On Basic Religion Test, Many Doth Not Pass...By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion. Researchers from the independent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life phoned more than 3,400 Americans and asked them 32 questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, famous religious figures and the constitutional principles governing religion in public life.
On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith. Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences. “Even after all these other factors, including education, are taken into account, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons still outperform all the other religious groups in our survey,” said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at Pew.
On questions about the Bible and Christianity, the groups that answered the most right were Mormons and white evangelical Protestants. On questions about world religions, like Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism, the groups that did the best were atheists, agnostics and Jews.
Clergy members who are concerned that their congregants know little about the essentials of their own faith will no doubt be appalled by some of these findings:
¶ Fifty-three percent of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the man who started the Protestant Reformation.
¶ Forty-five percent of Catholics did not know that their church teaches that the consecrated bread and wine in holy communion are not merely symbols, but actually become the body and blood of Christ.
¶ Forty-three percent of Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the foremost rabbinical authorities and philosophers, was Jewish.
The question about Maimonides was the one that the fewest people answered correctly. But 51 percent knew that Joseph Smith was Mormon, and 82 percent knew that Mother Theresa was Roman Catholic.
I guess it should be disturbing that Christians in this study were not more informed about their faith. We after all have the admonishment from Scripture to..."always be ready to give reason for the faith we have in us...". That message seems to have been missed by many of us who call on the name of Christ.
I dont know but, just maybe we should rethink our Christian ed programs and instead of support groups, kinship groups, seeker services and Kumbayah we should go back to basic catechesis. Ignorance may be bliss for some , but when it comes to religion it fails to do what God commands...love the Lord your God with all your mind...!