Greg Smith: US Religious Knowledge Survey

A senior researcher at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life says atheists, agnostics, Jews, and Mormons stand our for their knowledge of world religions other than Christianity, while Mormons and evangelical Protestants do best on questions about the Bible and Christianity. Interview by Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly associate producer for news Julie Mashack. Edited by Fabio Lomelino.
Click here to take Pew’s religious knowledge quiz.


  • Hasan

    Dear Sirs,
    I got a 14/15 score missing the nirvanna question —which I do remember as being Hindu with different sects applying different efforts/sacrifices for anniliation.
    The CATEGORY MISSING is Muslim…or didn’t anyone identify themselves as such. I anticipate that only question #3 would be their highest error rate.
    I also thought the questions would have been more in depth and not give aways like the one concerning M.Teresa.
    Glad you did the survey,

  • Samuel Williams

    Well I scored a 100 on the test. I am a white Anglo Protestant. But then I also like to study about different relgions. It did not suprise me so many do not know these simple basic questons. But it is still disappointing.


  • Keith Carley

    I wonder if Jehovah’s Witnesses were among the respondents. Perhaps they were included with the evangelicals. I would like to know how they would compare to other groups. They certainly seem to know the Bible, regardless of what people think of their interpretations.

  • tee

    I got 14 out of 15, was raised Episcopalian, converted to Catholicism in college and have not been affiliated with any organized religion in 30 years. Instead of being intolerant or a zealot I try to educate myself and respect all religious freedom that doesn’t engage in extremist actions of any kind.

  • LAL

    I, too, scored 100% on this quiz, due mostly to the fact that I am interested in the study of other religions. I consider myself a white, Protestant who is, for want of a more apt term, lapsed. It has never seemed necessary for me to go once a week to listen to someone tell me what I should already know and practice in my daily life. I think not focusing so completely on the beliefs of one segment of the religious spectrum has allowed me to explore the beliefs and histories of many others, to my benefit.

  • Gaylan M

    I scored a 15/15 on this quiz, largely because I teach a course on world religions at a church-related seminary. I find it interesting that atheists and agnostics do better than many Christians on this quiz, and I would see part of that being credited to the amount of thought they have given to the topic of religion. I still would like to see Christians take more of an interest in other religious groups, if for no other reason than obeying the Bible’s call for us to “love your neighbor as your self.” Love requires an understanding of the other person. Unlike others who have responded here, I have found the study of other religions to have the effect of deepening my understanding of and appreciation for my Christian faith and the God of the Bible whom I serve. Involvement in the life of the church is an involvement in a community built on the foundation of biblical teaching. The church community is a place where my spiritual gifts are needed and where I have the opportunity to grow in my ability to more effectively live out my faith with other believers in service to the world that Christ gave his life for.

    It should also be said that while there is indeed some overlap in teaching, the religions of the world ask different questions, address different problems and offer different answers. To recognize this certainly does not require one to be intolerant, although a devout follower of any religion will naturally consider their religion to be the correct way to view themselves and the world around them. Taking other religions seriously recognizes, and respects, these differences while valuing the person as one also made in the image of God. The gospel of Jesus Christ, by its very nature as a gift of God, is not to be imposed, but give the recipient the option of refusing it. God does not impose himself on anyone.