Tuesday, September 28, 2010

US Religious Knowledge Survey and Quiz

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released a new survey of religious knowledge on Tuesday. From the summary:

"Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.

On average, Americans correctly answer 16 of the 32 religious knowledge questions on the survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Atheists and agnostics average 20.9 correct answers. Jews and Mormons do about as well, averaging 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers, respectively. Protestants as a whole average 16 correct answers; Catholics as a whole, 14.7. Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons perform better than other groups on the survey even after controlling for differing levels of education."

There is a quiz you can take to test your religious knowledge. I got 15 our of 15 even with the last question being a very difficult one that I didn't quite know the answer to, but I knew the subject matter so I was able to eliminate answers that couldn't have been correct. The average on the quiz is 50%, which I think is abysmal. Results of quizzes for 3412 nationally representative adults are below.

When I reviewed the number correct for different religious affiliations I realized that people were not even getting the 33% correct that would be expected from random guessing. This means people think their incorrect answers are the right answers for the questions. Are they being taught incorrectly? That needs to be fixed. It might be important to know that a country is predominantly Muslim or the religious holidays of a group that has a disproportionate affect on foreign policy.

Why doesn't Pew ever call me? After the poll they should tell the people the correct answers so they learn something.

1 comment:

whirdly said...

14 out of 15