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People who are not religious know more about religion than people who are


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#1 cookinwithgas

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 08:30 AM

http://religion.blog...y-finds/?hpt=C1

Don't know much about religion? You're not alone, study finds
Odds are that you know Mother Teresa was Catholic, but what religion is the Dalai Lama?

How about Maimonides?

And - no Googling - what's the first book of the Bible? How about the first four books of the New Testament?

Americans who can answer all of those questions are relatively rare, a huge new study has found.

In fact, although the United States is one of the most religious developed countries in the world, most Americans scored 50 percent or less on a quiz measuring knowledge of the Bible, world religions and what the Constitution says about religion in public life.

The survey is full of surprising findings.

For example, it's not evangelicals or Catholics who did best - it's atheists and agnostics.

It's not Bible-belt Southerners who scored highest - they came at the bottom.

Those who believe the Bible is the literal word of God did slightly worse than average, while those who say it is not the word of God scored slightly better.

Barely half of all Catholics know that when they take communion, the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ, according to Catholic doctrine.

And only about one in three know that a public school teacher is allowed to teach a comparative religion class - although nine out of 10 know that teacher isn't allowed by the Supreme Court to lead a class in prayer.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life is behind the 32-question quiz, polling more than 3,400 Americans by telephone to gauge the depth of the country's religious knowledge.

Read CNN Belief Blog contributor and Pew adviser Stephen Prothero's take on the survey

"When it comes to religion, there are a lot of things that Americans are unfamiliar with. That's the main takeaway," says Greg Smith, a senior researcher at the think tank and one of the main authors of the survey.

[b]Smith has a theory about why atheists did so well on the quiz - they have thought more about religion than most people.[b]

"Very few people say that they were raised as atheists and agnostics," he explains.

About three out of four were raised as Christians, he says.

"They were raised in a faith and have made a decision to identify themselves with groups that tend to be fairly unpopular," atheists and agnostics, he says.

"That decision presupposes having given some thought to these things," which is strongly linked with religious knowledge, he says.

The single strongest factor predicting how well a person does on the religious knowledge quiz is education - the more years of schooling a person has, the more they are likely to know about religion, regardless of how religious they consider themselves to be, Pew found.

"The No. 1 predictor without question is simply educational attainment," Smith said.

The think tank also asked a handful of general knowledge questions - such as who wrote "Moby-Dick" and who's the vice president of the United States - and found a link between religious knowledge and general knowledge.

Very few people scored high on religion questions and badly on general knowledge, or vice versa.

People who were members of religious youth groups also did well, he said.

"Religious education is an important factor that helps to explain knowledge - people who participated in youth groups get an average of two extra questions right," he said.

Jews and Mormons were close behind atheists and agnostics as the group who did best overall on the religion questions, and white evangelical Protestants also tended to get more than half right.

White Catholics averaged exactly half right, followed by mainline Protestants and people who said they were "nothing in particular," both of whom got just under half right.

Black Protestants got just over a third of the questions right, and Hispanic Catholics just under a third, the Pew Forum found.

The survey was inspired partly by CNN Belief Blog contributor Stephen Prothero's 2007 book, "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know - And Doesn't."

Because the Pew Forum couldn't find any indication that such a survey has ever been done before, it can't say if Americans today know more or less about religion now than they did in the past.

And the organization doesn't claim too much for its 32 questions.

They "are intended to be representative of a body of important knowledge about religion; they are not meant to be a list of the most essential facts," the Pew Forum says.

Only eight of the 3,412 survey respondents got all 32 questions right. Six got them all wrong.


Bible Belt Southerners who are the loudest and most demeaning of other religions are the worst, makes total sense.

#2 Jase

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 08:32 AM

makes sense. People who are religious tend to only care about the religion they follow. People who aren't, tend to take a broader view of religion in general.

#3 cookinwithgas

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 08:36 AM

In other words, religious people tend to be sheltered from "truth" and unable or unwilling to look at facts and evidence, yet they feel that they have all the answers anyways.

#4 Jase

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 08:42 AM

Truth? What is truth? They're sheltered from a balanced worldview, sure.

#5 Cat

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 08:59 AM

Truth? What is truth? They're sheltered from a balanced worldview, sure.


Are you saying there are no absolute truths?

#6 Cat

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 09:01 AM

"Very few people say that they were raised as atheists and agnostics," he explains.

About three out of four were raised as Christians, he says.

"They were raised in a faith and have made a decision to identify themselves with groups that tend to be fairly unpopular," atheists and agnostics, he says.

"That decision presupposes having given some thought to these things," which is strongly linked with religious knowledge, he says.


no poo

#7 Jase

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 09:04 AM

the world consists of 100% absolute truths, whether we are aware of them or not.

the only place that absolute truth might not exist is the realm of the human mind.

therefore, what is truth?

being unaware of the truth does not equate with there not being a truth.

#8 Cat

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 09:08 AM

the world consists of 100% absolute truths, whether we are aware of them or not.

the only place that absolute truth might not exist is the realm of the human mind.

therefore, what is truth?

being unaware of the truth does not equate with there not being a truth.



Mostly agree. I think there are absolute truths. I do not think their are absolute morals. Morals come from our human mind so that may be covered in what you are saying.

#9 Cat

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 09:10 AM

I got a 10 out of 10 on the quiz provided. If those were the questions people were missing then WOW!!!

#10 Carolina Husker

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 09:10 AM

Not surprising in the least. Being agnostic/atheist requires critical thinking. Doing what your parents did because their parents did it because their parents did it typically doesn't.

It's the difference between feeling and thinking.

#11 The Saltman

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 09:13 AM

Im muslim and all I know about any other religions is I am supposed to hate jews and christians believe in a guy with a red suit that eats cookies and needs to go on a diet.

#12 pstall

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 09:16 AM

critical thinking applies to relgious folks too now. someone who is religious also has found what works for them and even tho they may look around, they are for the most part content.
to me this is similar to the notion that when high art films about war or poverty don't do well it's a reflection of society being dumb. when those same dumb people see what the fiilms are about on a daily basis.
don't make me drop confirmation bias before 11am on ya'll...