Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No Pew Study Says Atheits Know Bible Better than Christians.


My Actual Score
(that block thing at the right
is my score, it's off scale) 

 I found this floating around the Google engine again and being bounced about on CARM
so I figured it was time put it back up and get it high in the search engines.

Last week the net was abuzz with talk of a Pew study that said atheists know the Bible better than Christians do. I found about 14 blogs referring to it and it was on message boards all over. The Actual study is available on the Pew site it's called "U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey." The press began saying the study shows "atheists know more about religion." what it really says is that atheists know more about religion other than Christianity, than do Christians. That's not so unreasonable given the exclusivity most Christians believe their faith has over others. The media turned it into "atheists know more about religion" us as the Los Angels Times, (Tuesday Oct, 19th)"Atheists, Agnostics most knowledgeable about religion surveys say."

"Religious IQ: Why do Atheist Outscore Christians?" The Week "A significant number of Christians don't know the basics about their own professed faith or other major religions, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey, while atheists and agnostics have the highest "Religious IQ,"

The study doesn't say anything about an IQ, but it's plots the answers on a bell curve. The Pew Site offers a short version of half the questions (the original is 32 the short version is 15).  I took the short version (see my score above I'm the only one got every question right and went off scale). The site "debating Christianity and religion"  says "Atheists know more about the Bible" than do Christians.

The point is of the 15 questions11 were not about the Bible or Christianity. So the test was biased in the beginning to screen out Christians. I suggest it was a put up a job, designed to give other than Christians a higher score. Why would Pew want to do this? Pew is a respected polling organization but is ran by an private family that is very Evangelical and the Pew Evangelical trust gives a lot of evangelistic enterprises. They want to do that because they are the tough kind of Christians. They want to shame the chruch into learning more about the bible and about religion in general.

"The United States is a nation of religious illiterates," says Boston University professor Stephen Prothero, whose research on Americans' spiritual ignorance inspired a new study that has religion teachers and ministers aghast,"(from the Week)

 Here's what the study actually says:

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.

So it's up front about world religion and the media turns into religion as a whole and atheists sites turn into "know more about the bible." The actual study doesn't say that. The 15 question version 11 questions were about subject not in the Bible and off those about 3 were Christian history. Most the study is about world religion (I got them all right anyway). The study results say and the site reflects with a table and big capital letters that atheists know more about world religion But Mormons and Evangelicals know More about Christianity. That would seem to contradict the whole mocking point upon which most atheists are gleefully claiming that they know about "the Bible" than do Christians. On Bible White Evangelicals score 7.3, Mormons 7.9 whle Atheists score 6.7.

from the Pew study site:

Previous surveys by the Pew Research Center have shown that America is among the most religious of the world’s developed nations. Nearly six-in-ten U.S. adults say that religion is “very important” in their lives, and roughly four-in-ten say they attend worship services at least once a week. But the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey shows that large numbers of Americans are uninformed about the tenets, practices, history and leading figures of major faith traditions – including their own. Many people also think the constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools are stricter than they really are.
religious-knowledge-03 10-09-28More than four-in-ten Catholics in the United States (45%) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. About half of Protestants (53%) cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation, which made their religion a separate branch of Christianity. Roughly four-in-ten Jews (43%) do not recognize that Maimonides, one of the most venerated rabbis in history, was Jewish.
In addition, fewer than half of Americans (47%) know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist. Fewer than four-in-ten (38%) correctly associate Vishnu and Shiva with Hinduism. And only about a quarter of all Americans (27%) correctly answer that most people in Indonesia – the country with the world’s largest Muslim
The survey should shame Christians, however, because it shows some shocking ignorance. Catholics have had a tradition of placing Church authority over Bible, but half of these guys don't even know their own church's stand on transubstantiation. Come on that's the one doctrine that is more uniquely Catholic!

There is a crying need for Christians take more of an interest in learning. Its also apparent that we need to branch out from just the bible and learn about religion as a whole.

It is not shocking once you look at the questions why atheists would do better than Christians on those questions where they scored higher. Most of those are world religion questions  such as "which of the following is an Islamic Holiday, 'Ramadan, Duwali or Christmas.' I got this one right too. Most Christians don't learn enough about Hinduism to even know their major holiday. BTW Duwali is the festival of lights. The celebration of rebirth and triumph of good over evil, they celibate with lots of little candles and lanterns and lights, they have parities. I think it should be a point with Christians to learn about festivals of re-birth.

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