While the American people are clear about the existence of God, they know little about other facts of religion. A new Religious Knowledge Survey conducted by Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life shows that although 86% Americans have faith in God or some other supreme authority, they are unaware of their own religious traditions or those of other faiths.
Out of the 3,412 people surveyed, only 2% were able to correctly answer 29 out of 32 questions about the Bible, leading religious figures, practices and beliefs. The average score came out to be 50% (16 correct answers).
According to key findings of the survey, 45% of Catholics didn't know that the basic belief that bread and wine during the mass actually became Jesus's body and blood. About 81% of Protestants didn't know the core teaching that salvation is achieved only through faith independent of actions. Around 45% of respondents didn't know that the Golden Rule is not amongst the ten commandments, while 55% couldn't name the four Gospels (John, Luke, Mark and Matthew).
Americans also have little knowledge of world religions. More than 53% of respondents didn't know Dalai Lama practices Buddhism, whereas only 27% knew that Indonesia has a Muslim majority.
The one question that the majority of people answered accurately: 89% of respondents were aware that the US Supreme Court doesn't permit teachers in public schools to lead their students in prayers. However, 77% didn't know that teachers are allowed to use Biblical quotes to teach literature.
Overall, male respondents scored better than females. Atheists/agnostics, Mormons and Jews were the top scoring groups.