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Atheists and Agnostics Scored Highest in Survey of Religious Knowledge

Survey: Americans don't know much about religion

Respondents to the survey were asked 32 questions with a range of difficulty, including whether they could name the Islamic holy book and the first book of the Bible, or say what century the Mormon religion was founded. On average, participants in the survey answered correctly overall for half of the survey questions.

Atheists and agnostics scored highest, with an average of 21 correct answers, while Jews and Mormons followed with about 20 accurate responses. Protestants overall averaged 16 correct answers, while Catholics followed with a score of about 15.

Read the AP Article

Pew Report on Study



Curious about how ATCKs did. I got 14 out of 15.

I got 28 or 29 (guessed one of them).

You can take the quiz here.

The piss-poor scores of Americans on this truly simple quiz is just another discouraging piece of evidence in support of the proposition that most people in this country are simply walking through life in a fog.

Thanks Tim, that was fun!

surprised to see catholics so far down the list. this just goes to prove what you're always saying here, that people who "identify" as belonging to a specific religion aren't really "religious", it's just a group identification thing. catholics ("real" catholics, if i may) are historically identified with scholarship. oh well.

anyway: well done, atheists, etc.! but don't start thinking that the results of this poll/test mean that you actually know anything about "religion". i have seen here, over the years, what you "know" and, in spite of my own pitiful attempts at "religious scholarship", have been thoroughly unimpressed and often shocked at some people's even less than superficial understanding of even basic religious concepts, where they come from, what they mean to modern humans (or not), and the implications of such etc. etc. so don't go getting big heads, ok? all this says is that most "identifying" religious people are even more ignorant than you about their own religions. congratulations. i've been trying to tell you this for years now.

explain the trinity again for us JB.

But you are right, this poll shows that once again, people are generally stupid. Atheists just seem a little more open to knowing a diversity of ideas.

oh, sorry, i see now this wasn't about peoples knowledge of their own religion, just religions in general. (click on the damn link before you write your bullshit, jb-note to self).

anyway, this just makes it less of an accomplishment for you. sorry. and why mormons seem to know so much about other peoples religions is beyond me. makes much more sense that atheists would, because ALL religions are "someone else's. i kind of envy you, if you haven't figured that out yet.

sorry. and why mormons seem to know so much about other peoples religions is beyond me. makes much more sense that atheists would, because ALL religions are "someone else's.

This doesn't make any sense. You're saying the more religions are "someone else's", the more a given person would know about them.

There are a variety of reasons why atheists could know more than a majority of religious people, and that's not one of them.

Also, I'm confused why it's an accomplishment which is lessened by it being a general knowledge test. There are no central atheist tenets (apart from "no god"), thus there is nothing to get wrong. How would performing well on this imaginary quiz get us more JB points than knowing more shit about religion than all religious people collectively?

As to not knowing everything there is to know about religion... Well, you see, when you get to the point where you realize there probably is no God, you generally don't feel like spending the rest of your life studying religion. I don't know man, I might just be crazy, but it seems logical to me.

Jb has spent the last 10 years preparing a doctoral discertation on Unicorn dietary needs.

Someone needs to figure out what makes them poop rainbows!

my guess: atheists ask questions... when they ask question of the bible like "wtf? a talking snake made you eat a magic apple" and the answer is "just trust us", they ask more questions. Odds are they look at other religions and say "wtf? a guy who did prison time for fraud set up his own religion based on gold tablets only he saw?" to them too and get answers.

People who 'believe' just trust that the guy at the front in the funny clothes knows his stuff and just agree with them because I mean hey, everyone else is doing it.

It's not like that guy makes us ritually drink coolaid or any Jonestown cult shit! We just eat wafers that represent the body of my zombie savior who I telepathically bow down to so that one day I may arise from the grave and walk the earth forever.

Oh, and I think atheists arm themselves against the bullshit thrown their way by religion X, Y and Z, too.

Depending on which christian sect (I know catholics believe this), it doesn't even "represent" the body. It is the body of Jebus.

You'll be hard pressed though, to find many so-called catholics that know they're supposed to believe that. Even less catholics know what "transubstantiation" is, even though it's about the most important part of the mass.

Some time ago I was having a chat with a younger cousin who my sister said was going to become a priest, and I mentioned that there's only one sin that's unforgivable (renouncing or blaspheming against the holy spirit). He was surprised that I know that (and I do only cause of the blasphemy challenge that happened on youtube), and needless to say no one else in my family knew.

My feeling is that the more many people discover about organized religions, the less they want to participate - eventually to the point of dropping a supreme being or beings altogether.

If 1 exists, they may as well all exist, I say. None is as tasty as the FSM, though.

btw: mormon's study other religions (like the holy bible) ad part of their religion, The Book of Mormon is simply 'another testament of JC'. I've been a guest in a mormon temple that had a guest imam and rabbi teaching their beliefs. Was kinda neat actually.

Mormonism is marketed like an expansion pack for Christianity.

"If you're really into religion, why not try the book of Mormon, the sequel to the popular New Testament."

Review: "While Mormon picks up on Jesus's adventures in America, it also loses the cast of characters which made the New Testament so memorable. There is little added content, and the new orders on how to live your life some may find restrictive. But for diehard fans of the "Jesus Does Things, According to Some People" series, it's a must-get. 7/10"

lol! *8)


catholics ("real" catholics, if i may) are historically identified with scholarship.

[citation needed]

in spite of my own pitiful attempts at "religious scholarship"

Good use of scare quotes. That, or you misunderstand the word "scholarship".

Re: this survey.

I really don't see why any religious person (in their view) should know about any other religion. I grew up in a mostly catholic country and pretty much everyone from there I know (including Arab descendants) are catholic.

It would say more about them if they were only quizzed about the religion they claim to belong to.


"According to the study, Jews and Mormons were the least stupid believers, mainly because of all the money and the wives, while Southern US Baptists had to have the questions explained to them using bits of fruit."

lol, love this thread.

I wonder if they tested and muslim type folkes. I've actually found them far more informed than other religions. It's like when you don't edit your own Big Book every time you need a pagan here or a gentile there, people take it more seriously.

Sweet! I got 31/32! And who the heck is Maimonides? Time to learn something new!


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