*According to a survey conducted by Scientific American, “religious authorities” rank at the bottom of eight categories of persons trusted “to provide accurate information about important issues in society.”
On a 1 (strongly distrust) to 5 (strongly trust) scale, clergy (at 1.55) ranked below “elected officials” (1.76), “companies” (1.78), “journalists” (2.57), and “citizen groups” (2.69).

That’s right, ministers rank below politicians in believability and trustworthiness.

Maybe we have one piece of the puzzle why folks are not beating a path to the doors of the church. Note also that the question wasn’t who you trust to provide good “scientific” information, though scientists came out at the top of the reliability scale at 3.98, above “friends or family” (3.09).

The study is disturbbing. The results may be influenced by the actions of pastors on the angry fringe like the one in Florida who advocate the burning of the holy book of another religious tradition.

The results may be influenced by the outrageous congregation in Topeka, Kansas, that seems to hate everyone in the name of God. The results may be influenced by the endless culture wars and ideological wars that continue to rock mainline denominations.

Or the results may simply be influenced by the anti-institutionalism that is so much a part of our society. I don’t know. But the results are disturbing, because faith and trustworthiness go hand-in-hand.

Read the full story here.