any number of others (including public state schools) may not have made the initial list of top 376 colleges. If some of the posters here are an example of our education system, no wonder we rank low in the developed world.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  13. Raoul Duke, Jr.

    It's not a "dubious honor" to be called a non-religious school, it is a cause for celebration. My favorite bumper stickers: "Don't pray in my school and I won't think in your church" and "You can teach creationism in my school if I can teach evolution in your church." Keep thinking and learning in schools and dogma and intentional ignorance in churches. To all the winners of this distinction, feel honored.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • SATCH

      Best Ever!

      August 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Larry L

      Great slogans!

      August 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Everything in Moderation

      It's not that I disagree with you about keeping religion out of schools (public schools, ones not set up specifically by a religious community for their community and paid for by that community), but dogma is what you also both adhere to and propagate, so you might want to rephrase.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Erin

      I have gone to Catholic schools for all of my education with the exception of graduate school and have always been taught evolution. I can assure you that religious people posses the ability to think intellectually. Your stereotypes are baseless and pathetic.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • antillary

      I went to Catholic school and never learned creationism, only evolution. It wasn't even brought up as a consideration. I thnk the radical evangelical movement that's emerged in recent years has given Christian education a bad name.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  14. Reality

    I have never seen a business or industrial job application question regarding one's religious education. i.e. said education simply is a waste of time when it comes to gaining employment in said sector.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Zack

      True it's not on the applications, but I've seen it on resumes and if somebody is religious, I do think it gets "points". Especially if you are considering between equal people otherwise.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • J3sus Sandals

      I hire registered and licensed professionals and quite frankly, religion gets no "browny" points with me...in fact I personally view it as a weakness. People have to be able to think for themselves and take repsonsibility for thier actions instead of relying on a higher power as a "Christ crutch." This in and of itself of course, is never a determining factor, I hire based strictly on merit and value because I work for an equal opportunity employer per the law.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • MakesSense

      Its about darn time they do something about this. Religion and education dont mix unless your studying world religions or thinking of going into seminary. When I was in college I went to a small liberal arts school with a diverse student body faith wise. On my campus we had Catholic Students Association, Jewish Assoication, Muslim Association and Interfaith. I was part of the Catholic and interfaith groups. Let me tell you there was nothing religious about it all. Half the time it was an excuse to hang out and eat kebab.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • ben

      actually is loses 'points' in any field that would require critical, independent thinking. "I believe in god!" on your resume wont get you a good job. period.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • faustus

      Funny thing is that religious sentiment is a detriment in business. People who make the most money tend to be amoral. Ironically, some of the most financially successful people I know are atheists because they do not mind crushing people.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • ben

      total nonsense. regarding 'morality' atheists win every time. You might want to check out the percentage of atheists in prison, or atheist divorce, Etc. You'll find that atheists are much 'better people' in every measurable way.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • faustus

      ben,

      Who said there weren't ethical atheist. You can not deny that thinking amorally and lacking Christian ideals is approriate for business.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • ben

      you did, dummy. "People who make the most money tend to be amoral. Ironically, some of the most financially successful people I know are atheists because they do not mind crushing people." There are CLEARLY moral implications in your post. If you dont see them, well, you're lying.

      I just pointed out some FACTS. Did you look them up, you'll find they are accurate. Atheists, in almost every measurable way, are more moral people. You know, less likely to 'crush' other people.

      You're talking out of your butt, and got called on it. Either accept it, or cry in a corner.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • kent

      If one looks at a number of surveys done by gallop and the pew research firm both have found that students that participate in religious activities/church/mosque etc. on a regular basis over-whelmingly have better grades, participate in extra-curricular activities, club organizers and tend to be more active in campus life, those are people that sound like they can interact in the work force very well. Has also been shown church /mosque goers have an absentee rate from daily work a lot lower than non-church goers

      August 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Jeff

      Hey ben, lighten up! I'm an atheist too, but you're just being a pr!ck on every post you put up. You're giving the rest of us a bad name by trying so hard to come off as intellectually superior. It's almost as if you were a troll that was just trying to make atheists look bad. Hmmm...

      August 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  15. Paul

    I rarely comment on this, but why is it "dubious" to attend the least religious school? "Dubious" is a negative word that infers doubt; if it's their decision to go there, so be it.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Reality Check

      I must strongly agree on that one. The use of dubious in that context makes the article itself rather ... dubious! I believe they threw in "...some might consider..." as a way to cover their dubious intent. But that's kind of obvious .. it's in the belief blog afterall and they don't even have a non-belief blog.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  16. Melissa

    FYI– the Getty Images picture on this post is not of Bennington College. It is Middlebury College.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • J3sus Sandals

      Thanks for the clarification...I thought it was Hogwarts America.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • burymylovely

      @J3sus Sandals, Bennington is the school NOT populated by students who believe in a deity in the sky, turning water into wine, healing the dead etc. How is that the one called Hogwarts? Believing in magical sky fairies is closer to magic than anything non religious folk deal in.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • michael

      the back of Battell to be exact

      August 19, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  17. CJ

    Everyone is "religious" about something – even the devil. I prefer to say I am a Christian rather than religious.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Joe

      How is an atheist religious at all about anything? Religion implies a higher power of some form, and atheists deny the existence of any. They aren't religious in the slightest, and atheists are extremely common in academia.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • ben

      you might want to look up what the word 'religious' means. no,m not everyone is religious, and the devil is a product of your religion, christianity.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Reality Check

      You know you've been fully indoctrinated when you can't even conceive of someone NOT being religious about something.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Rd

      @reality check. You are obviously religious about not being religious. Sounds like you are passionate about it.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • hehe101

      Same with me, I say I'm Jewish.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • TPaliciusV

      Definition of "religion" according to Google dictionary:

      re·li·gionnoun /riˈlijən/ 
      religions, plural

      1.The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods
      – ideas about the relationship between science and religion

      2.Details of belief as taught or discussed
      – when the school first opened they taught only religion, Italian, and mathematics

      3.A particular system of faith and worship
      – the world's great religions

      4.A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance
      – consumerism is the new religion

      Most people fit the 4th one is some way and the rest fit the other 3. So yes, everyone is essentially religious about something. Whether it be belief in God, or the disbelief in God or (insert Deity/ies here).

      Example: I fit the first 3 as I am Christian, I fit the 4th when it comes to things I pursue and give supreme importance such as my hobbies beyond Christianity.

      August 19, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  18. Honestuck

    It would be more interesting to find out which colleges are the 5 most racist and 5 least racist colleges. There findings in the current survey is not a revelation.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • ben

      and how would someone go about doing that? Ask random minorities "do you feel discriminated against"? Stupid idea.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Objective Responder

      Your question regarding the most racist schools must be rhetorical because clearly the most racist schools are those that are the "historically" African American schools which still discriminate on the basis of skin color.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • rh

      I don't think that list would be a revelation either.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ objective – I take some exception to your post. Where do you get your information? I happen to have had the unique opportunity to have been the first Caucasion to graduate from an HBCU (historically black college or univerity) in the South. It was a unique situation and one that I was very happy to have experienced. I grew up in the civil rights era and trust me IF the HBCU's are a bit reluctant to completely embrace the tradition of higher education, they have a right, every right, to do so. I not only graduated from this school, but went on the work there for 25 years, happy years, and only left when I realized that I wanted to have some diverse experiences and went on to become a VP at a historically white university. I've seen the situation from both sides and have found racism on both sides of the street.

      August 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
  19. conoclast

    A "Christian College" seems like a contradiction in terms; to survive, organized religion actively nurtures and is wholly dependent on ignorance.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Cary

      How ironic! I don't know if I've ever read a more ignorant statement about religion (and ignorance).

      August 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Dan of The Prophecy Society

      With that comment, you are in danger of being an "organized religion" all by yourself!

      August 19, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • J3sus Sandals

      Sorry Cary, more accuracy than ignorance.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • HieTide

      Interesting then that many of the worlds' most prestigious places of higher learning have religious origins, including some of our nation's Ivy League schools.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Reality Check

      HieTide ... that just means those schools have collected the financial resources to fund said schools. I also believe that funding higher education by religions is simply a way of offering a worthwhile product (good education) to intice a captive audience in the hopes of indoctrination ... actually an ingenious recruiting investment.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Samsword

      Sorry J.Sandals, I'm going to have to disagree with you. While it is true, there are many stubbornly ignorant religionists, there are equally as many ignorant atheists. I'm actually studying at Brigham Young University right now. I've met some incredibly brilliant professors and students here, many of whom have been a great asset to their individual fields, and most of them are devoutly religious. The funny thing about religion is, that it is entirely a personal matter. So to say that God doesn't exist, because some guy in a lab-coat "proves" it, is just as bad as saying God does exist because some guy spouting off centuries old dogma says so. Truly finding out about God is through experience. I have a strong conviction of God's influence in my life, but not because anyone told me so, but because of my own ponderings and feelings. I have studied many scientific theories about the universe, quantum physics, about the origin of life, and the evolution of man. I have also studied in depth many of the world's religions and philosophies. From Lao Tzu to Nietzsche. From Lakota shamanism to Darwinism In the end, my knowledge and conviction has come from a greater light than any of this, a light that is felt from my own experiences. What about you? Have you ever tried praying and asking God if He is there? Or do you just base all of your beliefs off of others' ideas? If so, I think you need to discover what "ignorance" really means.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Jeff

      Sam: So you're answer is "I know god exists because I thought about it and came to the conclusion that he does"? That's just silly.

      August 19, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Gordon

      What about you? Have you ever tried praying and asking God if He is there?

      --

      I've done just that at times when things have been very troubling. I never received any sort of signal that there is some higher being that will help me through it. That is how I learned that when there is trouble in my life, I alone am responsible for working things out.

      August 19, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  20. Brian

    "Bennington College students recently learned that their Vermont school had received an honor that some might consider dubious: They attend the least religious college in America, according to an annual educational survey."....................
    And who are these "some" people? Allistaire Cooke once posed the question: "Why are Americans so religious?" His answer: "Most of the people who settled America came from the backwoods of Europe and backwoods people are more religious."

    August 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • DoctorJ

      That's one way to look at it. Another is that the settlers of America were more ambitious, bigger gamblers, more adventurous, and in their travels across the ocean and through the wilderness had seen more of God's natural wonders than the boring and staid royalty and upper class of Europe. And they appreciated what they saw, and Who created it.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • James

      Or, more desperate?

      August 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • J3sus Sandals

      The Quakers ended up here bbecause they were running from the truth...that there is no God.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • faustus

      I agree with J3sus Sandals. I think first people need to give up on the notion of the God. The second notion they need to give up is humanism. The species will much better for letting go of both. Empathy is a useless trait.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Herpicus Derpicus

      Yes, bigger gamblers than most people. Some of the more enlightened among us call that "stupider."

      They lucked out, had bigger guns than the Indians, and pillaged their way across one of the most naturally prosperous landmasses on the planet. They were hardier than your average nobleman, having lived a "backwoods" life, and thus thrived in this environment.

      And that's how America was built.

      Either that, or God wanted them to "kill all dem brown people." Which do you think is more likely?

      August 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • iminim

      America has so many people who identify themselves as religious because A) some of our initial settlers came to the colonies because their beliefs were out of line with the government ordained religion in their country. The stronger their alternate beliefs, the more likely they were to desire a place of less persecution. B) Some colonies became havens for those of specific religious beliefs (Pennsylvania and Maryland, for example) drawing in even more openly devout religious people. C) Recent immigrants have tended to come from strongly religious, often Catholic, regions of the world. D) Separation of church & state has allowed those of many different faiths to openly proclaim their beliefs without fear of censorship that favors a state sponsored religion. Religious freedom is a noble part of our history as a nation, as is the equally important freedom to have no religion.

      August 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
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About this blog

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.