Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pew Research Center poll

Via the NY Times: Pew Research Center’s “U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey.”

That’s right: now at your disposal are all 78 pages’ worth of confirmation that Americans are fairly ignorant on religious matters overall. Personally, I found it striking that in the survey Mormons ranked higher than Black Protestants and that Black Protestants ranked higher than Hispanic Catholics in terms of knowledge of the Bible and Christianity. It was striking, though not shocking given some personal observations that I have made outside this forum.

Now, one thing that was not shocking though nothing short of amazing was the following excerpt from page 21 of the survey:
Nearly two-thirds of the public (63%) correctly name Genesis as the first book of the Bible when asked this question in an open-ended (not multiple-choice) format. More than eight-in-ten white evangelicals (85%), Mormons (85%) and black Protestants (83%) get this question right, as do roughly seven-in-ten atheists and agnostics (71%). By comparison, fewer than half of Catholics (42%), including 47% of white Catholics and 29% of Hispanic Catholics, are able to name Genesis as the first book of the Bible.
This is neither shocking nor entirely incredible after listening to co-workers of mine argue and talk at length about how they (professedly) are Christians yet whose mouths go on to display a profound lack of understanding of the basics of Christianity that truly parallels the Pew Center’s findings above.

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