A recent post on Pharyngula points to a religious knowledge quiz from the Pew Forum. It contains 15 questions from a more extensive survey that was conducted on a representative sample of US adults. It’s an old quiz but it’s still interesting and allows people a chance to see how good their religious knowledge is.
Unfortunately, I only got 13/15 or 87% of the questions correct. On a more positive note, the US average was only 50% and I scored higher than 92% of the US public with only 4% getting a higher score. The groups with the highest scores, on average, were Jews (65%), atheists/agnostics (64%) and Mormons (61%) with Hispanic Catholics (39%) getting the lowest score. There wasn’t too much of a difference when it came to the results of the full 32 question survey although at that point atheists/agnostics came in first, though with less than a question’s difference between them, Jews and Mormons.
It’s interesting that Americans are highly religious, yet lack knowledge about both their own and other people’s religions. It could be that people are treating religion as a more personal, more spiritual experience now rather than following a church, although they are still identifying with a specific religious tradition. David Silverman, president of American Atheists, didn’t find the results surprising and suggested that the religions could only survive if the followers were ignorant of what the religion actually said.
I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people. Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That’s how you make atheists.