Yesterday the Pew Forum released the results of a survey about general religious knowledge in the U.S. The numbers aren’t all that impressive—the average respondent got half of the 32 questions right, all multiple-choice questions on the level of “Which religion aims at nirvana?” and “Where was Jesus born?” Only eight people (out of 3,000+) got all 32 right, and six got them all wrong. What’s lighting up the blogosphere, however, is the relative religious literacy among groups: atheists and agnostics (a single group in the poll’s findings) and Jews had the best scores, while Christians had the worst—despite the high number of questions in the “Bible and Christianity” category. Controlling for education (atheists/agnostics and Jews tend to have more of it) and other demographics reduces the gap but doesn’t eliminate it. What’s going on?

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