Five Surprising Facts About the Religious Beliefs of Scientists Around the World

Scientists tend to be less religious than the general public. But that doesn’t mean they are hostile to religious faith.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Thanks for writing this, Sarah @laneritchie ! I’m currently a PhD candidate in biological chemistry and I was recently speaking with someone about this exact topic at church. I was asked if it was difficult being a Christian in a science program, or if my coworkers gave me a hard time about it. Interestingly, I think my answer surprised them that about half of my coworkers regularly attend catholic mass or a protestant church, and my boss (PI) is a devout catholic. Anyways, it’s neat to read some facts/actual research about the topic. thanks again for sharing!

Thanks for this, Cody! Glad to hear this resonates with your own experience. I’m always fascinated at how these sorts of myths gain traction and take on a life of their own in public discourse. (Also, Ossineke is doing pretty well for itself, eh? Congrats on the biochem PhD! Exciting stuff.)

I find this article very interesting and revealing.

  1. It reveals that that the difference between Christians who accept evolution is not more scientific education, but a different philosophical/theological point of view.

  2. This is important because it seems that BioLogos takes the approach that YEC need better science education, rather than a better theological education.

  3. If we concentrate on science and neglect good theology we will not succeed in changing many minds,

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“For example, the US has the highest percentage of scientists crediting science for making them less religious.”

I wonder if this has anything to do with the other current thread, about YEC being a particularly American phenomenon. #thingsthatmakeyougohmm



Roger, I have to agree with this 100%! Nice one…

Great post - thank you!

I noticed that the link to the published study is broken. This one works:

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Thank you for this, Dr. Ritchie @laneritchie and for all you do at BioLogos.

However, I believe you may have made a statement in this article which we believe to be not entirely accurate and should be corrected: “This research undermines… the assumption that scientists themselves are not religious.”

In fact, the study showed that in nearly all regions of the world, especially the US and Europe, the vast majority of scientists are not religious. As you mention, in the US almost 2x of scientists are not religious (60%) compared with those who are (30%).

Further, if you cut the study’s data by the top scientists at top universities and if you look for those that are active in their religion (attend church, etc), the numbers are far more bleak. Especially when looking at church-going Christians in top universities. Believe me, at my organization, Purpose Nation, we want more Christians in science, but we also have to be realistic and honest about where we currently stand and work like crazy to change things. If we assume there isn’t a problem, who will work to solve it?

So yes, there are promising stats in this data, but the fact remains that church-going Christians are significantly under-represented in the top echelons of science.

BioLogos and Purpose Nation (and others) are finding them and working to encourage and recruit more!

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