A random and interesting find today: A friend sent me a quiz published organized by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The original quiz, which was 32 questions about the Bible, world religions, and religion in public life, found that, although the United States is one of the most religious of the developed countries, most Americans scored less than 50%. Over 1,300 people above the age of 18 and with varying levels of education and religions, most answered less than 16 questions correctly. Of those that scored the highest were atheists or agnostics, with an average score of 20.9 questions answered correctly. The Pew web site breaks down the results down further between gender, education, religious affiliation, and worship service attendance, all with sad results. In worship service attendance, those who attend at least weekly, attend monthly or yearly, and attend seldom or never, the results remained just above or below the percentage of the general population. What this means is, that even with those who attend church more than once a week, they are still hard-pressed to answer basic religion questions.
As an atheist, I was immediately intrigued to see how I would measure up against the rest of the country. A shortened version of the quiz is available on the Pew web site. I took the 15-question quiz and got an 87%; a score 93% better than the average. And again, I’m an atheist. In a country that (despite our much hallowed ideal of separation of church and state) maintains religion as such an important part of our lives both in and out of politics, this is astounding. Especially when you realize that these people that claim to be such staunch followers of the Bible, are in charge of our country. Just take this as a terrifying example: John Shimkus, Republican Congressman of Illinois and hopeful for the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Shimkus has been quoted saying that, “Global warming won’t destroy our planet because God promised Noah.” This is after quoting Genesis 8, Verse 22 at the U.S. House Subcommittee meeting on energy and environment in March of 2009.
What a terrifying thing to see one of Thomas Jefferson’s most innovative and wonderful ideals go down the toilet.