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Poll: Most Americans Know the Basics About Christianity and the Bible

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A recent Pew Research Center survey showed that most American adults have basic knowledge about Christianity and the Bible.

The survey, U.S. Religious Knowledge Quiz, asked 11,000 Americans about what they know about various religious topics from the doctrines of Christianity to atheism and agnosticism. The questions varied in difficulty.

Among Christians, knowledge of the Bible and Christianity is closely linked both with the amount of effort respondents say they invest in learning about their faith and with their religious background. —Pew Research Center

Most of the respondents were able to answer basic questions about Christianity such as the reason for the celebration of Easter Sunday (81%). Eight-in-ten Americans, 79%, were able to identify Moses as the character in the Bible to lead the exodus from Egypt. The same rate answered the Christian belief about the Holy Trinity, one God in three persons.

More than three-in-ten, but fewer than six-in-ten respondents answered nine difficult questions correctly. More than half of polled adults (58%) knew that ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is not one of the Ten Commandments. Further, 51% answered that the Sermon on the Mount was delivered by Jesus, while 34% knew the Catholic Church teaching about Communion.

On questions about the Bible and Christianity, evangelical Protestants did well in the survey of religious knowledge (9.3 out of 14). The group is followed by atheists and Mormons, answering 8.6 and 8.5 questions correctly, respectively.

The Center found that in addition to religious affiliation, education is a strong influence on a person’s religious knowledge.

College graduates fared better than high school graduates, answering 7.2 questions right. Americans who took world religion classes also did well in the survey; they got 17.3 questions correctly, compared with 12.5 among those who have not taken a similar class.

“Among Christians, knowledge of the Bible and Christianity is closely linked both with the amount of effort respondents say they invest in learning about their faith and with their religious background,” according to the Pew analysis.

Christians who regularly spend time reading the Bible and religious materials, listening to podcasts or watching television, answered more questions correctly about the Bible and Christianity (9.4 questions out of 14).

Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest in reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at Joyce@onechristianvoice.com.

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