The recent PEW study that revealed that atheists and agnostics know more about religion than the believers is not at all surprising for several reasons:

  • The survey questions were about multiple religions and believers tend to know most, if not only, about their own religion.
  • Believers tend to rely on the authorities in the religion to interpret or even tell them about what is in their texts and beliefs, rather than read on their own.
  • Non-believers often become non-believers after being dissatisfied with the religion they were raised in and often explore other religions before becoming non-believers, so have a wider exposure and willingness to learn on their own.

Religions tend to have many common elements because by tracking population movements over time, you can determine the spread of religion the same as human traits are tracked over millenia of migration waves.

Like a language, a small population that leaves the larger group and settles elsewhere, will eventually alter the language so that the members of the new group do not speak the same language.

One common aspect that Christians tend to think is exclusive to their faith is resurrection. It is simply not true, many religions prior to Christianity and not geographically related include this idea:

List of life-death-rebirth deities
* Australian Aboriginal mythology
o Julunggul
o Wawalag

* Akkadian mythology
o Tammuz
o Ishtar

* Arabian mythology
o Phoenix

* Aztec mythology
o Quetzalcoatl
o Xipe Totec

* Canaanite mythology
o Melqart

* Middle eastern mythology
o Jesus
o Makaveli

* Dacian mythology
o Zalmoxis

* Egyptian mythology
o Osiris
o Amun
o Amun-Min (Amen-Min)

* Etruscan mythology
o Atunis -Also known as “Adonis” (Greek)

* Greek mythology
o Adonis
o Cronus
o Dionysus
o Orpheus
o Persephone

* Japanese mythology
o Izanagi

* Khoikhoi mythology
o Heitsi Eibib [9]

* Native American mythology
o Kaknu

* Norse mythology
o Baldr [10]
o Gullveig [11]
o Odin

* Phrygian mythology
o Attis

* Religion in ancient Rome
o Mithras
o Aeneas
o Bacchus
o Proserpina

* Slavic mythology
o Veles
o Jarilo

* Sumerian mythology
o Dumuzi