Does Religion Make Us Dumber? Study Shows Link Between Atheism and Knowledge


Whether you are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, or belong to any other religious denomination, your beliefs reflect who you are and what you do in life. In large cities like Los Angeles or Houston, we'd like to believe there is a diversity of ideals and beliefs, but does society precondition us to act one certain way in order to be accepted? 

Yes, though few recognize and appreciate this fact. People's beliefs are determined by their background, status, and political views. 

In the current presidential election, it is no secret that some candidates have strong ties to their religious beliefs. A recent Pew Research Poll on Religion and Politics found that nearly 38% of Americans believe religion has played too large of a role in the election. Overall, people do not want to see politics and religion mix, as some do not even know where they stand on particular matters related to beliefs. An Ellison Research poll found that Christians in the U.S. tend to think of themselves in terms of a defined set of ideals or religious thought; 14% of Americans refer to themselves as Born Again and Evangelical, 4% view themselves as just Evangelical, 16% as just Born Again, and nearly 66% do not have a defined ideology. 

In urban cities, where different people of different religious beliefs tend to reside in one place, there is a tendency to surround oneself with a certain group or set of people. In rural areas, there are more close-knit communities, creating little room for religious diversity. In this way, people gravitate towards those with similar interests and those who share the same beliefs.

What about those who do not follow a major religion, such as athiests? What is their place in a society which attaches such importance to beliefs? 

A Pew Research poll on Religious Knowledge found that 20.9% of athiests or agnostics scored highest on a religious knowledge survey. Jews were in second place, at 20.5%. This polls reveals the impact of education on religious belief. Hispanic Catholics scored lowest on the survey, with only 11.6%. Race is not an essential element of religious study, but it can be a factor influencing how certain groups behave.

Without religion, life in large cities would evolve in new ways, a process that is starting to take shape.