About this blog: Discussing religion, spirituality and values. About the writers: Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. Janet Marshall is the religion editor for The Free Lance-Star.
Most Americans fail religion test
Atheists know the most about religion. And even they score a D on the test conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
On average, Americans could answer about half of 32 questions presented during the poll. The questions covered Christianity, world religions, the Bible and constitutional issues on religion.
Atheists topped the test, answering an average of 21 questions correctly. Jews and Latter-Day Saints came in second, scoring 20.
- Most Americans (89%) know that a teacher can’t lead a public school class in prayer. But only 23% know that a teacher CAN read from the Bible as an example of literature. That may be a key reason why Americans didn’t do so well on the biblical knowledge part of the test. Only 45 % could name all four Gospels.
- Slightly more than half (54%) knew that the Quran is the holy book of Islam.
- Many believers don’t know much about their own faith: 55% of Catholics understand transubstantiation–that the bread and wine are not merely symbols during Communion. Some 53% of Protestants don’t know Martin Luther inspired the Reformation. And only 19% of Protestants know that the religion teaches that salvation comes through faith without works.
- Mother Teresa was the best known religious figure. But many couldn’t place the Dalai Lama or Joseph Smith within the correct faith.
Want to know how you’d score? Take a sample test here.
Want to talk about the survey? I’m working on a story and would love your input: firstname.lastname@example.org or 540/735-1973.
ETA: Thank you, Joe, I wrote the wrong word for the doctrine. That’s what I get for writing fast and while I was on my way out the door.