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Allhallowsday
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« on: September 28, 2010, 02:42:23 PM »

Survey: Americans don't know much about religion 
A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.

Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn't know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.

More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and intellectuals in history, was Jewish... 

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_rel_religious_literacy_poll  
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2010, 02:48:11 PM »

Oh my.  That is a very sad state of affairs: not knowing about your own religion, let alone others.
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2010, 02:50:55 PM »

Doesn't surprise me.
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2010, 02:57:20 PM »

Yeah, I read this.  Doesn't surprise me in the slightest.  What percentage of Catholics know what the Immaculate Conception refers to?  I'd say *maybe* one in three - at least in the USA.  I've also gotten into enough biblical arguments with Christians to have enough anecdotal evidence to not be surprised about this sort of thing.  I've "turned" a few Christians by giving them some suggested readings from the Old Testament, for one example.  They were pretty middling about it to begin with though.

Basic gist I see is a lot of Americans are raised Christian in a fairly loose sense, and they don't ever really analyze their faith too much.  It works for them, and they don't worry about it.  But those minority who really look internally and read a lot about religious thought and the history of religion, etc, a number of them become atheists and another number of them end up deepening both their knowledge and faith (I'd guess this is rarer, but it certainly happens).  So, what you get is a minority group made up largely of atheists who've given a lot of thought to religion, and Christians made up *mostly* of people who've never really given it a great deal of thought or read much about it.  I think now that atheists make up a larger percentage of the population (at least, public and declared atheists) you'll probably see a lot more atheists who were essentially raised without any religion who are fairly ignorant about Christianity as the laymen might be, since they never had the religious education and introspection phase.  

I'll give props to both Mormons and particularly Jehovah's Witnesses though - they often know A LOT.  I must admit to finding it baffling how Mormons can stick to the religion once they know a lot about both it and the bible itself.  I'd hazard a guess and say a lot of Mormons are closeted regular Christians or agnostic atheists/deists.
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2010, 07:11:18 PM »


More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation.


Well, as a Lutheran, I should HOPE that I would have at least gotten THAT one correct.   TongueOut

Really, though, these polls of 3400 people cannot be representative.  Doing that with 3 major political groups (so-called conservative, liberal and centrist) is one thing, but with the diversity of groups that took THIS poll, how many were in each group?  Maybe five?   Lookingup

The last paragraph said 2.5 % error for the population, even greater for the individual groups.  Without the error published, I am free to infer that it was VERY large...in fact, sampling error goes generally as the square root of the population sampled - for a normal distribution within the population as a whole (which this most certainly does NOT have...).  So, with 1000 in each group (unlikely in this poll), that's a bit over 3%; if 500 in each subgroup, that's over 4%, etc. 

Those error numbers are simply sampling errors, and do not include things like question bias, etc (which happens in these types of polls a LOT).  But, if we just take that as the base error for discussion's sake, 4 % may not sound like much, but...

"more than half" could be as much as 53% and still actually be LESS than half (due to 4% error).  Again, 'more than half' is a weasel wording used to avoid giving the number.

And finally, who cares?  If people are happy with their faith and enjoy (for whatever reason) going to church, if that's their social group, what difference does it make?  They are merely practicing their 1st Amendment Right to Freedom of Worship, right?

What is the point of the study?  What's the message conveyed here by even bringing up the question, and more to the point, posting it here?

My instinctive answer to "what's the point" is that this polls exists to try to show, in some pseudo-scientific manner, that Christians are dumb (or merely ignorant, which to most of the people reading this YAHOO piece is the same thing)...measurably dumber than Mormons, Jews, Atheists and Agnostics.
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2010, 11:03:06 PM »

As Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Don't read more into a post or an article than is intended, Umaril!

 As a teacher, the appalling ignorance of the average American about our own nation's history is something I am no longer surprised by.  And they are required, in most states, to be taught history in some form for about 175 class days a year for 12 years!  How can we expect them to know something that even the most faithful are generally taught only three days a week, and many far less!!!  The bottom line is that most people are apallingly dumb.

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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2010, 11:28:01 PM »


More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation.


Well, as a Lutheran, I should HOPE that I would have at least gotten THAT one correct.   TongueOut

Really, though, these polls of 3400 people cannot be representative.  Doing that with 3 major political groups (so-called conservative, liberal and centrist) is one thing, but with the diversity of groups that took THIS poll, how many were in each group?  Maybe five?   Lookingup

The last paragraph said 2.5 % error for the population, even greater for the individual groups.  Without the error published, I am free to infer that it was VERY large...in fact, sampling error goes generally as the square root of the population sampled - for a normal distribution within the population as a whole (which this most certainly does NOT have...).  So, with 1000 in each group (unlikely in this poll), that's a bit over 3%; if 500 in each subgroup, that's over 4%, etc. 

Those error numbers are simply sampling errors, and do not include things like question bias, etc (which happens in these types of polls a LOT).  But, if we just take that as the base error for discussion's sake, 4 % may not sound like much, but...

"more than half" could be as much as 53% and still actually be LESS than half (due to 4% error).  Again, 'more than half' is a weasel wording used to avoid giving the number.

And finally, who cares?  If people are happy with their faith and enjoy (for whatever reason) going to church, if that's their social group, what difference does it make?  They are merely practicing their 1st Amendment Right to Freedom of Worship, right?

What is the point of the study?  What's the message conveyed here by even bringing up the question, and more to the point, posting it here?

My instinctive answer to "what's the point" is that this polls exists to try to show, in some pseudo-scientific manner, that Christians are dumb (or merely ignorant, which to most of the people reading this YAHOO piece is the same thing)...measurably dumber than Mormons, Jews, Atheists and Agnostics.

On one hand I definalty agree with you on the fact that polls in general are rather pointless. They can easily be manipulated for the pollsters purposes, which is why I never pay much heed to them.

On the other hand if this poll is even close to accurate, it does concern me that the people in question don't know the basic tennets and history behind what they worship. I should make it very clear, it's NOT my buisness who or what they worship, but it seems to me the people in question are just going through the motions in religous matters and not giving any thought about how or why they are doing it.
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ulthar
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2010, 11:38:28 PM »


As Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Don't read more into a post or an article than is intended, Umaril!


You mean me?  I don't think Umaril has posted in this thread yet.

Quote from: flakbait

On the other hand if this poll is even close to accurate, it does concern me that the people in question don't know the basic tennets and history behind what they worship. I should make it very clear, it's NOT my buisness who or what they worship, but it seems to me the people in question are just going through the motions in religous matters and not giving any thought about how or why they are doing it.


This is right on...it has long bothered me that a lot of the people I see in church on Sunday mornings are the same ones being extremely RUDE in the parking lot afterwards to be the first ones out (to beat the crowd at the restaurant), etc.

Our faith makes demands of us; for example, we are to try to put certain things ahead of ourselves.  It also bothers me how so many I encounter in the church body seemingly make no effort to do that...they willingly come to church only when convenient - they willingly only offer self-sacrifice when it is no real sacrifice at all.

My 8 year old daughter recently approached me very upset because she wondered if God really existed and she was afraid to admit that out loud.  I told her that, in my opinion, for her to ask the question pleases God...it means she is thinking about her faith and what it means to her INSIDE.  She has nothing to prove to me...it's a very personal and internal thing.

I think she is investing more in her faith at 8 than many adults bother to do.

« Last Edit: September 29, 2010, 12:30:24 AM by ulthar » Logged

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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2010, 12:50:43 AM »

More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation.
Thanks for "quoting" me again ( Lookingup)

Well, as a Lutheran, I should HOPE that I would have at least gotten THAT one correct.   TongueOut
Not to mention a scientist!!  TeddyR  Wink

Really, though, these polls of 3400 people cannot be representative.  Doing that with 3 major political groups (so-called conservative, liberal and centrist) is one thing, but with the diversity of groups that took THIS poll, how many were in each group?  Maybe five?   Lookingup
The last paragraph said 2.5 % error for the population, even greater for the individual groups.  Without the error published, I am free to infer that it was VERY large...in fact, sampling error goes generally as the square root of the population sampled - for a normal distribution within the population as a whole (which this most certainly does NOT have...).  So, with 1000 in each group (unlikely in this poll), that's a bit over 3%; if 500 in each subgroup, that's over 4%, etc.
Those error numbers are simply sampling errors, and do not include things like question bias, etc (which happens in these types of polls a LOT).  But, if we just take that as the base error for discussion's sake, 4 % may not sound like much, but...
"more than half" could be as much as 53% and still actually be LESS than half (due to 4% error).  Again, 'more than half' is a weasel wording used to avoid giving the number.

And finally, who cares?  If people are happy with their faith and enjoy (for whatever reason) going to church, if that's their social group, what difference does it make?  They are merely practicing their 1st Amendment Right to Freedom of Worship, right?
What is the point of the study?  What's the message conveyed here by even bringing up the question, and more to the point, posting it here?

My instinctive answer to "what's the point" is that this polls exists to try to show, in some pseudo-scientific manner, that Christians are dumb (or merely ignorant, which to most of the people reading this YAHOO piece is the same thing)...measurably dumber than Mormons, Jews, Atheists and Agnostics.
Well, Ulthar, I didn't take it that anybody was dumb or ignorant (except perhaps of their own faith - a topic which interests me)  and it's all over the web, and on the news tonight...I thought it was interesting, but am not prepared to swear to its veracity.  I do seem to get under your skin, sorry 'bout dat, and though I'm not particularly well educated as you'd pointed out not too long ago, or scientifically trained, I do have 7 (seven) years of parochial school, and am informed about the Transubstantiation, but, I know many devout Catholics that don't have the benefit.   Question

"...more than half" could be as much as 53% and still actually be LESS than half (due to 4% error).  Again, 'more than half' is a weasel wording used to avoid giving the number...
"...weasel wording..."  BounceGiggle  That cracks me up.   Thumbup  

I have elephant's memory but I like to think an equally large heart.   Smile 

...The bottom line is that most people are apallingly dumb...
They're not "dumb".  They're ignorant.   Bluesad
« Last Edit: September 29, 2010, 12:53:01 AM by Allhallowsday » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2010, 12:56:07 AM »



More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation.



 Thanks for "quoting" me again ( Lookingup)


Again, not quoting YOU...quoting your POST.  There's a difference.   Lookingup   Twirling
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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2010, 12:59:28 AM »

More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation.


 Thanks for "quoting" me again ( Lookingup)

Again, not quoting YOU...quoting your POST.  There's a difference.   Lookingup   Twirling
You can roll your eyes and twirl around, but, what is the evidence?  In 1000 years, what would an archivist construe?   Question  Smile  
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« Last Edit: September 29, 2010, 01:13:38 AM by Allhallowsday » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2010, 01:15:26 AM »


You can roll your eyes and twirl around, but, what is the evidence?  In 1000 years, what would an archivist construe?   Question  Smile  
Does the Bible ever mention if Jesus smiled?  


Then for the gazillionth time (okay, the third time), if you put the article you are posting in quotes or a quote tag, it removes this ambiguity.

It's your post and I am quoting it as I found it.  Right?   BounceGiggle
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« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2010, 07:05:32 AM »

It doesn't surprise me either, but I didn't make a big deal out of it.  I took that test and missed one question.  It was a real basic test in general and all of it could be learned just watching the news or looking online.  The questions were like "What religion did Mother Teresa have?" "What is Ramadan? (I think that is how it's spelled")

Even if I wasn't agnostic I think I still would have gotten the same score. 
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« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2010, 07:29:01 AM »

On the other hand if this poll is even close to accurate, it does concern me that the people in question don't know the basic tennets and history behind what they worship. I should make it very clear, it's NOT my buisness who or what they worship, but it seems to me the people in question are just going through the motions in religous matters and not giving any thought about how or why they are doing it.

I think flack makes a good point: about "going through the motions".  How many people will say they are "Protestant" or "Catholic" when asked, who have not been in a place of worship for many years if ever?  They simply apply a label to themselves that they were perhaps raised with, or that applied to them - or their family - at some point in the past.  Unless the pollsters took care to ensure that the people they spoke to were actually practicing the flavour of religion they identified themselves with, it is no surprise that the stats would indicate a lack of knowledge.  It would seem likely that persons identifying themselves as Atheists or Agnostics or somethign more...exotic(?) might have spent a bit more time and thought on the subject than someone who is just providing a more generic label when asked.
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« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2010, 02:58:28 PM »

Quote
Christians are dumb (or merely ignorant, which to most of the people reading this YAHOO piece is the same thing)...measurably dumber than Mormons, Jews, Atheists and Agnostics.


Well, I can't speak for the rest, but statistically speaking, atheists/agnostics (usually the same thing for the purpose of these studies) are measurably more intelligent than religious people in general. 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224132655.htm

There are other studies with similar findings out there - enough of them that I personally believe it.  I might add I don't find this to be particularly important either.  You can be highly intelligent and be religious, and be stupid and be an atheist, and so forth. 
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