"So why would an atheist know more about religion than a Christian?"
That question comes from an article in the LA Times, discussing "a survey that measured Americans' knowledge of religion [and] found that atheists and agnostics knew more, on average, than followers of most major faiths." It's not really surprising, given that
American atheists and agnostics tend to be people who grew up in a religious tradition and consciously gave it up, often after a great deal of reflection and study, said Alan Cooperman, associate director for research at the Pew Forum.
The result is that they know what they're rejecting.
One funky bit is that "Jews and Mormons ranked just below [atheists/agnostics] in the survey's measurement of religious knowledge -- so close as to be statistically tied." In fact, "Mormons, who are not considered Christians by many fundamentalists, showed greater knowledge of the Bible than evangelical Christians."
Another report on the survey, via MSNBC noted that
On questions about Christianity, Mormons scored the highest, with an average of about eight correct answers out of 12, followed by white evangelicals, with an average of just over seven correct answers. Jews, along with atheists and agnostics, knew the most about other faiths, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Less than half of Americans know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist, and less than four in 10 know that Vishnu and Shiva are part of Hinduism.
So I guess that means that formerly Mormon atheists/agnostics REALLY know their god shit, right? No wonder it's so rewarding to discuss religion with post-Mormons.
I love my people, man. I love my peeps.
p.s. For good measure, you can always read the NY Times coverage of the study too.
p.p.s. Take a shortened version of the questionnaire used in the survey yourself.