Each year of education ups the odds by 15% that people will say there's "truth in more than one religion," says University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Philip Schwadel in an article for the Review of Religious Research.
For each additional year of education beyond seventh grade, Americans are:Of course, the more secular you are, the more you will interpret this data to mean that the more developed a person's intellect becomes the less it will tolerate conservative religious beliefs. This assumes that American education actually develops your intellect, which, of course, is slightly suspect.
•15% more likely to have attended religious services in the past week.
•14% more likely to say they believe in a "higher power" than in a personal God. "More than 90% believe in some sort of divinity," Schwadel says.
•13% more likely to switch to a mainline Protestant denomination that is "less strict, less likely to impose rules of behavior on your daily life" than their childhood religion.
•13% less likely to say the Bible is the "actual word of God." The educated, like most folks in general, tend to say the Bible is the "inspired word" of God, Schwadel says.
But the larger question is how much the change in views about religion are really due to the amount of education they have received and how much is due to the amount of secular indoctrination to which they have been subjected.
Most people "catch their opinions," said Samuel Johnson, "by contagion."