Details of a US religious knowledge survey has been published and the results are quite surprising. The US has a reputation for being quite religious, yet despite this, the depth of bible knowledge demonstrated is quite low. The questions were not too hard, here is a quick sample
- What is the first book of the Bible?
- Name the first four books of the New Testament
- Where, according to the Bible, was Jesus born?
But its not just about the Bible, they included questions about other beliefs such as …
- When was the Mormon religion founded? (They were not looking for a precise date, choices such as pre 1800 or post 1800 were suggested)
- The Dalai Lama is …Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Mormon, Hindu
- In which religion are Vishnu and Shiva (SHEE-va) central figures?
OK, I think you get the idea. These are not challenging questions, so what results did they come up with? Well, what is quite interesting is that they included a lot of questions to precisely identify the beliefs of those that answered, so they are able to give an accurate breakdown of how followers of the various beliefs scored.
On average, Americans correctly answer 16 of the 32 religious knowledge questions on the survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Jews and Mormons do well, averaging 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers, respectively. Protestants as a whole average 16 correct answers; Catholics as a whole, 14.7.
However, there is one group that stands out as the most knowledgeable, and did far better than any of the above … and that was …