Atheists, Religious Minorities Score Highest On Questions About Religion

September 29, 2010

U.S (ChattahBox Science News) – Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted a survey of more than 3,400 people, which showed that many religious people know little about their own or any other faith, and Atheists, Agnostics and religious minorities know more.

The survey was done over the phone, mostly in  a multiple choice format. It spanned people of various ages, races, religions and locations across the U.S. The average results showed that most who had a religious faith (the majority Christian) got half the questions asked wrong. Many of the questions were related to their own belief system.

But Atheists, Agnostics, Jews and Mormons scored highest, showing a greater understanding of most religious beliefs, as well as well rounded practical knowledge of multiple faiths.

“Even after all these other factors, including education, are taken into account, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons still outperform all the other religious groups in our survey,” Pew’s Greg Smith said.

The survey was made up of both basic and more difficult questions, to show who had a true understanding and in depth knowledge of their own and other faiths.

The New York Times gave a few examples of the answers most commonly answered incorrectly:

  • 53% of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the man who sparked the Protestant Reformation.
  • 45% of Catholics did not know that their church teaches that communion is literally the blood and body of Christ, and not metaphorically.
  • 43% of Jews did not know that Maimonides was Jewish.
  • 75% did not know that public school teachers can read from the bible as a literary example, as well as any other religious holy book.


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