Higher levels of education correlate very strongly with lower rates of belief in God in the United States. The more likely they are to believe in God; the more education a person has the less likely they are to believe in God the less education a person has. This doesn't mean that every educated person in America is an atheist, but atheism is more common among Americans who are more educated. The question is, is this correlation a coincidence or does it point to some deeper relationship between education, religion, and theism? The correlation between education and theism has been found consistently in every survey done on belief in God in America and the results do not get a warm reception from those who do believe in God, especially religious leaders. Religious leaders have long known that education creates problems for them and it's thus no surprise how many religious leaders have, over the years, denigrated and condemned higher learning even without the survey results. When a person has a bit of college education then drop dramatically after they receive a postgraduate education it is interesting that rates for belief in God go up a little.

Education in America

That small growth in belief in God is well within the margin of error, though, so it's possible that it's not entirely genuine. This conclusion seems to be reinforced when we consider the fact that other surveys have shown a drop in rates of belief in god as education increases at every stage from high school through college. It's not unreasonable, though, that belief in God might increase a little with some increased education. It's certainly possible to learn a little bit about a subject but know too little to make reliable conclusions about it. Sometimes knowing nothing about a subject is better than only knowing a little bit because that little bit often won't be enough to give a person an accurate picture of the subject. Especially if that little bit which they learn is consistent with what they have been taught throughout their lives in their church or by family, someone who only learns a little bit about history, biology, or cosmology might conceivably form poor conclusions from their studies about the likely existence of gods. Some of the information which most dramatically contradicts traditional theism only comes after more advanced studies and after a person has acquired a more sophisticated understanding of a subject. Of course, correlation is not causation so it can't be assumed that the reason why belief in God correlates so strongly with less education is that more education causes atheism or even just doubt. However, this is a possible cause - it's entirely reasonable to think that greater education and knowledge lead to greater skepticism towards traditional beliefs, institutions, and religious leaders. It's not quite direct causation, but the relationship is close enough. What is in case that is not the reason why people with more education are less likely to believe in gods, though?