You may not be smarter than a fifth grader, but do you know more about religion than the average American? The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life recently published results from a survey on Americans’ religious knowledge, which found that Jews are among the smartest religious group. (We knew we were smart, but reading about it never gets old.)
The “U.S. Religious Study Survey” found that atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons were among the highest scoring groups in the country, beating out evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics. The findings were based on 32 questions that Pew asked of 3,412 Americans age 18 and older, covering everything from history and world religion to core teachings to religious leaders. (Basically, the kind of questions you might find on “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?”)
Here at the Forward, we decided to see how we measured up. We asked four employees — two Jews and two non-Jews — to take Pew’s Religious Knowledge Quiz, which includes 15 of the questions that appear in the survey. The result? If you work here, you automatically get every question right — except for the really embarrassed person who answered two questions incorrectly, but we won’t name names. Apparently, among journalists at least, knowledge is equal opportunity.
Confident you’d ace the test? Don’t be so sure. On average, Americans answered 16 questions correctly. The breakdown: Atheists and agnostics averaged 20.9 correct answers while Jews and Mormons had 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers, respectively. Protestants as a whole averaged 16 correct answers, Catholics as a whole 14.7. Even after Pew adjusted for different education levels, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons still outperformed other groups on the survey.
If you want to see how you measure up against us (and the country), turn off your iPods and cell phones and click here.