Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Don’t Know Much About Religion

Posted by Adam Graham on March 12, 2007

Cross-posted from WhereIstand

The writer of a new book alleges Americans are religiously illiterate:

Sometimes dumb sounds cute: Sixty percent of Americans can’t name five of the Ten Commandments, and 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married. 

Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University, isn’t laughing. Americans’ deep ignorance of world religions – their own, their neighbors’ or the combatants in Iraq, Darfur or Kashmir – is dangerous, he says.

His new book, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know – and Doesn’t, argues that everyone needs to grasp Bible basics, as well as the core beliefs, stories, symbols and heroes of other faiths.

It’s something that’s quite clear in debates and discussions online that beyond world religions, a great many people don’t even understand the predominant religion. As Prothero alludes to in another interview, this isn’t the fault of secular society primarily, the church has played a role as well:

Another change was in the churches themselves, when they started focusing on loving Jesus rather than on listening to him. The Bible slowly became a kind of ornament and a source of authority rather than a book you actually read or even–as many kids did in the colonial period–memorized.So it became something you talked about instead of something you read . . . Sermons became more about ordinary life and less about biblical narratives, while Sunday schools focused more on morality than on learning about your own particular denomination. The changes also had something to do with religious tolerance, as people increasingly focused on getting along rather than understanding their own traditions.

Some people can sit in church their whole life and not understand the principles of their faith which has great consequences. Meanwhile our nation has produced many self-important religious illiterates who claim to know something about the Bible and talk about even if though they’ve not read it and don’t understand it. 

If you wan to find out how much you really know, you can take this quiz for starters.

Hat Tip: Right Mind


2 Responses to “Don’t Know Much About Religion”

  1. 15 out of 15 for the Mormon!

  2. Adam Graham [Member] said

    The Mormon? LOL. Only in certain small towns outside of Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming do we have a guy who is known as “The Mormon” :) I got 15 out of 15 as well.

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