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Thursday, 30 September 2010

Saddened, But Not Surprised

I was willing to accept what many said, that that hand wringing by the more Catholic Than Thou sect over much bruited about poll results, (were they Gallup?,) that were purported to prove that most Catholics don't believe in the Real presence was uncalled for, that the questions were so phrased that it was possible to have a very good, (if not very profound,) understanding of Eucharistic theology and have answered the survey question "wrong, that it was badly confusingly phrased.

Well, the Church in America can now breath a sigh of relief, it is NOT a majority of us who don't believe in the Real Presence.

It is only about 45%.
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.

On questions about Christianity -- including a battery of questions about the Bible -- Mormons (7.9 out of 12 right on average) and white evangelical Protestants (7.3 correct on average) show the highest levels of knowledge.

Jews and atheists/agnostics stand out for their knowledge of other world religions, including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism; out of 11 such questions on the survey, Jews answer 7.9 correctly (nearly three better than the national average) and atheists/agnostics answer 7.5 correctly (2.5 better than the national average).

Atheists/agnostics and Jews also do particularly well on questions about the role of religion in public life, including a question about what the U.S. Constitution says about religion.

These are among the key findings of the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, a nationwide poll conducted from May 19 through June 6, 2010, among 3,412 Americans age 18 and older, on landlines and cell phones, in English and Spanish. Jews, Mormons and atheists/agnostics were oversampled to allow analysis of these relatively small groups.1

Previous surveys by the Pew Research Center have shown that America is among the most religious of the world's developed nations. Nearly six-in-ten U.S. adults say that religion is "very important" in their lives, and roughly four-in-ten say they attend worship services at least once a week.

But the 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. Many people also think the constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools are stricter than they really are.

More than four-in-ten Catholics in the United States (45%) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ.
(I would have flubbed the Jonathon Edwards question.)
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