Why Did You Leave Your Religion? Take This Survey So We Can Find Out

If you were once religious but you’re not anymore (hello, ~97% of my readers!), Michael Caton would appreciate it if you’d complete a 10-15-minute survey where you explain what caused your mind to change. All responses will remain anonymous.

He’ll be posting a summary of the results online soon enough. It’s not scientific, but it’ll be interesting to see what the trends are! [Read more...]

Indians Fight for Recognition of ‘No Religion’ Category in National Census

More than 80% of Indians identify as Hindus. Islam is the second largest group, and it’s six times the size of the third largest category, Christianity. There are a plethora of other religious identities in India, including Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. When it comes to the national census, though, the rest are all lumped into a single category: “Other.” That includes animists, Baha’is, Jews, Zoroastrians and… atheists. As it stands, there’s no category for “No religion.”

For the 2001 Census, the “Other” category added up to 0.6 percent. Which sounds small, until you realize that it amounts to around 4,500,000 people in a nation the size of India.

What’s the breakdown of that group? We have no idea. But we do know that the size of the “Other” category doubled between the 1991 and 2001 Census. If global trends are anything to go on, they may have doubled again between 2001 and 2011, which could mean we’re talking about 1.2 percent of the population or 9,000,000 people.

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Don’t Believe the New Study About Irish College Students’ Attitudes About Religion… Yet

In Ireland, where atheism is already on the rise as are godless funerals, a new study — being touted on multiple websites and by Richard Dawkins — seems to show that the percentage of young Irish atheists is pretty high, too:

A student survey has uncovered some very interesting statistics regarding Irish students and their changing attitudes towards religion.

Shockingly, while less than 60% of respondents considered themselves Catholic; the second group to top the scale were Atheists at 20%.

That’s not the only shocker: Only a third of Irish Catholic students said they believe communion wafers are the physical body of Christ. Which I thought was one of the items on the Catholic Checklist.

And there’s this:

According to the survey, students regard ‘looking good’ (5th) as being more important than ‘religious beliefs’ (6th), with friends and family topping the list of importance.

Lots of interesting stuff.

But I’m not accepting any of it yet. Neither should you.

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Researchers Aggregate 63 Studies and Find ‘Significant Negative Association Between Intelligence and Religiosity’

It’s the age-old question: Are atheists smarter than the religious?

Let’s get the major caveats out of the way: There are brilliant religious people. There are really dumb atheists. “Smarter” is a vague term. And IQ is only one of many ways to measure it.

Anyway, psychologists Miron Zuckerman and Jordan Silberman of the University of Rochester and Judith Hall of Northeastern University have published a paper in Personality and Social Psychology Review that aggregates the results from 63 studies on the issue done between 1928 and 2012.

What did they find?

Turns out the data supports the idea that religion and intelligence don’t always go hand-in-hand — and the researchers have some suggestions as to why that is:

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Only 17% of Georgia Republicans Accept Evolution

A new poll just released by Public Policy Polling shows that only 17% of Republicans in Georgia accept evolution — including, I presume, theistic evolution. 70% of Republicans, unfortunately, embrace Creationism.

Stop smiling, Democrats. Only 29% of you accept evolution while Creation fans hover at 53%.

Independents can quit smirking, too. Nearly half of them are Creationists.

So, really, it’s just a problem with the state. What the hell, Georgia?! You can see the full results here (PDF):

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