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From the Back Pew: Religion by the numbers

October 07, 2010|By Michael J. Arvizu

This week, our In Theory writers were asked to take a 15-question religion quiz published by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. The quiz is the shortened version of a larger quiz given to a randomly selected group of people from May 19 to June 6 called the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey. According to the Pew Forum, 3,412 adults were asked 32 questions about religion. The survey was conducted on landlines and cell phones in English and Spanish.

If you like numbers, and if you'd like to compare your religious knowledge against that of other groups of people, this one's for you. At the conclusion of the shortened quiz, you will be able to compare your results against a number of statistics, including those who attend church and those who do not; race; religious affiliation; gender; and education level. The statistics are the final results taken from the official survey. Taking the quiz now does not affect those results, according to the Pew Forum, and is a quick, easy — and fun — way to test your religious knowledge.

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I scored 12 out of 15, for a final score of 80%. This puts me above the overall population (50%) and 41 percentage points over the Hispanic Catholic population (39%). I scored below 7% of the public, with 87% of the public scoring zero to 11 out of 15. I failed the Ten Commandments question, the Jewish Sabbath question and the Reformation question. But I will get back to these numbers in a moment.

The real fun begins when we look at what religious affiliations scored in the top three — Jews, atheists and Mormons.

Atheists, you say? Yes, atheists. Without going too much into the numbers, "Mormons and Evangelicals know most about Christianity; atheists/agnostics and Jews do best on world religions," according to the Pew Forum.

The other fun part of this quiz is that you can view the Pew Forum's final report and compare how each religious affiliation did, down to a single question.

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