What Do Americans Know About World Religions?

Americans aren’t very knowledgeable about religion

There aren’t many American adults who can answer factual answers correctly about Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism. Most Americans are unaware of what is in the Constitution as it pertains to elected officials. Furthermore, many Americans aren’t sure about how much of the U.S. public is Jewish or Muslim.

Pew Research Center’s latest report has revealed some startling facts about the American people and religion. The research center asked 32 fact-based multiple-choice questions about religion. Unfortunately, the Pew Research Center found out that the average American adult can only answer less than half of these questions correctly.

The survey found the level of religious knowledge Americans possess varies depending on the questions asked as well as who is answering the questions. Highly educated people, evangelical Protestants, Jews, Atheists, and agnostics have more knowledge about religion than young adults.

For every ten U.S. adults, only eight of them can correctly say that Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus and not the Crucifixion, the Ascension or the Last Supper. Similarly, U.S. adults know that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity says that there is only a single God in three persons who are the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son.

Many Americans are also spot on with terms which speak about a person’s lack of faith in God. Close to nine-in-ten can correctly identify the definition of an atheist while six out of ten can accurately choose the definition of an agnostic.

The basics of Islam are also familiar to a large part of the public. For every ten U.S. adults, six of them are familiar with Ramadan being an Islamic holy month. They also know that Mecca is Islam’s most sacred city.

However, it isn’t all good news. Americans aren’t very knowledgeable of the basic facts of other religions in the world, such as Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Three for every ten American adults are aware that the Jewish Sabbath starts on Friday and only a quarter know that Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year.

That isn’t all, one out of every five Americans or 18 percent of Americans are aware the “truth of suffering” is of Buddhism’s “noble truths.” The survey was quite successful in finding out what Americans know and don’t know about religion.


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