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Basic Religion Test Stumps Many Americans


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  #1  
September 28th, 2010, 12:42 PM
tiredmom's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Interesting about the who scores the best!

The New York Times: Basic Religion Test Stumps Many Americans


Quote:
Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion.

Researchers from the independent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life phoned more than 3,400 Americans and asked them 32 questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, famous religious figures and the constitutional principles governing religion in public life.

On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.

Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences.

“Even after all these other factors, including education, are taken into account, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons still outperform all the other religious groups in our survey,” said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at Pew.

That finding might surprise some, but not Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, an advocacy group for nonbelievers that was founded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people,” Mr. Silverman said. “Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That’s how you make atheists.

Among the topics covered in the survey were: Where was Jesus born? What is Ramadan? Whose writings inspired the Protestant Reformation? Which Biblical figure led the exodus from Egypt? What religion is the Dalai Lama? Joseph Smith? Mother Teresa? In most cases, the format was multiple choice.

The researchers said that the questionnaire was designed to represent a breadth of knowledge about religion, but was not intended to be regarded as a list of the most essential facts about the subject. Most of the questions were easy, but a few were difficult enough to discern which respondents were highly knowledgeable.

On questions about the Bible and Christianity, the groups that answered the most right were Mormons and white evangelical Protestants.

On questions about world religions, like Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism, the groups that did the best were atheists, agnostics and Jews.

One finding that may grab the attention of policy makers is that most Americans wrongly believe that anything having to do with religion is prohibited in public schools.

An overwhelming 89 percent of respondents, asked whether public school teachers are permitted to lead a class in prayer, correctly answered no.

But fewer than one of four knew that a public school teacher is permitted “to read from the Bible as an example of literature.” And only about one third knew that a public school teacher is permitted to offer a class comparing the world’s religions.

The survey’s authors concluded that there was “widespread confusion” about “the line between teaching and preaching.”

Mr. Smith said the survey appeared to be the first comprehensive effort at assessing the basic religious knowledge of Americans, so it is impossible to tell whether they are more or less informed than in the past.

The phone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish in May and June. There were not enough Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu respondents to say how those groups ranked.

Clergy members who are concerned that their congregants know little about the essentials of their own faith will no doubt be appalled by some of these findings:

¶ Fifty-three percent of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the man who started the Protestant Reformation.

¶ Forty-five percent of Catholics did not know that their church teaches that the consecrated bread and wine in holy communion are not merely symbols, but actually become the body and blood of Christ.

¶ Forty-three percent of Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the foremost rabbinical authorities and philosophers, was Jewish.

The question about Maimonides was the one that the fewest people answered correctly. But 51 percent knew that Joseph Smith was Mormon, and 82 percent knew that Mother Teresa was Roman Catholic.
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  #2  
September 28th, 2010, 12:52 PM
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That's just depressing. I find it telling, though, that the most knowledgable people were non-believers. You'd have to be a fool to know so much about so many religions and think that one (coincidentally, ALWAYS the one you grew up with!) is inherently more correct than another.

How very vain and prideful, to always assume YOUR fairytale is the way it really is.
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  #3  
September 28th, 2010, 02:07 PM
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wow that was very interesting! im not surprised at all that atheists and agnostics know more about religion than theists!
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  #4  
September 28th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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I expected that atheists and agnostics would know more about religions... Because those who have really studied them in depth tend to reject them as nonsense!

I also saw a tiny blip on CNN this morning that atheists and agnostics have higher IQs than religious people. I'd seen that before in an article a long time ago, but it made me chuckle at the thought of the hatemail CNN will surely receive from religious people.
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  #5  
September 28th, 2010, 06:52 PM
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Liberalism, atheism, male sexual exclusivity linked to IQ - CNN
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  #6  
September 28th, 2010, 09:14 PM
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Interesting article.

Quote:
In fact, aligning oneself with "unconventional" philosophies such as liberalism or atheism may be "ways to communicate to everyone that you're pretty smart," he said.
I wasn't aware liberalism or atheism were considered so unconventional. I guess that's what comes of having lived in NY and California, but I'd have to say the majority of my friends and family feel the same way as I do (we must all be pretty smart - or at least think we are ).
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  #7  
September 29th, 2010, 02:45 AM
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The Daily Mash - RELIGIOUS BELIEF LINKED TO BEING A BIT DIM

LOL!!!
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  #8  
September 29th, 2010, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanahoria View Post
LMAO! Anybody going to post that on facebook?
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  #9  
September 29th, 2010, 04:43 PM
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Holy FSM.

Quote:
You answered 12 out of 15 questions correctly for a score of 80%.
I am NOT knowledgeable about religion at ALL. That makes me sad for the people who really don't know, yet believe.
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  #10  
September 29th, 2010, 05:13 PM
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I already knew this
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  #11  
September 29th, 2010, 05:40 PM
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I got a 100%. I'm really not impressed with the general population right now.
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  #12  
September 29th, 2010, 07:26 PM
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I scored a 15/15 on the sample quiz too, though I will admit I would have missed at least one if the article hadn't told me the answer before I took the quiz. (I didn't know Ramadon was an Islamic holiday, I should have, but I didn't.)
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  #13  
September 30th, 2010, 01:47 AM
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I knew Ramadan because my nephew speaks Arabic (learned from YouTube... autism can be very interesting!) and marks all of the Islamic holidays on the calendar. He also runs around saying "Al salaam alekam!" to which we MUST answer "Wa alekam a salaam!" If we don't, he throws a tantrum, haha. I know I spelled all of that wrong, but I only hear him speak it and when he writes he doesn't use Roman letters.(("Peace be upon you." & "And upon you be peace."))
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