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Less-educated Americans are losing religion, study finds
The decline in church attendance among whites without college degrees is twice as high as for those with college degrees.
August 24th, 2011
03:17 PM ET

Less-educated Americans are losing religion, study finds

By Liane Membis, CNN

(CNN) - If you don't have a college degree, you’re less likely to be up early on Sunday morning, singing church hymns.

That's the upshot of a new study that finds the decline in church attendance since the 1970s among white Americans without college degrees is twice as high as for those with college degrees.

Study: More educated tend to be more religious

“Our study suggests that the less-educated are dropping out of the American religious sector, similarly to the way in which they have dropped out of the American labor market,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, who was lead researcher on the project.

The research, presented this week at American Sociological Association's annual meeting, found that 37% of moderately educated whites - those with high school degrees but lacking degrees from four-year colleges - attend religious services at least monthly, down from 50% in the 1970s.

Among college-educated whites, the dropoff was less steep, with 46% regularly attending religious services in the 2000s, compared with 51% in the '70s.

The study focuses on white Americans because church attendance among blacks and Latinos is less divided by education and income.

Most religiously affiliated whites identify as Catholics, evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants, Mormons or Jews.

Lower church attendance among the less-educated may stem from a disconnect between them and modern church values, the study theorizes.

Religious institutions tend to promote traditional middle-class family values like education, marriage and parenthood, but less-educated whites are less likely to get or stay married and may feel ostracized by their religious peers, the researchers said.

The researchers expressed concern about the falloff in church attendance among the less-educated.

“This development reinforces the social marginalization of less educated Americans who are also increasingly disconnected from the institutions of marriage and work,” said Andrew Cherlin, co-author of the study and a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University.

Wilcox said that those who do not attend church are missing out on potential benefits.

“Today, the market and the state provide less financial security to the less educated than they once did,” Wilcox said. “Religious congregations may be one of the few institutional sectors less-educated Americans can turn to for social, economic and emotional support in the face of today’s tough times, yet it appears that increasingly few of them are choosing to do so.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church • Polls

soundoff (1,621 Responses)
  1. GuestColin

    The world will be better off when everyone stops supporting religion.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • gary

      agree 100% .. time to switch to science, fact, education, intelligence, be productive, stop wasting time on the knees

      August 25, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • john doe

      Sure, science is the end all be all to all questions. Scientists at one time believed the earth was flat too.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      But then they realized they were wrong based off of the new facts that were found and changed saying that the earth was not flat.

      Now how often has religion said that they were wrong and changed their opinion based off of new facts....? Science will eventually get it all right, religion is like an old man that refuses to use the tv remote because getting up to change the channel is the way it's always been done and should be done from now on.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Yep, heard Hitler and his crew of scientist were making great strides at one time.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Vesstair

      John Doe-

      Yes, they did think the world was flat at one point. Then they did some research, found out they were wrong, and changed their minds.

      What's the last thing the Church changed their official stance on because of research?

      August 25, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • JT

      Yeah John, and when Gallileo observed and published that the Sun, not the Earth was the center of the solar system the church imprisoned him and threatened him with death until he recanted. Religion always fights tooth and nail to retard the advancement of science.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • James

      @I'm the best, I distinctly remember Christianity doing it at least once when they rebooted the entire religion from the Old to the New Testament. The Old Testament said to follow the 10 commandments to get into Heaven. The New Testament realized that they set the bar too high for mere mortals and changed the entry requirement to simply believing in Jesus Christ. Sounds like an admission to being wrong to me!

      August 25, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Justin

      I agree wholeheartedly with you, Chairman Mao. Religion is the opiate of the masses and must be stamped out.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • Hayden71

      Hey GuestColin

      Already been done on a smaller scale....

      Nazi Germany, communist China and the previous communist Soviet Union.

      Unfortunately the results didn't fare too well and now that they're doing it in America in our present day, we're starting to reap from what we've sown.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Jonathan Etherbridge

      I hope people would stop believing on the "man on the sky" in the same way as them they discover tooth fairy and santa claus don't exist. Religion is and has always been worst of the human inventions, invented to "explain" the unknown (e.g. stars on the night sky) and used to justify all kinds of abuse and wars. hard to understand why many people still have this frantic believe on some fairy tales written by ignorant desert people that lived thousands of years ago....

      August 25, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • SurelyUjest

      I agree only in the sense that the world should stop financially supporting religion. Your relationship with god/goddess/flying monkeys/ or no god at all is yours and unique to you alone. No two people interpret every line of any of the holy books exactly the same. Your personal relationship is yours, for governments to provide tax subsidies or cabinet posts or political parties based on a religion further separates the relationship of one individual with one individuals beliefs. We need to remove tax exempt status from churches and remove them from govenrnance completely. This is not to say God/Goddess/Purpe dinasouar or what ever you do or don't believe in shouldn't be accepted in to governance. This is to say it shouid not be mandated directly or indirectly with public funds or tax code.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      JT – You have one scientific university funding one study and on the other side of the country another is begging their university for funding to debunk the first university. Science, in its present form is becoming more like a Cancer with less and less advancements and more worthless studies. We should be in flying cars and exploring space... now days the scientist and engineers can only put man into Earth orbit, and tyco remote control cars on Mars. I do not

      But... we found more new ways to kill.... some progressions of Science do not slow down at all.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ James
      So the OT to the NT then? All that did was create a whole new church. A few people said "Look, we have a new book to go by" and half the people followed and half stayed. There was no one person who was high up in the religion following the OT who accepted this change. I'm talkiing about a changed based on facts that everyone can look at. It took them being backed into a corner from every astronomer in the world before they admited they were wrong about the earth being the center of the galaxy. I'm sure they still believe we're the center of the universe.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Hayden71

      James said:

      "The Old Testament said to follow the 10 commandments to get into Heaven. The New Testament realized that they set the bar too high for mere mortals and changed the entry requirement to simply believing in Jesus Christ."

      Wow James...what a woeful ignorance of what the bible teaches. The Old Testament actually stated that "Cursed be he that confirmeth not ALL THE WORDS OF THIS LAW TO DO THEM." Nobody has kept them...they're a mirror to show us that we are incurably corrupt and in need of a saviour.

      As for "simply believing in Jesus Christ"...James said "faith without works is dead being alone." If someone has really trusted Christ, their life will show reality or else they're deceiving themsetlves and do not belong to Christ.

      Usually the type of thinking that says someone can keep the commandments or have a profession in Christ with changed life, comes from either someone who has never read the bible or someone who is self-righteous and decieved.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  2. hippypoet

    tell ya what... stop all your studies on humans and how we live, that costs us money to have you folks do pointless surveys... and stop telling us what we do and why we do it... i think above any outside opinion, the one that should matter is your own.. but yet we as a sad race of primates, we hunger for the approval of others... a social carry-over from when living in a city meant something to the whole not just where the job was for the one... forget dumb teachings like all religions and follow your heart, how hard is that. start by first pulling your head out of your @ss, then remove all the bullsh!t from your view. now with a clear sight and mind, go and be happy with life, NOT GOD... THATS A FAKE HAPPINESS, all you do is waste gas going to church, pay once your in and have nothing given back to you but a promise. If told you that i promise i won't steal your car, would you give me the keys? The social NET-WORK is now called the internet, and people concern themselves with religion as if that will have the answers... As if Joshua ( thats jesus's real name for any confused out there) taught about the internet and its evils...stupidity is like a plauge that only ends if the people want to learn the truth, let the silly dumb narrow minded have there religions...heres something to research – CHRESTUS ... enjoy

    August 25, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Majestic Lizard

      No study of any kind published in a peer reviewed scientific journal has ever demonstrated a causal link between religious beliefs and higher education. However, a cursory glance at the history demonstrates that when religious organizations dominate thought and government the product was the dark ages, the fall of the Roman empire, the fall of the Ancient Maya, etc.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:19 am |
  3. Rainer Braendlein

    Indeed, there are two divine mandates (insti-tutions): work and marriage. God requires man to produce children and goods.

    I praise everybody, who works and who is married. Fine! That is the basis of human life.

    However, I see a small danger.

    One could assume, working and being married would be all about Christianity. Such one is in danger to make an idol out of work and marriage. One, making an idol out of work and marriage, is a Philistine or square. Work and marriage are good in itself, but nobody likes Philistines, because of their idolatry.

    The problem of today is that the secular (profane, godless) authorities try to breed human robots (people with a certain secular behaviour pattern). The authorities want human beings, which are totally focused on work and to a less extent on marriage. Thus, they want to breed Philistines. Philistines are easy to handle and produce a big tax revenue.

    Well educated or not, at Church people want to meet Christian brothers and sisters, but they don't want to meet nasty Philistines there. A Church consisting of Philistines will lose their members in the course of time, because only a few people want to stay in a nasty wormhole.

    What makes a Christian?

    Of course, a Christian also works and marries, but he makes no idol out of this things. A Christian doesn't adore an idol, but Jesus Christ.

    Churches were always inclined to adopt themselves to the world and worldly values like this: He has a good workplace, he has a beautiful wife, he is good (blessed). Blessed are the Philistines. Of course, such Churches are no real Churches, but temples of idolatry.

    In the real Church there should be the following people: People, having (or developing) a Jesus-like character. Everybody, adoring Jesus, will get changed into a human being, which is totally opposed to a Philistine.

    The character of a loveable man, adoring Jesus, we can find in the start of the Sermon of the Mount (Matthew 5: 1-12):

    And seeing the multi-tudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

    2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

    3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

    5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

    6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

    7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

    8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

    9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

    10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

    12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

    We need pastors and bishops, being model Christians. A pastor should keep conection to reality (outside the Church-world) by doing an ordinary job beside his ministry (carpenter, nurse, tailor, teacher, gardener or anything else).

    The big proplem of the Churches today is it that the Church leaders live in a kind of subculture, having lost touch to the real world. At Sunday they preach, how to conduct in everyday life, but they live in a world, where they themselves are not challenged by any brutal workmates or bosses or customers or pupils or so.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • jimtanker

      Another religious nut contradicting themselves and making no sense.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Jesus Christ

      STFU

      August 25, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Pastors and bishops, depending too much on the donations of their church members, are in danger to preach a Philistine gospel. They may calculate like this: the richer my congregation, the richer I am.

      Hence, it is hight time to establish a new system. Pastors should never fully retire from a worldly job. They may do an somewhat easier job with limited effort of time, in order to spare time for their divine ministry.

      Note: Pastors, preaching the Philistine gospel make a big mistake. They cause a contest between their church members: who has the best job, who has the most beautiful wife? This leads to selfishness and isolation of the single church member. This is the opposite of the real Church, which Jesus founded.

      Furthermore, true Christians in a true Church, having no idotic contest, could found cooperations (they could found small companies or schools, etc.). In this way they would become independent from the godless rulers of this world, which want to make them slaves or human robots. Now things have come full circle: When you preach the true gospel, you help your church members even materially.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  4. w. Joyce

    Could be that college educated folks go to church as a front. They fel that it looks good to their employer and high level boss...

    August 25, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Could it be that you are grabbing at straws the same way that the Faithful were when another study showed results the other way around?

      August 25, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • Majestic Lizard

      The statistical surveys that the article suggests don't exist in any reputable form. It is nonsense.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • crocodile bobbies auto

      As I read some of these comments, it just makes me love God all the more. God is so tolerant of the beliefs of all of mankind. But, if you do not believe that "hondas" exist, you will never own one. All will soon know that God, even His son really exist, with complete knowledge, nothing to have faith in, but with perfect knowledge. Of course the devil has perfect knowledge that god exists. I think most who profess that God does not exist, do so, because they misunderstand how God works. He does not force himself on anyone. But those who deny Him, eventually end up with cancer or some other adverse condition. Religious worship on sundays, leads to health, love and prosperity. there are no atheists they say in fox holes.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • jimtanker

      Or, your god just doesnt exist. Occams razor.

      And there are atheists in foxholes. I was one for 24 years.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  5. KevinB

    I've been to MANY different churches in my 50 years on this planet and my own experiences just don't concur with this study. someone should do some digging on the raw data. I smell 3 day old fish here.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • DanielB

      agreed

      August 25, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Wow ...Daniel B agrees with Kevin B..... twins? Which came out the birth canal first 🙂

      August 25, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  6. Reality

    Just more credence for the following:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. (e.g. "Do No Harm") No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    August 25, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • Majestic Lizard

      I don't have anything against people who are religious until they attack people who either have no religion or a different religion. We had a little problem with that in Germany back in the 1940's.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • ABeliever

      If these things were not required, they would not exist. You may believe yourself to be happy living without these things, but some of us choose not to live without faith. Faith may be worthless to you, but it is not worthless to the vast majority of humankind. If you can't respect that, you don't have any right to expect our respect either.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • doughnuts

      Come right out and say what you mean, Lizard. You think atheists are Nazis, right?

      August 25, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • Chris

      Right lizard....a catholic killing jews.....in essence religion is the problem.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  7. Jason

    I am surprised television was not mentioned in this article. I love me some good TV, but none of my favorite shows include include an enthusiastic churchgoer, except for "Bones". This is significant because it has been shown that poor people watch much more TV than richer folks. Thus, if you are poor you will be conditioned to not attend church.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Freethinksman

      If television makes people less religious, it has a redeeming quality. I don't watch TV AND I am not religious. I am surprised and dismayed to find that better educated people have not opened their eyes to the preposterousness of religion.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  8. BS

    The article links to another article that gives the source of the study, including the name of the Nebraska professor that conducted it. It seems likely that the study is legitimate. The only illegitimacy here is people who simply assume the opposite is true without any statistically significant observations to back up their claims.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • ABeliever

      Thank you!

      August 25, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • John Richardson

      This study doesn't even address issues of belief, just attendance.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • ThatOneDude

      As they never actually delve into WHY those people are attending church, it's likely that a lot of those college educated people are not believers, but rather attend some form of service out of a social obligation or to hide their disbelief from those who would hassle them over it.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      John – Why when other studies showed results the other way around, the Atheist side did not mention attendance? The majority pointed to it as a loss of Faith in God by the Educated and the uneducated were holding on to "fairytales". Now we have Atheist pointing to everything under the sun to try to explain away this study.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • BS

      Because most people jump to whatever conclusions they want to.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  9. snakeoil

    I'm going to call BULLSH$T and bias on this op-ed piece.Theology isn't a degree in my opinion,it's like saying you have a degree in Grimms fairytales.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • Jason

      Actually the lead researcher for this study is a professor of sociology. Sociology and theology are different disciplines.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Freethinksman

      While not in Grimms Fairy tales as such, my undergrad degree is in English Literature, my masters is in European Folklore. In essence, I have a degree in Fairy Tales. I think what you meant is that a theology degree is akin to a degree in "fairies". If you're going to paraphrase Dawkins, at least get the gist right.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • reACTIONary

      You ought to read the article carefully and think a bit before calling anything, let alone BS. There is nothing in the article about any SPECIFIC college degree, let alone a degree in theology.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  10. Considerthis

    Uneducated people work lousy jobs. They usually dont have Sunday off.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      In this economy you have a lot of unemployed (NASA, CiSCO.etc) people. Your trying to explain away a unfavorable to you study 🙂

      August 25, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  11. Factof thematter

    Many people feel that organized religion has not met their needs therefore, have chosen to arbitrarily not return to the church they once attended. Others feel they are "spiritual" without being religious. Still others feel the inner need to worship God in their own way without church attendance. While attending church is a good thing, Christians know that that alone is not a guarantee of Salvation. The Holy Bible clearly says that one must be Born Again through Jesus Christ in order to be Saved as it is He and only He who can give Salvation unto others. Therefore, decline in church attendance especially where church priests or ministers tend to be over controlling or domineering over another person's life by misinterpreting Biblical Scripture in order to support their viewpoint is also a great contributing factor to many leaving the church and not returning.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Majestic Lizard

      If you are going to believe that the key to salvation lies in joining the religious club (denomination) rather than behaving like a compassionate and intelligent human being, you are as far away from the teachings of Jesus Christ as any devil worshiper could ever be.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • Chuck

      Good... Maybe it's time for the old ways to be swept out and for humanity to find God in a new way. The churches of today have failed to address the major issues that plague our species and are creating judgement and strife. It was bound to fail eventually. Being born again in Christ has a whole different meaning that no one in a church can ever convey, because if they did, the church would fall apart over night.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • wikiIeaks

      not all have failed. Jehovah's Witnesses continue searching for and teaching the truth. They became truth seekers because of how the mainstream churches have failed the people. I know it may annoy some that they knock on your door, but if you ever listened to what they say, it actually makes sense. Everything they say is based on the bible. The magazines they hand out all direct people to use their bible. I've been studying with them for a while now. What a relief to know why we are here, and the truth about the future.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • Factof thematter

      Majestic lizard (a creepy crawler?), if you believe what you are saying you are clearly diametrically opposed to Holy Bible teachings that clearly state the ONLY WAY towards Salvation is through Jesus Christ. That is in the CHRISTIAN teachings whether you wish to believe in the Christian way or not. That is the way it is. Doing good towards others is a good thing but it does not guarantee Salvation to anyone. Neither does going to church though there is nothing wrong with that. What *does* guarantee Salvation is by becoming Born Again through Jesus Christ. You may not personally wish to believe it but the Holy Bible clearly tells us that and it rings true for many Christians including me. There will always be non-Believers like yourself who wish to obfuscate the issue at hand but know that God is never wrong in what He teaches about Salvation and the *only* way to attain it.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • BRC

      @FactoftheMatter or Wikileaks,
      Both of you say that the only way to win "God's" approval is by accepting Jesus as your savior; because the Bible says so. Not to be argumentative, but how do you personnaly KNOW I mean really know, that the Bible is right?

      August 25, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @wikileaks
      I will agree that the JoHos have ditched some of the more ridiculous concepts of most Christian sects – like the Trinity (I've always been confused about how someone can worship a triune god and still think themselves monotheistic).

      They still have their share of craziness, though.
      They believe that Abraham and Isaac were resurrected in the early 1900s, marking the start of Jesus' 1,000 year reign (as a ghost).
      So far, they've predicted 1914, 1925, and 1975 as the dates of Christ's rule.
      Modern JoHos believe that Satan and his demons have been living on and ruling the Earth since 1914. They also believe that NATO will attack and destroy them, ushering in Armageddon. After that, everybody that died in armageddon will be zombiefied.

      Do you still think they have it right?

      August 25, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • Factof thematter

      BRC, you ask how I personally know if the Bible is right. I know through *Faith* in my heart that speaks to my soul and tells me that what the Bible says is True and is God's inspired word. It is the following Biblical passages that reveal how one can attain Salvation. Jesus saith unto him, I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. - JOHN 14:6 (KJV). Also, For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord. - ROMANS 6:23 (KJV) These two passages alone ring So True to me and most other Christians. I wish it would for you too as I want to see that you are Saved and do not have to worry about where your eternity will be spent because you would know it was in Heaven if you become Born Again. You see, one sees the light of Biblical Truth in their heart and recognizes it as such if they are with God. If they are not, they will never see that light or know that truth.

      August 25, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Born Again

      To Those Who Are Interested In Becoming BORN AGAIN. This is the *Prayer* to be said out loud and with contrite heart to become Born Again.

      Lord Father, I come to thee as a sinner and ask that you forgive me of my sins for which I am heartily sorry. I accept and believe that Jesus Christ is the One and only begotten Son of God. I believe in my heart that Jesus died on the cross for me and that He resurrected through God. I promise to serve you in the most holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

      May God Bless ALL of you for you are ALL His children.

      August 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  12. hippypoet

    i agree with Civiloutside on this one. People are fast becoming an isolated family type life... ye to his own cave, much like when we as humans first started to build villages, then towns, then cities... we all wanted to be part of the group and be allowed to go and be alone in our OWN homes. The ideal of alone and safe is a long founded and widely held belief... its also ingrained in our brains...when you were a kid did you also hide under the covers when you thought you saw something, as an adult your covers would be your home if you have one. place of safty from any possible harm... and with people acting like they have been towards others, i mean without respect, its pretty clear why most of us are statrting to stop social functions and began our own family traditions without the rest of the world. Like i said, its my cave, so go find your own! This is the true beginings of the dead world, the dark ages of the modern world, we can talk to friends without ever leaving the safty net (home)... why go out when i can go online and still be with my friends.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  13. Majestic Lizard

    I'm pretty sure Stephen Hawking graduated from college (sarcasm). The author of this article probably didn't attend the same college Hawking did, however. More likely a diploma mill.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • Scott

      Nice try Lizard but using Hawking is hardly a good example. The article is probably based on sample data of the U.S. population which when used in a hypothesis, can have a confidence level of 90%+ that the proposed idea is correct. Go back to your cave.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Jason

      Majestic, I am sure you are aware that demographic statistics don't tell you about individuals. They tell you about populations. Therefore, I am sure you are aware that your comment is profoundly silly.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Majestic Lizard

      @Jason and your sockpuppet (Scott), you can't defend your position so you demonstrate your ignorance of statistical analysis by stating that the article is "probably" based on sample data of the entire population. This basically shows what you are all about. You accept something on faith without evidence and attack those who are not stupid enough to do the same thing.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Majestic Lizard

      Actually, using Hawking is an excellent example. But you disregard everything that confounds what you want to believe.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • Majestic Lizard

      "Majestic, I am sure you are aware that demographic statistics don't tell you about individuals. They tell you about populations. Therefore, I am sure you are aware that your comment is profoundly silly."
      Populations are made up of individuals, you idiot.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • Jason

      Majestic, did you read the article? There is no claim that Christianity is true, or even reasonable. There is simply a statement of correlation. You cannot contradict correlation with a single counterexample, unless the claim is that the correlation is 100%.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • ThatOneDude

      You expect this dip to understand the difference between correlation and causation?

      August 25, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • John Richardson

      This article isn't even about belief. It's about affiliation and attendance. Lots of "mainline" Protestant churches, ie the ones where lots of the college educated go, soft pedal traditional Christian dogma. Lots of uneducated biblical literalists have long been known not to read the very bible they think is the word of god and may or may not bother to get up for anything Sunday morning.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • BRC

      @Majestic Lizard,
      I've been trying to catch up and scran through your posts on this page, and it's all kind of leading me to one question. What on earth ar eyou talking about? I'm as anti-religion as the next guy (and 10 of his best friends all added together). I believe personal faith is important and a person's faith and beliefs, whatever they are, can help them get through what can sometimes be a rough life; but organized mass religions have had a net evil effect on this world, and should be minimalized whereever possible, and done away with if we could.

      NONE of that (or anything you've been saying) has anything to do with this article. this article is merely pointing out that a recent survey found that people with less education were less likely to attend formal services. It didn't say anything about belief, and it made no ascertions about people with higher levels of education. In fact, it actually suggested, though unprovable and not necessarily supportable, that attendance at all levels might be socially motivated.

      Short version, noone said college makes you believe in gods. If you don't mind, tone it down a notch; you're making all of us "logical" people look a little crazy.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  14. crocodile bobbies auto

    Well, I guess this is good and true. I know people who do not go to church but, worship at home.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • crocodile bobbies auto

      I know Jesus lives. Jesus comes to my bedside at night and heals me. He is my prophet, healer, fortune teller, marriage councilor, friend, protector, seerer, revelator

      August 25, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • Majestic Lizard

      Good for you. But tell us, what is the extent of your education and on what factual basis do you contend that the religious are more likely to be college graduates?

      August 25, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Majestic Lizard

      Yeah. That's what I thought.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  15. Chris

    This is propaganda at its best....completely not true. The more you know about the world around you...the less likely you are to claim a god did it.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • ABeliever

      There are some pretty well renowned and accomplished scientists that would disagree with you.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • ThatOneDude

      @ABeliever
      Yes, and there are some who believe in fortune tellers, tea leaves and every other form of idiocy. The morons who started the vaccination scare were highly educated. The fact that some researchers can live with profound cognitive dissonance is unsurprising in the least.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  16. Majestic Lizard

    There is no peer reviewed scientific study that has ever remotely demonstrated a causal link between having religious beliefs and graduating from college. This article quotes phantom surveys without discussing sample size, control measures, or whether or not the studies refereed to were randomized or strictly observational. In other words, it is complete nonsense. This hateful and bigoted crusade against those who choose not to believe in boogie men and fairies must end.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • NoMoreLabels

      I completely agree! Furthermore, people must realize that by forcing religion on others by building mass churches, adorning themselves with crosses, and participating in every ritual attached only serves to make them appear fearful and foolish.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • ABeliever

      I don't see any attack on those of you to don't choose to believe. But I hear your viscious attacks on those of us who do. (Sporting 3 college degrees in both technical and liberal arts areas, attend church regularly, believe passionately but not blindly, extensively read in theology and science and the pros and cons of faith. YOU?)

      August 25, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • snakeoil

      It was probably done over the phone and is easy to make the numbers flow to your opinion.You only call the districts you want to hear from.I used to work at a tele answer service(line man and tech)and saw first hand how they go by address to make their study fit their needs.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • Majestic Lizard

      @Abeliever, you just stated you don't see any attacks on those who don't believe and then followed that with a personal attack against another person posting in the thread. This is fine, but don't pretend you didn't do it. LOL. Oh, and your education is laughable.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  17. hayfield

    This story should be in the entertainment section.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:41 am |
  18. Civiloutside

    Bear in mind that the article is about church attendance, not religious belief. Interestingly enough, I was recently listening to a radio report about how social club membership in the US is also declining. Which leads me to suspect that this is part of an overall decline in participation in social insti-tutions more than a change in religious beliefs.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • John Richardson

      Glad to see that someone here can actually read for comprehension!

      August 25, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  19. Steve

    Educated people are rejecting religion for obvious reasons and those that profit from it have been worried sick for decades about the resulting loss of collections. Hence the creation of terms like "secular humanist" and spurious articles like this. This article is exactly the kind of propaganda needed to placate the faithful and relieve them of their money and sanity.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • NoMoreLabels

      *standing ovation* You summed it up perfectly!

      August 25, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • crocodile bobbies auto

      I have been to lutheran, mormon, jewish, catholic, methodist, episcopalian, presbyterian, assembly of god, and really enjoy attending religious services. It is fun to worship God and Jesus Christ. All the greatest movies, songs, books, all honor God in some way. I love singing hymns and praising God or Jesus. Religion is fun. The only problem, is I can only attend one or 2 services each sunday, since most services are held in the morning.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • BS

      Aside from a few TV evangelists, etc, I have yet to see many churches where people are getting rich off of contributions. Most churches are not well off and have to stick to pretty strict budgets since most paritioners don't contribute much and attendance at many churches has not been growing.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • John Richardson

      @BS Those who aren't getting "rich" off of donations/collections are all the MORE desperate to get people coming back.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Steve so when the next study shows that the educated are leaving the church will you be ok when the Faithful call it propaganda?

      August 25, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  20. John

    A single study contrasting people’s education level with church attendance and drawing the conclusions that less educated are not as tied in to the value of belief in marriage and work could cause quite a controversial discussion. I would ask a few follow up questions such as how do you define a less educated person? One who has not completed four years of college? Does not life offer all of us an education and experience with out going to college? I would offer a thought that completion of a college degree does not always make one educated. I would also offer that man’s own ability to reason and think allows him the freedom of choice on acceptance or rejections of "traditional values regarding religion, marriage, and work". I read recently that more couples are living together than in a marriage. I would encourage the study author’s to read a little history on the role of the Christian church with the support of the state Eastern and Western Roman Empire “ Constantine” and how marriage came to be the tradition that so often cited as “ traditional Christian values”. A person may draw different views when the historical piece is reviewed.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • BS

      I would argue that in spite of your philisophical musings, brilliant people without college degrees are rare. So the assumptions of the study are fine.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • Majestic Lizard

      This is a pseudo-intellectual rant of verbose verbal diarrhea if I have ever read one.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:05 am |
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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.