America fails religion pop quiz

By Elizabeth Tenety Atheists and agnostics scored the highest on a Pew Forum study examining Americans’ religious knowledge. The survey, … Continued

By Elizabeth Tenety

Atheists and agnostics scored the highest on a Pew Forum study examining Americans’ religious knowledge.

The survey, released Tuesday, tested knowledge of what Pew calls “the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.”

Out of 32 questions, atheists and agnostics, on average, answered 21 questions correctly, making non-believers the top performers. They had higher than average scores on questions about world religions and about religion’s role in public life. The more you know, the less you believe?

Jews averaged 20.5 correct questions, followed closely by Mormons. The lowest performing group was Catholics, who answered 15 questions correctly.

The average American answered 16 out of 32 questions on his religious pop quiz. At 50%, that’s not even a passing grade.

The specifics are more puzzling:

-45% of Catholics do not know that their church teaches that the bread and the wine become the body and blood of Christ.

-More than half of Protestants “cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation.”

-Just 36% know that public schools are constitutionally permitted to teach comparative religion.

There was some good news about Americans’ religious literacy:

-71% know that, according to the Bible, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

-More than 6-in-10 know that Genesis is the first book of the bible.

Take a look at the full study for yourself.

Quiz yourself! See how you score on five of Pew’s 32 questions.

What forces do you think are responsible for America’s failing grade on religious literacy, despite our self-professed religiosity? Why are atheists and agnostics the top performers in religious knowledge? What more can be done?

Elizabeth Tenety
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  • ThomasBaum

    Elizabeth Tenety You asked, “What forces do you think are responsible for America’s failing grade on religious literacy, despite our self-professed religiosity?”I have no idea what all of the questions were on this “survey” but the sample questions do not have much if at all anything to do with what one believes or lives one’s life.You also asked, “Why are atheists and agnostics the top performers in religious knowledge?”Religious “knowledge” does not necessarily translate into anything other than knowing facts pertaining to the “outwards” of religion, a computer would probably or at least should score 100% but does that make the computer more “knowledgable” or just more crammed full of facts?You then asked, “What more can be done?”Maybe thinking of human beings as human beings rather than just something to cram full of “knowledge” or facts masquerading as knowledge when there is much more to being a human than the mere accumulation of knowledge one of which is what one does with that knowledge.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • shall1

    This survey, along with many others, flunks the agnosticism question. The textbook definition of agnosticism is someone who feels that the existence or nonexistence of God is not provable. It is an affirmative belief, not a lack of knowledge or thought on the subject. So a survey that asks “do you believe in God, not believe in God, or don’t know” leaves agnostics with no correct answer. To do better surveys, the surveyors need to better understand the people they are surveying. More generally, I think a lack of understanding of the changing character of religion and ethnicity in the US is part of the larger picture, and may help explain some of the gaps in people’s knowledge. We have so many religions, emerging religions, and changing spiritual practices, that no one can know them all, even generally. Should a Buddhist American care who led Jews out of Egypt? Without seeing the survey, I do not know whether the questions included knowledge of Buddhism (one of the fastest growing religions in the US). But maybe what this survey really shows is that we should consider more carefully what the basic knowledge of Americans about religion ought to be. The First Amendment to the Constitution ought to be one of those things, but I am not as sure about other questions.

  • docwhocuts

    why is america failing religion?A LEADING QUESTION.A tool of the weak.Religion is failing EVERYONE and has been for thousands of years.

  • williamsdl58

    This is just another example of the Dunning–Kruger effect.

  • eezmamata

    This is just another example of the Dunning–Kruger effect.”We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand.”

  • steve-o1

    “Does anyone need to bone-up on astrology before deciding it’s a load of hogwash? Speaking as a Jesuit educated atheist, I believe the answer is yes.

  • pjs1965

    To all you atheists out there, it is when scientists (and he is not alone), says things directly or indirectly in support of a God/higher power, does my conviction strenghten, and no atheist can or ever should rock it. So stay in your cacoon of nothingness, … i’ll make it thought the next door …Posted by: solid3 | September 28, 2010 12:38 PM

  • oldawg

    TO all of the agnostics and atheist; why are you people so mad? You don’t believe in a higher being and belittle those who do. If you are so sure you are correct, why waste your time self righteously attacking those who do. If you think those who believe are idiots or fools why do you care what they have to say about atheist? Unless of course you are afraid they might be right. At which you’re up the creek.

  • SHAIDORSAI

    Wouldn’t americans have failed similar tests on HistoryOr anything else out of a grade 8 curriculum.To big an inference to be made, given the general ignorance of the american public

  • ThomasBaum

    cjpotter19 You wrote, “I wonder if finding out about this belief leads some Catholics to seriously question their faith and religion as a whole.”This belief, that the Catholic Eucharist is Jesus, made many of the people that were following Jesus during His earthly life stop following Him according to the bible.I used to believe that the Eucharist was Jesus until the Holy Spirit came into my body on 29 Jan 2000 and revealed this to me, so now I know that the Catholic Eucharist is Jesus.When those people in Jesus’s day stopped following Him when He spoke in this manner about this matter, Jesus did not back off or back down and say that it was only a symbol, according to what is written, did He?According to the bible, Jesus instituted the Eucharist before He was crucified and Jesus also extended His invitation to “Come follow Me”, so if one were to “ponder” this, could not one come to the conclusion that Jesus asked us to become “Good Friday” people and not just Easter Sunday people?Jesus did not ask us to be Good Friday people all on our own but to be Good Friday people in union with Him.Isn’t it something how God does stuff right in front of our eyes and we are blind to it?See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • eezmamata

    It’s still cannibalism and vampirism. Eating dead flesh and drinking the blood of a corpse, you are one sick puppy.

  • Carstonio

    Oldawg, just as many believers in gods don’t also believe in eternal damnation, many atheists and agnostics rightly object to their colleagues lambasting believers as idiots or fools. When I’ve criticized the latter, I was accused of telling atheists they had no right to speak their minds.Having said that, the anger of some atheists and agnostics is much more understandable than the desire by some believers to see their fellow humans punished for eternity after death. Imagine how Jews might feel about the Southern Baptist Convention’s official policy of converting Jews, or the Mormon practice of baptizing Holocaust victims.

  • Jihadist

    Wouldn’t americans have failed similar tests on Posted by: SHAIDORSAI*******************************************Who, what is/was Gibbons? (a) an extinct ape in AfricaWhat was Burkina Faso called before? (a) West CongoIf we add 4 oranges and 4 apples, what is the total? (a) 8 fruits What category is chicken? (a) a birdWhat is geometry?(a) a new religious sect founded by dissenters of sientologists

  • ANTGA

    Flunking “religion”? The very question bothers me because religion should not consist of “right” and “wrong” answers… is a personal connection to your god. More importantly, religion should never come off sounding like a subject at school. Blurring religion with educational subject matter is, in and of itself, and insult to school systems and human intelligence… and is dangerous (i.e., intelligent design).

  • mickeyjay1

    If that “pop quiz” was anything like the full length version, the whole thing is biased and bogus.

  • jonswitzer

    Your survey is WRONG. There is an establishment clause about church and state in the constitution but NOTHING about separation of church and state. Your survey writers would do well to read it once or twice. Furthermore, I answered 4 out of 5 correct and you told me that I failed the survey. (of course, I did NOT answer the false question about separation of church and state). 80% is far from failed…at least everywhere but here!Peace!

  • solid3

    jimeglrd8: The Principle of the Golden Rule is Aristotle and Do onto others as you would have them do onto to you is New Testament: LukeIt is interesting, furthermore, that too often one has expatriates or those whom enjoy the benefits of are nation only to be quick criticize it. This person is probably an angry, self-loathing Middle-eastern that did not complete her yoga work-out today for mental/physical spirituality.Anyway, my fellow Americans, s/he is correct that we do need to improve our lower-middle education system, to become more competitive in the math and science, but if ridicule is in oreder: I will remind that the USA still has the best higher-ed University system, and is why many foreigners are here. We have a great infrastructure, water and air environmental and labor quality standards, job opportunities and a political free system. I have seen recent photos of other nations which will go unmentioned. They are abysmally impoverished, although the economies export trade grows, per-capita income is paltry, environmental conditions are a disgrace with unsanitary conditions, rats and trash heaps. Yeah, Obama needs to and is acting now to educate our “ignoramouses.” It will take time, but will get done.

  • cpwdc

    It’s a bit surprising to see all the self-congratulatory comments by agnostics and atheists on how oh-so-much-smarter they are. If you were that smart, you would have checked the original source first, and found that the strongest correlation of a high score is not to any particular religion, but to educational attainment. Duh!

  • solid3

    Jimegld8: i may have confused you, pardon; since, my latter commets were for Shaidorsai and Jihadist.Have a gd 1!

  • ANTGA

    Yes – I agree with many here… there aren’t nearly enough questions. For instance, I see no questions about: how many wars have been initiated in the name of religion and god; how much hatred there is in the world because of fervent religious convictions; how much has science and knowledge has suffered at the hands of religion zealots; etc. These a musts for any quiz on religion.

  • eezmamata

    If you were that smart, you would have checked the original source first, and found that the strongest correlation of a high score is not to any particular religion, but to educational attainment. Duh!Duh! Atheists and agnostics are not anti-education as so many of the believers are. We value education, we value research, we value asking the hard questions, none of these things seem to be valued by a large number of the believers.So we “attain” education. The correlation between atheism and education is another interesting idea that you have also carefully avoided.A doctrine that is understood is shorn of its strength. It takes a very careful maintenance of one’s ignorance to continue to believe these ridiculous primitive beliefs in the modern world.

  • hebe1

    Thomas Paul Moses Baum:Your point about everything being hand written is a little odd. As opposed to what? Chiseled? Obviously writtings were hand written over 2,000 years ago.I’m NOT wrong about the Latin. Priests did speak the vernacular, but the prayers, hymns, readings, were in Latin. The bible was only in Latin or Greek for a long time before bibles began to be transcribed into vernacular. That’s why there was the invention of Passion Plays, to explain the life of Jesus, or death and resurrection actually. Also to the person who mentioned the “writings of Jesus”, I think you meant “teachings”; Jesus never wrote his words down; that was the apostotles’ job, which is why there is so much room to wiggle. To everyone else bragging about their high scores on the sample test; you do realize it’s very easy, don’t you? Besides that’s not the point. The point is the manner in which spiritual education is experienced in teh different religions; the biggest difference being the Christian importance of belief.

  • ANTGA

    eezmamata – good use of the word “Duh” there! Do you read much… other than the baaaable?

  • detroitblkmale30

    We non-religious types would probably beat most of you so-called christians on a strictly “Christian test” too.

  • detroitblkmale30

    We non-religious types would probably beat most of you so-called christians on a strictly “Christian test” too.

  • mstrfly

    The world would be a better place if there were either no religions, or everyone was truly religious, and by truly religious, means practicing the tenets of one’s faith rather than just parroting what is said and hiding behind religion to justify one’s own biases and prejudices.

  • Carstonio

    Who are the Four Horsemen of the Atheistcalypse? (f) Hendrix, Morrison, Joplin, Brian Jones(g) Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Gummo/Zeppo(h) Earth, air, fire, water(i) Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, Thing(j) Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young(k) Jerry, George, Elaine, Kramer(l) Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion

  • pjs1965

    This is a good discussion. But religion is ultimately a personal matter. Prostelysing only converts the insecure or easily coerced. But it is good to keep an open mind and show tolerance. Personally, at this point in my life I believe religion is bunk. The Bible is mostly rubbish, and I have kicked God’s sorry behind out of my heart to the far end of the Universe where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Even if God as depicted in the Bible (especially the Old Testament) were to exist, I would still refuse to believe in him because such an evil twisted entity does not deserve belief. That said, I do not disparage those who believe otherwise and have faith in God, and I have friends who do so. I welcome their points of view, although I may duel with them on the point of religion. Even though I may not believe in much of what they believe, I can still find some wisdom in it.

  • Revcain777

    I think it is TOO much emphasis on this “personal relationship” thing. Yes, God is personal. But, it’s like having a spouse and not knowing when his/her birthday is…or favorite color…or favorite foods. Part of a great relationship is actually knowing somethign about the other!

  • ANTGA

    Many who comment here are not religious (meaning they do not accept religious dogma created by man) but are spiritual. To these people, including me, it is much more important to “believe in the spirit” than be fixated on rules and interpretation of passages as deciphered by men!

  • bpai_99

    The answer to why atheists and agnostics know more about religion than believers is fairly obvious and comes in 2 parts:1. You have to fairly gullible, uneducated and unquestioning to be strongly religious;2. Believers usually assume the faith of the family in which they were born. Atheists and agnostics usually arrive at those positions from somewhere else (i.e. they more often that not were born into families of faith, but through questioning and maturity decided to follow their intellect).

  • ZeroGravitas

    “There was some good news about Americans’ religious literacy:You are right. This IS heartening.

  • bpai_99

    Most atheists and agnostics come to hold their views after questioning, doubting and analyzing. Most believers come to their faith by accident of birth.

  • Carstonio

    Antga, I would take it a step further and leave out the “spirit” aspect of spirituality. Since we don’t know if there is a spiritual realm, why not simply deal with what we know? One need not believe in anything unprovable to appreciate things larger than one’s self, such as the vastness of the universe or the scope of human history. Like anything else, religion has both good elements and bad elements. If one is creating a spirit-less and belief-free concept of religion, one could exclude the bad things found in some religions, like the insistence on absolute truth, the in-group/out-group thinking, and morality based on anything other than the effects of one’s actions on others.

  • billsecure

    I’m an agnostic (tending hard toward atheist).Some additional reasons those of us in those groups seem to know more about religion.1. Education – Prep schools & colleges I attended required religion courses. The Unitarian church I attended in high school made a strong effort to teach about different religions, what they believed and how they were different. It’s my experience that the more educated someone is, the more difficult it is for them to accept religious propositions.2. Christianity professes that your ticket through the Pearly Gates depends on what you believe, not how you live. Murderers repent and pass through. If you “don’t believe” there’s no brass ring, maybe just darkness, maybe an opportunity to shovel coal for the rest of eternity. This is almost impossible to swallow.3. The explanation of “pain and suffering in this life.” is another reason. A baby dies, a favorite aunt has cancer and suffers for years before her death, etc. etc.. The heavy duty Christian explanation… “It’s God’s will”. This sits badly in the stomach.4. Christian positions that make life more difficult add to the skepticism. I remember when it was illegal to sell condoms in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The current version of illegal birth control is “abortion is a sin” and we’re not going to permit education about birth control. So, have sex (illicit or licit), have the baby even though no one is ready, and potentially mess up two or three lives for decades. That’s the yardstick across the back of your hand for being bad.I could go on and on, but accepting this means being unable to understand the consequences of belief. If this stuff makes you skeptical, you’ll likely educate yourself more about your religion, and then make an informed decision about what you believe.

  • solid3

    to the Jihadist:You must first learn:Shting no ba, Shting no ba, shting na bando ito nito, my go my go, my gogue go nyan nyo ganni, my go-gok nyan nyo ganni, my ma gogok stank yo ganyi. Ah, man ni clar ro be e clee-clee, ama leta, robi-ee clee, ah ma claire, lek em lair ya, ah man ni claire robi, e clee-clee, i la ley. Ben e tan no shee, he tam ten, your, he tanz, y tan na sa.

  • solid3

    Billy please, now:You are just being prevocative. You do not actually believe that the followers of all religions accept of adhere strongly to all the precepts of their faith. Come on. Divergence of oppinions and views within and acroos different sects have existed forever.

  • gladerunner

    TB:

  • samd2

    In this country people with higher levels of education are more likely to be non-religious. People with higher levels of education would also, presumably, score higher on the quiz, regardless of their religious beliefs. This could account for the correlation between non-belief and higher scores in the test. To test this assumption that the more you know about religion the less likely you are to believe, you would need to control for the variable of education level and compare believers and non-believers with equal levels of over-all educational achievement on their knowledge of religion. I wonder if the Pew Forum did do this?

  • hebe1

    Where are the rest of the posts??

  • solid3

    ochen horrorshow. kuda tee udyosh? Kak vasha zavut vremya?Jihadist were those bellicose lyrics. They did not sound very euphonic like my island love mix?!Gladerunner the spiritual quest should not be one of “nuts and bolts.” EEh gad, girl, or for that matter religious doctrine, fine-print or what seems to be what you are describing as the most “pragmatic approach” prior to submission. Religions can offer a useful guideline and means for people to congregate and interact, surrounding similar culture and values. Agreed, those attributes from time-to-time run contrary, and are not always prascticed. I too find this frustrating and disappointing; however, it’s no reason to relinquish the entire program. Just as an analogy if the legislative or legal system from periodically malfunctioned, (as it does), i would not attempt to replace completely it.Faith and spirituality are individual, uniques experiences. My belief is that there are those who have special encounters, usually those who are receptive and open to spirituality and well-intentioned soul. If you reject the idea of a soul, we have no conversation.

  • Jihadist

    Who are the Four Horsemen of the Atheistcalypse? (f) Hendrix, Morrison, Joplin, Brian Jones(g) Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Gummo/Zeppo(h) Earth, air, fire, water(i) Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, Thing(j) Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young(k) Jerry, George, Elaine, Kramer(l) Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly LionPosted by: Carstonio ******************************************Ahhh.. a good list by clearer categories: – dead rock stars in (f); – the Marx brothers comedians in (g); – elements in (h) only the Chinese would add wood and metal; – comic books superheroes but not supervillians in (i), – a wimp rock group in (j), and by the “we are not in Kansas anymore crowd” in (l). I have no idea who those in (k) are. Jerry Seinfeld? Jerry Lewis? George Carlin? George Bush? George Will? Elaine Pagel? Elaine Page? Larry Kramer? Kramer vs Kramer? Never mind. Cheers.

  • AMviennaVA

    Skowronek @ September 28, 2010 9:21 AM: That is a revealing letter that you posted from Jefferson. However, the Constitution itself says nothing about a separation of church and state. That was Jefferson’s interpretation of what it meant.

  • AMviennaVA

    AugustWest1 @ September 28, 2010 10:27 AM wrote “Most evangelical Christians can barely spell their names, let alone know even the least bit of knowledge of other religions. To them, anyone who does not believe in Jesus Christ is doomed to hell. Muslims believe anyone who does not believe in Allah is an infidel. Is there a difference?”Yes. What you said about Muslims is simply not true. The word ‘Allah’ means God in Arabic. Nothing more and nothing less. Muslims call infidels those who do not believe that the Quran is the revealed word of God through his Prophet, Muhammad.Whatever your religious inclination, you need to rely much less on stereotypes.

  • org2

    @ GLADERUNNER & CHUCK22:I agree with you both regarding the Constitution question. It was Jefferson’s letter in the early 19th century that first used language that eventually became the phase “separation of church and state” that we know today.Looks like the flunked writing the question.

  • shaktinah

    Something was bugging me about the sample questions. Out of the five, only one of them tested knowledge of the bible (the one on Moses) and only two tested knowledge of people’s beliefs (the one on Moses and the definition of agnostic – and that definition of agnostic is incorrect, btw, but since it’s the most commonly held one, I’ll let it pass). While the question on separation of church and state is important for people to understand, it does not have anything to do with actually understanding religion. And knowing what religion Mother Teresa has little to do with one’s knowledge of Catholicism or Christianity in general, just as knowing that most people in Indonesia are Muslim has little to do with one’s knowledge of Islam.That said, it’s unsurprising that atheists/agnostics would score higher since, as the article says, U.S atheists are usually ex-Christians who have thought about why they left, and on average are better educated. I only bring up the nature of the questions to question what it is that the survey was actually measuring.

  • AMviennaVA

    bigbrother1 @ September 28, 2010 12:07 PM wrote “So you are the exception that proves the rule, which after all is the point of the original article.”Sorry, but there is no such thing as an exception that proves the rule. That is pure cr@p.

  • maryannevans2

    I don’t think there is a simple answer to this fascinating result. I think it is well documented that atheists and agnostics are likely to be better educated, particularly in science, and they may account for their broad general knowledge of religion. Also, atheists are in a hostile environment in the US so knowing something of the prevailing religions may be important for defending one’s beliefs. Certainly I see this in my kids, who went to high school with a large number of fundamentalists and therefore learned to chapter and verse with the best of them, pointing out contradictions, physical impossibilities, moral evil in God’s name ( think Lot or Jephthah) etc.I think Catholics don’t want to know what their church teaches because if they did they might find it difficult to remain Catholic. Between Transubstantiation and the fact that contraception is a mortal sin which will damn you to hell as surely as mass murder, who could really persist in the Church outside a few fanatics without creating an imaginary alternative?Mormons evangelize the world over and I think that gives them and edge in world religions, plus I think they are pretty serious scripture students. I personally think their theology is strange but it really isn’t stranger than anyone else’s and I give them credit for not being in ignorance of other people’s beliefs.Jews are both well educated on average and a religious minority that probably finds some knowledge of other faiths useful and important.Evangelical Christians may have some know-nothing tendencies, such as a woman I observed recently in the Natural History Museum in DC walking past an exhibit on evolution who was heard to say she did not want to hear anything about it.

  • AMviennaVA

    An interesting collection of comments, especially about Christianity. I took and aced the quiz. Of the 5 questions, guess how many there were on Christianity:Precisely 0!

  • solid3

    Got a whale of a tale to tell ya lad,

  • Carstonio

    I can’t see anyone missing that question because of that phrasing unless they were doing so deliberately to make a political point. What’s the purpose of making a distinction between Jefferson’s phrase and the actual language of the Establishment Clause? My guess is they’re trying to prove that it would be constitutional for government to show favoritism toward their religion. Beyond the language issue, it seems ridiculous to argue that keeping church and state separate is a bag thing.

  • gladerunner

    solid3:BTW Are you saying it ONLY takes these things to be able to achieve immortal reward? Is the bible, its rites, history and teachings not necessary other than as quaint examples? “Some experience natural-spiritual encounters and attribute them to their belief. Why refute that?”“If you reject the idea of a soul, we have no conversation.”“Religions can offer a useful guideline . . . however, it’s no reason to relinquish the entire program.”’Good evening ladies and gents, wasn’t that food great, and that softball game man oh man! I hope you liked the sharing and the music, very sweet and moving….. Now open your holy books and we’ll discuss why you’re children are going to burn in hell if they don’t stop listening to Satan’s music.’Yeah, the socializing and sharing of values can be great… But it never comes without a price when religion is in the mix. So yes, I can reject it completely. I can socialize and interact with people who share values, but that in itself doesn’t require a religion, usually a cold twelve pack will suffice.

  • jdubyaa

    Show me where in the Constitution it stipulates the separation of church and state?

  • rbaldwin2

    This has GOT to be one of the most arrogant assaults on people’s intelligence I’ve seen anywhere. – ever. NO ONE has the right to question ANYONE, EVER on their spiritual beliefs – EVER.Go away you rude, delirious twerp and don’t EVER ask questions like this again in a public forum – unforgivable.

  • jdubyaa

    The first amendment has been interpreted as “the separation of church and state” but it does not say it.

  • bilahkatz

    Hey 4 out of 5 should not be viewed as a failure; I am not religious, do not attend any organized religious service, and have not read the bible. How is that a failure?

  • morryb

    The bible is an interesting body of literature. It gives us an idea of what humans, who were ignorant about the physical and natural laws, thought about themselves and the world 2000 years ago. While it may have been the manual for survival 2,000 years or more ago, it sure has little relevance for the present times. You can be a caring decent human being without having to be brainwashed in mysticism and superstition. Apparently this notion is becoming more and more mainstream. Thank god (LOL)

  • heyrobo

    It says that atheists and agnostics are those who seek greater knowledge in general and form opinions from their quest. Many “religious” people never question anything about their religion. Frankly, I’m surprised their were no questions on Islam–I hope that doesn’t create a problem for the Washington Post because those Muslims can be deadly when it comes to matters legal and otherwise

  • david6

    jdubyaa -You needn’t repeat your assertion/question. “Separation of Church and State” is the shorthand by which we talk about the rules that determine how the government and churches should be involved with each other. There are no other handy ways to describe it.

  • jimeglrd8

    If you were to do a poll concerning the subject of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan I believe you would find that those who most strongly support these wars know the least about these countries. I think that those of us who have taken the time to do some research know that the US made a big mistake when we invaded these two countries. Ignorance is bliss. We made a terrible error when we sent our troops to Vietnam. More than 55,000 Americans died because of this mistake. Robert McNamara, one of the architects of the war admitted in his dovumentary “The Fog of War” that our leaders didn’t understand Vietnam and mistakenly sent our troops there to die.

  • dnjake

    Why is it important that anyone have a passing grade at this test? Being religous is primarily an emotional experience. It is not clear why anyone thinks there is great importance to intellectual knowledge about religion.

  • ThomasBaum

    eezmamataYou wrote, “It’s still cannibalism and vampirism. Eating dead flesh and drinking the blood of a corpse, you are one sick puppy.”I am just guessing but I believe you wrote this in regard to my post that I know that the Catholic Eucharist is Jesus since it was the Holy Spirit Who revealed this to me.Since Jesus is God-Incarnate and not simply another human being, even tho Jesus is just as human as you or I or anyone else human, the Eucharist is the “embodiment” of LOVE since God is a Being of Pure Love and not merely what you think it not to be.Seems as if quite a few in the bible thought of Jesus as “one sick puppy” when He spoke of this, so you are not alone in your thinking and it does not appear to be a new thought at all.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom, which by the way will arrive with the dawning of the seventh day but the night of the sixth day shall precede it.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • DwightCollins

    all one needs to do is love GOD…

  • ISlamIslam

    Although I scored 100%, I had to lie about the Separation of Church & State question because I knew that the creators of the quiz THINK that THAT is the correct answer, otherwise, the question wouldn’t appear in THIS PARTICULAR newspaper.The CORRECT ANSWER IS that there is no ‘separation’ mentioned, only that the Government can not ESTABLISH a State religion of its own, like, ummmmmm, oh, I don’t know, say, THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND.Could the existence of the Church of England have had SOMETHING to do with the feelings of oppression and suppression that motivated the Pilgrims to FLEE from their English & European homes to a completely unknown NEW WORLD? Although America still has no OVERT State religion, it is well on its way to establishing a SECULAR HUMANIST faith with its ‘PC’ catechism of compliance even as it denies manifestations of religious observance among the population by attempts to stamp out verbal expressions, “Merry Christmas!”, holiday displays, and religious symbolism of, essentially, competing belief systems.

  • KeithGold

    Eedbyronadams, While the phrase separation of church and state does not appear in the constitution, the constitution is a throughly secular document which seeks to separate religion from government. Thus, the first amendment provides that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In regard to this language, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”Jefferson’s words speak for themselves.

  • ThomasBaum

    hebe1 You wrote, “Your point about everything being hand written is a little odd.”What I was pointing out is that there was not near the proliferation of written material back then and that even those that were literate did not have access to much in the way of written material anyway.You then wrote, “I’m NOT wrong about the Latin. Priests did speak the vernacular, but the prayers, hymns, readings, were in Latin. The bible was only in Latin or Greek for a long time before bibles began to be transcribed into vernacular.”In your post that I commented on, you said “until fairly recently the sermon was in Latin”, I don’t know what you meant by “fairly recently” but there are some Catholics that have said to me that during my lifetime the sermons and readings were in Latin and that is not true.I don’t know how long the bible has been written in English but probably for at least a couple of hundred years, what is your definition in this instance of “until fairly recently”?You mentioned Latin and Greek, Latin was one of the translations, Hebrew and Greek was what it was written in and quite a few people understood the Hebrew and/or Greek.When I was growing up, the Mass was in Latin but the readings, Epistles and Gospels, and the sermon were in English.You then wrote, “That’s why there was the invention of Passion Plays, to explain the life of Jesus, or death and resurrection actually.”I suppose that you have heard of the Stations of the Cross and even tho these may not be historically accurate, this is another way that the Church used to teach people about Jesus.Some people object to using the visual and seem to think that only the spoken should be used but since we, most but not all, employ both seeing and hearing in our learning, I believe it is most useful in getting us to ponder about what has happened whether we believe or not.It can be helpful in arriving at an answer to Jesus’s question, “Who do you say that I AM?”.I used to believe that Jesus was God-Incarnate even when I believed that Jesus died for everyone except me, close but no cigar as they say, since Jesus died for everyone including me.If God’s Plan is not ultimately for all than it is not Good News, well it is for ALL AND IT IS GOOD NEWS.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • annieb346

    “Why is it important that anyone have a passing grade at this test? Being religous is primarily an emotional experience. It is not clear why anyone thinks there is great importance to intellectual knowledge about religion.Posted by: dnjake | September 28, 2010 5:44 PM “This is a great point. The survey didn’t ask what people know about GOD, it asked what they know about religions of the world. Maybe atheists and agnostics score better because they are still searching far and wide for something which those who know God have already encountered. Not everyone is able to make the “leap of faith;” some are still bound by what they can see, touch, taste. In his messages to the Romans (8:24-25) Paul writes, “24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” For people who have no “hope” or faith, to ridicule as ignorant those who do have faith serves only to highlight what is missing.

  • ThomasBaum

    gladerunner Concerning your post of September 28, 2010 3:46 PM.What does the five questions posed in the posting have to do with the content of what you wrote in your post?That is what I was pointing out, I do not know what the other 27 questions were about and whether or not they pertained to faith, a belief system or just the outward signs of various religions and/or statistics.This seems to me to be the difference between having faith in God and faith in a religion, attempting to follow God and attempting to follow a religion, having the “rules” come from within rather than imposed from outside.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Spiritof761

    Those who know not and know not that they know not (i.e. the hypocritical and ignorant Christians of America) are fools, ones easily manipulated and controlled. Which is exactly the way the power elite likes it. Hence, religious illiteracy (and lots of other forms of ignorance) will continue to expand.

  • ThomasBaum

    gladerunner You wrote, “Seriously “the dawn of the seventh day follows the night of the sixth day? ?I assume that means something other than as a quote from the ‘Book of the Obvious'”Yes, it is pretty obvious, Jesus told us that night is coming and the obvious thing is that ever since man has been on this earth it has been the sixth day, or period of time, and how long until the night of the sixth day and how long that night will last, I don’t know, but the dawning of the seventh day shall arrive.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • BigTrees

    Maybe its because so many religious bigots base their claim to faith on bogus lifestyles. Or maybe its because so many of the outspoken religious “leaders” are charlatans living the lives of millionaire snake oil salesmen.Or maybe its because the radical religious right hasn’t a clue as to what truth, honesty or civility means.

  • eezmamata

    Apparently the atheists and agnostics know why we don’t buy this religious faith and god stuff, but the believers don’t know why they do. Other than of course because someone told them to.That American christians know so little about the other religions in the world is a profound comment on the deadening effect of ignorant believing on the human mind.

  • Rongoklunk

    The most devoutly religious act I ever witnessed was when nineteen young holy men gave their lives to God and eliminated almost three thousand infidels from the face of the earth on September 11 2001. Such love of God – such faith is a wonder to behold and brings tears to my eyes. These robust religionists demanded no proof, nor even a scintilla of evidence, that their God was alive and well. Deep in their hearts they knew Him to be true. And so they gave up their lives for Him, and answered His call – with the three thousand infidels, and their own lives too.

  • dwdave67

    What is to fail? All religion is a scam… manipulators use the fear of dying and the unknown coupled with a promise of heaven/salvation/paradise if you do as your told.Millions of lives would be saved and the word would be a better place if we teach people this simple creed… “Would I want this done to me?”Think about it people and stop being such sheep to your religious and political masters.

  • OneWhoSpeaksTruth

    Who cares? It’s unimportant. What’s MUCH MORE important is “why is America flunking science and technology?”

  • Carstonio

    Oops, I meant, “Beyond the language issue, it seems ridiculous to argue that keeping church and state separate is a bad thing.”

  • AlanBrowne

    The advantage of being an atheist is that you’re not blinded by the “light” of faith nor deafened by ones peers.

  • rcubedkc

    Atheists and agnostics know more about religion than believers which is why we’re atheists and agnostics.

  • Skowronek

    Amendments are part of the Constitution.The First Amendment (along with the rest of the Bill of Rights) was submitted to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789 and adopted on December 15, 1791.Thomas Jefferson was a man of deep religious conviction — his conviction was that religion was a very personal matter, one which the government had no business getting involved in. He was vilified by his political opponents for his role in the passage of the 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and for his criticism of such biblical events as the Great Flood and the theological age of the Earth. As president, he discontinued the practice started by his predecessors George Washington and John Adams of proclaiming days of fasting and thanksgiving. He was a staunch believer in the separation of church and state.Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 to answer a letter from them written in October 1801. A copy of the Danbury letter is available here. The Danbury Baptists were a religious minority in Connecticut, and they complained that in their state, the religious liberties they enjoyed were not seen as immutable rights, but as privileges granted by the legislature — as “favors granted.” Jefferson’s reply did not address their concerns about problems with state establishment of religion — only of establishment on the national level. The letter contains the phrase “wall of separation between church and state,” which led to the short-hand for the Establishment Clause that we use today: “Separation of church and state.”The letter was the subject of intense scrutiny by Jefferson, and he consulted a couple of New England politicians to assure that his words would not offend while still conveying his message: it was not the place of the Congress or the Executive to do anything that might be misconstrued as the establishment of religion.

  • dcp26851

    Religious Americans are ignorant about their own religion? I’m SHOCKED!!! Jesus would be so sad to see how tarnished his teaching have become. I suspect he’d be an agnostic as well.

  • cbmuzik

    This article is quite silly. This article is not addressing theologians are those who actually STUDY the scriptures on a regular basis. We’re talking pop quiz people…POP QUIZ! Don’t make me laugh. An agnostic nor atheist could bring up ANY point from the Bible I don’t know or can talk about in explicit detail. What a nice picker-upper for this fine Tuesday morning.

  • Skowronek

    Oh, this is cool. Here’s a transcript of a letter Jefferson wrote:Mr. PresidentTo messers Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.GentlemenThe affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. [Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from prescribing even those occasional performances of devotion, practiced indeed by the Executive of another nation as the legal head of its church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.] Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association assurances of my high respect & esteem.(signed) Thomas Jefferson

  • dddvu

    How to make an atheist? Give ’em a bible!

  • alex35332

    Jefferson also wrote his own version of the bible. removing god and what have you…

  • rsteffens1

    Just the facts ma’am…that’s why religion has problems with the truth, there are so many interpretations on the “Bible” that even the religious can’t agree what it says or means. Let’s face it the facts do not support there being any kind of deitie out there.

  • cb11

    I don’t find this surprising at all. It says more about how we define “religious” than it does anything else. Someone goes to church and parrots whatever they’re told, they call themselves religious. But they are very careful about not thinking outside the box, about not examining too closely what they are told. In truth, people can have great faith without excreting “religious” from their pores every waking moment. I’m inclined to take their faith far more seriously than those who like to shove religion in your face constantly. True faith isn’t something you have to constantly prove. You feel it or you don’t. If you don’t, incessant yakking about it won’t get you to heaven any more surely. And neither will ignorance. God gave man his greatest gift: a brain that can examine, think, learn, wonder, explore and invent. If we don’t use it, that’s nothing less than an insult to Him.

  • tojby_2000

    cbmuzik bragged: “An agnostic nor atheist could bring up ANY point from the Bible I don’t know or can talk about in explicit detail.”Start with this one, CB…

  • SonicBoom

    I’m sure others have commented on this, but I think the quiz questions could be improved. In terms of the Constitution question, religion is mentioned in the Constitution in the establishment clause of the first amendment and in Article 6 forbidding a religious test for public office (these underly the concept later termed “the separation of church and state”, based on a phrase Thomas Jefferson used in a letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1801).Also, saying agnosticism means being unsure whether there is or isn’t a God is a bit misleading. There is a whole spectrum of agnostic thought, ranging from atheism to belief in God or a higher power. Agnosticism, at its core, means treating the question of God as unknowable given the limits of human observation, more or less. Thus, an agnostic on the atheist side of the spectrum would say, “I do not believe there is a God, but I cannot know for certain that there is no God.” An agnostic who believes in God would say, “I believe there is a God, but I cannot know there is one.” Throw in the question of whether one believes in a personal God or not, and agnostic thought gets even more interesting.

  • jimeglrd8

    I am an agnostic because when I was younger I spent time studying the religion my parents enrolled me in. Until I was sixteen I attended Sunday School and Church at a large Methodist Church. At sixteen my parents gave me the option of continuing to attend. By that time I had concluded that Christianity was based upon myths, lies and the views of the scholars who created the King James version of the bible. I quickly learned that no one born in Bethlehem would be named Jesus. The Romans were avid historians but in Roman history there was little mention of a “Christ like” figure. I studied how Christianity was created. I soon realized that the best thing for someone wanting to be a Christian to do was to remain ignorant about the religion. I also studied other religions and concluded that they were all phony. My first wife was a Southern Baptist who steadfastly refused to learn anything about her religion. My current wife is Roman Catholic and knows very little about the history of her religion. I also concluded that those who work as “preachers” or “priests” didn’t really believe what they preached. Many had realized that what they preached was phony but they liked the comfortable life that religion provided them. They enjoyed being “holier than thou”. I doubt that the Pope really believes but he likes all the pomp and circumstance of the Church and enjoys having the foolish faithful kiss his feet. It is clear that Religion has caused, over the centuries, many of human kinds’ problems. It continues to do so. Religion has created a “heaven” because people are not content to have only one life. It is also a good way for governments to maintain control by telling people that things will get better after they die. The opium of the masses has often been said to be religion. That is true. Religion is simply superstition. The ignorant are most religious. Those who take the time to study religion usually quickly understand that all religions are false.

  • theobserver4

    Question three embodies why people are ignorant about religion. First of all the “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution but many people and jurists have taken that phrase to heart and believe that religion must be chased from the public square. That attitude creates a minefield for educators who would like to teach about religion but run afoul of doctrinaire believers of all stripes who wish to control what is said about their religion and administrators who fear being hauled into court because of claims of violation of a church and state prohibition.Posted by: edbyronadams****************************************************************************************************I don’t know how much you know about the world’s religions based on your post but I do know that you know absolutely nothing about the Constitution.

  • senbilboredux

    The key to Republican victory in 2010 and 2012: we know it is impossible to underestimate the intelligence of the American public.

  • detroitblkmale30

    All of you who are using this to show that say a christian isnt religious or doesnt know why they beleive their religion are way off base.. this wasnt a Christian quiz..it was a generic quiz of the religions of the worlds and popular culture/geography..if you are a christian then while you may have some knowledge of these things..they have no bearing on your beleif in Jesus christ and knowledge of your OWN belief.It makes sense that atheists and agnostics would score higher on a universal religion test since they have more than likely dabbled, studied all of them seeking an “answer” that Christians believe they’ve long found. Give Christians a Christian test and see what the answers are Christ calls us to know Him, not all the worlds religions

  • solid3

    During my childhood, i attended preparations for the Holy Eucharist, Penance and Confirmation. Each weekend was scheduled a kind of Bible study. I do not know if this tradition caries on. My guess is that it is less emphasized, and may explain for the lack of education in one’s own faith. I scored 100% onn this easy test, but agree with another that it was not comprehensive enough, and indicattes little. The US would benefit, in addition, form studying more world history an religion.

  • Arggg

    I aced the religion test and I’m an atheist. I have been one my entire life, inspite of the best efforts of my southern peers and society. My son was raised Unitarian; he aced the religion portions of the Virgina SOL’s Western Civilization tests. He says he is also an atheist (despite all the pressure from various peers and society).

  • pjs1965

    Perhaps a reason that atheists and agnostics may be more familiar with religion and its issues, is they come to be who they are after a long hard personal struggle in breaking free of the religion that they were brought up in. This was my experience. I was brought up by devout Catholic parents. But even as I was gowing up, I never really could believe that stuff. It was just make-believe to me, even though I truied really hard to believe in it. It was only in recent years that I really studied this, and have come to a place where I am comfortable not needing God anymore.I have other reasons too for my conclusions. Catholicism to me is based on guilt and fear which was pounded into my head growing up Catholic. I think what happens in Church borders on mental and emotional abuse, and does everything it can to stop people from thinking for themselves among other unhealthy outcomes.The important thing though, is for one to be mentally faithful to onesself. To profess what one truly believes rather than just living a charade. For me, I feel no less complete not having any religion, and am at peace with that.

  • erickaba

    I think there are two principal reasons for the difference in knowledge and understanding between people who believe in or practice religion and those who either do not believe it or are skeptical about it.1. There is a general case of intellectual laziness on the part of Americans. I have spent 27 years in this country. I obtained my graduate education here. Either because of the economic and financial affluence and technological and industrial advancement of the US or in spite of it, Americans in general do not seem to see the need to know more than the minimum level necessary to function in any sphere of life. Some Americans are very up front and will tell you this almost the instant you begin to engage in a deeper discussion of certain issues, like politics, tradition, culture, history, geography, religion, etc. I often say that the average American is so busy struggling to pay his or her bills that he or she does not have time to spend on learning about things that do not directly impact his or her ability to earn a living. This may be one reason why our politicians take us for granted. They must believe that the average American does not, in general, pay that deep an attention to much of what goes on around him or her, especially when it comes to complicated national issues.2. The other reason is rather simple. Religion is a highly dogmatic phenomenon. You either believe everything that has been passed on down about your faith or you don’t. Believers tend to ingest everything about religion in its totality without (apparently) seeing reason to question anything. And once you don’t question something you have no basis or motivation to delve into it deeper than the level necessary to participate in the routine rituals of it. On the other hand, people who do not believe in religion or are skeptical about it tend to study significant aspects of it, perhaps as a way to learn about what they consider to be the inaccuracies, inconsistencies, illogicality, contradictions and senselessness of it.

  • gershwin2009

    Quite obviously we atheist know more about religion than religious people. That is precisely the reason why we are atheists.

  • hebe1

    Actually, it makes perfect sense. Catholics are not encourage to read the bible. They are expected to attend church and believe. This comes from the fact that, at the start of Christianity, many people were illiterate and the sermon was in Latin until fairly recently.Mormon’s have to read their books, (not the bible though) so that they understand Smith’s interpretation and can promote it.In Jewish religion, people (mostly men but not so much anymore) are encourage to read and know about their religion because it seperates them from the others. Although again the Rabbi is the interpreter, just like the Catholic priest, and Smith for the Mormons. Athesists and agnostics have studied the bible and other religions, which is exactly the reason they doubt or do not believe. Yes, the more you know the less you can believe. King David was no saint. Yahweh was rather childish and the Old Testament refers to other deities including Yahweh’s Asharah (female deity).

  • chuck22

    @Gladerunner – glad to see someone else noticed that question 3 was so poorly worded. Even if the authors wanted to avoid quoting the Constitution, they could have done a much better job paraphrasing the First Amendment.

  • metelko

    I got 100% on the quiz, but two of the questions were problematic. The text of the constitution does not mandate separation of church and state. What it does do is mandate that there will be no establishment of religion. Those are not the same thing. Also, the question about agnostic portrays them as wishy-washy. That may be true of some, but it isn’t for me. I refuse to take an absolute stand on the existence of God because I am against dogmatism. I don’t approve of any creed that thanks that their group has all of the answers and that includes a lot of atheists. Some of the most intolerant and proselytizing people I have seen are atheists and I refuse to be grouped with those people.

  • jimeglrd8

    Although I am an agnostic I have always tried to live by the “Golden Rule”. The Philospher Confuscious stated that it was best for each person to do to others as they would want done to themselves. If everyone in the world followed the Golden Rule the world would be a much better place to live. Most religions do not follow the Golden Rule. In our own country Christians clearly do not bother to even follow the Ten “Commandments”. Many American Christians seem to love war and look forward to killing the “enemy”. The worst human beings I have encountered in my life were “religious.”

  • wadejg

    I’ve said for years that atheists & agnostics know more about religion than most “believers.” This is no new revelation to me.Visit any of their websites, watch any of their shows on TV or online & you’ll find many atheists/agnostics are well versed in the Bible & religion in general, usually moreso than most who consider themselves “religious.”You gotta know your enemy.When it comes to knowledge of the Bible, religion & Biblical quotes, I’ll bet on the atheist every time.

  • AugustWest1

    Most evangelical Christians can barely spell their names, let alone know even the least bit of knowledge of other religions. To them, anyone who does not believe in Jesus Christ is doomed to hell. Muslims believe anyone who does not believe in Allah is an infidel. Is there a difference?

  • sux123

    I just took the test and got 100% and I am an atheist. I was a catholic until I was 13 ,though. I have to admit the findings surprise me, although most beleivers believe because their parents did, but I think atheist and agnostics do some reasoned research, like I did, and figure out that it’s all man-made fiction.

  • jsmith4

    “Believers,” in overwhelming numbers, have little idea or understanding of what they “believe” in. They are much more likely to be followers of authority – dare I say BLIND followers. It is safer. (or IS IT).Atheists have actually CONFRONTED the issues of existence and meaning and truth, and have concluded, correctly, that the religious dogmas are a combination of ignorance, bigotry, and blind faith with no justification.The Pew Survey is JUST one more indication of this.

  • cjpotter19

    Not surprised. I would describe myself as an agnostic and I know much about the major religions – certainly enough to reject them as man made fantasy. “Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn’t know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.”I wonder if any of these Catholics had the exact same reaction I did when I learned of this belief, the reaction being “Come on! that’s absurd” I mean really, a symbol I could understand but to believe a few magic words actually turn the wine into the blood of Christ and the bread into his flesh is pure absurdity – to actually believe this you have to deny all the knowledge you have about the physical world as well as ignoring your own senses. This is probably the worst example I’ve seen in a major religion of willfully ignoring reality. I wonder if finding out about this belief leads some Catholics to seriously question their faith and religion as a whole.

  • agapn9

    One philosopher stated that the thing that makes one happiest is removing pain or retrieving that which was lost. So a man of poor health is happiest if he is healed. A man who loses his job is happiest when he gets a solid offer for a new position. Things we take for granted never make us happy unless we lose them and they are restored. Now most people don’t realize it but the most important thing that they have but could lose is the opportunity for eternal life.That’s why each of us was created and that’s what each of us would find most fulfilling. But our poor choices can get in the way. Beliefs in an afterlife or Jesus, Mary, and Joseph may be an aid to the believer and hard to overcome for the disbeliever but we all get judged at the moment of death and then sent to heaven, hell, or purgatory just the same. So choose wisely.

  • semolina

    Question 3 is misleading and should be reworded.I am surprised that more Catholics don’t know about transubstantiation.

  • GWGOLDB

    In Indianapolis in the ’50s the School Board wisely decided that we 8th graders ought to know about other religions. Our social studies class broke into groups to report on the major religions of the world. Those of us who were Catholic, Jewish, or who belonged to a Protestant denomination got to choose their own religion, otherwise we had to choose another (Buddhism, Islam, etc.)Today this would be politically impossible. Even an even-handed description of Islam would denounced by some as “fomenting terrorism” (note: I’m Jewish0

  • Fate1

    Elizabeth Tenety wrote: “What forces do you think are responsible for America’s failing grade on religious literacy, despite our self-professed religiosity?”Same reason our student fail in some schools … bad teachers. Elizabeth Tenety wrote: “Why are atheists and agnostics the top performers in religious knowledge?”They are home schooled and read the important stuff.Elizabeth Tenety wrote: “What more can be done?”Stop going to failing houses of religion and study your religion yourself. You just might learn more about your religion and give all your tithe to charity instead of most of your offerings to the religious institution that fails to teach its flock. Also, read the Constitution. Its online you know…

  • solid3

    Jimeglrd8 you are off on some key points.Many sources Jewish, Christinians obviously, and non-Christian ROMANS: the greatest historian infact of ancient Rome of the day, Tiberious, Tallus, Suetonius and Pliny the younger had much to acknowledge about Jesus. This is signicant point one you are in error.I feel for your religious, oppressive, “fear,” “guilt,” and “abuse,” what of the Catholic church (of course) which is almost cliched and hackneyed expression. My background is Catholic, had many Catholic friends, and we never experienced the same trauma. I do feel for you, however.Concerning the “self,” myths and charade. Hey, why try to impose your non-belief to the majority. Remain an atheist, it does not concern me. I choose rather than live a self-absorbed individual with a perception of being solo, or alone in the finite universe, that something far greater is at influence or present essential as represented in my belief as the Trinity. If you reject or do not understand this, fine, but i think you and your atheists friends walk the world into a vast, void, realm of nothingness.Point 3 is a dumb assumption: most priest or preachers do believe in their spiritual convictions. Enough said.Point 4 is unecessary. You seem educated, but stated Jesus’ name was not to be found in Jeruselum at the time. Please, the name was translated in error to be Yahshua.Much of the rest were simply negative, hostile stereotypes of the spiritless atheist.

  • klautsack

    Is anyone surprised by this? Christ himself knew the dangers of being too flippant and open with your own beliefs. Something lauded by the Sanhedrin of today. The focus is on code words, outward gestures, and above all – judgment.

  • pjs1965

    Beliefs in an afterlife or Jesus, Mary, and Joseph may be an aid to the believer and hard to overcome for the disbeliever but we all get judged at the moment of death and then sent to heaven, hell, or purgatory just the same. So choose wisely.Posted by: agapn9 | September 28, 2010 10:33 AM

  • Carstonio

    Elsewhere I’ve seen criticism of the poll as missing the point of religion. My response is that questions about how humans should treat one another shouldn’t require any sort beliefs in gods or miracles, either their existence or non-existence. Imagine creating a religion that was agnostic on such matters.they come to be who they are after a long hard personal struggle in breaking free of the religion that they were brought up inI must be an exception. I’ve been agnostic for many years but my religious upbringing was minimal, only a couple of years of Sunday school.many people and jurists have taken that phrase to heart and believe that religion must be chased from the public squareThat’s a misunderstanding of their objective. The real goal is to exclude run afoul of doctrinaire believers of all stripes who wish to control what is said about their religionFrom my experience, the goal of those particular believers is not just control but proselytization – they want to use schools to convert students to their particular sect. Some of the most intolerant and proselytizing people I have seen are atheists and I refuse to be grouped with those people.That’s my experience as well. Some of them criticize me for saying I don’t know if gods exist or not. That’s still not as bad as being told that one deserves eternal damnation for not believing. From my perspective, I have proselytizing believers on one side and proselytizing atheists on the other, and telling both sides to leave me alone doesn’t seem to be enough.

  • Rongoklunk

    Yeah. Atheists are atheists because they are a lot smarter than gullible believers who believe anything they’re told. Religion is mind numbing. It defies common sense.

  • EAR0614

    does anyone know any way to take the full test? I would be interested to see how I do on that.

  • solid3

    cjpotter19Your assumption is absurd. After all that cackle it is you who fails to realize that the Holy Eucharist IS a symbolic act or ritual to be contemplated while walking, returning to the ailse and pew, and finally kneeling in prayer. You know very little.

  • kdolan

    It is clear that this quiz is simply providing a proxy for the education level of the respondent. Atheists, Mormoms, and Jews tend to have higher levels of education than other groups, which is a big part of explaining why they score at the top of the range. People don’t encounter much information about other religions unless they are taught about them, read widely, are exposed to ideas – all things that higher levels of education offers.

  • bigbrother1

    Beliefs in an afterlife or Jesus, Mary, and Joseph may be an aid to the believer and hard to overcome for the disbeliever but we all get judged at the moment of death and then sent to heaven, hell, or purgatory just the same. So choose wisely.In response, here’s something I saw recently: Christianity in a nutshell. “I’m going to create man and woman with original sin. Then I’m going to impregnate a woman with myself as her child, so that I can be born. Once alive, I will kill myself as a sacrifice to myself. To save you from the sin I originally condemned you to. TA-DAH!!”The only thing I have to add is, why do so many people feel like they need to worship such a twisted god. What are they really getting out of that? I’m not sure I want to know…

  • FAC33

    I have a doctorate in history with a concentration in classical and medieval history. SOLID3 mentions that “Tiberious, Tallus, Suetonius and Pliny the younger had much to acknowledge about Jesus.”I’m not sure who Tiberious is, other than a misspelling of the name of the Roman emperor during whose reign Jesus likely was crucified. I know of no historian named Tallus. You may be thinking of Tacitus, who does speak of Nero’s prosecutions of early Christians. Pliny the Younger also writes on persecutions of early Christians. Suetonius may have made a one-line reference to Christians during the reign of Claudius. What all three of these historians (and others) have in common is their documentation of a first century or later movement whose adherants were called Christians, and the lack of a lot of detail about the movement (none of them certainly has “much to say.”) None were contemporary to Jesus’ lifetime–similar to the Gospels themselves, these texts were written in the generations following his death.As a historian, I would conclude from these texts that there is certainly documentary evidence of early Christianity, and there is no reason to believe these early Christians were not following a real person. However, these texts do nothing to prove the theological assertions around Jesus’ life. Those come down to how much faith one puts in the New Testament writings.For the record, I was raised Presbyterian and consider myself agnostic; I do recognize the validity of many of Jesus’ teachings, but I do not believe him to be divine. I also scored 100% on the sample quiz (and since I once taught medieval Jewish history, I am familiar with Maimonides)For me, the fact that the universe is unknowable and that we are not capable of understanding all its mysteries is deeply humbling. In that sense, I do believe in a higher power.

  • taylor72

    It seems like you can be well versed in the Bible and all things dealing with Christianity, but that doesn’t always translate into acting like a true christian. I’ve seen too many self-professed “christians” behave in a most un-christian like manner. If this has already been mentioned in a previous post, my apologizes, but it does seem like an important point to make.

  • jprfrog

    For those who insist on public school prayer, I ask: who said this and where is it in the Bible “…when you pray, so not be like the hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others…But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret…”Or on “free-market” economics: “You cannot serve God and wealth” When Lot’s house is surrounded by the men of Sodom who say “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”, what does Lot reply, and who are the men?Who is the adulteress that disguises herself as a prostitute to get her sons into the line of the Lord’s blessing, and thus becomes an ancestor of King David?Which great hero of Israel is also an adulterer, a mercenary who fights for the other side, a bandit, and a murderer?Where does a prostitute help the armies of Israel win a great victory? Answers: Jesus (Matthew 6:5); Jesus Matthew 6:24; the men are actually angels come to destroy Sodom, and Lot offers the mob his virgin daughters, to which no one, not even the angels, objects; Tamar, Genesis 38:1-24 — Judah is the mark here, and Perez is the ancestor of David as per Ruth 4: 18-22; David himself (Both books of Samuel); Rahab, who sheltered the spies Joshua (6:22) sent to reconnoiter Jericho. The Bible has a lot of blood, gore, and bad behavior in it, and not all of the bad actors are villains (to say the least). Interesting, no?

  • solid3

    Fac33 my error on Tacitus. It was he who was considered the greatest, ancient historian of Rome, not Tiberious. Tallus should be researched. He came up, and i will conduct more fact finding.The central point at odds with what you or actually another stated was that little acknowledgement or writing had been completed throughout or after Jesus’ lifetime. I see contrary evidence from simple online research. I’ll reread the site. If true, likely that Jesus’ writings were suppressed outside Christian scholars and disciples.

  • Carstonio

    “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”The first time I read that, I wasn’t aware of the King James Version use of “know.” I assumed that the crowd was simply hostile to strangers. Apparently the passage wasn’t meant as a condemnation of homosexuality in general, but of the specific custom in Sodom of raping male foreigners. “Here’s how we treat outsiders!”

  • concernedindependent2

    The simple fact that explains this article is that many people who “practice” religion are not all that bright. They don’t pay attention to details or facts, perhaps because they don’t have the mental capacity. They believe what they want, not what is plainly before their eyes. But, more importantly, they allow themselves to be led (figuratively) by people who ARE bright enough to know that what they preach is false. These “leaders” don’t care that what they preach is false because they know full well that those falsehoods make them important and give them power over the less adept masses. One of these days, athiests and agnostics will wake up and realize that unless we ACTIVELY rebut the many falsehoods spread by so called religious leaders (and their followers), we will find ourselves in a bigger mess than we are already in. And, just to turn the corner on this argument, this is a clear case for better education. If youngsters were taught to believe what they can see and prove for themselves (not what they are told), to be skeptical and to insist that people who would lead speak only the reasonable truth, we would be in a much better place.

  • OneWhoSpeaksTruth

    No surprise to me. It’s a liability to think and believe.

  • OneWhoSpeaksTruth

    Posted by: taylor72 | September 28, 2010 11:16 AM “You cannot serve God and wealth” ————————————Unless you’re a Baptist minister…

  • adrienne_najjar

    Religion is a lot of hokus pokus, because there is no god. Realize that, and your true spirit will be liberated. There isn’t some supernatural being pulling strings that control everything that happens. god was invented by ignorant savages to explain the inexplicable, and to let people off the hook for their own stupid actions.

  • eaglehawkaroundsince1937

    An Athiest and Agnostic is one who is not afraid to think and reason on the subject. Most Christians are taught not to think on the subject, just accept and believe. To think and question might lead you to stray and thus fall and thus Burn and burn and burn and burn in torment for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever by order of a Kind and Loving God. Years back I took a bible, tore out all the pages but the red letter ones (words of Jesus) Wow, wow wow wow. to heil with the rest of the many many many versions of that corrupt book.

  • wdalton1us

    Why should anyone be surprised by this? Christian religions and their respective institutions have always been about Money, Power and Control of the populations. This goes back from 1000’s of years ago to today, what with the religious wing nuts seeking power through the GOP and the Tea Party.

  • mytwocents

    To those commenting on the questions from the survey asked in the article (particularly #3 about the constitution), it would help if you actually read the survey instead of this article’s author’s interpretation!Here is the actual question:Which of the following statements best describes what the U.S. Constitution says about religion?

  • cjpotter19

    cjpotter19Your assumption is absurd. After all that cackle it is you who fails to realize that the Holy Eucharist IS a symbolic act or ritual to be contemplated while walking, returning to the ailse and pew, and finally kneeling in prayer. You know very little.POSTED BY: SOLID3 | SEPTEMBER 28, 2010No, that is not the case. According to Catholic tenants, it does become the blood & flesh of Christ as stated plainly and explicitly in this article on the same survey; It sounds to me as if you are trying to rationalize an absurdity as my statement that it is believed to become the blood and flesh of Christ is not without foundation. It is that belief which I find to be absurd.

  • eaglechik

    Not an atheist or agnostic; just don’t believe in organized religion.

  • jimwalters1

    I went through the full survey questionnaire on the Pew website to see how I would have done. The questions ranged from basic to fairly obscure. I would have had to guess the one about Maimonedes and possibly the one on the First Great Awakening, but otherwise I got them all.The questions concerning religion in the public sphere interested me. I see a lot of people here complaining about the phrasing of the “separation of church and state” question. Yes, those exact words are not in the Constitution, but it is a very common shorthand for the anti-establishment and free exercise clauses and at least arguably captures their spirit. I can’t see anyone missing that question because of that phrasing unless they were doing so deliberately to make a political point. More interesting to me is the large number of people who erroneously think that the Bible can’t be used as an example of literature in public schools (67%), or who think that classes in comparative religion are forbidden (51%). Then there is the ignorance that is just plain appalling. Seriously, 36% think that Brown vs. Board was about evolution?There are also a lot of atheists and agnostics here crowing about their group’s higher scores. Atheists and agnostics tend to be better educated than the general population and education level was a very strong predictor of how well people do on the test. I am a well educated Catholic and I outscored the typical atheist pretty handily, so don’t get too hung up on atheist superiority over the believer.

  • tokenwhitemale

    “A new Pew Forum study shows many Americans don’t know basic faith facts. “LOL sue me. Wait, have God strike me down.

  • SaffronLove

    Well, well, well, the religious dogma shoved down the throats of the rest of us is of little concern to those doing the -er- shoving.Is it really so surprising?

  • andrew23boyle

    This really doesn’t suprise me. Atheism is rarely a “default” position in our society; it is almost always a conscious philosophical decision which means that most atheists have given at least some thought to theology.On the other hand, most people who don’t really care about religion will still self-identify as being religious. For example, someone who nevers goes to church and doesn’t know a thing about Catholic dogma might still identify themselves as a “Catholic” because their parents were Catholic and it say “Catholic” on their dog-tags.Since those people don’t know about their religion but will still claim it, that’s going to bring the average of the theists way down. Very few people, on the other hand, would self-identify as atheists as a “default” and most atheists only become so after at least some philosophical and theological exploration.

  • mytwocents

    Also, the exact figures for the top 3 groups are:Atheists/Agnostics – 20.9 questions correctThe others are much further behind, but there is very little significance with a .4 (or even .6) of 32 question difference. So careful with the sweeping generalizations about atheists and agnostics.I also find it interesting that atheists/agnostics are listed as about 4% of the population, and both Jews and Mormons are each listed as about 1.7% of the population. Perhaps that says something about not believing what most other people do 😉

  • erickaba

    I think there are two principal reasons for the difference in knowledge and understanding between people who believe in or practice religion and those who either do not believe in it or are skeptical about it.1. There is a general case of intellectual laziness on the part of Americans. Either because of the economic and financial affluence and technological and industrial advancement of the US or in spite of it, Americans in general do not seem to see the need to know more than the minimum level necessary to function in any sphere of life. Some people are very up front and will tell you this almost the instant you begin to engage in a deeper discussion of certain issues, like politics, tradition, culture, history, geography, religion, etc. I often say that the average American is so busy struggling to pay his or her bills that he or she does not have time to spend on learning about things that do not directly impact his or her ability to earn a living. This may be one reason why our politicians take us for granted. They must believe that the average American does not, in general, pay that deep an attention to much of what goes on around him or her, especially when it comes to complicated national issues.2. The other reason is rather simple. Religion is a highly dogmatic phenomenon. You either believe everything that has been passed on down about your faith or you don’t. Believers tend to ingest everything about religion in its totality without (apparently) seeing reason to question anything. And once you don’t question something you have no basis or motivation to delve into it deeper than the level necessary to participate in the routine rituals of it. On the other hand, people who do not believe in religion or are skeptical about it tend to study significant aspects of it, perhaps as a way of learning about what they consider to be the inaccuracies, inconsistencies, illogicality, contradictions and senselessness of it.

  • bigbrother1

    I am a well educated Catholic and I outscored the typical atheist pretty handily, so don’t get too hung up on atheist superiority over the believer.Posted by: jimwalters1 | September 28, 2010 11:51 AM So you are the exception that proves the rule, which after all is the point of the original article.The non-religious are familiar with the BS that religions excrete (which, as many of us have said, is why we aren’t religious). You actually believe some of it. I’m not seeing how you come out on top here.

  • Rongoklunk

    That so many Americans believe in the supernatural is outrageous, and that most believe in God and an afterlife is pathetic. It is a comment on our poor education systemWe should teach our children to look at the evidence before believing in the palpably absurd. It’s shameful to fill their heads with such nonsense as Gods and angels and heaven and hell. If you tell them often enough they’ll believe any rubbish. We may feel that religious knowledge is comforting and consoling to the young – but that’s a poor reason to turn them into simple minded robots.

  • Rongoklunk

    And a well educated catholic is a contradiction in terms.

  • gladerunner

    Mytwocents:I took issue with the question on the quick survey specifically. What is on the complete survey is irrelevant to the bungled job of constructing the short version as published.

  • ucfengr_2000

    “And a well educated catholic is a contradiction in terms.”Wasn’t JFK a Catholic?

  • solid3

    An atheist will hold to their own individual reality without thinking the remote possibility of a higher power or outward existence. How simple and small does one’s perception of reality have to be? At least those who are spiritual contemplate the likeliness of a God.

  • mytwocents

    to gladerunner:I agree, and I didn’t realize you were specifically referring to the short survey. However, there were also others that mentioned Q3, so I guess my point was that people shouldn’t rely on a secondary source for information, but should rather dig a little deeper.

  • garoth

    I’m not surprised at the findings. Most americans know very little about anything. As one of the posters (rightly) said: “we know it is impossible to underestimate the intelligence of the American public.” I got one wrong on the quiz – the matter of separation of church and state, which actually isn’t in the Constitution – the Constitution actually says that there shall not be the establishment of any religion, which is part of the Bill of Rights. I’m glad that someone pointed that out, along with the question concerning agnosticism. I have found, however, that athiests often have little real knowledge of Christianity – at least that is evidenced on these pages. Many of them simply react to what I would call “Cultural Christianity,” knowing a little about the Old Testament, but less about Jesus and early Christianity, and conflating some of the Old Testament with a few events, like the crusades, and right-wing evangelicalism, to paint Christianity with a single brush. As one blogger mentions, it is unfair to paint all agnostics with one brush, and the same can be said about athiests; it certainly must be said about other faiths. Not all Muslims want to kill innocent people (actually few do – I’ve known many over the years, who are some of the most hospitable people I’ve known). Jesus taught us to love our neighbors. It is not necessary to even think of him as “God” to be a Christian (many early Christians were appalled at the idea). The great creeds of the church (Apostles, Niceene, Athanasian) rose out of controversies within the church over “true” belief, but those who disagreed continue to have their followers in the church, and identify themselves as Christian, whether or not some Christians recognize their faith as Christian.One blogger was correct is saying that, at least for many, Christianity is not simply a matter of knowledge, but a matter of the heart. Some put a great deal of thought into their faith – some put a great deal of emotion into it. And many put neither emotion or thought into it – or into the faith or thought of others. Personally, I think that is a shallow faith, and not very helpful, but perhaps it’s all they want. Some people like soap operas, which are, to me, shallow and pointless, and a waste of time. But who am I to say?

  • solid3

    A little something for atheist and agnostics to meditate. It should be somewhat humbling, and was written by a prize-winning authorand researcher, Dyson. Trying hard to think of the book. Something like a complete book of history.Anyway, he describes after each chapter how our species, mam, was enable in the continuum of time (millenium) to barely squeak through the crack door of survival on countless occassions. I defined luck as a continuation of defying the probability of the odds, and somehow in nature; something or force has, for the moment, favored our species, (emphasis on for the moment). To all you atheists out there, it is when scientists (and he is not alone), says things directly or indirectly in support of a God/higher power, does my conviction strenghten, and no atheist can or ever should rock it. So stay in your cacoon of nothingness, … i’ll make it thought the next door …

  • Rongoklunk

    The best argument for the non-existence of a god is the non-existence of all the previous gods. Nobody today believes that Apollo or Zeus ever existed. Nobody today believes in Thor or Woden, or Huitzilopochtli. Yet the folks who believed in these gods assumed they were real. They were worshiped by whole cultures for thousands of years. Human sacrifices were made to them. Millions were slaughtered to win their favors.It’s what our ancestors did – they understood very little about the real world – so they invented gods to explain things. There have been thousands – if not millions of gods that we now know were mythical, or not real. Why should the current one be any different?

  • eezmamata

    I have found, however, that athiests often have little real knowledge of Christianity – at least that is evidenced on these pages….You seem to have missed the results of the tests, perhaps carefully? Atheists in this test know more about christianity than the christians themselves.And I really am trying to understand why you feel that putting emotion over knowledge should be treated as a virtue. It sounds like surrender to ignorance is preferable as long as it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling that big daddy is looking out for you.

  • klautsack

    Carstonio said “the goal isn’t just control, but proselytizing”. This is exactly right. This is why so many “Christian” groups oppose things like Medicare, Social Security, etc. They are not actually concerned about the material well-being of individuals. They see poverty as an opportunity for mass conversions to (their) religion. Take someone when they are at their lowest and most vulnerable. Tell them to pray to Jesus. Give them some soup and a bed. You have another Christian. That’s what they want. It isn’t necessarily nefarious, but it’s self-serving, somewhat predatory, and based on their own perspective.

  • WmarkW

    And if I don’t know what the Queen of Cups in an upside-down position means, this indicts my intelligence how?

  • Rongoklunk

    Garoth. You write “I have found, however, that athiests often have little real knowledge of Christianity – at least that is evidenced on these pages.”Does anyone need to bone-up on astrology before deciding it’s a load of hogwash? Religion has to go if we ever want to live in a decent un-superstitious world.

  • solid3

    Incorrect, you failed to listen to others’ valid posts. The test is bias and skewed. It is NOT designed to evaluate Christian knowledge per se. It asks basic, easy, general questions of the major religions, and that is all.Concerning the God creation and myth. Yes, agreed historically religion had at times been used to explain the unknown. This was not the purpose or MESSAGE of the Christ or even Mohammed.A spiritual base can be turned to a source to reflect upon from which universal power emanates. It speaks nothing of our understanding of our physica world; simply, that we are not so supercilius as to think we are present alone, but an essence is manifest seen or unseen in various or simultaneously in all forms.

  • nallcando

    An off-shoot of the original phrase, “wall of separation between church and state,” as written in Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist’s Association in 1802. Jefferson was responding to a letter that the Association had written him. In that letter, they expressed their concerns about the Constitution not reaching the State level. The 14th amendment had not yet been ratified, thus leaving the States vulnerable to state legislation. In Jefferson’s letter, he was reassuring the Baptists of Danbury that their religious freedom would remain protected – a promise that no possible religious majority would be able to force out a state’s official church. The original text reads: “…I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” The phrase was quoted by the United States Supreme Court first in 1878, and then in a series of cases starting in 1947. The phrase appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution.

  • ThomasBaum

    hebe1 You wrote, “This comes from the fact that, at the start of Christianity, many people were illiterate and the sermon was in Latin until fairly recently.”Not only were many people illiterate but absolutely everything written was hand written.As far as “the sermon was in Latin until fairly recently”, you are absolutely wrong not only was the sermon in the vernacular but also the readings at Mass, the prayers at Mass were in Latin but not the readings or the sermon.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • muslimsvoice

    Here is an interesting article from MuslimsVoiceofAmerica.com/Blog5 Reasons to build / not to build the Mosque near ground zero

  • blasmaic

    It’s uncool to know a lot about religion. People believe that religion is the source of bad things, like hate, prejudice, and discrimination. So they act dumb because being smart about religion might harm them socially. Nothing new there. Peter denied that he knew Jesus three times in a row out of fear of being associated with him.

  • Frank57

    As an atheist, I have become well convinced over my long lifetime, that the last true Christian on earth was Christ, and that the man known as “Saint” Paul was possibly the most evil, corrupt, and dishonest politician in the history of humankind.

  • richarddrake

    The atheists and agnostics “tend to but not always” have better and permit himself/herself to a more wide religion perceptive from the outside than the ones from the inside of their religious institution.

  • JoeyTranchina

    There is a certain sort of religion that demands ignorance, in order for the kneelers to be misinformed by parasites who pander to prejudice. America is infected with far too large a proportion of that sort of “religion.”Any religion that claims to the “One and Only True Faith” is a lie.I judge a religion by how respectful it is of the rights of men and women of other faiths. American religions have consistently declined on this scale in every decade of my life. Religious intolerance is now the norm, to the point that is has become an embarrassment to be an American. The bigot is a coward, a looser and a liar. Ignorance is one of the prerequisites for bigotry. Sadly it is the state of American religion, to lead people in bigotry.Religious bigotry is the ugliest and most dangerous sort — it leads easily to murder – murder in the name of “God.” I do not want to be a citizen of a nation of crack-pot crusaders. Watch out, when this Fundamentalist zealotry takes control of the military (which it is attempting to do as we speak) American civil society is finished.Faith can either be the backbone that sustains a country or the cancer that eats it. In my lifetime, religion has moved from being America’s strength to America’s weakness. Ignorance has become America’s religion.

  • ThomasBaum

    tojby_2000You wrote, “Your use of four names is grandiloquent and that, too, points to problems.”Not in the least, at least not for me maybe for you, it just so happens that that is my name, I just go by the name Tom but on here I put my full name and have mentioned that not only have I met the Holy Spirit but also God the Father and satan and have experienced hell and spiritual death, these are some of the things that I have experienced.You also wrote, “Your ecstatic endorphin rush does not constitute evidence. It indicates anxiety.”There is more to being a human than merely the bodily functions, the human organism is a rather amazingly put together organism and it is also more than the physical sum of its parts.I find it rather interesting where so many seem to know or think that they know everything, I know that I only know a little but what little I know, I do know.There are things that I believe and I try to be clear when I mention whether it is something that I believe or something that I know, there is a difference between knowing and believing and there are many that use these two words interchangeably whereas they have completely different meanings.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • James10

    Jefferson also wrote his own version of the bible. removing god and what have you…Posted by: alex35332Just the New Testament. He tossed out all those silly miracle things and concludes his New Testament with the boulder being put on the tomb of Jesus. There was no resurrection. Period.

  • loyalsyst

    I’m impressed with the wisdom of the framers of the Constitution who recognized that a democratic secular society works better if all religions are tolerated equally, and that all individuals should be free to express their opinions on religion, politics, and everything else. Of course, since the dominant Christian religion legitimized slavery, the first amendment – or for that matter the whole Constitution – didn’t apply to them.

  • James10

    “Question three embodies why people are ignorant about religion. First of all the “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution but many people and jurists have taken that phrase to heart and believe that religion must be chased from the public square….”The question had three choices.A. SeparationThe Constitution doesn’t even contain the word “God” let alone Christianity or Jesus. “Nothing” can’t be right because religion is in there. The Separation of Church and State comes from Thomas Jefferson who perhaps knew more about government and religion than you could ever hope to. Further the Treat of Tripoli, signed in 1796 and unanimously ratified by the United States Senate and signed by John Adams had this to say in Article 11. “Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”What part of “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” do you find confusing?BTW. If the parents and places of worship can’t teach their religious beliefs why would you think the public square would do it? I have little interest in walking down the street and have every religion proselytizing on each and every street corner. They can legally do it if they want with the proper permits but if people think that the Golden Rule is one of the Ten Commandments as they did in the survey it’s not because religious instruction is missing from the public square.

  • James10

    One of the nifty things about the test results was where Mormons scored. Of the religious groups they scored 2nd. Yet there are a lot of “Christians” that don’t believe that the LDS is a Christian denomination. Which is shows a bit of ignorance itself. On the other hand, if Mormons scoring high is some badge of religious accuracy then what does it mean that Mormons believe that Jesus came to ancient America after the resurrection?

  • Carstonio

    it denies manifestations of religious observance among the population by attempts to stamp out verbal expressions, “Merry Christmas!”, holiday displays, and religious symbolism of, essentially, competing belief systems.Not only is that a straw man, it rejects the principle of keeping government neutrality among competing religions. It wrongly assumes a dichotomy of religion versus “secular humanism,” whatever the hell that is. When a government building has a holiday display from only one religion, this amounts to an endorsement of that religion at the expense of other religions. The lack of such displays doesn’t amount to endorsement of a anti-religious ideology, but an implied expression of neutrality. (I’ve long argued that public squares should apply the First Amendment in the opposite direction, where all religious groups can put up their displays as long as there’s no attmept by government to include some and exclude others.)Outside of the government realm, when a store practices “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” it is NOT trying to suppress Christainity. Instead, it’s rightly acknowledging that many of its shoppers aren’t Christians and that it shouldn’t assume that each shopper celebrates Christmas. If store clerks insisted on wishing “Happy Eid Al-Fitr” or “Happy Hanukkah” to every customer, Christian customers would rightly be put off. The principle here is that in a society of many different religions, it’s disrespectful to others to treat one religion as the “normal” or “default” one.

  • shedao

    Funny, I have faith and I scored perfectly.IMHO this is exactly why we need to teach more about religions (plural) to children. Ignorance does certainly not lead to tolerance.

  • gladerunner

    timo17:

  • Carstonio

    You’d like that to be true, but no, no it isn’t.And it assumes that the only possibilities are the Christian god or no god at all. That leaves out, for example, the people who believe in what Justice Scalia insultingly calls “unconcerned deities.”

  • corburrs

    This wasn’t a religious pop quiz and was disappointed at the questions. Especially since the article was stating how Catholics didn’t know about the body and blood of Christ and how Protestants didn’t know Luther led to the Reformation of the Church. The article led a person one way and the quiz took the person another. What a disappointment this article was.

  • gladerunner

    Solid3:”So you did not enjoy my songs”

  • craig24

    OK 1st question How can you separate church and state when the founding fathers used principles from The Bible to draft the constitution? And GOD is mentioned all through the original manuscript.America was designed to be a Christian nation. And atheists and agnostics DO NOT know more about The Bible than believers do.They are just more comfortable believing in a we came from apes or fish or aliens theory.Evolution has been disproven by top scientists. Dr. Stephen Hawking for all his brilliance cannot move his body or breath without the help of an apparatus.

  • garoth

    By the way, I noticed a discussion on transubstantiation. The current belief in the R.C. church no longer holds that the wine and bread are physically changed to Jesus’ body and blood, but rather that they are spiritually infused with his presence, which comes into the elements at their elevation, during the recitation of the Words of Institution, and remains in the elements. The main alternate understandings in Christianity are the idea of communion as a memorial, or “remembrance,” or the Lutheran idea of consubstantiation, that Christ comes, “in, with and under the elements” – that it is another way of declaring and receiving the Gospel. The person who said that it is vampirism is repeating a misunderstanding that goes back to the first century. The only sense in which the church ever taled about eating Jesus was in a spiritual one – the uniting of Jesus’ “spiritual body” with him, as well as with the rest of the community, through this action; “as he is, so are we in the world.”

  • tojby_2000

    Thomas Paul Moses Baum wrote: I used to believe that the Eucharist was Jesus until the Holy Spirit came into my body on 29 Jan 2000 and revealed this to me, so now I know that the Catholic Eucharist is Jesus.Your ecstatic endorphin rush does not constitute evidence. It indicates anxiety. Your use of four names is grandiloquent and that, too, points to problems.

  • ThomasBaum

    craig24 You wrote, “America was designed to be a Christian nation.”America was not “designed” to be a theocracy.God did not become One of us for us to set up a theocracy on earth.You then wrote, ” And atheists and agnostics DO NOT know more about The Bible than believers do.”Even if one knows every word in the Bible does not mean that that one knows anything about the Bible, believer or not, considering that it appears that you think that America should be a theocratic state whereas this is not even close to why God became One of us.You then wrote, “They are just more comfortable believing in a we came from apes or fish or aliens theory.”The bible says that we came from dirt, I don’t know about “aliens” but did not apes and fish come from dirt also?Just how God created everything is God’s business and who are you or anyone else to tell God that God had to be in a rush in how God created and is still creating.Those “days” in the bible refer to “periods of time” and just how long the first “five days” lasted, I don’t know, but we are still in the sixth day and have been ever since man has been here but the night of the sixth day is coming just as we have been told and the dawning of the seventh day shall arrive.God also created time.You then wrote, “Because belief in GOD requires one to follow laws and rules (Commandments)”.Didn’t God-Incarnate, Jesus, extend the invitation to “Come follow Me”?His invitation was not to follow laws and rules written in stone but that the Law would be written in our hearts and to follow Him, isn’t this what Jesus’s invitation was?You then wrote, “Evolution has been disproven by top scientists.”No, it hasn’t.Who are you or anyone else to tell God just how God’s creation is to unfold.Can’t you even see what the bible is about? It is not meant to be a history book, a science book, a book of poems, …, but should help someone to see that God cares for His creation and He cared enough to become part of it and that God has an unfolding Plan.To put it into a baseball metaphor, God has all of the bases covered so that we will all make it Home.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • poptopp

    I suspect that atheiests in general are in the seach for answers or in a quest to understand why is it that so many billions of people can believe while they find it difficult to do so. Hence, a greater exploration of faith. On the other hand, many of the “faithful” are simply content to chalk up events as “God’s will” and not look any further.

  • friendofGod

    Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

  • MHughes976

    I’d think that the proportion of self-ascribed atheists who come from the more educated section of society is higher than the proportion of religious believers, of whom I’m one. They read more books and newspapers. It’s the more educated who question traditional beliefs.

  • beaone

    I am an agnostic because I have had a living death experience and I know the Higher Power does not sit in a grand building with stained glass windows and a bloody Jesus hanging from a cross. Interestingly, most people who have a true living death experience turn away from organized religion and the hypocrites who organize, run it, preach it and threaten you with it. If you’re waiting to see a God in your own image, you are in for a big surprise.

  • beaone

    An Athiest and Agnostic is one who is not afraid to think and reason on the subject.Just for the record, an Aethist and an Agnostic are NOT the same thing.