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.
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.)
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.