The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently released the results of a survey that looks at how knowledgeable Americans are about their religion. The results would probably surprise many Christians, but probably not many skeptics.
Researchers from the independent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life phoned more than 3,400 Americans and asked them 32 questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, famous religious figures and the constitutional principles governing religion in public life.
On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.
Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences.
â€œEven after all these other factors, including education, are taken into account, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons still outperform all the other religious groups in our survey,â€ said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at Pew.
One of the most interesting findings was how many people got questions about the essentials of their own faiths wrong. For example:
Forty-five percent of Catholics did not know that their church teaches that the consecrated bread and wine in holy communion are not merely symbols, but actually become the body and blood of Christ.
Really? Transubstantiation was certainly one of those things about Catholicism that, even at a very early age, led me to start to doubt the religion I was born into. I remember clearly that I learned about transubstantiation (though certainly not by that name) at right about the age where I’d begun to doubt Santa Claus. Neither made very much sense to me based on what little I knew about the world. On one hand, my experience (and my mom) was telling me that magic wasn’t real. On the other, the church was telling me that somehow a wafer of cardboard-like “bread” magically tranformed into human flesh (which we then ate). Anyone who’s ever eaten a pork chop knows that there is a huge difference between flesh and the Eucharist.
But, then, I don’t find this lack of knowledge shocking at all. It fits. In my personal experience, when you discuss Evolution with most people who don’t “believe” in it, you quickly see that they really don’t understand the concept or the evidence behind it at all. As Dave Silverman, the president of the American Athiests advocacy group, said in the NYT article:
â€œI have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people,â€ Mr. Silverman said. â€œAtheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. Thatâ€™s how you make atheists.â€
And so it goes. The uneducated are easily bamboozled. The more you know about the magic space-man myth, the more you begin to doubt its basic premise. The same could be said of essentially all belief systems not based on evidence.read more
I recently spent a few minutes digging through my WordPress Spam folder. I use a spam filter plugin to help keep it down to a minimum, but I like to check it every so often to make sure no legit comments get nabbed. This one really made me laugh…
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Some of them are so ambiguous though… For example, I get tons of these types:
Just found your site through google, Iâ€™ll keep up with this one for sure
What’s weird about it is that many of them do NOT include a website in the URL field, which seems odd. Isn’t the point of the spam to get links posted on popular blogs, so that people reading the comments go to them? (Of course, all you have to do is peek at my Google Analytics for a second to disqualify me from the “popular blog” category anyway, but they don’t know that.) I suppose it could be simply testing the site to see if it can get through, or maybe they’re probing for comment handling flaws in WordPress or my skin, which they can then exploit to take over my site.
Or maybe they are just real people making real, though bland, comments that my spam system is blocking. Who knows? Every so often, if one seems more genuinely written and doesn’t have a website link, I’ll approve it manually.
But really… If you’re going to post blatantly transparent comment spam, at least try to amuse me. So bravo to whomever posted that hysterical broken-English comment. I almost approved it on general principle. Almost…read more
I just bought some great new music for cheap on Amazon. First, for today only, you can grab the just released New Pornographers album, Together, for only $3.99 (via MP3 digital download).
Also, while you are there, you might as well grab False Priest by Of Montreal for only $5.99.
And, lastly, if you’re into it, the free song of the day is a track by The Dirty Projectors. I’ve tried and I just can’t seem to get myself into them, but I’ll grab the track anyway and check it out (being free and all).read more
Got my Denon AVR-591 today. Haven’t been able to play with it yet because darts.
We lost. FTB.
Evil feasts on human lives.read more
I’ve been having a seemingly unending spate of HTPC issues over the past two weeks or so. I’m really not sure at all how it started, or what is going on, but I think I may have solved it (or at least most of it).
So, starting about two weeks ago, I got a call from my wife while I was out playing Darts that the computer in the living room wouldn’t wake up. She had wiggled the mouse, and she said the “fans spun up, but then back down again” and the screen stayed dark. So, she’d tried forcing it to reboot by powering it down and back up again. Same result. No POST. No beep. Nothing.
Little did I know that this would be the start of a annoying saga. Follow me on past the break if you want to know more…read more