Recently, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted a survey which attempted to determine which religious groups knew the most about all religions in general. You can read the report here, and even take the quiz yourself here.
Many people were shocked to learn that atheists and agnostics scored highest in their grasp of religious knowledge. This was shocking because it is well known that atheists don’t have much time to read, once all of their weekly time demands of goat sacrifice, baby-eating, and destroying America are met.
But if you take more than a second to examine this, why wouldn’t atheists know more about religion than ardent followers? Why do you think they became atheists?
Who do you think might know most about Jim Jones’ People’s Temple? You would expect someone who was not a follower to know a bit more about them, wouldn’t you? I mean, who willingly would want to drink poisoned Kool Aid? But to be fair, you could argue that those results are a bit skewed. Dead men take no online quizzes.
How about Heaven’s Gate? You would expect that non-followers would know that black Nikes often provide nice cushioning for a jog and go well with jeans…but they are unable to transport you to an awaiting spaceship hiding behind a comet. OK, another bad example. The only living Heaven’s Gate followers were pretty weak in their faith anyway.
There’s nothing wrong with being ignorant. But it’s certainly nothing to be proud of. And it’s against all reason that it would be rewarded.