Wednesday, April 04, 2007

How Many Atheists Does it Take to Pray for a Passing Grade?

“How Religious are America’s Professors?” So began the sidebar discussion in the most recent issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (March/April 2007). Reporting on a study conducted by professors from Harvard University and George Mason University, BAR highlighted the survey of a random sample of instructors in community colleges, four year institutions, non-elite doctoral granting schools, and elite, doctoral awarding universities.

23.4% of the professors surveyed classify themselves as agnostic or atheist. This contrasts with only 11% of the American population so self-identifying. The percentage drops from nearly 60% believing in God and teaching in four year (B.A./B.S.) colleges to about a third of those in the elite schools.

Actual agnosticism/atheism rises from less than 15% in the community college environment to a plurality of those working in the elite institutions. Evidently, those with perfect SAT scores are more likely to learn from an atheist than from a believer.

And, what percentage of the professors (including those who believe in God) accept the Bible as the literal word of God? Only 6.1% of the respondents agreed with the statement indicating an identification of the Bible as the word of God.

His Barking Dog will be teasing out the implications of these results in a future blog. For now, however, I am reminded of Paul’s response to the self-satisfied Corinthians and their professions of superior knowledge. “This ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up” (ἡ γνῶσις φυσιοῖ, ἡ δὲ ἀγάπη οἰκοδομεῖ

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