Religious Literacy

Stephen Prothero, a religious studies professor at Boston University, writes about the religious literacy of Americans. Here is a quiz he gives his incoming students. Take the quiz and then compare your results with his students.

Here are Prothero’s comments at a recent speech…

And students do really badly. I think about one out of nine of my students would pass with 60 percent or better. And one thing that really intrigued me is, at the end, I would give them a list of Bible characters and then Bible stories and I’d ask them to match them. I’d have Adam and Eve and Paul and Moses on one side and, on the other side, I’d have Exodus and the Road to Damascus and the Garden of Eden. I’d ask them to draw a line between the two, and it’s amazing – (laughter) – the lines that they would draw in their heads. Paul would be getting the olive branch from the dove and – (laughter) – Jesus would be parting the Red Sea. I mean, somebody must have been able to do that. It was probably Jesus, you know. (Laughter.)

And again, these weren’t obscure things. It wasn’t even like David and Goliath things. And so now, when I read stories in magazines and newspapers–Appalachian State beats Michigan, or any other David and Goliath story – I always kind of laugh and think nobody knows that story. Most Americans probably don’t know that reference to David and Goliath.

Read the whole article.

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