For such a religious nation, Americans are shockingly ignorant of basic religious facts

I just took this 15-question religious knowledge quiz.

I got 13 correct but would have gotten 14 had I not assumed an Internet glitch had given me the same question twice. Consecutive questions began with “According to rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, is a public school teacher permitted to…” and I didn’t read the rest of the second question.

13/15 puts me ahead of 93% of Americans and behind only 3%.

Given how easy the questions seemed — many had just two or three possible answers — it’s shocking the average American scored only 50%! Random guessers should have scored about 35%, so 50% isn’t much better than random guessing. For such a religious nation, the average American is shockingly ignorant of basic religious facts. (There’s a strong negative correlation between national income and national religiosity. When you plot national income against religiosity, America is FAR more religious than our national income predicts.)

I was going to say “the average American is shamefully ignorant,” but I suspect many Americans are not at all embarrassed that they know so little about Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, etc. Many would call these “false religions” despite scarcely knowing anything about them.

Posted by James on Wednesday, September 29, 2010