Pew Survey Reveals Basic Ignornace Of Christian BeliefCan you name the four Gospels in order? If you can, you’re doing better than the over-half of Americans who can’t—only 45% of the participants in the Pew Forum’s U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey1 could. They surveyed Protestant and Catholic Christians, Mormons, Jews, and atheists/agnostics to measure rudimentary religious knowledge among those groups. This included rudimentary questions about Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, and Eastern religions.
The average Christian respondent to the survey answered 16 out of 32 questions correctly, including 6 out of 12 questions pertaining to Christianity. White evangelicals were the most knowledgeable group, answering 7.3 questions correctly, but still not measuring up to the Mormons, who could answer 7.9 questions. For instance, only ¼ of white evangelicals knew that Protestants uniquely teach that salvation is by faith alone (somewhat of a mistake—the actual teaching is by grace through faith—Ephesians 2:8–9).
The good news is that the media hype about this survey is somewhat overblown—no group really scored very well on this survey. The bad news is that religious knowledge in general, including knowledge of one’s own religion, is abysmal. This includes ignorance of some very basic teachings, and as such, it is obviously a major contributor to the decline of Christianity as the dominant or prevailing worldview that it once was in most Western countries. This is simply because as a church—as individuals—we are not addressing the questions that the culture is asking. If one asks street evangelists, for example, what are the major reasons people reject the Christian faith, most will advise that in the ensuing conversations that follow, it ultimately can be boiled down to doubts about the authority of sc
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