Bible Illiteracy


A new (4/14) Pew survey of religion in the United States reports the results of Bible knowledge of different groups in the U.S.

Evangelicals could answer 5.1 questions (of 7) about the Bible correctly.
Atheists were 4.5.
Jews were 4.3
Catholics could answer only 3.8 questions (of 7) about the Bible correctly.

We’re worse off than the atheists!



This is showing a lack of energy within the faithful. I heard it best, that Catholics know the Bible far better then protestants, where protestants are better and memorizing locations of verses. We have a problem in the Church, and we have to ask ourselves. “How am I going to energize people in the Church?”


Not surprising! For many years iCatholics were discouraged from reading the bible for fear that we would develop wrong interpretations. Besides that, I would be interested in seeing the questions. Although Catholics generally can’t quote bible and verse, we are actually exposed to more of the bible in our three year cycle than most church groups. Many Christian denominations do very little preaching from the OT and some disavow it altogether.

As for the Atheists, “Know your enemy.” (Although I must admit I question the lack of belief in an Atheist who feels so strongly compelled to read the bible just to prove us wrong. Then again, God works in mysterious ways!)

That being said, we need to study scripture far more than we do! Absolutely!


You are posting on April 9 about an April 14 survey?


:smiley: Great catch!


Try the 15 question version for yourself!

I got 15/15, so it sure isn’t very tough!


Thanks for posting the quiz!

It was a good quiz, but I don’t think that the questions about what teachers are allowed/not allowed to do in American classrooms should have anything to do with religious knowledge. :nope:


That survey is a few years old, and I also got 15/15 too.

The priest in my parish once complimented me on my Biblical knowledge and asked if it was gained in school or through personal knowledge. I told him both. At the Christian college I attended, we were required to take 15 Bible/Religion credits (not so anymore). He lamented that they don’t have similar standards at Catholic colleges and universities.


I saw that but I believe 4/14 means april of 2014.
However, if u read the post it looks like the poll was done in 2010.


4/14 was my shorthand for April, 2014, not the 14th of April. There are a lot of different conventions for the date. Sorry for the confusion.


This does not surprise me one bit, my dad has been a catholic since he was a child, has always gone to mass on sunday rarely ever missing one, he lives a pretty good moral life, but some things he does is not exactly Godly!

However, I recently was asking him about some verses that confused me and he said he had never even heard of them, I asked him about quite a few things and he was not aware of most of it!! This is someone who went all thru school at a catholic school, and even taught a class at a catholic college a few years ago, how can a catholic not know these things?

I have a feeling he just likes the idea of being catholic and doing this because his parents did it, his grandparents as well, and this is what he grew up on, so he continues this way, but does not really read the bible or study up on anything biblical, he only attends mass and thats about it…there are quite a few people just like this at my parish, it seems to be more habit for them to attend mass, but if you really start asking them biblical questions, they have no clue

I only have to wonder what they were being taught all those years in a catholic school for 12 years? LOL Was it only verses that they wanted them to hear?


I got them all correct also. The survey just asked the wrong Catholics.:smiley:


Surveys like this are always of “self-identified” Catholics, which can mean they’re deeply involved in their faith, or it can mean they were Baptized Catholic, but have zero active participation in the Faith, and even hold anti-Catholic/heretical beliefs.

Therefore, it’s not exactly a true reflection of Faith. When it comes to Evangelicals, their Faith is self-affirmative. That is, because they reject infant Baptism, you therefore have to be an adult to be Baptized Evangelical. This means that most Evangelicals are actively involved in their Faith because they made the adult decision to join it.

This is why their statistics are so high compared to Catholics, who may or may not be actively involved in their Faith because not all Catholics actually make the adult decision to participate in it, yet they still identify as Catholic because their parents Baptized them as such. These non-engaged Catholics are what you might call “lukewarm,” who don’t really care one way or the other about deep religiosity, and think about it superficially.

It should also not be surprising that Athiests scored high as well. Unlike the younger generation of athiests, most adult athiests are post-Christian, and as such usually have deep-seated emotional angsts against Christianity. These people have a strong stance on deep religiosity, but one of disfavor (as compared to the favored deep religiosity of, say, Evangelicals), and so are generally familiar with major aspects of not just Christianity, but many other religions.

If you were to take a similar poll, and distinguished “engaged Catholics” from “disengaged Catholics,” the results would be strikingly different. As evidenced my members of this forum, who are certainly “engaged,” the knowledge is quite high, while you would almost certainly find the knowledge of disengaged Catholics to be strikingly low.

closed #14

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