Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Religious Ignorance of Americans

The Pew Religious Quiz has been making headlines today. To be honest, I did not find the results surprising. When debating with Christians about theology, I have been utterly shocked at the lack of knowledge of their own tradition. I can at least understand being ignorant of other religions. While sad, I do not necessarily expect people to be experts in ideas they have never been exposed to. But how can you be so ignorant of your own beliefs? Frankly, it's pathetic. How do you expect people to take your beliefs seriously when you yourself don't understand them?

The worst part for me was when I was looking at some of the details of the study. The first chart breaks down how different religious groups did on particular kinds of questions. Protestants as a whole got 6.5 out of 12 questions on The Bible and Christianity. Wow. Barely over 50% competence on subjects their entire life is supposed to revolve around.

A short quiz with 15 questions was also included. I got all 15 right. Taking it made me even more incredulous of the results because I found it incredibly easy. That level of ignorance in a country so diverse as the United States is scary.

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