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Atheists Are Sometimes More Religious Than Christians

First, researchers confirmed the widely known fact that, overall, Americans are much more religious than Western Europeans. They gauged religious commitment using standard questions, including “Do you believe in God with absolute certainty?” and “Do you pray daily?” Second, the researchers found that American “nones” — those who identify as atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular — are more religious than European nones. The notion that religiously unaffiliated people can be religious at all may seem contradictory, but if you disaffiliate from organized religion it does not necessarily mean you’ve sworn off belief in God, say, or prayer. The third finding reported in the study is by far the most striking. As it turns out, “American ‘nones’ are as religious as — or even more religious than — Christians in several European countries, including France, Germany, and the U.K.”

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