Atheists, Agnostics Smarter About Religion? Take the Quiz


Phew! I just took this survey from The Pew forum on Religion and Public Life and scored 100%, thankfully. It’s interesting to note that I scored better than 99% of the public. (It’s a very simple 15 question test, really.)

How well do you think you’ll do? According to the article below atheists and agnostics did pretty well, outperforming Protestants and Roman Catholics.

Take the survey by clicking here before you read the article (it gives away some answers), then write in the comments how well you did.

A new survey of Americans’ knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths. Read the rest by clicking here.


Fourth Grader Barred from Recess Bible Reading

A five-year struggle for one Tennessee student’s religious liberties entered a new legal phase on Tuesday.

In 2005, the then-10-year-old Karns Elementary student and a few classmates read and discussed their Bibles during a recess period. When an unnamed parent complained, the principal ordered the student-led study to be stopped.

The Alliance Defense Fund, representing the minor and his parents, Samuel and Tina Whitson, appealed the case this week after receiving a negative jury verdict and being denied a new trial.  The case now goes to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Christian students shouldn’t be prohibited from reading and discussing their Bibles at public schools during non-instructional time,” said ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum.  “That continues to be our primary concern in this case. The Constitution does not prohibit Bibles during recess; it prohibits the banning of Bibles during recess.”


  1. I got 100%. It was actually a lot easier than I thought.

    I gotta be honest that I’m a bit skeptical that you got #11 correct, Steve (the one about whether or not it’s ok to read the Bible as literature in school). I would have thought for sure you would have answered that as “no, not okay”, since you’ve made claims that are similar.

    Did you answer “yes” because you gave the answer you thought they wanted, or do you actually believe the answer is “yes”?

    • I knew it was okay because I have friends who are teachers. Also, I follow a lot of the legal issues regarding the Bible. Congrats on your success; I would expect nothing less from you! 🙂

  2. 1 wrong. I missed on the Great Awakening – I had to guess on the two non-Billy Graham guys.

    I remember reading about the Karns thing. I don’t remember that it was quite how it’s presented here. And, yes, recess is still part of the school day – so while reading the Bible during recess would be permitted, an actual Bible study wouldn’t.

  3. “School officials argued that the whole thing was a misunderstanding.

    They said that pupils and parents had been told that only an adult-led Bible class was prohibited, not voluntary student-led groups.”

  4. Be warned: the 15 question version wasn’t the same as the one used by Pew. It was shorter than the original, but limited to the overtly religious stuff.

    I got a 14/15 (and a 9/10 on the 10 question version).

    Personally, I thought the questions were too easy. With religion being such a hot topic in this country, I have a difficult time understanding how people could be so ignorant of it. The results tend to reinforce my belief that vocal theists really shouldn’t try to be spokespersons for their deity…

  5. Wow, 15 out of 15. I guess that makes me a religious zealot. 🙂

  6. I agree, WEM. I was shocked at how easy it was.

  7. If students want to read Bibles in school let them, its their right if they have free time, just as long as the Bible isn’t taught in anything other then a theology course, there’s nothing wrong with it.

  8. I scored 14/15, missing # 14. I agree, the test was easier than I expected it to be. Now, if it had asked what bogus language did Joseph Smith claim was used on the gold tablets, I would have considered it tougher test. By the way, the answer would have been “Reformed Egyptian”.

  9. @ Whateverman: Religion is a hot topic in this country, in part, BECAUSE so many are ignorant towards it.

  10. Karns school is a hop, skip and jump from Knoxville. It is a small bedroom community. That is unique about Karns barring a student. Most likely one of the COEXIST minded school administration/teachers that unfortunately work in our school system. It is weird and I was shocked when I moved here that there is a HUGE Unitarian Universalist congregation here.

    I got 14 out of 15 of the questions right.

  11. Note in the article an “unnamed person” complained. Figures!

  12. I got 14 out of 15. The tricky question was the one about the Sabbath. I put that it started on Saturday but it “starts” at sundown on Friday. But overall yes it was an easy quiz.

  13. I don’t think that’s true, David. Religion isn’t in the news because people don’t understand it; it’s in the news because representatives want to use it to change the way society works.

    For example, people here in the northeast US (re. MA) tend to keep their religious beliefs a private affair. Ergo, stories about religious groups clashing with other groups tend to come from other parts of the country.

    I suppose one could argue that if more people understood religion better, it’d be in the news less. That makes sense, except for the fact that it’s the self-proclaimed representatives who are doing most of the talking. As a non-believer, I have a very difficult time differentiating between a real expert and an ignorant person claiming to be an expert.

  14. That’s me! I want to change the way society works! 🙂

    BUT! I am a God ordained ambassador of Christ, not self-proclaimed.

    And I understand fully, Whateverman, that it would be hard for you to differentiate between a real expert and an ignorant person claiming to be an expert. Keep tuning in and it will become abundantly clear. 🙂

  15. I am a God ordained ambassador of Christ, not self-proclaimed
    The two appear identical, Steve. You know that as well as I do.

    it would be hard for you to differentiate between a real expert and an ignorant person claiming to be an expert. Keep tuning in and it will become abundantly clear
    You’ve already given me the best you have to offer, and I’m still not convinced. You’re indistinguishable from the rest of the experts trying to tell me what’s wrong and how it can be fixed.

    I’m still waiting for one of them to be right.

  16. Steve wrote: “I am a God ordained ambassador of Christ, not self-proclaimed.

    How would I be able to tell the difference? If a Muslim said it, how would I be able to tell the difference?

  17. No one has opinions about the case? This is from the court order denying a retrial:

    “Principal Summa testified that she said “no” to the request for an adult-led Bible study class. She testified that it was not until she spoke to Chad Sparks that she learned that the children were doing the Bible study on the playground during recess, and that she had misunderstood the children’s intent. School Superintendent Lindsey testified that it was his understanding that Principal Summa had said no to an adult-led Bible study class. The testimony at trial supported the defense theory that the defendants misunderstood what the children were requesting when D.S. asked if they could have a Bible class. Moreover, the jury also heard testimony that L.W.’s parents did not talk to his teacher, Principal Summa, Superintendent Lindsey, or anyone at the Board of Education
    about the issue. Thus, it was reasonable for the jury to conclude, as did the court, that a true misunderstanding existed,
    and that plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights were not violated.”

    So, at this point it looks like a frivolous suit – or maybe it’s just a ‘rally the troops’ type thing at the expense of taxpayers.

  18. I got 14 out of 15; I missed #11, the one about Bible reading in class.

    I also want to say that if these were the kinds of questions that were on the survey, no wonder people don’t do well. How many Christians in North Carolina are familar with Mormons, for example. Atheists and agnostics would do better because, IMO, in order to debate and (if they chose) debunk these religions, they’d have to know about them. I doubt many Christians are actively learning about Buddhism and vice versa. So I am not sure what to make of this test.

  19. There are plenty of atheists who don’t debate theists. I know some myself.

    I rather think that disbelief in deities often stems from exposure to theism. As we’re all aware of, non-believers are a minority here in the US, meaning that they’re almost invariably going to be exposed to religious beliefs of all sorts. To the extent that they like being insular, religions tend to shun ideas that contradict their own.

  20. I got 15 out of 15. 🙂

  21. Most of the people I know would be ‘atheists’ and I am the only one who cares anything about discussing the subject.

  22. I have a co-worker as well as a neighbor who will debate theists every chance they get. One of my best friends is an atheist and he will discuss it if brought up.

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