December 8, 2011
A new Rice University study found that 17 percent of scientists who describe themselves as either atheists or agnostics actually go to church sometimes, but not for spiritual reasons -- most likely, it's for the kids, ABC News reports. According to sociologists Elaine Howard Ecklund and Kristen Schultz Lee, the authors of the study, many atheists want their children exposed to religion so they can make up their own minds about what to believe. Many also believe church can provide an understanding of morality and ethics. "Some actually see it as part of their scientific identity," Ecklund said. "They want to teach their children to be free thinkers ... so they take their children to religious organizations."