Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Comparative Religion

A NYTimes Article struck my eye- "Basic Religion Test Stumps Many Believers"- in that a survey was sent out with basic questions about different religions, and most answered incorrectly (more than half) as well as people answering wrongly about their ownreligion. However- out of all the people in the US who took the survey, atheists and agnostics, as well as Jews and Mormons- scored the highest in knowledge.

That's pretty good, I think- that we actually, as Jews- know what we are talking about- about our own religion, and about others. And, the atheist statistic doesn't surprise me either- I think that most feel that they have to do research before coming to such a decision about faith. Realize, though, that I said most- I have found so many irreligious Jews who don't do research at all- who don't know about anything really, that has to do with religion, Jewish or other.

But what was saddening to me was that 43% of Jews didn't know that the Rambam- Maimonides- was Jewish. What do you think the explanation for that was?


tesyaa said...

Don't you realize that as a religious Jew, you fall into a very small demographic? In other words, most Jews aren't like you.

Anonymous said...

Also, don't forget that just because a Jew isn't religious doesn't make them an Athiest by knowledgeable. It just means that they haven't learned yet, and haven't been given reason to learn/grow. So while they may be classified as "athiest" because they don't believe, it's because no one has taught them.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised at all. I've had Christians be surprised that we don't have confessions, etc. The truth is, Christians don't know much about any other religion simply because they live in a religious bubble and are rarely forced to learn about other religions.

Jews have to learn about other religions because
1 - we live in a Christian society. We are exposed to nativity scenes and so on. It's hard to miss.
2 - we are highly educated. History is full of religion. And the more you read and keep up with information, the more you learn about the world. So, if you keep up the New Age movement, maybe look into meditation or whatever, you'll learn a bit about Buddhism.

This is probably why Mormons are third in line. When it comes to over-education, they can match Jews degree for degree.

3 - we are metropolitan. People who live in cities are exposed to more cultures. I know what halal is because I pass the Halal Fried Chicken and Pizza store often enough to wonder what it means. And because the Muslims in my class eat kosher at club meetings.

nmf #7 said...

Tesyaa- but Maimonidies?? I mean- most people, even non religious- have heard of him!! But I'll go with it.

Morahmamela- Atheist usually means well read, at least for those I have met. An agnostic on the other hand...

Bad4- I agree to the education and the culture ideals. But the Christian society one- just because you hear the carols on the radio doesn't necessarily peak one's interest to ask questions of your nearest observant Christian.