Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Religious Test

CNN has the results of a poll by the Pew Forum that shows while Americans may be the most religious people out there, a lot of them don’t really know much about their own faith.

The survey is full of surprising findings.

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

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

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

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

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

I suppose you can make the argument that the atheists and agnostics came to their conclusions after being inundated with religion and decided, after weighing all the evidence, that there was no there there, while the evangelicals were more likely to take it to a level of emotional connection rather than a journey of scholarly research. It may also explain why people who can’t get through the first act of Romeo and Juliet because of the Elizabethan English can parse every syllable of the King James bible, which uses pretty much the same language, and divine the intent of God. It is all the more irritating when you realize that some of the people who are making a living by using religion as a cudgel against everything from same-sex marriage to Sunday car sales have no clue as to what they’re talking about.

There are some questions from the quiz at the site. I got 10 out of 10. How about you?