Atheists Know More Than Christians

As a Church leader I often wonder how much people know about their own faith… and I also wonder how much they know of other religions. I think having a greater knowledge of other religions only helps you solidify your beliefs while understanding where others are coming from! I studied at a Jesuit College and spent countless hours talking about God, the scriptures, and life with Jesuit priests I would now call friends. In those year I learned a lot of people don’t know much about the Catholic Church, including friends who considered themselves Catholic. Recently I have come to understand that a majority of people who call themselves Christian, don’t know as much as they should about their own faith. Are people in America suffering from spiritual illiteracy?

In this article we get a glimpse of the spiritual IQ of America. Now I know not everyone was asked these questions, and I’m always weary of polls that try and label all of America when they didn’t ask muah : ) but I get a feeling from reading the article they may have America nailed. I’ll give it some latitude for accuracy, but read over some of the high-lights and see what you think…

Here are some of the findings that I found very interesting –

  • Most Americans scored 50 percent or less on a quiz measuring knowledge of the Bible, world religions and what the Constitution says about religion in public life.
  • Those who believe the Bible is the literal word of God did slightly worse than average, while those who say it is not the word of God scored slightly better.
  • It’s not Bible-belt Southerners who scored highest – they came at the bottom.
  • Barely half of all Catholics know that when they take communion, the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ, according to Catholic doctrine.
  • Only eight of the 3,412 survey respondents got all 32 questions right. Six got them all wrong.
  • While people with a high level of religious commitment do better than average on the religion questions, people with low levels of religious commitment do better than average on the general knowledge questions (which were included for comparison purposes).

So what do you think? Is America religiously illiterate, or close to it? How well do you think you would do on this same quiz?

CNN has a 10 question version of the quiz here.


7 thoughts on “Atheists Know More Than Christians

  1. Wow… I just read this blog a few minutes ago- (Does it Matter to You)

    I wish I could say that I am shocked at the results…

  2. 10 out of 10… I had to really think about the question, “According to the Supreme Court, is it legal for a public school teacher to read from the Bible as a form of literature?”

  3. That one was a little tricky… I’m not saying that people should be scoring perfect scores on these kind of tests (they cover a lot of material), but good Lord could we get more than half of them right?

  4. BTW, I don’t want to come across as if I think I’m brilliant, I was referring to the fact that the questions were so basic that every Christian should score fairly high. We should be able to give an answer for the hope that is in us. We need to avoid having an empty-headed emotional faith as much as we need to avoid having an empty-hearted intellectual faith.

  5. I agree with you 100%, I was shocked when I learned people missed 50% of the questions asked!

    You said…

    “We need to avoid having an empty-headed emotional faith as much as we need to avoid having an empty-hearted intellectual faith.”

    I like this statement a lot… I might have to use it one day : )


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