Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Well eductated atheists?

I just read this quote on this blog:
"Well-educated Christians deconvert to atheism, but well-educated atheists don’t convert to Christianity. More education about the history and origins of Christianity increases the likelihood that the Christian will deconvert, but more education increases the likelihood that the atheist will stay put. Education pushes you in one direction only."
Hmmm. What do you lot think of that?

8 comments:

Mike Blyth said...

Well, Price is not exactly someone whose impressions on this question I would trust. I would be more interested in what the empirical data show. It would surprise me if educated atheists never convert, because life is not that simple.

Ricky Carvel said...

Erm, the quote came from Bob Seidensticker (great name), not from Price (I assume you mean Bob).

And from what I've heard / read there is at least one well educated atheist (well, he had been a regular commenter on Richard Dawkins's web forums, at least) who converted to Christianity, Richard Morgan. Search the old shows on Unbelievable to find his story.

atimetorend said...

There are well educated people who convert to Christianity of course, but I think it is true that education *generally* pushes you in one direction only. I would add a big disclaimer to that, except for the part that says, "More education about the history and origins of Christianity..." Because there are well educated people who convert to Christianity I'm sure.

Are you familiar with Leah Libresco? An interesting case of an extremely well educated person who converted to Christianity, perhaps an exception to the rule. Link -here-.

Ricky Carvel said...

Hi there,

Yes, I am familiar with Leah Libresco. I mentioned her in a previous post.

I never thought of her in connection with this discussion, primarily because she is still quite young (life experience counts, as well as education) and also because time has yet to tell if she keeps her current beliefs for an extended period of time. We'll see.

KWRegan said...

C.S. Lewis, Francis Collins, Frank Tipler, Alister McGrath, Lee Strobel, several other scientists here. Perhaps you noted that this list has only former agnostics converting to Christianity.

Ricky Carvel said...

Ken,

I think the original comment didn't mean 'well educated' in general, but (as said in the original quote) "More education about the history and origins of Christianity increases the likelihood that the Christian will deconvert".

Nobody doubts that some very well educated and clever people are believers (in almost all religions), the point was that there seems to be a tendency away from Christian belief among those who specifically study Christian origins.

KWRegan said...

Oh, OK---I was addressing the clause in the post, "more education [general-!-?] increases the likelihood that the atheist will stay put", as well as your post title and comment in reply to Mike Blyth.

It is a commonplace that seminaries challenge faith, and seminaries have courses on origins. But in the first place, I wouldn't expect someone to become a Christian through taking such courses or their general university counterparts, unless it led em to look in to the Gospels. If the "more education" includes reading the Bible, as Clinton D. recommended for public education last spring, then you have a really interesting question...

Mike McQuaid said...

I also think that it goes both ways. What is generally nice though is that people coming from one to the other tend to be less ignorant and smug about the other tradition (with the exception of people smugly throwing off what they were raised to believe).