Are you smarter than an atheist?

September 30, 2010 at 11:00 am | Posted in Atheism, Religion | 10 Comments
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One of my good friends emailed this quiz on religion posted on the Christian Science Monitor’s website.  Though the quiz starts with this introductory paragraph:

Are you smarter than an atheist? A religious quiz

Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups in a 32-question survey of religious knowledge by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. On average, Americans got 16 of the 32 questions correct. Atheists and agnostics got an average of 20.9 correct answers. Jews (20.5) and Mormons (20.3). Protestants got 16 correct answers on average, while Catholics got 14.7 questions right.

How will you do on the quiz? Write down your answers as you go.

– Staff writer

I wasn’t going to bother taking the quiz because I assumed, incorrectly, it would be about christianity and I don’t know many specifics about the bible.  But I decided what the hell because my friend who grew up in a religious home and is very knowledgeable about the bible (but is now an atheist) said he’d gotten 26 out of 32 right.  I wanted to see if I could top that.  As it turns out I did with a whopping 28.  My friend and I are very competitive. YAY I won!  As it turns out most of the questions are not specific to christianity but religion in general.  You will need a pencil and paper to answer and score because the site was (presumably) designed by christians, not atheists, therefore it is not equipped with the technology that would allow you to submit and record your answers.  The questions are in reverse order starting with 32 ending with 1 and all but three are multiple choice.

I’d be interested in your scores (believers and non believers) if you’d like to share.



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  1. Was Lutheran/protestant, now Wiccan. I got a 28 (I didn’t know who Jonathan Edwards was). I was also raised Democrat, but haven’t been inclined to support a Democratic candidate for President since Jimmy Carter (I still think I voted against Carter for the wrong reasons).

    I knew the list of gospels, but it was the refrain from the exercise tape in Robbie Coltrane’s “The Pope Must Diet” movie that came to mind.

    • Hi Brad, haven’t seen you in awhile. Glad you stopped by.

  2. i was raised xtian, gave it up. I only scored a 22 so tho i consider myself an agnostic i guess i’m not smarter than an atheist 😦
    honjii i gotta say i’m not surprised you got a high score, i love what you write and i think you are one pretty smart cookie.

    • Awww shucks, Jon, thank you for the compliment. 🙂

  3. I got them all right, woo hoo!

  4. 20

  5. Hmm. I scored 30 but disagree with one answer – spelling is regional or it should be in the original language (and characters) So I’m writing myself down for 31/32! My excuse for my brilliance is that I am extremely old and have been cramming for my finals 😉

    • And the winner is…

      With which answer do you disagree?

      Since the test answers include ‘don’t know’ as an option it occurs to me that if one doesn’t know the answer and selects that option, technically the answer is correct.

      • The spelling of the word “Koran”. According to Muslims (and they ARE the experts on their own holy book) any translation of the Prophet’s words distorts them. So to insist on any one spelling of the name using the Roman alphabet is wrong. It should only be written using the Arabic letters. The same could be said of the other written answers. To be technically correct, one should use ancient Hebrew for the name of the first book of the Bible and ancient Greek for the first four books of the New Testament. That is all IMNSHO 🙂

  6. strong chart you’ve take in

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