Atheists and Jews top religious knowledge survey

Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:58am EDT
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By Ed Stoddard

DALLAS (Reuters) - They may not believe in God or gods but they know a thing or two about them.

Atheists and agnostics topped a survey of religious knowledge among Americans released on Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

"On average, Americans correctly answer 16 of the 32 religious knowledge questions on the survey. Atheists and agnostics average 20.9 ... Jews and Mormons do about as well, averaging 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers," Pew said.

It found Protestants answered 16 correctly and Catholics on average 14.7.

On questions about the Bible and Christianity, Mormons and white evangelical Protestants scored the highest, while Jews, atheists and agnostics trumped the other faiths on their knowledge of Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism.

"While previous surveys by the Pew Research Center have shown that America is among the most religious of the world's developed nations, this survey shows that large numbers of Americans are not well informed about the tenets, practices, history and leading figures of major faith traditions -- including their own," said Pew, which is based in Washington.

To see the "U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey" go to: here

Highlights of the survey include:   Continued...

<p>A gold pendant of Jesus hangs in the window of a store in the jewelry district in downtown Los Angeles November 2, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson</p>