So I took this quiz from the Pew Forum on general religious knowledge. Yes, it is Christian-slanted; no questions about Zoroaster or Sikhs here! Of course, so are the United States, the subject of the survey. Disclosure: I got 15/15 correct, because I’m awesome (Sin of pride).
Anyway, a few things cropped up in the post-quiz results pages. Really interesting things. One of the best statistical tricks I’ve found for ferreting out weird things is reversing a statistic. Take, for example, that 93% of self-described Mormons think that Joseph Smith was a Mormon. It doesn’t seem weird until you realize that 7% of Mormons think that he was either Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, or Hindu, the other four choices. I guess I hope for Catholic, as it’d be closest for a second choice, but still—seven percent of Mormons didn’t know that the founder of their faith was a member of their faith. Seriously.
- 90% of Jews closely associate Moses with the Exodus—10% of Jews associate the Exodus with Abraham, Job, or Elijah.
- 81% of Mormons know that the golden rule isn’t in the 10 commandments, compared with 62% of Jews.
- 6% of Jews don’t think the Sabbath begins on Friday.
- 10% of Jews thought that Ramadan was either the Hindu festival of lights or the Jewish day of Atonement. I’m leaning towards that Jewish 10% mostly thinking Ramadan is Hindu, but one can never tell.
- Less than half (47%) of Hispanic Catholics think that Catholics think that communion is only a symbol, not the literal body and blood of Christ.
- Who knows who Job is: 7/10 of all Mormons, almost 6/10 of all White Evangelical Protestants, just over half of all Black Protestants, and just under half of all Jews.
- Most people know who Mother Theresa is: 85.5% of all people who aren’t Black Protestants or “Nothing in Particular.” Only 66% Black Protestants thought she was Catholic and 77% of the “nothing in particular” crowd. The other choices were Jewish, Buddhist, Mormon, and Hindu.
- That means, by the way, that 12% of White Catholics and 17% of Hispanic Catholics didn’t know Mother Theresa was Catholic.
- 17% of Hispanic Catholics and Black Protestants think that the Supreme Court allows teachers to lead class prayers. 84% of those two groups also think that teachers are not permitted to read the Bible as literature in schools. Based on my fuzzy math, does that mean that 2.72% of Hispanic Catholics and Black Protestants think that the Supreme Court OK’d prayer BUT NOT Bible as Literature?
- Non-mormon Christians don’t know much about Pakistan’s religion—an average of 36% don’t think that Pakistan is primarily Muslim.
- Atheists blow everybody else out of the water when it comes to Buddhist knowledge—62% know that Buddhism focuses on Nirvana, while only 35% of everybody else.
- Atheists similarly triumph over knowledge of Hinduism, with Jewish knowledge of Hinduism coming close behind (72 and 62%, respectively). Everyone else’s average: 35% Other options: Islam and Taoism (in Taoism’s sole mention. I imagine only 2% across the board would know anything, including connecting it with the Te Ching).
- Nobody knows anything about Jonathan Edwards. White Evangelical Protestants (15%) and Jews (12%) did best.