"St. Peter's Basilica Early Morning" by Andreas Tille / CC BY-SA 4.0

Research Presented at Vatican Shows That Anti-Atheist Stereotypes Are Inaccurate

Jun 4, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

Here are two things you never want to hear when it comes to a newly released survey: We got money from the Templeton Foundation and we’re presenting our findings at the Vatican. Neither is disqualifying but both usually require explanations. (The Templeton Foundation has a long history of funding projects that have a pro-religion slant.)

In any case, researchers from the University of Kent took that Templeton cash to study non-believers in a way we’ve rarely seen, and their first report is now out. They spoke with atheists and agnostics from six different countries (Brazil, China, Denmark, Japan, the UK, and the USA) to get a broader understanding of non-religiosity.

How did they know who was atheist and agnostic? In their survey, they asked people for the most accurate description of their belief in God. Atheists were the ones who said “I don’t believe in God.” Agnostics said “I don’t know whether there is a God, and I don’t believe there is any way to find out.” Those seem fine enough out of seven possible options.

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