My post yesterday about Pew’s religion poll has generated a certain amount of discussion, though mostly about a point that I phrased poorly and ought to rework to clarify. I’m getting general pushback on my suggestion that atheists did better on this survey because they are book smart about religion, but lack experiential or emotional knowledge about religion. I haven’t been dissuaded by the arguments, but look forward to seeing what else emerges.
The thing that shakes me most is the fact that paleocon Daniel Larison made the same point at American Conservative magazine. I assume that AmCon is always wrong, but Ed Brayton says Larison isn’t totally crazy, and I recall other reliable sources treating him seriously. So maybe I should just be happy that he and I can come to the same conclusion from very different places. Here’s his conclusion:
This discussion interests me because I came to Christianity from a thoroughly secular background by way of a fairly extensive self-education in religious texts of all sorts. Viewed one way, I was extremely well-informed about world religions by the time I was 20. As I look at it now, I was still stunningly ignorant of the most important Truth of all. By the time I was a sophomore in college, I am fairly sure I could have answered all of these questions correctly, but what would that have shown? It showed that I was a religion major and had read many books. That’s all very well, but that knowledge didn’t mean that I understood anything that really mattered.
I think he got the right mechanism, but his conclusions about truth … excuse me … Truth are less reliable.
Anyway, check out his angle on this argument, which I picked up via Edge of the American West’s dana mccourt, who argues plausibly that atheists’ trivia gene eats God. Discuss.