American Evangelical Protestants are Blissful People

by Sep 29, 2010ChurchLife, Culture, Theology5 comments

I guess my BJU Bible education and my stints as religious newsletter editor, religion researcher, Bible textbook author, and blogger have all been worthwhile, because I’m not ashamed to say that I aced the Pew Research Center’s 15-question Religious Knowledge Quiz.

Capture2

I’m ashamed to say,  however, that white evangelical Protestants as a whole did worse than Jews, Atheists/Agnostics, and Mormons, and if evangelicals beat the overall population I’m guessing their victory may only just squeak past the survey’s margin of error.

(You may want to take the quiz now before you read further, because I’m about to reveal some answers.)

Capture3

70% of Jewish respondents knew that Martin Luther and not John Wesley or Thomas Aquinas started the Protestant Reformation. Only half (52%) of white evangelical Protestants knew that.

A lot of evangelicals were fooled by the question about the legality of Bible reading in public schools. Jews beat them soundly on that one, too.

Hardly anybody knew that Jonathan Edwards—and not Billy Graham or Charles Finney—participated in the First Great Awakening.

Overall evangelicals are most notable for their ignorance of world religions, though their ignorance of their own religion, its doctrines, and its history is the most sobering result of the survey.

Read More 

Review: The Power Broker, by Robert Caro

Review: The Power Broker, by Robert Caro

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro My rating: 5 of 5 stars Robert Caro is fascinated by power. He has given his life to exploring how it is gained and kept. And in Robert Moses, the subject of this epic book, power looks like the...

Review: Finding the Right Hills to Die On by Gavin Ortlund

Review: Finding the Right Hills to Die On by Gavin Ortlund

Finding the Right Hills to Die On: The Case for Theological Triage by Gavin Ortlund My rating: 4 of 5 stars Gracious, clear, accessible. Extremely well done. I nearly docked him a star for being ever-so-slightly in a different place than I am on creationism (though I...

Leave a comment.

5 Comments
  1. Jeremy Patterson

    Very interesting, Mark. Thank you for this.

    My favorite statistics-related quotation of all time relates to what Duncan said about being “careful not to abuse the statistics” and what happens in news media much too often (but not in the case of this blog post, happily):

    “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts, for support rather than illumination.”
    -Andrew Lang

    Reply
  2. Mark L Ward Jr

    Jeremy, that’s gold!

    Duncan offers a good caution, surely, in part because (though I didn’t notice anyone at religioninamerica making this point, I could have missed it) Pew’s definition of “evangelical” is probably a bit broader than ours.

    Reply
  3. Mark L Ward Jr

    Those were good points, but I still think that a citizen of the world, and especially a Christian one, ought to know nearly all of the answers to those questions. I’m not sure how it follows to say that we should actually view Americans as “savants” when it comes to religion because they were equally dumb on a political question (namely “Who is the US VP?”). Perhaps compared to European nations we’re doing ok on religious knowledge, but American evangelical Christians still ought to do better.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Mark L Ward Jr Cancel reply