Culture At Large

Quick Thought: Jesus Excuses Ignorance?

Todd Hertz

Yesterday, Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life released the results of a study on American religious knowledge. Those surveyed answered 32 questions about the principle beliefs, history and leading figures of major world religions.

They didn't do well. The average correct score was 16. (You can test yourself in an abbreviated online quiz here.)

Worse yet, it seems that it was us Christians who pulled down the average. Atheists and agnostics, on average, got 20.9 questions correct. Jews and Mormons were right behind them with scores of 20.5 and 20.3 respectively. And then the slide starts: White evangelicals scored 17.6 while Catholics, mainline protestants and black protestants all averaged 16 right answers or less.

While the poor religious knowledge of Americans didn't surprise me, what did shock me was seeing justification for it on some Christian forums and blogs. And it's a sentiment I feel like I hear a lot in Christiandom. The view goes like this: "Why does it matter if we know what Martin Luther did? Or know other religions? That does not determine our salvation. We only need to accept and understand Jesus. That's all that matters."

As Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers would say: "Really?"

What do you think?

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, Faith, Theology