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Could You Repeat the Question?~Religious Ignorance

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Could You Repeat the Question?~Religious Ignorance

Post  Admin on Sat 02 Oct 2010, 8:14 pm

Could You Repeat the Question?
Religious Ignorance

October 01, 2010 Chuck Colson

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently asked more than 3,000
Americans 32 questions about religion-subjects such as the Bible, world
religions, and important religious figures.

The sad results, I guess, were predictable. But they also put an
exclamation point on my commitment to teaching Christian worldview.

The average respondent got only half of the answers right and, what's
worse, many respondents couldn't correctly answer questions about their
own professed religion.

For instance, 45 percent of Catholics surveyed couldn't identify their
church's teaching about Holy Communion. More than half of Protestants
couldn't identify Martin Luther. And 43 percent of Jews didn't know that
Maimonides, the great Jewish rabbi and philosopher, was Jewish.

If Americans struggled on matters concerning their own professed
religion, they knew even less about other people's religion.

Not all groups scored the same: Professed atheists and agnostics scored
the highest! Next highest were Mormons and Jews.

As you might expect, atheists crowed upon hearing the news: One atheist
told the New York Times that giving a Bible to your child was the best
way to make him an atheist.

Hardly. As Ross Douthat of the Times pointed out, self-described
atheists are likely to have a "high level of interest in religious
detail and debate." Their knowledge greatly exceeds that of "many
self-described Methodists or cradle Catholics who have a vague belief in
God and show up at church on holidays."

But that's cold comfort, especially when you actually see the
multiple-choice questions being asked. Even the ones about church and
state relations or the dominant religion in Pakistan ought to be obvious
to anyone who has ever read a newspaper.

The sad fact is that for many American Christians, faith is a warm,
fuzzy that has little to do with knowledge and understanding. The
default creed is fast becoming what sociologist Wesley Smith calls
"moral therapeutic deism," which holds that the "central goal of life is
to be happy and to feel good about oneself."

In this worldview, all religions are pretty much the same, so what any
particular religion teaches isn't as important as being "good, nice, and
fair to each other."

Of course, that kind of insipid, inarticulate belief never inspired
anyone to live well, especially when living well cost them something.
That's because it cannot give an account for the hope that inspires
people to live well!

This is why I'm devoting the remainder of my ministry to teaching
Christian worldview. The answer to "How Now Shall We Live?" is
inseparable from the content of "The Faith." Christian living and
apologetics require a solid knowledge of what Christianity teaches and
its history.

Many of the objections to and charges against Christianity are based on
little more than distortions and even fabrications. If we don't know the
real story, we can't respond. Or even those of us who do know the real
story are often intimidated. We don't want to sound judgmental or harsh,
and so we don't speak up. The result is that myths about the faith go
unchallenged. More than any survey results, that should motivate us to
understand what it is we profess and to be able to defend it in the
market place.

[For further reading, click here]

http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/15449
http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/15439
Take the quiz
http://features.pewforum.org/quiz/us-religious-knowledge/index.php
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