Americans get an 'F' in religion

This is a sad situation, but dosen’t surprise me.

Goff cites a widely circulated claim on the Internet that the Quran foretold American intervention in the Middle East, based on a supposed passage “that simply isn’t there. It’s an entire argument for war based on religious ignorance.”

This is an example, not so much of religious ignorance, but of laziness. When surprising statements are made, a bit of fact-checking is called for, not blind acceptance.

Prothero’s solution is to require middle-schoolers to take a course in world religions and high schoolers to take one on the Bible. Biblical knowledge also should be melded into history and literature courses where relevant. He wants all college undergrads to take at least one course in religious studies.

I think the world religions course is a great idea. The Bible course is also a great idea (important to understanding much of Western historical culture), but making it a requirement would probably not survive a court challenge.

I’d say it’s hardly surprising. The general trend is not care for “religion” but for “spirituality.” Start throwing around dogma, and people tend to shy away. The care is much more for platitudes. You can tell there is more care paid for feelings and intentions. Moral reasoning tends not to be so cared about.

I scored 90% on the sidebar Religious Literacy test, which is better than the 80% I scored on Newsweek’s “Got Religion?” Quiz.

NB: Perhaps it is the self-selecting population that would take the ewsweek quiz, but it does not seem as grim as the headline states – The statistics at the end indicate that ~15% scored below 70% (D or F letter grade), and some 70% of testers scored above 80% (A or B letter grade).


It’s a bit hard to give actual letter grades out, it’s one thing in class when your studying the subject, it’s another to take one just out of the blue. I mean how can you actually figure what a true reflection would look like? The best measure would be to repeat the same test year after year and see the trends. I suppose it’s easy enough to throw a test out and Americans would be getting F’s in American History, Religion, Science, US Politics and Math. I doubt it’d be much better for the general population for any other country, though there might be some subjects with higher scores relative to another. I suppose the one who will score the highest, will also be the same one’s who care the most. If you score an F, you might have not cared enough to begin with, or possibly there are a few who do care, but they are novices wanting to know more.

Um, yes – It was not my idea to do so, rather I was responding in kind to the USAToday headline, which is the title of this thread.

Which was my point about the self-selecting population.

My apologies that these were not clear in my previous message. Thanks for helping me to clarify.


I took the quiz and got a decent grade primarily because I learned so much from our parish RCIA course after years of being a sponsor. However, I found a severe gap in my knowledge regarding Eastern religions. I have no clue about Hinduism or Buddism. I wish that I had taken a world religions course in college. I blew my “fun” electives on scientic courses because I changed from engineering to a nonscientific major. I think I will stop by the library and find a book.

Thanks for taking our quiz. You answered 100% of the questions correctly.

Show-off, blowing the curve for the rest of us…

[seriously: congratulations]


I’m afraid that religious illiteracy also goes hand in hand with historical illiteracy. After all, the history of western civilization is largely the history of the Catholic church, and what school wants to teach that? I’m guessing that’s why Western Civ courses have been downgraded in favor of world civilization courses.

I don’t have a problem with “Spirituality”. I believe God is “spirit” isn’t he? Holy Spirit? How do you think God relates to us? It’s on a spiritual level. We are part spirit, our soul. Religion is just a formal way to focus our relationship with God. Remember, formal religions have the been the cause of alot of strife over history. I know folks who read the Bible and say prayers, but do not wish to step into a church.

Having said that I belong to a formal religion, Christianity/Catholic. I feel I need that focus. Maybe others don’t for 1 reason or another, and I’ll try not to fault them for it.

I never said “spirituality” is bad. “Spirituality” and “religion” tend to work best, when both are connected. When I say “religion” I don’t really mean chruch or even Mass, I mean the structure of the beliefs. The structure of beliefs are dry bones if there is not any spirit with them.

I will say that while formal religion has been correlelated with a lot of physical strife, I believe the most direct cause is human strife is human nature. I’m just an old sap for the idea of “original sin.”

But again to the point of the article, and was the orginal idea of the post, I think you reply backs up, spirituality without formal religion is quite popular. If one has no desire of the formalities, I doubt the details would be of too much concern. If someone scores an ‘F’ I believe typically it’s a subject of little concern or they lack the ability to learn it. I doubt that they don’t have the ability to learn those details.