13 March, 2013

Religious Quiz

Hey, Readers,

I was reading an article about the new Pope, Francis (after informing my Roman Catholic (really, she's from Italy!) grandmother that Benedict did not pass away but instead resigned, and there was a new pope chosen) when I clicked on one of the suggested links. It was to a quiz entitled,

"Are you smarter than an Atheist? A religious quiz."

The description of the quiz outlines how many questions different groups usually get correct:
Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups in a 32-question survey of religious knowledge by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. On average, Americans got 16 of the 32 questions correct. Atheists and agnostics got an average of 20.9 correct answers. Jews (20.5) and Mormons (20.3). Protestants got 16 correct answers on average, while Catholics got 14.7 questions right.
Naturally, I was curious as to how I would do! I ended up getting 25 questions correct, for a 78%. That's lower than what they said the average reader gets (average being 81%), but I'm pretty proud of that score. Only one of the questions I missed was really an "Oh! I should have known that!" moment. The others, I had really no expectation that I would know. In other words, I knew what I knew and what I didn't, which I think is a good sign.

Of the seven questions I missed, two were about Judaism, one about Islam (an implicit associations quiz I took last year showed that I have the least familiarity with Islam out of Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Hinduism, so I sort of already knew that my education is lacking where Muslims are concerned), three about Christianity, and one that I think might have to do with Christianity but I honestly had no idea what it was about! I won't say what it was, in case you want to take the quiz and see how you do!

My boyfriend took the quiz, and he scored a little lower than I did. He is an atheist, but an old-school one, meaning he's the type that doesn't believe but doesn't care that other people do. This is in contrast to what some people refer to as "new atheists," who are the more aggressive atheists you may have met online, who make it their place to disprove beliefs. I think his score was because he wasn't raised with any religion and isn't the kind of atheist who goes out of their way to learn everything about religions. I use these terms because last year in my psych class, the one in which I researched prejudice against pagans, an atheist girl in my class did her research on prejudice against atheists. She learned and reported to us that there are these two groups of atheists, referred to as old and new. Based on their usual way of going about things, I think "new" atheists are more the type to score highly on a religious knowledge quiz, because they really like to learn about many beliefs, either to see if they agree with any or to disprove them. On the other hand, all the atheists I know in person are very "old" atheist, laid-back, just non-religious. I don't really expect them to know everything about world religions just because they are atheists and atheists usually know a lot about religion. If they don't have a personal interest in religion, why should they know a lot about it outside things they've picked up from other people? Perhaps I will ask my other close atheist friend to take the quiz and see how she does. Unlike my boyfriend, she was raised Catholic, so she might score higher just because of that exposure. I find it very interesting how people are exposed to certain ideas. In fact, one of the questions I missed, I think is actually because I was raised Catholic and didn't know whether other, Protestant Christians believed the same or not.

Hey, wow, my other friend got an 84%. Get it!

Oh, and honestly, I only got the Mormon questions right because I've listened to the soundtrack of the broadway musical, The Book of Mormon. =)



  1. Was the weird question that might have been about Christianity #12 (something like 'Do Catholics or Protestants believe in salvation through faith alone?'), because that is really a matter of opinion. Different Christians have different viewpoints about that, regardless of whether they are Protestant or Catholic.

    1. There are a lot of things about which individuals have their own personal views, which can differ from what the tradition itself teaches. I think this quiz was looking for answers about the teachings of the groups in general.

    2. Oh, but no, it was a question that was about some specific event, I think? The question didn't have the name of any religious group in it, and I didn't know what the thing was, therefore I didn't know what religious group the question involved.