Survey shows big gaps in religious literacy

October 11, 2010

Catholics know about as much as Americans in general about religion, getting right only half of the 32 questions in a survey for the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

In the survey released Sept. 28, Pew found that those most likely to answer the most questions correctly were atheists and agnostics.

That group on average answered 20.9 of 32 questions correctly, compared to the total average of 16; Jews averaged 20.5 questions correct and Mormons, 20.3.

White evangelical Protestants got an average of 17.6 questions correct, while white Catholics averaged 16 correct answers and Hispanic Catholics averaged 11.6 correct answers.

White mainline Protestants answered 15.8 questions right.

The questions tested general knowledge about various religions, about U.S. laws affecting religion and about key figures and beliefs of major religions.