Atheists/Agnostics Know More......

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2002
Atheists/Agnostics Know More......
14
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 8:50am

Here is an article discussing a survey that showed Atheists and Agnostics scored higher on a Religion Quiz than Jewish, Mormons, Protestants and Catholics.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_rel_religious_literacy_poll

A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.
Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn't know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.
More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and intellectuals in history, was Jewish.
The survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history. The U.S. is one of the most religious countries in the developed world, especially compared to largely secular Western Europe, but faith leaders and educators have long lamented that Americans still know relatively little about religion.
Respondents to the survey were asked 32 questions with a range of difficulty, including whether they could name the Islamic holy book and the first book of the Bible, or say what century the Mormon religion was founded. On average, participants in the survey answered correctly overall for half of the survey questions.
Atheists and agnostics scored highest, with an average of 21 correct answers, while Jews and Mormons followed with about 20 accurate responses. Protestants overall averaged 16 correct answers, while Catholics followed with a score of about 15.
Not surprisingly, those who said they attended worship at least once a week and considered religion important in their lives often performed better on the overall survey. However, level of education was the best predictor of religious knowledge. The top-performing groups on the survey still came out ahead even when controlling for how much schooling they had completed.
On questions about Christianity, Mormons scored the highest, with an average of about eight correct answers out of 12, followed by white evangelicals, with an average of just over seven correct answers. Jews, along with atheists and agnostics, knew the most about other faiths, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Less than half of Americans know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist, and less than four in 10 know that Vishnu and Shiva are part of Hinduism.
The study also found that many Americans don't understand constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools. While a majority know that public school teachers cannot lead classes in prayer, less than a quarter know that the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly stated that teachers can read from the Bible as an example of literature.
"Many Americans think the constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools are tighter than they really are," Pew researchers wrote.
The survey of 3,412 people, conducted between May and June of this year, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, while the margins of error for individual religious groups was higher.
____
Online:
Pew online quiz about religion: http://features.pewforum.org/quiz/us-religious-knowledge

Photobucket
Photobucket

Pages

Avatar for guili12737
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-23-1997
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 10:38am

That makes sense to me from my own personal experience. One of the reasons that I am not a believer is that if you look at many different religions and you see the common themes, you think, "how can just one of them be THE one true thing?" or at least that's how I feel. I find comparative religion fascinating. One story is just as far-fetched as the next, if you ask me.

I just took the test myself and I got only one wrong and the one I got wrong I was going back and forth on between the right answer and the one I picked.






Edited 9/28/2010 11:44 am ET by guili12737
Avatar for firstglimpse
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 1:45pm

This is also found on the NY Times which also includes this quote.

----

That finding might surprise some, but not Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, an advocacy group for nonbelievers that was founded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

“I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people,” Mr. Silverman said. “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.”

----






"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."


~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng



"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2006
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 3:00pm
I only got 12 out of 15. Better than average, but still not as well as I thought I'd do.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2002
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 4:02pm

I got 15/15 but the last one I kind of guessed on. I couldn't juggle anything about the first great awakening out of my mind.

They had a piece on CNN about this article this morning. I missed the discussion though.

Photobucket
Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-20-2003
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 10:33pm

Got 15/15.

FWIW, Jonathan Edwards was the fire & brimstone preacher who wrote "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God".

On my old trivia team, out Old Testament expert was an atheist and our New Testament expert was Jewish.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2006
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 10:33pm

I missed two.

Disney Sig
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2005
Wed, 09-29-2010 - 1:26pm

I love that quote!! Interesting! And I feel like that's pretty true in part. Whenever people talk about Mormonism and how crazy so many of the ideas are -- god's in outer space, everyone being blond and beautiful, black people as God's punishment, etc ... I remind them that it's no more crazy than most biblical concepts. We're just more familiar with the biblical stories. Though often times that isn't the case at all. For example, in Sunday school, they always downplay the fact that during most of the old testemate, polygamy was pretty much the norm. And even men who weren't polygamists often had sex with other women because a wife was allowed to send her female servants to her husband if she "wasn't in the mood," or was pregnant or on her period etc. And any children those servants had could be claimed as legitimate children to the married couple. And God seemed 100% cool with this until Jesus came around and said people shouldn't do that anymore. But we sweep those parts of the bible under the rug in Sunday school just like we don't emphasize that we're actually eating the body and blood of Christ. Because it's gross and goes against our current moral code. It's just convenient to pick and choose stories from religious teachings that align themselves with what makes us comfortable in our current culture.

That's one of the reasons I loved the book "The Life of Pi" so much! In the introduction it says, "What is fiction but a twisting of the truth to bring out it's essence." I'm still a hard core atheist, but I have a lot more respect for people who interpret religious books as stories that have something to teach us about humanity than I do for people who really believe that Jesus was resurrected or that Moses actually parted the Red Sea etc. etc. And of course the other added bonus to that kind of belief system is that it advocates tolerance because often times the essence or "moral of the story" if you will, is the same no matter which religious book you look at. Or at least that's true of religions with similar origins like Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Maybe it's true of religions of different origins like Hindu and Buddhism as well.

siggy
siggy
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2002
Wed, 09-29-2010 - 4:00pm

OH OH OH!

There was a piece done on NPR about the Parting of the Red Sea. There is a Physicist that has been studying the affects of Weather on the Red Sea. And he did find that it is indeed possible for such an occurrence to take place. It has something to do with the strength of the wind, it's direction, and low tide being pulled further out than usual. It is actually very plausible.

His search now is to find artifacts that support the story of Moses. That way he can prove the story actually happened, but can explain the event scientifically.

Very much along the same lines as Stephen Hawkings latests comments.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130112925

Photobucket
Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2005
Wed, 09-29-2010 - 8:40pm
Yeah, I heard that and I've always believed something like that probably happened. But it was just the laws of physics/nature and not Moses who did the parting.
siggy
siggy
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-19-2006
Thu, 09-30-2010 - 1:48pm

I am Jewish but I came to the atheist/agnostic board becuase I just heard about this on NPR.

Pages