Yes, but not, perhaps, as non-religious as you might think.

A study just published in Sociology of Religion, by Neil Gross and Solon Simmons, reported that about 3/4ths of professors report some belief in God or a higher power.  About 35% of professors are absolutely certain that God exists, while 21% believe, but are not absolutely sure.

Only 10% of professors are athiests and another 13 percent are agnostic.

So, is 23 percent many or only a few non-believers?

On the one hand, it may seem like very few if you consider that the professoriate is routinely characterized as radically liberal and anti-religious.  As Shannon Golden at Contexts Crawler says:

Devout parents often worry about the “secularizing” effects of sending their children off to college. They envision professors pushing secular thoughts and anti-religious values on their impressionable students.

Despite the stereotype, this data suggests that the majority of professors would welcome religious belief in their classrooms.

On the other hand, it may seem like a lot of athiests and agnostics if you compare the numbers to the general U.S. population.  According to the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life, only 4% of the U.S. population is athiest or agnostic (see the data waaaay down at the bottom there):

From this perspective, 23% is a lot.

So what do you think?  Are you surprised by how few professors report being athiests or agnostics?  Or are you surprised by how many?

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...