Who Knows the Most About Religion? Atheists, Jews, and Mormons

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Hiding in shame. Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

So you know those religions Americans are always going on about, manufacturing controversies over, and citing as their sole guiding light in this immoral world? As it turns out, Americans don't actually know much about them. Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life surveyed more than 3,400 Americans, asking them 32 questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, as well as famous religious figures and how the Constitution governs religion in public life. On average, respondents answered half the questions incorrectly, and many even answered incorrectly on questions about their own faith. Who did pass the test? The people who don't believe God exists or don't think one can say for sure, the Jews, and the Mormons. Even controlling for factors like age, race, and education, those groups outperformed the rest. Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, tries really hard not to say he told you so. “I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people . . . I gave a Bible to my daughter. That’s how you make atheists.”

On Basic Religion Test, Many Doth Not Pass [NYT]