How religious are you?

This column originally appeared in The Observer magazine/Guardian online

To find out, answer the questions below

  1. Bill can drink a barrel of beer in 6 days. Bert can drink a barrel of beer in 12 days (assume they’re both really going for it!). How long would it take them to drink a barrel together?


  1. When it comes to maths, Jane is pretty average. In fact, on a recent test, her mark was both the 15th highest and the 15th lowest in the class. How many students are there in the class?


  1. Ernie is a keen eBayer. He buys a rare comic for £60, sells it for £70, buys it back again for £80, then finally sells it for £90. What was his final profit?


Of course, your answers (turn the page upside down to see if they’re correct) can’t directly tell us anything about your own religious beliefs. But a recent study conducted in Canada found that atheists scored around 19% higher on such tests than people who identified as affiliated to a religion. The researchers also combined the findings of previous studies on this topic (over 15,000 participants in total) into a meta-analysis, finding a significant, though modest, negative relationship between test performance and religious belief (0.18 on a scale from 0 to 1). These findings, on their own, don’t necessarily suggest that religious people are less intelligent, but that they tend to have a thinking style that is more intuitive than analytical.












Answers: 4 days, 29 students, £20

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