"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Education Levels of American Religious Traditions

Percentage of members of religious tradition with university degrees, 2000:

Unitarian 61.1%
Jewish 60.2%
Episcopal (Anglican) 45.5%
Presbyterian Church USA 39.7%
UCC 35.3%
LDS (Mormons) 28.1%
Nonreligious 27.1%
United Methodist 27.0%
Missouri/Wisconsin Lutheran 24.0%
Conservative Methodist 24.0%
ELCA 23.6%
American Baptist 22.0%
Roman Catholic 21.7%
Black Baptist 19.9%
Southern Baptist 16.4%
Nondenominational 12.9%
Adventist 12.0%
Assembly of God 10.3%
Other Pentacostal 7.0%
Jehovah’s Witness 7.0 %

I just thought this was a bit interesting. Clearly the better-educated Christian denominations are also among those whose national leaders have drifted furthest from traditional understandings of Christianity, though I would have thought the UCC ranked higher in the list based upon its heterodoxy. (Incidentally, I believe there was a study a few years back that said Sikhs actually top the list in the U.S., but they were apparently not counted in this study.) Hat tip to TitusOneNine. The entire sociological study is worth skimming, and may be found here.


Blogger Belinda said...

this was an interesting read, how did you find out about it?

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On your dissertation of Athanasius, what is your take on the Trinity Doctrine?

My understanding is that at the 1st Council in Nicea although Emperor Constantine, in the religious role as pagan Pontifex Maximus, sided with Athanasius, eventually he supported Arius.

Do you think that Athanasius' Egyptian background influenced how he interpreted Christianity and his suppport for the trinitarian Nicene Creed?

8:34 PM  
Blogger Julian said...

Well, well, it's probably more accurate to say that the phenomenon occurs at both ends, don't you think? And although you rightly criticize Anglicans, for example, for having strayed, I suspect the fact that you and I stay Anglican means that if it came down to it, you would probably find significant theological problems in the mid section - it's just that they're not the ones associated with university educated liberal tendencies. I'm not sure your conclusion is really valid.

11:55 PM  
Blogger James the Thickheaded said...


Interesting data. Triggered a thought - my 2 cents for the day:

One other possible explanation is that the higher the level of education, the more seriously the congregant takes his commmitments - because quite often, the more commonly any commitment is freely made rather than forced by circumstance. The follow-on is that these freely made commitments entail a conformance of belief and life...where education "empowers" a sense of "reconciling diverse views", and where this process sees no special primacy for scripture and/or tradition relative to the place of personal viewpoints. Thus, an all-too-American "consensus" is reconciled one believer at a time. But while we may differ with their result and how they got there, we should credit their efforts - however misguided or wrong-ended - at sincerity. Without further context, one would hesitate to suggest that lower educated folks approach their faith with the more or less sincerity: it may simply be they are such hard working folks this sort of effort is a luxury they do not have the time or inclination to indulge.....but the conclusion that they may end up differently is not supported.

My gut feeling is that educated people tend to defer to specialists in a way that "regular guys" may not. This deference tends to play into the hands of those who have more specific religious knowledge...but may have less respect for sustaining traditions...since their own desire to bridge the gap between themselves and the less knowledgable and be seen in turn as regular guys is frequently employed to bend the rules to serve those they would befriend.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Al said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Al said...

Education quells primitive superstition.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Julian said...

"primitive superstition" eh? What a "neanderthal" way of putting it...

4:14 PM  

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