Quick point, I scored 14 out of 15.
Originally Posted by segovius
Heheh - good one!
Let's get back on track.
I put it to you that the survey is in fact an accurate snapshot and that it was not tilted in any way by any agenda. The questions are fairly neutral and are really more or less general knowledge.
In fact, not long ago, ANYONE would have known most of them - person of faith or otherwise.
I think it is more an issue of declining standards across the board. Of course some small groups of Christians do seem to make a concerted effort to stay in the dark but...
A bit of a profound question, if the general population doesn't know the general knowledge of a topic, can it still be valid to call it general?
I assure you, I do a lot of testing.
A lot of bad assumptions can be made when using a small multiple choice test.
Quick points.... 32 questions to sample every major world religion. How can such a think be accurate? Could I sample what every knows in any other major field with 32 questions?
Second, what was the make up of the questions and was there anything that caused the question to perform poorly rather than the person being tested. If no one can get it right, then the question is probably flawed rather than the test subjects. The 15th question as an example only had 11% get it right no matter there religious or philosophical background. That to most testers would note that something in the wording is causing problems with the majority of those taking the test.
In this particular case, I'd note that while the Great First Awakening is interesting from a historical perspective and debating the effect on the American Revolution can be lots of fun, it is no form is formally associated with the practice of Christianity or what it means to be Christian. I think we could both agree on that could we not?
A good second example is the example question 11 related to appropriate reading of religious texts in an educational setting. Only 23% of all questioners got it correct and that is likely because the context of using it as an example of literature isn't well understood by the general public. This doesn't mean the general public is ignorant on religious matters. It means they are ignorant on educational matters so that makes it a bad question.
Using this understanding, it is easy to see that some of the questions aren't about religion so much as they are about understanding the historical and sociological implications and influences of religion on our society. If you claim to be a Christian and don't understand who that Jesus guy is, you've probably got a problem. If you don't know what literature examples happen to be, early influences on the American Revolution or don't understand the three part Lemon ruling, that doesn't mean you are religiously ignorant in my opinion.
Given that understand also, it is very likely that atheists and agnostics would be likely to do better because this isn't a quiz that measures religious knowledge but as I said the role of religion along with its historical and sociological implications. If you are an agnostic or atheist you would be more likely to think more about religion as an influence and if you are an activist atheist, you would be profoundly more likely to know the history and legal precedents related to trying to limit or remove religious influence. Thus you would be studying founder intent when trying to establish just cause for separation of church and state. You would fully understand when a religious text is being read to proselytize and when it is being read as an example of literature because it is in your interest when limiting religion to know such information.
Originally Posted by Aquatic
Sure, valid point. Many conservative polls are push-polls or have flawed statistical methods. In fact, many polls in general do. I'm taking an advanced statistics course, and even with the right intentions, this stuff is complicated and it's easy to make a mistake in methodology!
So, trumpt if I'm interpreting you right, you are asserting the Pew is a liberal organization, and not only that, but you are asserting is lets this bias its reports.
Quite the opposite. I was asserting exactly what I quoted. It is also what you quoted so I don't see how you missed it.
Any time I've heard of Pew work, it's been really damn reputable and respectable. This isn't some crackpot organization, they do serious work. My exposure to their work has been that I've noticed many grants or environmental reports they have sponsored. You breath air and drink water so you should thank them for that alone.
My point is simply to note that plenty of people engage in ad-hom circumstantial fallacies but conveniently drop them when they find a point they believe supports their worldview. Pew money is old inherited oil money. If such facts make work from a source bad, then this is true always, not circumstantially. People cannot go from this thread to the global warming thread and declare certain studies from claimed tainted sources as invalid due to their energy concerns.
As to bashing religion, far from it. From what I've read in the Bible so far I'm a fan of Jesus and I'm not bashing anyone's choices in what to believe. In fact I'll defend you, believe in what you think is right for you. But, when it starts to affect me or other people that is a whole different ball game. And furthermore, to address the topic of this thread: many (most?) religion people DO NOT ADHERE to their religion. At all. I mean, thou shalt not kill? Lie? How on Earth do Republicans pass muster on even a tiny fraction of the Ten Commandments? Let's dodge social or "family" issues. Let's talk financial politics. Republicans want to have 1% of the population have half the money. Again can anyone here who is religious and a Republican explain how that is Christ-like to me? The more I learn about Christianity the less patience I have with so-called "Christians" that don't live by or even know anything about their own religion. And I know this does not apply to all denominations or particular congregations. I try to never make absolute blanket statements. I am just meaning "most". For example, my own denomination I was confirmed in is very liberal and has a long history of funding environmental research and protection. I have only good memories and I value what I learned there, although I was only a kid and it was before I started to be political and philosophical. Of course no one there believed the Earth was 10,000 years old or anything, and it was a good atmosphere, with quite amazing food always as well!
I've gone on long enough for sure, I'll listen for ya'll's thoughts on this matter.
You raise some good points and also note the hypocritical interests. The problem becomes how these failings are assigned to religion, but forgiven for other fields of inquiry as to the nature of humans and solutions for how they should live. Are Republicans or any sort of politically motivated persons perfect Christians or even just perfect religious adherents? Of course not. However guess what, philosophers, scientists and well intentioned political advocates are just as easily hoisted upon their own petards. Thus they, in my view, do not hold any moral high ground over people who are religious.