The New York Times reports on a Pew survey asking Americans general knowledge questions about “the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, famous religious figures and the constitutional principles governing religion in public life.”
On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.
Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences.
Atheists and agnostics, Jews, and Mormons were the only three groups to score on average above 20/32 questions correctly (with atheists at 20.9, Jews 20.5, and Mormons 20.3), and then there’s a big gap. White evangelical Protestants come in next at 17.6/32.
There are a lot of insightful findings of the study, particularly having to do with policy-making and how Americans understand the law as applied to religion. My favorite part, though, was this quotation from Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists.
“I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people,” Mr. Silverman said. “Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That’s how you make atheists.”
Yes! What a great, vindicating start to my morning.