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I so rarely link to the Christian Science Monitor
james_nicoll


Are you smarter than an atheist? A religious quiz
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Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups in a 32-question survey of religious knowledge by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. On average, Americans got 16 of the 32 questions correct. Atheists and agnostics got an average of 20.9 correct answers. Jews (20.5) and Mormons (20.3). Protestants got 16 correct answers on average, while Catholics got 14.7 questions right.


Quiz results
30 Correct
 2 Wrong
You answered 30 of 32 questions correctly for a total score of 94%.


I flubbed the acts versus faith thing and a question on pre-President Santorum consitutional law. Didn't seem like an especially hard quizz.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

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I got 26 right.

That was a very annoying quiz.

I got them all right in the sense of guessing the answers they wanted, but I think some of them are arguably wrong. The acts vs. faith thing is a gross oversimplification.

I misread one of the questions to be about Moslems instead of Mormons, which, whoops. Oh well.

I got the faith question wrong, but I think lumping all of Protestantism together like that is probably not correct.

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Same here, had no idea what the Great Awakening was. (atheist, for the record)

32/32, though I guessed a few. And now I am sad about the state of religious education.

Indeed, I can maybe see missing as many as 6 or 7 (and a few more for people not in North America, since I'd expect they'd never have heard of Joseph Smith), but 20-21 as the US average for the most knowledgeable groups is truly pitiful, and I'm honestly shocked that literate adults could on average get scores of 14-16.

Missed the calendar question about the Sabbath. I don't do calendar questions.

What a bad quiz design. Reloading the entire page for each question and each answer? Questions that start, "Do you know" or "Would you please tell me"?

By the way, "President Santorum" will never happen. At worst, you'll be faced with Mittens, the Democratic nominee for the Republican candidacy.

Also, I hate the confusion between "smart" and "well informed".

I got 31 out of 32 (the first great awakening question was a 50/50 guess, that I missed). It is an interestingly limited test, since that I'd expect most people outside of North America to miss most or all of the questions about Mormons.

I'm in the UK. I got all of the Mormon questions, but I'd never heard of the Great Awakening and the faith alone question tripped me up. I agree with those who said it was too simplistic. I got all the rest.

Here is a link to the actual quiz, rather than the results.
I can't believe I blew the Job question. Still, 28/32, I'll take that.

That makes more sense. Although having seen how the quiz is arranged (two page loads for each question), I can see that going directly to the answer page was actually the better option.

31/32 That was an annoying quiz.

Perfect. :) Though I had to guess on the Great Awakening one. I'd heard all the names, but wasn't sure of the non-Graham associations. (Isn't there a medium John Edwards today? And a Charles Finney wrote the Circus of Dr. Lao...)

Yes, very annoying webquiz design.

Also perfect ;-)
The Great Awakening was tricky, but since it said "First" Great Awakening, and I knew Jonathan Edwards was 17th or 18th Century (and had never heard of Charles Finney), I went with Mr. "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"...

when I clicked, it just told me that I missed all the questions and scored me at zero. Am tempted to tell them that I am a person of faith.

If you have any cookie blocking or such, it can't keep track of your score. (That happened the first time I took it, so only I know I originally missed two questions out of 32, although one was an accidental mis-selection.) ;-)

Well, I got 30 out of 32, mostly because I thought Mormonism started before 1800 and I really don't know any thing about the great awaking. And the important answer is, I believe in God, but I also know that the Earth is 4 billion years and some change old, that man evolved from the common ancestor to apes, and that the Bible is more a collection of parables and semi-historical recountings. And the it was written by people, not by God. God had better things to do...

32/32 here. I do think that reasonably well-informed people might not know the majority religion of Indonesia, or who Maimonides or Jonathan Edwards were; but I agree that most people ought to be scoring in the 20-25 range at least.

I want to know how many Americans (a) think Obama is a Muslim and (b) don't know the majority religion of Indonesia.

Another atheist getting most (31/32 - didn't know the First Great Awakening).
Which, as has been mentioned, doesn't mean I'm smarter, just better-informed then some. And they're really basic questions aren't they... A couple of the US-centric ones were educated guesses.

And truly crap UX on that quiz.

31/32, didn't attempt the First Great Awakening question since the only option which meant anything to me was the one I knew was wrong.

And now I know who Jonathan Edwards was.

Another 31/32, another person not knowing the Great Awakening - never heard of it. Of course, I grew up in a country where Religous Education was part of the school curriculum, not to mention I went to Sunday school (but am now an atheist).

32/32--as above, partly because of my innate genius, and partly by guessing what oversimplifications they were going for. It does seem like a reasonably informed adult American, at least, ought to be getting more than 20 of those right.

Also, Zeus was an interesting presence in a quiz about religion. I hope he's still being worshipped out there somewhere.


In a discussion of this on an atheist blog a while ago, several people pointed out that they had become atheists after being raised religious, having questions or doubts, and doing a bunch of study/research. For example, some were unhappy with what their parents or ministers told them, and were told that the answers were in the Bible, so they read the whole thing.

Obviously, that doesn't make them smarter than someone who spent the same amount of time playing baseball or reading other books, but it makes them more likely to get the right answer on such a quiz. Similarly, if you do chunks of American history, you'll get bits of this even if it's not your primary interest—and that doesn't make you "smarter" than someone who studied Roman or Chinese history, or literature or geology or mathematics or car repair.

I think the title is just a play on the title of the quiz show "Are You Smarter Than A 5th-Grader?"

This is the most annoying web page in the history of ever. Can they add more random crap to it so it's even worse, please?

I got 28, admittedly 2 were only because I guessed correctly. I wasn't raised in a religious household and I have not studied any religion seriously. I get that you pick stuff up through news, books and popular culture ("There's nothing an agnostic can't do if he really doesn't know whether he believes in anything or not") but I'm not convinced I am really supposed to get a majority correct simply by being "literate."

Oh, yeah, and nirvana is also a Hindu concept. That one was probably the one where I had the hardest time guessing the answer that would be counted correct.

32/32.

I didn't have a problem with the faith question, but then I was raised Southern Baptist ("You can't earn your way into Heaven, only faith in JESUS will get you there").

There were a couple I thought were trick questions, that weren't.

Also, agree on the annoying design of the quiz.

32/32

A number of questions required essays or at least small paragraphs in response; most have been flagged above (nirvana, faith and works) but I'll add the one on transubstantiation.

And way too American, despite the questions about Indonesia, Pakistan, etc. If they had a question of the Great Awakening it would only have been fair to have ones on the Oxford Movement, Port-Royal, the Baal Shem Tov, and Jan Hus (plus lots of others which I'm either not thinking of or not aware of).

And I would have hoped that the CSM would at least have protested the over-representation of Joseph Smith as compared to Mary Baker Eddy.

Missed the one about the First Great Awakening, which I've never heard of.

It's disturbing, yet not especially surprising, that the average American only gets 50% on these. Especially given their high general levels of religiosity. We're completely slack about religion over here, and I knew maybe 60-70% of these before I started high school.

I got 31 correct; though I should have gotten right the one I got wrong and only guessed at a couple of them.

31 out of 32. I didn't know who that guy with the long name starting with M was or what his religion was.

But most of it was ridiculously simple, and, as others have said, extremely annoying because they seemed to think one token question about Greek mythology covered Paganism.

I knew about him because I'd read Chaim Potok's The Chosen in junior high school, and the name comes up there. At one point the protagonist describes his Hasidic friend as reminding him of "Maimon's ghost".

I had no clue about the First Great Awakening, although, looking it up on Wikipedia, I note that we actually DID study "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" in high school English class. Other than that, they were easy.

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