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Pew Research has just released the results of a new survey testing US Religious Knowledge and guess what? A lot of people know jack shit about religion. Their own religion.
51% of white mainline and black protestants think “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is one of the 10 commandments. I guess that’s why theocratic politicians are constantly trying to get the 10 commandments hung up in schools and courts, because apparently nobody is reading them at church. FYI, protestants: “be nice to each other” isn’t one of the ten commandments but “don’t say Jesus Christ when you stub your toe” is.
Jewish people are the only ones who reliably know what Ramadan is, since Muslims weren’t a group that was measured. 90% of them got it right, compared to 36-75% of the other groups.
41% of white Catholics and 53% of Hispanic Catholics don’t know that Catholics believe communion bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus. I knew that, because I made a video once where I mentioned this fact and Catholics got super angry at me. Don’t yell at me, Catholics, yell at the Pope! Or God, I guess. Or whoever taught you to call yourself a Catholic but didn’t teach you what that entails.
48% of evangelical Protestants, 54% of white mainline Protestants and 60% of black Protestants don’t know who Martin Luther was. Here’s a hint, Protestants! Half the stuff you believe in is because of him. Including your weird dislike of Catholics. Or is that just Jack Chick?
And most respondants from all religious identities, including the atheists, think that according to the US Supreme Court, a public school teacher is not permitted to read from the Bible as an example of literature. In other words, everyone in the survey tended to overestimate the strictness of laws protecting separation of church and state.
I often hear atheists talk about how we know more about Christianity than Christians, and if you look at the overall survey results you may think this supports it. Atheists and Jews did the best overall, getting about 21 out of 32 questions right on average.
But when you break the questions down, you see that atheists and Jews tended to know more about other religions than the Christians, but on the questions about the Bible and Christianity, Christians did the best. Mormons were on top with an average of 7.9 questions correct out of 12, followed by evangelicals at 7.3. Atheists were down at 6.7.
It’s just one survey so that’s far from conclusive, but it is worth keeping in mind the next time you want to make a blanket statement about atheist vs Christian knowledge of Christianity. Not every atheist is Matt Dilahunty, and not every Christian is that guy who gets a tattoo of Leviticus 18:22.
If you want, you can take part of the survey on Pew’s website to see how you stack up. I got 100%, allowing me to smugly look down on everyone else’s score.