Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Religious survey results not good for American Christians

Earlier this year the Pew Forum on Religion and Public life conducted a survey on religious knowledge among the American populace. The newly released results were not surprising, to me at least. In the 32 question survey atheists and agnostics scored the highest, closely followed by Jews and Mormons who were way ahead of the average Christian believer. There's a summary of the results here.

To test yourself, click on the image for a shorter sample of the questions asked. I scored 14 out of 15 and am kicking myself for dithering over the one I got wrong rather than going with my first thought.

The New York Times reports

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.
What is it about religion that suppresses what should be no more than basic general knowledge?


Duncanr said...

In a way, these results don't surprise me.

Atheists and Agnostics generally have come to adopt that stance after careful consideration/examination of religious teachings/beliefs

For many Christians, however, their religion is something they were born into. Their parents. friends, community all share the same belief. It is something they never question. It's just an unthinking acceptance of the status quo

Rational choice based on careful analysis versus blind faith based on ignorance?

No, I'm not surprised by the results of this poll !!!

Duncanr said...

Bugger- I got 14 out of 15 too

Would have scored 15 if I'd gone with my gut feel about the question I got wrong

Andy Holroyd said...

I think being born into a religion is true the world over. We are following tradition as you say. For many this actually frees them to get on with daily life because the big, disturbing questions are answered, ie creation, death, law, why we eat fish on Fridays etc.

The big problem for me is that religion goes on to teach people not to question, because the answer has been given.

I say "question everything" and then religion becomes a psychological and sociological phenomenon which shapes history. But it's so much more interesting.