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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 02:23 PM
Original message
Survey: Americans don't know much about religion
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/sep/27/survey-a... /


Survey: Americans don't know much about religion

By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 9:02 p.m.

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.

Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn't know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.

More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and intellectuals in history, was Jewish.



This doesn't surprise me at all. Atheists and agnostics are often former members of a religion who explored their religion extensively and found it wanting.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 02:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. What some people call "faith" is really just a cop-out. A self-reinforcing vicious circle. nt
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. Religion is for many religious people a social obligation.
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. I think it is a lot more than that though. That doesn't explain the "megachurch" phenom.
I must confess I don't understand it.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. Church people do a lot, most?, if not all in some cases, business with one another. nt
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. It actually works on a completely organic & rational basis, but that does not appear to be what
Edited on Thu Feb-03-11 05:19 PM by patrice
most people want from it, I think, largely because that perspective necessitates fundamental commitment to personal WORK and REAL (frightening!!) freedom, rather than the easy way of being taken care of magically by God, and then, of course, that "easy way" requires gate-keepers and all to give it the appearance of legitimacy, not an un-attractive feature to a significant minority.
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brooklynite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 02:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. Isn't this somewhat dated?
I recall this survey being discussed 2-3 months ago.
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Tunkamerica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Monday, September 27, 2010 says the byline
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laconicsax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Monday, September 27, 2010 at 9:02 p.m.
It was discussed then, and a month or so later, and apparently now.
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RC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. And probably again next month.
It's one way to get people to think what they believe.
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. "It's one way to get people to think what they believe." ?? Who is "they"?
This is the first time I have posted on this. I thought it was interesting and wanted to see what others thought.
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Couple of months ago - I just thought it was interesting. No need for anyone to discuss if they
don't want to. My understanding is that it is ok to revisit topics. Am I wrong?
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JackintheGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 02:36 PM
Response to Original message
6. I thought transubstantiation was changed at Vatican II
Guess I was wrong. I know my grandmother in law died believing in it, but my mother in law insists that it isn't the church's position anymore.
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Not according to this. But it is wikipedia so someone schooled in RC should answer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transubstantiation


As I understand it the doctrine has been stressed more and less over the years, depending on how ecumenical the RC church wanted to be at the time. It is possible that Vatican II downplayed it to reach out to other denominations but it is still accepted doctrine. Anglicans have waffled on it somewhat and I believe Eastern Orthodox also.
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JackintheGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I looked it up in the Catholic encyclopedia
or whatever it's called. Yeah, it's still there.
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 03:07 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. The church I attend emphasizes the "communion part" - "breaking bread together"
I find that a lot more attractive than the idea of literally eating the body and drinking the blood - which weirds me out just a tad. But I was not schooled in RC catechism so maybe I just don't have the appreciation I would have. OTOH, if 40% of Catholics don't even understand it one has to wonder.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #12
17. All depends upon your definition of what a body is and what blood is. Language is really much more
Edited on Thu Feb-03-11 05:28 PM by patrice
arbitrary than most people assume.

What came first, the chicken or the egg? How was a body DEFINED before we started hanging labels on it to differentiate it from other things that we also hung labels on to differentiate them too?

I believe in the truth of those who share certain priorities. Shared in DEED. In the fruit of our vines and in the work of our hands, which we make part of our own bodies and the bodies of others by sharing that fruit and bread, WHATEVER it actually is. The work, the product, the sharing gives life, life unified by the motives/values that drive each individually and all together. As you can see, I have no problem with the literal Transubstantiation. It all seems so quintessentially concrete to me. I'm surprised that it has become as twisted as it has.
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TalkingDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. It is and always has been a metaphysical change.
But when you try talking esse and essence to people, their eyes glaze over. Saying it changes from one thing to another is a shorthand way of dealing with it.

And so the poll is merely furthering a misconception, not an immaculate one.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #6
18. Vatican II put those words "fruit of the vine, work of human hands" in it, the physical manifestatio
n of the "spiritual" fact of service to one another exemplified in the life of a guy named Jesus.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
19. "while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths"
"While many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths" can only mean that they cannot describe the tenets of the denominations that they belong to.

Their own beliefs, their own actual religion they can usually describe. There's just a gap between their beliefs and what others--church authorities, clerics of various kinds, scholars, or historians--say is their "real" beliefs.

Rather like a Korean I knew who was annoyed. She'd been told she should learn "her" language and "her" culture. She had been born in the US and lived like most other Americans; she grew up speaking English. *Those* were her real culture and language, whatever others, based on the color of her skin and hair, her epicanthic folds, and her surname, might think.
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4_TN_TITANS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-04-11 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
20. "former members of a religion who explored their religion"
You nailed that. Back in the day, I was a budding young Church of Christ preacher who studied the Bible in great detail. Only took a few years for me to realize my time was better spent reading Tolkien.

I value the bible as a literary work and the new testament has many good pointers for getting along in a society. But, there's a lot of BS in it as well.
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-05-11 04:57 PM
Response to Original message
21. This British second-generation atheist got a score of 14
I think I may have done this before and got the same score. Most of the questions seem fairly straightforward to anyone who knows people of a variety of faiths, and/or who has a general interest in history and current affairs - but I came a cropper on Q 15. What *is*/was the First Great Awakening? And have there been other Great Awakenings?
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-05-11 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. The First Great Awakening was a time of Christian revival and change in the US in the 1730s and 40s.
It also went out to England and other north Atlantic areas, but was most significant in the colonies.

You may have heard of Jonathan Edwards ("Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God") - he's considered to be the start of the Great Awakening, though it was never a formal movement per se but was more a groundswelling that informed a lot of what churches were doing. The Awakening focused more on personal piety and guilt/shame and pulling away from ceremony/ritual/mystical stuff (which had already been pretty well notched down by the protestant movement).

And it was mostly a "reformation" (not quite the right word, but good enough) of the existing churches, as opposed to a missionary movement to the unchurched.

The Second Great Awakening was in the 1800s, and was mostly a movement to spread the gospel to the unchurched in the expanding America frontier areas (which at the time was basically anything west of the Appalachians).

The Third one was in the 1850s, but I don't remember much more beyond that, except that it gave us Christian Science and lot more abolitionists.

I don't think the third one was all that important (except the abolition part), but the first and second had a huge impact on the politics of the Colonies and then revolution and formation of the Constitution, and then the development of the frontier and social, religious, and political environment of the territories and the people in them.
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-06-11 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. Thanks a lot for that; very interesting
I had heard of Edwards' hellfire sermons, but not of the rest of it.

In the UK, the history was quite different, and more influenced by rivalry between different denominations. But religious fervour has gone up and down in this country. Pre-Victorian attitudes and governments, especially before the rise of the evangelical movement, could be as non-religious as post-Victorian ones; and in 1738, Bishop Berkeley denounced the country for its turning from Christianity. Nowadays, he would have been quoted approvingly in the Daily Mail over such a sermon.
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Iggo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-06-11 01:36 PM
Response to Original message
24. And I say Great!
We're getting there, kids.
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