Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pew Forum's Survey on Religious Knowledge

I am always up for a good internet quiz. I saw this one the other day, and being Mormon and a mathematical statistician* and all, I took it asap.

Anyway, I found the results of this survey so interesting! I mean, the top-line result is that, "Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on
a new survey of religious knowledge." Cool!

Hooray for Mormons on this one: "On the full battery of seven questions about the Bible (five Old Testament and two New Testament items) Mormons do best." I also like this result, "On questions about Christianity...Mormons and white evangelical Protestants show the highest levels of knowledge."

Where Mormons aren't so strong is our knowledge of other worldly religions (Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism specifically), although we still didn't do too badly.

It was also of interest to see who knew the least about Mormons. Black Protestants and Hispanic Catholics had the lowest average scores when asked the three Mormon-specific questions. Thank goodness Mormons knew the most about Mormons (phew!) but did you know that next-smartest [sic] about Mormonism are the atheists/agnostics? I didn't.

The survey also asked some general knowledge questions. Mormons, on average, did third best, coming in behind Jews and atheists/agnostics. Apparently less than one-third of Mormons know what the Scopes trial was about (evolution) yet we do know Darwin developed the theory of evolution. Weird.

If you're interested in seeing all 32 questions asked in the phone survey, click here and go to page 19. I did fairly well, but struggled on the general Christian questions. Awesome.

*I'm learning that people close to me don't know that I do, in fact, know more mathematics than Chuck does. (This doesn't mean that I'm better than he at all things math-related. Quite the contrary: he kills me in geometry and logic puzzles. But you want differential equations or number theory or statistical inference or linear models? Talk to me. I can point you in the right direction.  KIDDING...kinda) I think this is in part due to the fact that I get lazy and don't tell people my full job title "Mathematical Statistician;" rather, I just say "statistician." It's my mid-year goal to give myself the proper math respect. We'll see if it helps.


  1. Oh! I loved this one! Interesting results. I fared decently on the quiz myself. I was disappointed that I didn't get all the world religion questions correct. Boo me.

    *you do math? ;)

    Hey, isn't it solace that I came directly to you for [statistical] help for my dissertation? I never even thought about asking Chuck.

  2. Just kidding! This is a different Pew Religious survey! The one I took previously was MC. This one I got all the world religion questions correct. Phew! Although the questions, I think, were similar. I saved it somewhere but was too lazy to look it up. I think they were the same actually.

    Maimonides threw me. I also liked the general knowledge questions and religion in public life questions... I was so worried that I'd miss one of them - being a "policy" person and all, I was worried. But no need! :)

    Fun stuff!

  3. Fascinating facts! So you inspired me to hop over and give it a try...I scored 100%! I went to a Presbyterian affiliated college, but was required to take world religion classes and it paid off :)

  4. cool!! I had to guess at a couple, but did pretty alright!