Beating the atheists at their own game…namely knowing about religion!?

The world’s going a little topsy-turvy when a God-loving friend of mine Tweets “23! Yay! I’m smarter than an atheist!”

Why is that topsy-turvy?  Because the “23” being bragged about is a quiz score which means that my friend has beaten the atheists at something they are apparently better at than most of us who are religious, namely knowing about religion!

If you haven’t yet read about it, The Christian Science Monitor article “Are you smarter than an atheist?  A religious quiz.” summarises: “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.”

So my friend wins by 2.1 out of 32 over the average atheist.   Although the atheists who do know their religion will know that the last laugh is on them, because they could point out to my Christian friend that to love her (atheist) neighbour as herself – the standard set in the Bible by Jesus – she probably shouldn’t be bragging about it on Twitter! :)

(You can read the Executive Summary of the Pew report here! and click here if you want to take a shortened version of the test!

Meanwhile, here in the UK…

Religion in the marketplace is alive and well, and the marketplace in question is Oxford, often associated in the media recently with atheist champion of “The God delusion”, Richard Dawkins.  The score for “the God-deluded” on the streets of Oxford last Saturday was Christian groups 4 (including a Healing on the Streets team), Muslims 2, Falun Gong 1.  No atheists were to be seen touting their wares, unless there were some among the Socialist Workers who left the[ir] pitch at half-time (lunch time) and never returned for the second half.

So what do you think – is knowing about religion important?   Or is it more important to know about God?   Or are the two the same?  Should religious people do a better job at knowing about atheism?

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Categories: Christianity

Author:Tony Lobl

I write on spirituality and health for a diversity of online media outlets, from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I have been published by the Independent, the Washington Post, the Guardian, E-Hospice, MindBodyGreen and The Christian Science Monitor and I post regularly on the Huffington Post UK and BuzzFeed. In addition to writing and broadcast appearances I enjoy engaging with journalists, academics, health professionals and government officials about the possibilities for improving health outcomes through a greater emphasis on spirituality in healthcare and social care. I've also greatly valued the many opportunities I have had to travel globally for my church and to meet people around the world. My wife Jenny and I spent 10 years in Boston, USA, before returning to London in 2002, to take on a role as the media and legislative liaison for Christian Science in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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2 Comments on “Beating the atheists at their own game…namely knowing about religion!?”

  1. Geebs
    September 30, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

    Hurray – 93% in the short test:

    http://features.pewforum.org/quiz/us-religious-knowledge/index.php

  2. Courtenay Rule
    November 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    I took the Pew Forum quiz on the Monitor’s website and scored 100% (even with the three or four questions – mainly those related to US legal rulings – that I guessed). As I remarked to a fellow Christian Scientist friend afterwards, “Does this mean I must be an atheist??”

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