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28 September 2010

Want to know about God? Ask an Atheist! / Christians flunk test on religion, atheists ace the test

Click on image to make Hell bigger.

Well, this is odd. Maybe even embarrassing.

It turns out that if you need to find somebody who knows a lot about religion, the best people to ask are atheists and agnostics.

Half the Roman Catholics don't know that (according to their own theology) the bread and wine of Communion become the body and blood of Christ. (I think the process is called Transubstantiation.)

More than half the Protestants were asked who started the Protestant Reformation, and didn't choose 

[X] Martin Luther

Here, take the test yourself.

The Jews don't know that Maimonides was Jewish. (He was -- that's just the Greekified version of his name, which was Moshe ben Maimon. He was al-Saladin's physician.)

What the heck do they teach for all those hours and days the kids have to spend in Sunday School?


(or the guy who told it to me said it was true):

When this guy was a kid, he took Catholic Sunday School, officially known as CCD, or Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. A real old Irish-ish priest taught the class. He looked a little shaken and jumpy, perhaps from a lifetime of heavy drinking.

The lesson that day was about Hell. The kids found it an interesting topic and asked a lot of questions about Hell.

One very worried kid had done something Wrong, or Sinful, and asked if he was doomed to go to Hell for it.

The old priest looked out the classroom door, he looked up and down the hallway to make sure there weren't any adults in listening range. Then he closed the door.

He looked at the kid. He looked at the class.

"Don't worry about Hell," he said. "There is no Hell."


The Associated Press (USA newswire)
Tuesday 28 September 2010


Atheists and Agnostics
know most about religion

by Rachel Zoll

A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.

Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn't know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.

More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and intellectuals in history, was Jewish.

The survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history. The U.S. is one of the most religious countries in the developed world, especially compared to largely secular Western Europe, but faith leaders and educators have long lamented that Americans still know relatively little 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.

Not surprisingly, those who said they attended worship at least once a week and considered religion important in their lives often performed better on the overall survey. However, level of education was the best predictor of religious knowledge. The top-performing groups on the survey still came out ahead even when controlling for how much schooling they had completed.

On questions about Christianity, Mormons scored the highest, with an average of about eight correct answers out of 12, followed by white evangelicals, with an average of just over seven correct answers. Jews, along with atheists and agnostics, knew the most about other faiths, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Less than half of Americans know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist, and less than four in 10 know that Vishnu and Shiva are part of Hinduism.

The study also found that many Americans don't understand constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools. While a majority know that public school teachers cannot lead classes in prayer, less than a quarter know that the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly stated that teachers can read from the Bible as an example of literature.

"Many Americans think the constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools are tighter than they really are," Pew researchers wrote.

The survey of 3,412 people, conducted between May and June of this year, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, while the margins of error for individual religious groups was higher.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

- 30 -


Mike said...

Hmm, I got a 13 out of 15. I'm kind of disappointed in that actually. I wish it told you which ones you got wrong.

Vleeptron Dude said...

Hey hey Mike how's Amy & the kid?

A team of very nice Jehovah's Witnesses or 7th Day Adventists will be visiting you shortly to discuss your test results.

Mike said...

Amy, Daniel, and the newb are doing well.

I'd welcome the change up with the JWs or 7th Days. I must live in Mormon territory or something.

Abbas Halai said...

very fun. i guess we shouldn't bother asking american's about other religions then. heh. or maybe they been reading way too much dan brown lately. the fast food books that he produces and that gets passed around as fiction is apalling.

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PatFromCH said...

I have gained some notoriety as being an Atheist so you prolly wonder how I did.
13 out of 15, didn't know about american school prayer and Billy Graham and hd to guess.
If I had not been such a lazy bastard I'd have gone to University and study medieval history or literature I think that one with the Transubstantiation is right, Thomas Aquinus wrote a paper about that I think, Luther might have too.The debata around Transubstation caused a lot of trouble in the middle ages in the catholic church, disputes, schizms and all the other ugly things that belong to religion. People arguing about a fairy tale, dear me...

Vleeptron Dude said...

Well, first of all, I must correct a glaring misunderstanding. Since the founding of the first modern Western university, Balogna, universities have been The Perfect Place for Lazy Bastards.

When I was in the Army, I became pals with a Very Bright, Funny soldier, and asked him where he'd gone to university. He replied:

"Oh, I didn't go to college. When I got out of high school, I wanted to have fun."

Founded in 1158, a very popular course at Balogna was How To Write Your Parents For More Money.


MIKE! Congratulations on the Newb! Does It have a gender and a name? Could you please find my e-mail addie and send me your Snailmail address?

MiniPizzaQ: I want to send them a present that doctors don't want them to consume until they are 1 year old.

Hi Amy!


A longtime Vleeptroid, RevJJ, is a Congregationalist (United Church of Christ -- Obama's church) minister, and explains that for Congregationalists, the "Body Of Christ" means the "body" = the entire membership of the church.

The transformation of Christ's body into the membership of the church is called Consubstantiation. (This may also apply to other Protestant denominations, but don't ask me.)

* * *

ABBAS ... tell all the other Vleeptroids where you've moved to. And say a few words about it.

Well, I guess the wonderful thing about religion is that you can be as dumb and ignorant about your own religion and about everybody else's religion as you like.

I've read of lots of people being banished and excommunicated and shunned and banned by their religious authorities ... but NEVER because they were Too Stupid.

Don't try to pull that stunt in Calculus class. Which explains why I've become a Pythagorean.

I used to offer to go to RevJJ's church and preach a Pythagorean sermon -- and then do what he never could. I would PROVE my sermon!

And oh yes, those 2 Dan Brown movies were the STOOPIDEST movies I ever saw. "Snakes on a Plane" was a Rocket Scientist movie compared to the Dan Brown movies.

* * *

All right DAVID! I'll link to your blog!

* * *

Wow -- the responses to this post are almost as popular as the responses to the post about shaving male facial hair!

Okay, now I have to take the Pew Test and see how I do!

Vleeptron Dude said...

Okay, I took the Pew test and scored ..........

14 out of 15!

I screwed up and said the US Supreme Court forbids a public school teacher from holding prayer. Okay ... EVERYBODY PRAY!

(So, uhhh, what exactly, did the US Supreme Court really say about prayer in public schools? Make Me Perfect!)

PatFromCH said...

Uh no, thank you so very much. No prayers, no indoctrination, no ID. More music, arts & natural sciences please.


Congratulations ! That was also a tricky one for me being not an american. Later on I also had to google Billy Graham. And now I am shocked.

Vleeptron Dude said...

If Billy Graham shocked you -- for nearly a century Billy has been the inoffensive Saint of Bland Kraft Cheese Whiz Christianity -- get ready for a Real Horror Show: Billy's son Franklin Graham.

No More Mister Bland Kraft Cheese Jesus Guy! Franklin's variety of Christianity is specifically, and virulently, anti-Islam, and nobody seems to be able to make him stick a sock in his Big Evangelical Christian Mouth.

In "Thunder Road," a movie about high-speed hot rod moonshine smuggling in Kentucky, the family prays before supper, and the teenage boy says:

Good food
Good meat
Gettin late
Let's Eat

and his older brother, Robert Mitchum, smashes the kid in the face and knocks him out of his chair.

There are Right Prayers and there are Wrong Prayers.

Does Switzerland have any good (or bad) moonshine? What's it made of? (Ours is made of corn/maize.) What's it called? How strong is it?

PatFromCH said...

I grew up in a rural area where people used to make their own Schnaps or brought fruit to it to the destillery. We are talking about Very Strong Stuff here made from apples, cherries, corn etc. Chirsischnaps (cherry Schnaps) over 40 % alcohol voulme for example. Wakens the Dead, kills a cold and any germs you can imagine, tastes like rocket fuel, cures a sore throat, helps you digest after a heavy meal, keeps you warm in the winter and makes you drunk faster than lightning after a few shots. Up in the Jura region they also used to make illegal Absinth but that is a different story.

patfromch said...

I grew up in a rural area where people used to make their own Schnaps or brought it to the destillery. We are talking about Very Strong Stuff here made from apples, cherries, corn etc. Chirsischnaps (cherry Schnaps) over 40 % alcohol voulme for example. Wakens the Dead, kills a cold and any germs you can imagine, tastes like rocket fuel, cures a sore throat, helps you digest after a heavy meal, keeps you warm in the winter and makes you drunk faster than lightning after a few shots. Up in the Jura region they also used to make illegal Absinth but that is a different story.

Mike said...

It does have a gender, just not sure what it is yet! Of course a name will follow. We're pretty excited about it. Daniel will get to be a Big Brother, something he doesn't know he's excited about yet, but he will be!

pATfROMch said...

Oh I forgot to mention something. One of the reasons why I wanted to study medieval history or literature was Dante's Divine Comedy.
Y'see this bloke gets lead off the way and takes a trip through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven whith 2 guides, one is the ancient poet Virgil, the other Beatrice, the woman of his Dreams.
Dante meets all sorts of people from Ulysses to greek philosophers to kings, old friends and some mean bastards in Hell, saints in Heaven and recovering sinners in Purgatory. If you haven't read it yet, do so N O W, one of the best Fantasy novels ever. And it will help you to understand the medieval mind set in terms of intellectual thought mechanism, knowledge and abstraction. It contains action, philosophy, history, a bit of comedy (when some of the demons are having fun with the sinners in Hell) and even al love story, will expand your horizon and knowledge. What more can you want from a book ?
Various translations into english and the original italian are available online legally (those made before 1923), some even with illustrations by either Boticelli or Doré. If they'd ask me on Desert Island Disk which book I would take with me, I would take this one withouth hesitation.

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