Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pure

The Pew Research Center is an American polling organisation that exists to make me feel smug and superior. Why there's an entire institute devoted to facilitating what comes naturally to me after watching three minutes of commercial TV news is unknown. But I appreciate the effort.


Their latest achievement is the Religious Knowledge Survey, a poll of 15 questions based on the history and tenets of the US's dominant religions. You can try it for yourself here.


According to the survey I am more religiously informed than 99% of Americans, and thus a shoo-in for sainthood and/or holy superpowers. Although admittedly that rather depends on your esteem for the religious education of Americans.


Some interesting, if not actively startling results from the survey:


- 6% of Jews don't know when their Sabbath begins.

- 41% of white Catholics and 53% of Hispanic Catholics don't know what their church's doctrine of transubstantiation is.

- 33% of evangelical Protestants don't know The 10 Commandments well enough to pick a fake one.


Several blogs I read have been making much of the fact that atheists seem to know as much, if not more, about religions than the people who purportedly believe in them. It's a little unfair, though: there are no questions about the beliefs of atheists for the atheists to get wrong and, as a result, look foolish. I'd have a little more respect for it if the quiz had included questions on the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Darwin fish.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Matthew Jarvis said...

I got 14/15. I got "Which one of these preachers participated in the period of religious activity known as the First Great Awakening?" wrong - answered "Charles Finney" instead of "Jonathan Edwards".

8:04 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

There can be only three explanations for this:

1) I'm a Presbyterian, and for us "Jonathan Edwards" is pretty much the answer to every question.

2) I was moved by the Spirit to the correct answer, since I'm so holy.

3) I took a lucky guess.

12:11 PM  
Blogger brokenbiro said...

Hello!..just visiting. Scary to report the only two I got wrong were about things US teachers can do with their bibles (a subject on which I have several interesting ideas).... 'St Blandwagon' has a certain ring to it, btw...

3:59 AM  

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