Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bill Maher must be happy

Which Americans know the most about religion?  It turns out to be those annoying atheists:


Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.

Unfortunately, they did not specifically track Mennonites. I suspect Mennonites would have done about average, unless the questions veered off into farming lore.

Another interesting finding:

I've long believed that most people who want prayer and religion in school don't really want prayer and religion in school. They want their version of prayer and their version of religion to be dominant over other forms of prayer and other religions in school.

For instance, if we allowed prayers to Jesus in school, we'd have to allow prayers to Allah as well. And if there were prayers to Allah at school, you'd find support for prayer in school drop like a stone tablet.

As such, it doesn't surprise me that so many people don't know about the legality of a comparative religion class or that you read from the Bible as literature.  That's not what they are fighting for.


Hari said...

Atheists tend to be better educated, and better educated people answer 3rd grade level questions better than other people.

Robert Sievers said...

At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

Tim said...



What are you saying? That Jesus is against education? That God only reveals himself to a select ignorant few? That hiding behind byzantine quotes makes Jesus love you more?

Dan S said...

Too often, that verse is interpreted to mean that ignorance is a virtue. I don't think Jesus was pro-ignorance.

My own experience with children is that they ask the toughest questions, questions that wise and learned theologians have the toughest time answering.

brownie said...

I think Jesus was more anti-religion than Madeline Murry-O'Haire.

Robert Sievers said...

What are you saying? That Jesus is against education?

Not at all. In fact, that is why I am attending seminary. There are plenty of places where God strenuously calls us to seek wisdom. What He is saying is that education level does not correlate to finding Truth with a capitol T. The Pharisees were one of the most educated and learned peoples of their day, but they didn't get it. How His statement applies to today, you be the judge.

Sam said...

Hey, drilled it! 15 of 15 on the quiz at Dan's link. Score one for the Mennonite curve. Dan, confession time-how'd you do?

Hari, Pew controlled for education. There was strong correlation between education and correct answers, as well as between atheism and other minority religions and correct answers. Interestingly, there was also a small correlation between worship attendance and correct answers on the quiz.

Dan S said...

I also got 15 of 15, but had to guess on the last one (and don't remember the question now).

mennomom said...

Hey - score another for the Mennos - 15 out of 15. I think it has more to do with how much general reading one does and one's age and level of education. I suspect that the dear ladies in my church whose reading consists of the Bible, Amish fiction and the local weekly would be fine on the Bible knowledge questions but the general religious knowledge? Not so much.

Sam said...

Yeah, I noticed that if you go question by question, Atheists do roughly as well on the Christianity specific questions, and make hay on those about other religions. I guess I don't find that surprising.

brownie said...

But how many know the proper count to ignite the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch?