Almost half of Catholics didn’t understand Communion. Most Protestants didn’t know that Martin Luther started the Reformation. Almost half of Jews didn’t realize Maimonides was Jewish. And atheists were among the best informed about religion.Looking at the questions he samples in his article, I can see why people failed the test. He picked 13 that he characterized as dealing with extremism and fundamentalism. Here are the first three:
1. Which holy book stipulates that a girl who does not bleed on her wedding night should be stoned to death?
- >ddda. Koran b. Old Testament c. (Hindu) Upanishads
2. Which holy text declares: “Let there be no compulsion in religion”?
3. The terrorists who pioneered the suicide vest in modern times, and the use of women in terror attacks, were affiliated with which major religion?
- >xa. Koran b. Gospel of Matthew c. Letter of Paul to the Romans
a. Islam b. Christianity c. Hinduism
You can find the other ten questions and the answers in Kristof's editorial. (The NY Times online is still free, but you may have to register to read it.)
I bring this up only because I just put up three posts (Part I: Snowy Plover, Part II: Beach Hoppers, Part III: Kelp Flies) about how complicated the world is and the need to recognize how little we know instead of making bombastic authoritative statements about things we don't understand. He says the same thing this way:
. . . the point of this little quiz is that religion is more complicated than it sometimes seems, and that we should be wary of rushing to inflammatory conclusions about any faith, especially based on cherry-picking texts.