The Pew Religious Forum Quiz

How much do you know about religion?

And how do you compare with the average American? Here’s your chance to find out.

Take our short, 15-question quiz, and see how you do in comparison with 3,412 randomly sampled adults who were asked these and other questions in the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey.

I got 14 out of 15, or 93%. This puts me above the US average, as I expect most people reading this are. Higher than average scores are also typical for a Jewish atheist like me, since apparently Jews and atheists scored better than all other Americans (I expect because we’re more likely to have gone to college).

Really, though, the test results as a whole are pretty depressing — not because I want Americans to be more religious, but because so many Americans lack what should be basic cultural knowledge. The US is supposed to be one of the most religious countries on the planet. So how come atheists are more likely to know the Ten Commandments than other Americans?

Charles (who got 100%) told me that at least one of the questions seemed to have two correct answers, although Pew would only accept one as correct.

Spoilers below, so go take the test before reading on, if you’re going to.

This is the question Charles questions:

Which of these religions aims at nirvana, the state of being free from suffering?


The answer Pew wants is “Buddhism.” But “Hinduism” would also be a correct answer, according to Charles.

Oh, and the question I got wrong was question 15, in case you’re wondering. I know nothing at all about The Great Awakening!

This entry posted in Atheism, crossposted on TADA, Whatever. Bookmark the permalink. 

56 Responses to The Pew Religious Forum Quiz

  1. 1
    Denise says:

    I got that one wrong, too. I have no idea what the Great Awakening even is. Not sure I’ve ever heard of it before.

  2. 2
    Sebastian says:

    I missed the Great Awakening question as well. My wife, a Jewish atheist got them all.

  3. 3
    Peter Hoh says:

    14 out of 15 here, too. The one I got wrong was a brain fart — as I pressed “next” I realized that I had selected the wrong button.

    Gruntled has the complete set of questions.

    This is a general knowledge survey about world religions, not a quiz about Christianity, so I’m not quite prepared to say that atheists know more about the Ten Commandments than Christians.

    My guess is that a chapter-and-verse quiz would tend to even the playing field between atheists and Christians.

    And speaking of the Bible, I ran across this post yesterday:

    The Bible is not a book about homosexuality and it will not allow itself to be treated as a book about homosexuality. Nor is the Bible a book about sex. But the Bible is, in fact, very much a book about wealth, possessions and the poor. That is not the central theme, but it is a massively important theme that pervades every portion of the book. If you don’t agree with that then I don’t know what it is that you’ve been reading, but it surely wasn’t a Bible.

  4. 4
    Charles S says:

    Actually, I missed 2: the nirvana one and the First Great Awakening one (I answered Charles Finney, who actually figured in the Second Great Awakening (and was also the second president of Oberlin College)).

    The Great Awakening question was definitely the most obscure question on the quiz.

  5. 5
    chingona says:

    I got 100 percent, but my answer to the Great Awakening question was a lucky guess! The beginning and end of my knowledge of the Great Awakening is that it was a time of great religious fervor and, uh, awakening.

    In other analysis I’d read about this, there was discussion of the idea that minorities always have to know more about the majority than vice versa, which might explain why Christians did worse – too many questions that weren’t about Christianity – but really, it’s a pretty general knowledge kind of quiz. Plenty of this stuff I learned in high school, at a decent but fairly parochial (ha ha) small town school.

  6. 6
    Charles S says:

    One interesting flaw in the study that probably led to agnostics and atheists scoring so well is that “nothing in particulars” is a separate category, so non-religious people who aren’t interested in religion are a separate category (and one of the lowest scoring) from non-religious people who do care about religion (one of the highest scoring), while Christians and Jews who don’t care about religion are just Christians and Jews (and so drag down the scores for the group). It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if religious groupings had been defined based on answers to questions about beliefs and actions, rather than based on self-identification.

  7. 7
    KristinMH says:

    I only knew the answer to #15 because I just read “The Family” by Jeff Sharlet and he talks about Jonathan Edwards a bit. The other questions were pretty obvious to me. But I’ve had a lot of religious education. (Mostly of the Catholic school variety – “this is what the other religions/denominations believe, and why they are wrong” – but it still helps with the basic facts.)

  8. 8
    chingona says:

    @ Charles … You’re most likely right, but a little snag in your plan is that many “nothing in particulars” believe in God. Hmmm … was “spiritual but not religious” a category?

    I would have done marginally worse on the full quiz. I blanked on the gospels and could only come up with three. And if I’d been called on the phone and put on the spot, I would have been stuck at John.

  9. 9
    Scanlon says:

    I got 100% and didn’t find any of the questions hard. The funny thing about the answer to the Great Awakening Question (remembered that from High School American history), was that it made me wonder if Presidential Candidate John Edwards was named after John Edwards the preacher who gave the “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God” sermon!!!

    I learned about half the answers to those questions from secular education and about half from Catholic Sunday School.

  10. 10
    Charles S says:


    True that (nothings in particulars believing in god, specifically the Christian god).

    I think I might have missed on the gospels one too asked it out of the blue (when I first saw the question, it was major disciples who leaped to my mind, and then I had to think a bit more to get the gospels). Asked out of the blue, I might even have gotten the first book of the Torah wrong.

  11. 11
    Joe says:

    So, with regards to #4, I was under the impression that not only does the Jewish sabbath start after sundown on Friday, but the entire Jewish day starts at sundown. So wouldn’t it be more correct to say that the Jewish sabbath starts on Saturday (which occurs the instant after Friday’s sun sets)?

    Other than that, I just find it a little scary, the number of people who are ignorant about their own religions. Only half the Catholics know why they’re eating the crackers; less than half seem to know who Job was.

    I’d like to know who it is that calls themselves Jewish but doesn’t know who Moses was (1 in 10), or the Mormons who don’t know who Joseph Smith is (7 out of 100). Are there nonreligious Mormons, like there are nonreligious Jews?

  12. 12
    fuzzytheory says:

    14/15 here. I got the last question wrong too. Never even heard of the great awakening. And, for your elucidation, your friend is correct. Both Buddhism and Hinduism have in their discourses that nirvana is the goal and is the absence of suffering. In early Indian history, many traditions shared terminology. So, for all traditions release from the cycle of rebirth, samsara, was alternatively called moksa, nirvana and so forth. However, as these traditions became more concretized in relation to each other specific terminology became more (and sometimes exclusively) associated with one tradition over another. For example, early Jain and Buddhist texts interchangeably used the terms Buddha, Jina and Tirthankara for the titles of Gotama and Mahavira. However, as time went on and to distinguish from each other Buddhists began to mostly use the term Buddha and Jains Jina. Nirvana and Moksa are not as clear cut. The terms are generally synonymous, though Hindu texts use the term moksa more and Buddhist texts use the term nirvana more. Generally speaking. Finally, the insight that liberation is achieved by the absence of suffering is a common Indian religious theme, shared by Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism (among many other traditions that have since died out). So… yeah.

    This reminds me of the early censuses of East Asia, where the Protestant Presuppositions of our notion of religion impacted sociology in such a way as there was an exclusivity to the forms: one could only be of one religion. This didn’t work at all in East Asia, where people would often pick two or more traditions. Or the early Indian census where Jains would mark off Hindu in the census because the sub-category matched their caste identity. Crazy times.

  13. 13
    Jeff Fecke says:

    @Peter Hoh:

    My guess is that a chapter-and-verse quiz would tend to even the playing field between atheists and Christians.

    Doubt it strongly. When only 49% of mainline protestants know that the Golden Rule isn’t in the Ten Commandments; or when only 59% of white Catholics and 47% of Latino Catholics know that the communion wafers are transusbstatiated into the flesh of Christ; or when only 26% of White Catholics can identify Job as a figure of God’s persecution…well, these aren’t figures that show a great deal of scholarship.

    One thing that is interesting, though — evangelicals tended to do better on the Christian questions than any group, including Atheists. One can say what one wants about how they use their knowledge, but one should not buy into the idea that evangelicals are untutored in their own religion. Other religions, yes. Society at large, definitely. But their own religion? They know that stuff.

    I do find it sad that so many people missed the “Can a teacher teach the Bible as literature” question. Like the question of whether a kid can pray in school (answer: yes, as long as it doesn’t disrupt class), this is one of those things that’s become more urban legend than anything else. As for me, despite being non-Christian, I want my daughter to get an academic understanding of Christianity. And Islam. And Judaism. And Mormonism. And so on, and so forth.

    (Incidentally, I was 15-for-15. I don’t know where Unitarian Universalist falls there; probably under atheist/agnostic.)

  14. 14
    Elusis says:

    I got 14 out of 15 on the short quiz, and found it rather depressing that so many Christians got many of the Christianity-based questions wrong.

  15. 15
    SeanH says:

    The demographics at the link are rather weird: white evangelical Protestant, white mainline Protestant, black Protestant, white Catholic, Hispanic Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, atheist/agnostic, nothing in particular.

    Why are white Protestants divided into “evangelical” and “mainline”, but black Protestants kept as a single group? What should a black Catholic say?

    (Like many others here, I got the first 14 very easily, and have never heard of the Great Awakening.)

  16. 16
    AndiF says:

    For anybody who wants to try the full 32 questions, the Christian Science Monitor has them here.

    I got 32 out of 32. Growing up Jewish in a Catholic neighborhood and then going to a Methodist-connected university to get a degree in English is apparently a very good prep for this quiz.

  17. 17
    Matt Gibson says:

    Well, I only missed three, which I didn’t think was too bad, considering I’ve never been to the US and don’t have kids, so have never had any need to know about Supreme Court rulings on stuff that happens in schools.

    I also guessed lucky on Joseph Smith — never heard of him — and the First Great Awakening — never heard of it. I guess these are also more America-centric…

    It would have been nice to have an “I have no idea” choice, rather than having to more-or-less randomly choose an answer on those ones…

  18. 18
    JThompson says:

    32 out of 32, but I’m a bit of a mythology nerd.

    @Charles S: I wouldn’t bet on that. When there were huge protests in Alabama demanding we display the Ten Commandments in government buildings an awful lot of the people protesting couldn’t actually list them when asked what the Ten Commandments were, even though they’d seen a giant stone version of it not five minutes ago. I’ve also gotten into arguments with a way too many Southern Baptists who insist the Jewish people copied Christians. By which they mean Christianity predates Judaism. They’re convinced this is true because they’ve been told Christianity was the first religion in the world. It’s kind of fun to press them on what temples Jesus drove the animal sellers and money lenders from.

    I wouldn’t bet on the ultra-conservative Christian wing getting anything but select passages from Leviticus and maybe some of Paul correct. I’d personally like to see a Liberal/Moderate Christians category separate from Fundamentalist/Ultra-conservative Christians. I bet the former would score about the same as the atheists while the latter actually avoid most of their own Bible in case they see something that upsets them. (You know, like Jesus healing the sick or telling them to feed the poor.)

  19. 19
    SeanH says:

    31 out of 32 on the main quiz. Is the Great Awakening thing something Americans would be more likely to know? It seemed (to me) considerably more obscure than the others, especially gimmes like “what is the Islamic holy book” and “what religion do most Pakistanis consider themselves”.

  20. 20
    Emily says:

    I think it’s interesting that the Great Awakening question results are so much LOWER than chance for every category. If I remember correctly, there were only 3 possible answers, so 30% should get it right just from a straight-up guess. I suspect it’s because of John Edwards’ presidential campaign. People think it’s a filler answer because they can identify a John Edwards who they know is not the correct answer, so if they don’t really know, they pick the name (or a name) they don’t recognize.

  21. 21
    Dianne says:

    I got 15/15, which is apparently better than 99% of the US population. Vaguely remembered the First Great Awakening from US history in high school. This result is worrisome because I don’t consider myself particularly knowledgable about religion. I’m an atheist, don’t particpate in any religious rituals (apart from lighting a menorah with my kid-a ritual we baulderized to be representative of the return of the light after the solstice), and haven’t studied religion in any detail at all. I probably know as much about the AD&D pantheon as the Judeo-Christio-Islamic mythos. Yet I did better than 99% of people in this “Christian” country? I’m concerned.

  22. 22
    Robert says:

    It was a pretty general quiz except for the last, bizarrely different, question.

    Which I also missed, Amp, and probably for the same reason you did – “Charles Finney has an Oberlin connection and I *know* he was a preacher and such during the G.A….so he’s the smarter guess.”

  23. 23
    Dianne says:

    My browser has an objection to my going past question 3 of the main quiz (what do you want: I’m using explorer, the religion of which is probably satanism) so I can’t say how I’d do on it. But I have an objection to question 3: It asks what the meaning of Ramadan is. One possible answer is “I don’t know”. That is, potentially, a correct answer, but is counted as wrong. Why are they punishing people for honesty? (Don’t mind me, I’m just channeling Mirka in the argument with the troll scene.)

  24. 24
    Frowner says:

    I got the Great Awakening question right but only because I knew approximately when it took place and which name sounded more period-appropriate. We didn’t discuss the Great Awakening in school–maybe in passing but nothing that I remember.

    This is pure speculation–I feel like when I talk to younger friends who were in HS after the early nineties, they were more likely to have discussed the Great Awakening, and I wonder whether it got foregrounded in the curriculum in response to all that nineties culture-wars stuff as a way of emphasizing the christian history of the US. (I mean, it’s perfectly appropriate to include it and I’m a bit baffled that my nationally-ranked HS didn’t.)

  25. 25
    Peter Hoh says:

    Sean, yes, the Great Awakening is an American phenomenon. There haven’t been any blockbuster movies about it, os hardly anyone knows about it. I suspect that a lot of people picked Billy Graham, who was associated with the most recent revival movement.

    Back when I went to college, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God was a standard part of an early American literature class. My daughter attends a fairly rigorous public high school, and Edwards’ sermon was part of the reading list for her American literature class. It pairs nicely with The Scarlet Letter.

  26. 26
    Josh says:

    Yeh, Sean, I spoke to a couple of working-class kids who are English majors at my public university, and they (like me) learned about Jonathan Edwards in their tenth-grade American Lit class.

  27. 27
    David Schraub says:

    I heard that the advantage for Jews, Mormons, and Atheists/Agnostics persists even if you control for education.

  28. 28
    chingona says:

    One thing that is interesting, though — evangelicals tended to do better on the Christian questions than any group, including Atheists.

    Evangelicals would kick butt in a chapter-and-verse type quiz. They do a lot of text study and a lot of memorization of bible verses. My husband has the ribbons from bible camp to show for it. Of course, if he took it now, he’d be in the atheist category. Another thing that skews the results – many atheists grew up in a religion.

  29. 29
    Silenced is Foo says:

    13/15 – failed on the Sabbath (friday, not saturday? Surprised.) and First Great Awakening (the what?)

  30. 30
    RonF says:

    I got them all, both on the 15-question extract and the 32-question full quiz . I also studied the Great Awakening early in my Junior year in High School English. That year English was essentially American Literature, starting as far back as possible. The text book was a series of essays and poems by American (or colonial) authors and we would read them and discuss them. One of the earliest ones was Jonathan Edwards’ Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. That was 1967-68, BTW.

    Given the discussion of who did how well and in what religious context: I’m what’s called a “cradle Episcopalian”, which means that I was born and raised as an Episcopalian and am still in The Episcopal Church. My family was involved when I was young – Dad was on Vestry, Mom was in the choir, my brothers and I were acolytes (altar servers). When I was 15 we moved to Illinois and we stopped going to church. I started up again about 10 years ago.

    TEC is accounted a “mainstream Protestant” denomination. It’s gone through quite a few changes in the last 20 years. It’s an offshoot of the Church of England and was never part of the Protestant tradition of Martin Luther and Calvin and the rest. We’ve been referred to as “Catholic Lite” and also as “via media”, the middle way between Catholicism and the Protestant denominations. We have no Pope but we do have Bishops and Priests and account them as part of the Apostolic Succession (although the RC’s dispute this). Our current Presiding Bishop (9 year term, one term only, presides but does not command) is female and we have openly gay and partnered priests and one very well known bishop as well.

  31. 31
    Carrie says:

    I got 100%. No lucky guesses! I read about the Great Awakening in grade school. I can’t believe I remember anything from grade school, but I guess I do. Kudos to the American Public School System? Not quite, I was homeschooled . . . .

    Oh well, I am not an atheist or a Jew. Southern Baptist corn fed, who would’ve thunk it?

  32. 32
    Ampersand says:

    Dianne, LOL! That’s a good argument.

    Robert, that’s pretty much it exactly.

  33. 33
    Jake Squid says:

    14 out of 15. Never having actually been taught a thing about the Great Awakening(s) – I read an article in the New Yorker once, though – I could eliminate Billy Graham & get it down to 50/50. I picked the wrong 50.

    I’d say that the vocally religious are not any more likely to know more about their own religion. When I was 17 and 18, I used to argue with the proselytizers in NYC. I, who had never had any education in any of the various sects of Christianity invariably knew more bible stuff than the religious weirdos. I have, of course, met vocally religious folks who knew their religion inside and out, but that has certainly not been the majority.

    I heard that the advantage for Jews, Mormons, and Atheists/Agnostics persists even if you control for education.

    I don’t doubt that at all.

  34. 34
    Jake Squid says:

    Oh, and anybody who remembers Blazing Saddles would know that the first four gospels are Mathew, Mark, Luke and Duck.

  35. 35
    RonF says:

    That Great Awakening question is even more bizarre when you consider that the most contemporary well-known person by the name of Johnathan Edwards was a ground-breaking comedian who made Robin Williams’ wildest characters look sane.

  36. 36
    mythago says:

    I got them all, but let’s be fair, I have a degree in this stuff.

    What disturbs me most is not that people didn’t get all of them right – the Jewish sabbath one is frankly a little tricky for non-Jews – but the number of people who didn’t get the questions about public education right. Religious discourse in this country is poisoned by the belief that it’s OK for the government to mandate atheism and that there’s no difference between “God is a private matter” and “there is no God, you credulous twerp”.

  37. 37
    maggie says:

    I only got 12/15 (atheist, never instructed in any religion). I suspected the Sabbath one was a trick and did indeed start on Friday, but I hadn’t actually known that before. Also I argued that Abraham was the one who remained obedient to god, versus Job. I suppose Job is “most closely associated” with that, but he did a lot of whining about it. And lastly I just plain didn’t remember anything much about the Great Awakening(s). Except Shakers. I’ll always remember the Shakers.

    I do have degrees in History and Art History, but not specifically American history (couple of courses).

  38. 38
    mythago says:

    maggie – the question is not “a trick”, but it can be confusing because most Americans think of holidays as starting the day of, not at sunset. So they may be aware that the Jewish sabbath is Saturday, not Sunday, and be unaware that it actually started Friday night.

    And I think you need to re-read your Job there.

  39. 39
    standgale says:

    I got 14 out of 15 despite not even being an American. I was a bit stuck on the nirvana one since I also believe it has two correct answers, but went with Buddhism as being “the most likely to have been chosen as the correct answer by the test writer” and had to guess the “first great awakening” one and got it wrong. Some of my answers were half-guesses however, so I can’t really claim to KNOW the answer to 14 of 15 of the questions, just able to pick them in a multi-choice quiz.
    (atheist, ex-presbyterian, with an ex-catholic husband and recently converted catholic mother, interest in buddhism and paganism)

  40. 40
    RonF says:

    It’s not all that surprising that a lot of people failed questions in this that are not of direct concern to them. Information about Hinduism or the Jewish sabbath aren’t too relevant to people who don’t live in areas where there are significant numbers of their adherents. Those of you who live in mixed urban areas forget how non-diverse a lot of areas of the United States are.

    I share the concern about the ignorance regarding how the First Amendment is currently being interpreted by the courts, though. I find the difference among various faiths, etc., less significant than the overall viewpoint that most people flunk this test. Based on 60% = D, 70% = C, etc., the average score for even the best performers was barely passing.

    Oh, and Charles – nirvana is specifically a Buddhist word, not a Hindu one. So I’d say that anyone choosing Hinduism as the answer for that question deserved to get the red “X”.

  41. 41
    mythago says:

    RonF – interesting that you should say that. To somebody who is part of a religious minority, the beliefs of majority groups are not only of “direct concern”, they’re pretty hard to avoid. I’m always fascinated talking to Gentile friends who grew up in East Coast areas with large Jewish populations; they’re stunned to move elsewhere and discover that, actually, most businesses are open on Yom Kippur, and nobody looks at you funny when you say “well we can’t do that next Wednesday because of the holiday” in the middle of September.

  42. 42
    queenrandom says:

    15/15 on the short quiz; I would have missed 2 on the long quiz. 18 years of Catholic parochial education, now I wouldn’t fall into any of those categories*. High school religious education included a year-long course called “World Religions” and a second year-long course called “Christian Religions” in addition to the 2 required years studying Catholicism and the Bible.

    *While I consider myself culturally Catholic, I have left the Church but I haven’t landed squarely in any religious category since my decision to leave (considering unitarian). Unfortunately, “currently between faith traditions” was not a category on this survey.

  43. 43
    Simple Truth says:

    I took the long quiz yesterday and got 28 out of 32. I grew up Southern Baptist in Texas so I wasn’t exposed to a lot of the other major non-Protestant religions until I was older (and already Agnostic.)

  44. 44
    nm says:

    I got them all (Jonathan Edwards in public high school English in the ’60s, like RonF — the corollary of that is that I would have been totally sunk if they had asked about the Oberlin guy, since I had never heard there was a Second Great Awakening until now — and what was it, the early USian Baptists and people like John Quincy Adams, I guess?).

  45. 45
    me and not you says:

    What terrifies me is how easy the questions were, and how badly the US did. On the other hand, I’m not really that surprised.

    I missed two. I’m glad to know my Hindu for Buddhism thing wasn’t necessarily wrong, though Buddhism seems like a more obvious answer. I didn’t know anything about Pakistan’s religion, that was a guess. I do find it really amusing that most of the people I know think the Great Awakening question was hard. I think I learned that in history class (to the extent that I was able to recognize that as a potentially more correct answer, i.e. for multiple choice, not fill in the blank)

  46. 46
    Ampersand says:

    Maggie @37:

    Also I argued that Abraham was the one who remained obedient to god, versus Job. I suppose Job is “most closely associated” with that, but he did a lot of whining about it.

    The key is the word “suffering,” which is also in the question. Both Abraham and Job are associated with remaining obedient, but Job went through a much more protracted and deliberate period of suffering.

  47. 47
    chingona says:

    Job didn’t really whine.

  48. 48
    RonF says:

    To somebody who is part of a religious minority, the beliefs of majority groups are not only of “direct concern”, they’re pretty hard to avoid.

    Yes, the culture of the majority is always of concern to the minority. I was talking about the other way around. The farmers in a downstate Illinois county may be deeply involved in their Lutheran parish but have little concern with when the Jewish Sabbath starts.

    Unless, of course, a kosher slaughter plant opens up and starts buying their hogs. Always interesting.

    I like your example. I got my education on Jewish holidays when I took my MS at a medical school and found myself getting some entirely unexpected days off.

  49. 49
    Peter Hoh says:

    Towards the end, Job was starting to get feisty.

  50. 50
    Ampersand says:

    Unless, of course, a kosher slaughter plant opens up and starts buying their hogs.

    Somehow, I doubt a kosher slaughterhouse would be buying many hogs at all. :-p

  51. 51
    Kevin Moore says:

    I got 100% — and Charles is right about nirvana. That’s why we are better than you, Barry. When will you learn to accept that?

    But seriously: The Great Awakening question was easy for me, because the history of that movement explained a lot about my personal family background, all those Southern Baptists and Methodists scattered about the Smokey Mountains. They were always trying to convert me, too, so I had motives for learning their belief systems and trying to understand how the forces of history brought them there.

    Reviewing the results of this survey, it is depressing. But I don’t blame the victims, here. Our culture is utterly neurotic about religious education, so few people receive a decent one. Schools are too freaked out by potential lawsuits from parents who fear the schools will indoctrinate their children in a competing faith, corrupt them with “the devil’s religion,” or impose a state religion on them altogether. Fortunately, there is room in Social Studies classes to discuss the historical roots of Islam, Hinduism, etc. — my daughter is getting a decent survey from her school. But there is no room for any deep exploration.

    So it’s left up to the parents. Which is like learning about sex on the street corner.

  52. 52
    fuzzytheory says:

    Ron says: “Oh, and Charles – nirvana is specifically a Buddhist word, not a Hindu one. So I’d say that anyone choosing Hinduism as the answer for that question deserved to get the red “X”.”

    Not true. It is a shared term more commonly used within Buddhism. There is a difference.

  53. 53
    Phil says:

    Another thing that skews the results – many atheists grew up in a religion.

    I don’t see how that creates a _skewed_ result; it’s just a demographic factor that is often true of atheists.

    I’m reminded of the “Monty Hall” question…I’ve asserted before that people who switch from the religion they were raised in are statistically more likely to be correct (about what religion is “true”) than those who don’t switch. I’m mostly kidding when I argue that. Mostly.

  54. 54
    Ledasmom says:

    Jake Squid, that is exactly what I thought of, with respect to the four gospels.
    “Blazing Saddles” – an excellent movie, although made up mostly of quotations.

  55. 55
    Robert says:

    “Blazing Saddles” – an excellent movie, although made up mostly of quotations.

    “What did you think of Hamlet, Mrs. Jones?”

    “I didn’t care for it one bit! It’s nothing but a series of famous quotations all strung together!”

  56. 56
    Lisa says:

    A couple comments (Jeff @ 13, mythago @ 36) expressed concern that so many people seem to think a teacher may not legally quote the Bible as literature. I got that one wrong, but not because I didn’t know the answer. The problem was poor survey design.

    The two education questions– whether or not a public school teacher in the US may lead a prayer (Answer: No) or quote scripture as a literary example (Answer: Yes)– were presented one right after the other, began with exactly the same words, and had exactly the same answer options. When I got to the second one, I didn’t read it all the way through: It looked like the same question, so I assumed my previous answer hadn’t registered and repeated my answer. If I’m not the only idiot that didn’t read it through, that may explain why 89% got the first one right, but only 23% got the second one.

    Given my past experiences with people, the education system, and religion, I really doubt that 77% of people think that teachers may not quote the Bible as literature. After all, a lot of the literature taught in the classroom includes quotes from and allusions to the Bible.

    Given my past experiences with survey- and quiz-takers, I would easily believe that a large majority of people don’t read questions carefully before answering.