An interesting graph on religious knowledge

While taking a quiz on scientific knowledge on the Pew Research website (take it here), I ran across one that quizzed religious knowledge (take it here). I took that one as well. Here is what you get after your results page:

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What’s striking, aside from the overall abysmal performance of everyone (and this quiz is not hard),  is that the two groups most notable for NOT being all that religious are at the top of the charts. (Note: I count Jewish as being “not all that religious” not because all Jewish people are religiously clueless but because the survey made no effort to separate the people who consider themselves “culturally” Jewish and those who actively believe in the faith.) Both groups scored a great deal better than every group but Mormons (which is also informative because questions ABOUT Mormons specifically were sparse).

Another interesting point is that the researchers separated people who identified as “Atheist/agnostic” and people who had no religious interest at all (“nothing in particular”), so clearly people who take the time and effort to identify as nonbelievers commit themselves to a rough understanding of religions and their tenets. It seems that those preachers on the street corners trying to spread the word of God to the nonbelievers were really barking up the wrong tree. They already know the word of God, they just aren’t interested.

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2 comments

  1. Robert Nielsen

    That’s a very interesting result. I suppose Atheists always research religion in order to criticise it. It says a lot that those who know the most believe the less.

    That quiz is also ridiculously easy and I got 14 out of 15 without much effort. I guess most people know a lot about their own religion and are ignorant about all the other ones.

    • jamesonstarship

      That’s a great point. It seems that many people have tunnel vision when it comes to knowing and understanding other religions and their beliefs, which is interesting because all religious people, by definition, accept the assertion that there is a God, and simply vary in how they express it. I think this data shows that people need more exposure to views contrary to their own, even if its just a shallow amount of knowledge of each respective religion (as you said, this quiz was very easy and yet people, on average, struggled with it).

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