Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pew Forum: U.S. Religious Knowledge Quiz

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life recently released the results of their U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey:
"Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new Pew Forum 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."
In many ways there is nothing new in this as it is part of the problem of religious illiteracy in America as individuals know little of other religions, including their own. See my previous discussion of this topic with Stephen Prothero. What is surprising is to find Mormons scoring higher than evangelicals with the former tending to emphasize the Book of Mormon and other LDS scriptures rather than the Bible in their devotional life.

Pew's discussion of the survey can be read here, and the quiz can be taken here. The Salt Lake Tribune contacted me for a local perspective on this issue in Utah, particularly as it relates to Mormons and evangelicals. See the article by Peggy Fletcher Stack for quotes and perspectives of evangelicals, Mormons, and atheists.


Steve Hayes said...

The quiz that can be taken on line is not the same as the one the report is about, which can be misleading.

Also, it should be noted that the online quiz is very US-centric. I answerd 13 out of 13 questions correctly. I refused to answer the other two, as they were not about religion, but about US internal political arrangments.

Why are Americans so damned ego-centic? A current survey by Technorati on the blogosphere shows the same US-centric tendencies.

The results of the survey were also probably skewed because they distinguished between "atheists and agnostics" on the one hand, and "nothing in particular on the other", but did not make a similar distinction between committed and uncommitted religious people.

Anonymous said...

Steve: I think the "US-Centric" questions were included to correlate religious knowledge against general-knowledge. I make no excuses for the US-centricity of the poll.

John W. Morehead said...

The link to the quiz comes from the Pew Forum page and they advertise it as comparable to the one taken in the news item. That's all I know.