How much do you know about what you believe?

I have to confess, when I heard a brief story on WBBM Newsradio 78 last week citing data that show religious people don’t know some basic facts about their religion, I was not surprised. I was sad, but not surprised.

The story was based on a survey by The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. There is an online version of the survey that asks 15 multiple-choice questions about not just Christianity, but other popular religions. You can take the online quiz yourself here.

When you complete the quiz, you’re taken to a page that shares the overall results of the more extensive survey, as well as results by religious affiliation. Honestly, those results were not that surprising either. It was interesting to see, in black-and-white, what my online atheist friends have been telling me, in this forum and other places where we’ve had passionate dialogue: A lot of Christians don’t know much about what they say they believe.

Dare to share your results

If you take the survey, would you be willing to post your score in the comments? I’m willing because my score was 100%! I credit that score not only to my Christian upbringing, which included daily Bible reading, but also to my later work with the Bible League, which gave me opportunities to interact with Christians around the world who had been raised as Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, whatever, and who were introduced to Jesus and began following his way instead.

If you’re a Christian, tell me if you think it’s important to know things about other religions.

If you’re an atheist, tell me why you think atheists score so well on this test of religious knowledge. Is it because most atheists have come out of some kind of religious background? Or perhaps because they are not aligned with any one religion, so they have opportunities to learn more about all of them?

And no matter what religion you are, I’d like your opinion on this: Did the quiz ask the right questions? I mean, are those the things we should know about our religion? What questions would you have asked instead?


10 thoughts on “How much do you know about what you believe?”

  1. Well I took the quiz, scored 13 out of 15 (87% and 93% better than most) but they don’t tell you which ones you answered wrong. How maddening!

  2. Took the quiz also. I believe I missed the one on Pakistan. Knowing something about the person you are working for helps you do a better job and answer their questions more clearly. Should we know about other religions? Absolutely. Christ set us an example. The apostle Paul made such a good missionary because he knew Jewish, Gentile and Christian culture. Christ called us to prepare our minds, to be ready to give reason for the hope that we have, gently and respectfully. That works better when we do not fear those to whom we speak. Shalom.

  3. Mel,I took the test and scored 11 out of 15 for 73%. I agree with your mother that we can`t learn if we don`t know what we got wrong.I spent a lot of my life searching for what was missing in me.I would read a book by the Dalai Lama ,even one on the “Wisdom of Merlin”,any book, as long as it was not the Bible. I believe this search is one reason atheists have knowledge of other religions.When the truth was literally revealed to me ,I became a Christ follower at age 55.I admit that since then I have only read books,along with the Bible, to help me grow in my faith.I will keep in mind what you ,and John, said about learning of other religions to show respect to other people.
    I really enjoyed the Time for God series.

    • Dave, you’re coming from a different place than a lot of Christians—you already explored other options and are now returning to Jesus. I think that automatically makes you more sensitive to and understanding of the paths other people are on.

  4. Someone must have told the research center to put up the results in detail. I took the test this evening and it had the correct answer listed and the percentage of persons that answered the question correctly. I actually scored better than I anticipated – 10 out of 15 questions correct. And admittedly I took some educated guesses with that score basing the answer off of the structure of words in relationship to language… smh. But, I’ve already signed up for iCal this evening, as well. :)

    While I stay in constant conversation with God throughout the day, I know that I can’t speak on the bible beyond some basic concepts. Thank you for connecting with me, Melanie.

    ~ Melanie

Comments are closed.