Senior Women: How Much Do We Know About Our Religion?

Oct 14th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: For Senior Women

Senior Women is back!! We’ve taken a three-month hiatus, and now Senior Women will be published again on a weekly basis. We will be talking about issues of interest to women in their senior years, and many of our articles will include recipes that have become favorites for SCJ editors.

Some recent news reports caught my eye this past week.  Several mainline news organizations recently published reports from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, one of the Pew Research Center’s projects. The reports described individual’s knowledge of world religions based on a questionnaire given to 3412 people in May and June, 2010.  The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life study revealed fascinating data; this is their executive summary:

“Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.

On average, Americans correctly answer 16 of the 32 religious knowledge questions on the survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Atheists and agnostics average 20.9 correct answers. Jews and Mormons do about as well, averaging 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers, respectively. Protestants as a whole average 16 correct answers; Catholics as a whole, 14.7. Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons perform better than other groups on the survey even after controlling for differing levels of education.”

There is an abbreviated version of the quiz online.  You will find it on this link, and you can take the quiz yourself to compare your score with national scores; your score is not included in the national study nor the report.

I took the quiz online; there are 15 questions, versus 32 in the actual study conducted last May/June.  The average national score was 50%… that is, 16 of the 32 questions were answered correctly on average.  As reported above, Atheists, Agnostics, Jews and Mormons performed better

than any other groups on the survey.  My score was 80%; I answered 12 of the 15 questions correctly, missing three–and discovered those three were some things I didn’t know about world religions.  

I’ve had a Paraprosdokian posted on my FaceBook page this week.  It was, “Attending church/mosque/synagogue doesn’t make you religious any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.”  I discovered a relationship between that Paraprosdokian and the Pew study:  Many people who define their religiosity by attendance at a house of faith have a long way to go to really understand the  foundations of their religion.



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