Christians Failed the Religious Knowledge Test

Yesterday the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released their findings from a study on religious knowledge in the United States. The test is a smattering of questions about the various major worldwide religions. Surprisingly, to me at least, self-described “Atheists and Agnostics” ended up scoring highest on the test while Christians were at the bottom. No group aced the test. Even the Atheists and Agnostics crowd only skated through with a solid D average.

Additionally, it seems that the Christians in the US have some educational gaps when it comes to their own religion. Only 55% of Americans knew that the Golden Rule isn’t part of the Ten Commandments; however, that number only went up to 67% when it came to White Protestants, and it was around 45% for Hispanic Catholics.

ABC News did a short video on the report in which they asked people on the streets some of the questions from the survey. It’s a lighthearted report, but some of the responses are a bit shocking to me:

Pew has a version of the Religious Knowledge test that you can take. They also let you compare yourself against the different segments of the population.

So, what do the results mean? I think it shows that the United States isn’t nearly as concerned with questions of faith and religion as it used to be. I’d also add that if there was any group that should have gotten 100% on this test it’s Christians. After all, we’re directly called to care for and love our neighbors. What better way to love our neighbor than to know the basic facts about what they believe?

What about you, how do you feel about the results of the survey? If you took the sample test on the Pew site, how did you do?


11 Responses to “Christians Failed the Religious Knowledge Test”

  • john says:

    pretty sad i think.

  • Fabrizio says:

    Wise words. If the questions were about politics, health, economics, sports, etc, I’m very interested in knowing what kind of result it’d be. What’s about the comandment in Mc 16:14-16 ? What kind of work are we doing?

  • MEL says:

    Well my opinon about this test is, what purpose is it serving to the KINGDOM of GOD. Is it showing love to the lost, sick, or wounded; or is it trying to understand GOD ways or cause more conflict between people in the kingdom. I really don’t even care to take this test and not to say that I would not answer any correct, but I think as a Christian (who everyone seems to think should ace the test) our focus should not be on Questions that are not serving any purpose in the kingdom or knowing my GOD. What does knowing what religon was Mother Teresa have to do with me knowing that I love GOD the creator of heaven earth. These questions is not the respresentation of God, so to say that because a christian does not answer those questions correctly, they do not know the their faith, is unreal. When you have an intimate relationship with GOD, HE will show you everything about him you need to know. As we get up every morning, the only thing GOD wants from a us is to have a heart after him. That means to love one another as HE first loved us. That test will not help you save the lost. Please let us stay focus on what he has called us to do and that is to seek and to save.

    Love you in JESUS name

    God Bless

    • Carol says:

      If we don’t know where things are in the bible, how can we teach others.
      How can we tell others about Jesus if we can’t find it in the bible.
      Most nonbelievers will ask you *where is that in the Bible?*
      My memory is not the best these days. I will ask God to bring up His Word out of my spirit to say what He wants to be said.
      If you really think about it hard all God wants from us is obedience and faith.

  • nathan eggink says:

    Shallow gray area Christianity, is the popular belief of the day. BUT, the thief on the cross knew nothing of doctrine, he only had faith, Jesus said “today you shall be with me in paradise”. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Amen.

  • John says:

    I am confused where these Athisists are.
    Each and every person I have encountered who refused to believe seamed to research their own wishes only. I do believe we christians should know more. Hopfully by the grace of God we will know enough to be saved?
    Someone who does not believe what research have they done?

  • Jim says:

    What does knowledge of “other religions” have to do with salvation? Where does our Bible tell us to be knowledgable about everyone else? Christians need to understand their own faith, their own doctrine, their own “roots”. If we learn our own Bible, then we will know how to deal with others. Jesus taught us that He was the only way, the truth, our salvation, our source of help, our redeemer. Interesting question, but to what purpose??? I have been studing the scriptures for many, many years and still find new and wonderous gems in His Word. I can understand men and women who “lock” themselves away and spend their entire lives studying and praying… I feel so inadequate when I find a new and exciting scripture… How could I have missed that one? We must be led by His Spirit and the truths will “pop out” at us when we need them or He decides to surprise us! Oh, that we would spend more time with Him and less time exploring foolish questions… Is this a foolish question??? You decide…

  • Jim L says:

    AS it says in Ephesians: 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

    14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

    We need to know our own scriptures, and there is no reason to not do it. In fact we are told that those of us who put into practice what God tells us in the Bible are like one who builds his house on a rock – it withstands the storm.

    If you know your scriptures, you may not know much about other faiths, but you will know when someone tries to twist your own. Satan and those who hate Christianity will do that in order to mislead people. Knowing your faith will protect you from that.

  • Jose says:

    Be diligent to show thyself approved of God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    Jesus sent us out as sheep among wolves, and told us to be wise (gr., phronimos-intelligence or mental aquirement) as serpents, yet innocent as doves
    2tim2:15; matt10:16

  • jennie says:

    I was raised in church and I never learned anything until I found Jesus. Knowing what the Bible says does not protect anyone from being led astray, but knowing Jesus does, because His Spirit gives us that “unction” within us to know when the teaching is false. I used to feel guilty when I questioned so-called teachers and preachers until I realized that it was the Holy Spirit telling me to be cautious about what I was hearing. Too many people are led astray because they put their trust in other men, and don’t learn to follow the Spirit of God. When we read scripture, we must seek to know Jesus Christ more…knowing HIM is what keeps us from believing falsehoods. The main problem today is not in lacking knowledge of WHAT we believe, but rather lacking knowledge of WHOM we believe in! Jesus said,”Search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” If we spend more time getting to know the heart of Jesus, we will gain better understanding of His Word, and less likely to be led astray. How can we be effective witnesses of Christ if we do not know Him first? Paul’s letters to the churches reveal that divisions were caused because the believers argued about doctrine rather than uniting together in heart under Christ Jesus. When Jesus Himself is the focus, there is peace and unity, and most likely an impossibility of false doctrine creeping in! I think it is okay to know what other people believe so that we are “prepared to give an answer for our hope”, and that Hope is Jesus! Jesus said when the Spirit of Truth comes, “He will testify of me.” That is how we know the difference between truth and falsehoods! Does it testify of the heart of Jesus; His purposes and intentions and pleasures? Does it bring attention to Jesus? If it draws attention to man’s purposes and desires it is most likely false doctrine. “Itching ears” want to fill man’s own desires and satisfy their own egos. Ears that truly hear the Word of God want to satisfy HIS purposes and intentions and pleasures. God promises pleasure AFTER this life, if we lay it down for His purposes on this earth. If we serve God because we want to benefit in this world, that is our reward! Live for Jesus now, and receive an eternal reward when this life on earth is over! You can’t serve both! You must choose one or the other! “To live is Christ”. Be diligent in seeking to know Jesus Christ more and more every day! It IS personal!!

  • jennie says:

    I wanted to also share one of my favorite verses:
    Acts 4:13 (King James Version)

    13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

    It’s not education and knowledge that will draw other people to Jesus…it is when they recognize that you have been with Him, and really know Him intimately and personally, that they will want to hear what you have to say about Jesus! Education and knowledge won’t earn trust from others, but the power of the Holy Spirit is evident when we truly have experienced Jesus intimately. Seek HIM!