Atheists Know More About Religion

Americans aren't losing their religion—but many of them don't know all that much about it. In a new survey from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, atheists and agnostics are more likely to have correctly answered questions related to ritual, belief, and practice in Christianity. Four in 10 Catholics, for example, wrongly believe that the bread and wine of the Holy Communion only symbolize the body and blood of Christ, rather than actually "become" them. A majority of Protestants failed to name Martin Luther as spearheading the Protestant Reformation. Associate Director for Research at the Pew Forum Alan Cooperman explains that atheists consciously deviated from religion after examining it closely and learning a lot about it. "These are people who thought a lot about religion," he said. "They're not indifferent. They care about it." Agnostics and atheists were followed by Jews and Mormons, who were tied in the religious knowledge rankings.