Atheists, Mormons, agnostics and Jews are among the highest-scoring groups on a survey of religious knowledge — higher than evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the "core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions," according to The Pew Forum on Public Life.
The study, completed in September of 2010, found on average that Americans correctly answered half of the 32 religious knowledge questions on the survey.
"Atheists and agnostics average 20.9 correct answers. Jews and Mormons do about as well, averaging 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers, respectively," a summary of the findings reads. "Jews and Mormons perform better than other groups on the survey even after controlling for differing levels of education."
Mormons — the common term used to describe members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — were found to be the most knowledgeable on Christianity, averaging 7.9 correct answers out of 12. Mormons were also the highest-scoring group on questions about the Bible. White evangelicals followed with 7.3 correct answers. Hispanic Catholics answered the fewest questions about Christianity correctly with 4.2.
Members of the Jewish faith performed the best on questions about world religions with 7.9 correct answers out of 11. The group categorized as "atheist/agnostic" answered 7.5 correctly while Mormons answered about half of the questions correctly.
The survey found that at least two-thirds of the American public know Moses was the Bible figure who led the exodus from Egypt, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Mother Teresa was Catholic and an atheist is someone who does not believe in God. Slightly fewer respondents — roughly half — know the Golden Rule is not one of the Ten Commandments, Ramadan is the Islamic holy month, the Dalai Lama is Buddhist and Joseph Smith was Mormon.
Mormons, black Protestants and white evangelicals are the most frequent readers of materials about religion, the study found: "Fully half of all Mormons (51 percent) and roughly three-in-10 white evangelicals (30 percent) and black Protestants (29 percent) report that they read books or go online to learn about their own religion at least once a week." Of all religiously affiliated Americans, only a small fraction — 6 percent — say they read books other than scripture or visit websites to learn about religions other than their own at least once a week.
Among the other findings: While 89 percent of those surveyed knew public school teachers are not allowed to lead classes in prayer, only 23 percent knew public school teachers can read from the Bible as an example of literature. Similarly, just 36 percent of the public "knows that comparative religion classes may be taught in public schools," the findings stated. "Together, this block of questions suggests that many Americans think the constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools are tighter than they really are."
The study noted there are a number of factors linked with greater religious knowledge, including reading scriptures at least once a week, talking about religion with friends and family, a high level of religious commitment, regularly attending religious education classes, participating in a youth group as a child or teen, and the level of education completed.
What do you think about this study? I do find it a little funny Atheist scored higher then most....
The survey broke down the questions into three categories:
|Average number of questions answered correctly|
|Group||Bible and Christianity (out of 12)||World religion (out of 11)||Religion in public life (out of 4)|
Answer by okmanders at 2:02 PM on Jun. 19, 2013
Answer by IhartU at 2:21 PM on Jun. 19, 2013
Answer by bandgeek521 at 2:07 PM on Jun. 19, 2013
Answer by anng.atlanta at 2:13 PM on Jun. 19, 2013
Answer by bandgeek521 at 2:20 PM on Jun. 19, 2013
Answer by NotPanicking at 2:54 PM on Jun. 19, 2013
Answer by KristiS11384 at 2:23 PM on Jun. 19, 2013
Answer by bandgeek521 at 2:46 PM on Jun. 19, 2013
Answer by KristiS11384 at 2:45 PM on Jun. 19, 2013
Answer by NotPanicking at 3:01 PM on Jun. 19, 2013