News / USA

    Survey Shows Americans' Knowledge of Religion Uneven

    Survey Shows Americans' Knowledge of Religion Uneven
    Survey Shows Americans' Knowledge of Religion Uneven

    A survey in the United States finds that many Americans know relatively little about religious practices and traditions - either their own faith or other religions.

    The independent Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life says it asked 3,400 Americans to answer questions about their religious knowledge, and on average their answers were correct only 50 percent of the time.

    Survey results released Tuesday show that Americans who either do not believe in God or are not sure if God exists scored the highest.

    Atheists and agnostics correctly answered about 21 of the 32 questions, followed by Jews and Mormons, who each had about 20 correct answers.

    The Pew study found that only 47 percent of Americans know the Dalai Lama is Buddhist.  Less than 40 percent identify Vishnu and Shiva with Hinduism.  And only about 27 percent know that most Indonesians are Muslim - even though that country has the world's largest Muslim population.

    Pew researchers' previous surveys have ranked the United States as one of the most religious nations among the world's developed countries.  About 60 percent of American adults say religion is "very important" in their lives.  However, the foundation said its "U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey shows that large numbers of Americans are uninformed about the tenets, practices, history and leading figures of major faith traditions - including their own."

    On questions about Christianity, Mormons scored the highest.  Jews, atheists and agnostics scored the highest on questions about world religions like Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.

    American Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists were included in the survey, but the Pew organization said too few of them took part to produce relevant data for each group.

    Roman Catholics make up the largest single religious denomination in the United States, but the survey found that 45 percent of them answered incorrectly when asked about one of their faith's core beliefs - that the bread and wine shared as Communion during Mass do not merely symbolize Christ but actually become his body and blood.

    More than half or 53 percent of American Protestants could not correctly identify Martin Luther as the historical figure whose writing and teaching inspired the Protestant Reformation.  And 43 percent of American Jews were unable to identify Maimonides as one of the most influential rabbis in Jewish history.

    Questions in the survey included: Where was Jesus born? What is Ramadan?  What religion is the Dalai Lama?  It was conducted by telephone, in English and Spanish, over a three-week period several months ago.  The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life said the general margin of error the survey was about 2.5 percentage points.The Pew Research Center, the nonpartisan group that operates the religious forum, posted full details of the survey at www.pewforum.org.  You can take the survey yourself on the their website.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora