July 29, 2008


A few years ago, none of the members of Jay Leno's audience could name any of the twelve apostles, as Stephen Prothero notes in his 2007 book Religious Literacy. If that wasn't bad enough, the most frequently quoted "Bible verse" in America is "God helps those who help themselves," which we owe to Benjamin Franklin.

I don't know how many times I've heard people attribute the Declaration's "all men are created equal" to the Bible.

Among the factoids Prothero notes in his book are the following:

*Only half of Americans can name even one of the four canonical Gospels;

*Most don't know the name of the first book of the Bible;

*Only one third know that it was Jesus who delivered the Sermon on the Mount;

*Most didn't know that Jonah was a book in the Bible (check Goat Rope archives for a long series on that little book).

The sad part is, those questions refer to religions embraced by the majority of Americans. When it comes to knowledge of other faiths, the picture is even worse.

Prothero points out that in today's world, regardless of one's own beliefs, some basic knowledge of religions is a necessity of good citizenship. He even came up with a basic religious literacy quiz that he started giving to students but now is sharing with the general public. How do you think you would do?

Find out by clicking here.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE. Here's Barbara Ehrenreich on the human toll of the debt crisis.

THE END OF AN ERA? This item argues that the end of the Bush era will also mark the end of right wing anti-government ideology.

THINKING BIG. Here are 10 big ideas that changed history.



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