EIGHTH COMMANDMENT: Life's A Journey. Enjoy The Ride!
Sorry, but I'm so happy, I couldn't possibly come up with another headline! The Pew Forum On Religion And Public Life just confirmed what I've been trying to drum into the heads of everyone reading my scribblings for the last five years: not only does the Christian Right know squat about other religions, but most of "the faithful" don't know much about their own religion!
(AP) A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.
The survey's questions, moreover, were almost ridiculously basic: 28% of the people surveyed could not name Moses as the chief character in Exodus, 54% didn't know who Martin Luther was, 61% could not identify Job in the Bible, and a whopping 45% did not fully know the Ten Commandments. This last statistic brings to mind another survey conducted:
In a 1997 survey, the London Sunday Times found that only 34 percent of 220 Anglican priests could recite all of the Ten Commandments without help! All of them remembered the parts about not "killing" and not committing adultery. But things got a little fuzzy after that. In fact, 19 percent of these priests thought that the eighth commandement is "Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride."
Kenneth C. Davis, Don't Know Much About The Bible
In the Pew Survey, Black Protestants and Hispanic Catholics knew the least about world religions while mainline Protestants and Evangelicals fared little better. There is an obvious correlation to this particular piece of ignorance in the current anti-Muslim sentiment the country is experiencing.
Another revealing statistic: knowledge of religion increased with level of education. Since few (if any) seminary graduates were polled, this means that the demonizing tactic against secular public education - secularism has taken all religion out of public schools - doesn't quite hold up. Tell THAT to the Texas Board of Education!
The lack of knowledge evidenced in the Pew survey is something many writers have been warning against, but few people have acted upon. My own piece, Keeping Them Clueless, got a lot of attention, but it certainly didn't send people to the polls. Charles Pierce's latest book, IDIOT AMERICA - How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free, had modest sales, but not enough to show that the message was getting through: Right wing Religious forces are slowing making our kids dumber in many areas of education as well as dumber in their own religion.
Again, for the zillionth time: