Thursday, March 29, 2007
Religion For $100, Alex!
Americans are a deeply religious people who know nothing about religion according to author Stephen Prothero in his new book, Religious Literacy. The following is a portion of Prothero’s test of religious knowledge:
1) Name the four Gospels.Okay, I knew all except numbers 5 and 8 (though I got a majority of the 10 Commandments).
2) Name a sacred Hindu text.
3) Name the holy book of Islam.
4) Name the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament.
5) Name the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.
6) What is Ramadan and in what religion is it celebrated?
7) What is the Golden Rule?
8) Name the 10 Commandments.
9) What does the First Amendment say about religion?
10) Is the saying "God helps those who help themselves" in the Bible?
But it seems that, in a country where about 90% of the populace claim to be believers, an agnostic like me is nonetheless in the high end of scorers.
This is not just an amusing embarrassment to American theists, it can be deadly too. As Prothero, chair of Boston University’s religion department, says:
We see it played out every day on the killing fields of Iraq and Afghanistan. The inability of the people leading the "war on terror" to figure out the basics of Islam — Shiites? Sunnis? Kurds? Who knows? — only exacerbates the problem, he said.
"We’re surprised that all of a sudden, the Sunnis and Shiites are fighting, but that’s the kind of thing you would learn in high school," Prothero said.
Peace Be With You
PS: I am a recovered alcoholic with 22 years of sobriety.
I recently read an interesting article, which brings up the issue; here's the link if you're interested:
Basically, the author asserts that Americans are religious, but don't seem to get Jesus right (in their minds, or in their actions). I agree.
My agnostic friends tell me that if they're going to have Jesus shoved down their throats... for God's sakes, at least make sure it's the right Jesus...
Patrick: I'm glad religion helped you and hope it continues to.
You don't make someone think you're the sole object of a crazy lunatic's religious obsession and then just start Jesus-Cheating with other bloggers. It's not right. Have a little common courtesy.
Do I get a vote?