Religion quiz

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has seen the various reports and links to the recent Pew quiz on religion. As it turns out, many Americans don’t know much about religion. Unless you are an Atheist, Jew or Mormon in which case you know more than the average American. Not like we all didn’t really know that already.

Your Maximum Leader took the quiz and got 15 of 15. If you want the quiz you can clicky here. Your Maximum Leader was excited that he scored 1 better than his good buddy Kevin. Of course, he figures that the only reason he was able to score better is that he knew the 3 history/politics questions.

Your Maximum Leader imagines that his readership would likely score better than most Americans. Of course you all read this blog. And we all know that reading this blog makes you smarter and better looking than the average American…

Carry on.

Kevin Kim said:

Congrats, man. Yes, the questions about school prayer and Bible-as-literature were ones I felt pretty sure about — Establishment Clause and all that. But the Jonathan Edwards question had me going, “Hmmm… now, which dude would be pompous enough to be associated with a First Great Awakening…?” I didn’t even know who Charles Finney was, despite being Presbyterian. Had to look him up after the quiz. And that’s how I discovered there was a Second Great Awakening.

I’ve been wondering, though, about the design of the quiz, which is somehow supposed to aim toward the middle, i.e., toward the “average” American’s knowledge of religion (or is it religions?). Such thoughts lead to a larger question: is a standardized religion test even possible? As a country, we seem fine with designing GRE subject tests for eight fields of study: Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Literature in English; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology. We also have LSATs. Why no standardized tests in areas like history, political science, or religious studies? If nothing else, the “religion quiz” prompted those questions.

Quick: name at least three of the six patriarchs of Ch’an Buddhism!

Now that would be a good question for a quiz.

(Most folks who’ve read a little about Zen/Ch’an/Seon can name Bodhidharma [1st Patriarch] and Hui-neng [6th Patriarch]. The others don’t come so quickly to mind.)


Kevin Kim said:

I have to compliment you on the German-language time stamp for comments, but I couldn’t help noticing that the time stamp is an hour off. Doesn’t it change with the seasonal EST/EDT alternation?

Okay… You got me on the Patriarchs. I’m sure that if we were to take a quiz not aimed at the great masses of Americans I’d get my butt whupped.

You didn’t recall Jonathan Edwards? “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” I thought we read that sermon together in 12th Grade US history? After the sermons of Martin Luther King Jr, Edwards’ sermons are the most read in the US. (I’m told, but there is a huge drop off there from MLK to Edwards…)

As for my timestamp… It was originally set up to be GMT with no account for EST/EDT. I don’t know when it got changed to German? I probably need to update Wordpress…

Smallholder said:



Who did you have for AP US? Your teacher was a putz.

Kevin Kim said:


As a long-time hater of the topic while in school, I assiduously avoided AP History my senior year, opting instead to take regular History along with the proles. I spent a good bit of that class asleep. Then again, I did have to take two semesters of Western Civ in college… but I seem to recall napping through a lot of that, as well.

Since then, I’ve come to respect the field for the insights it provides, but I still have trouble slogging through history books — and that includes, unfortunately, books on the history of religious events, politics, and people. I do love the history of religious ideas, but mainly because that appeals to my philosophical side.

Might I sit in on your AP course some year?


I do remember “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” but that wasn’t enough for me to make the connection to the larger context of the First Great Awakening, especially since I had completely forgotten about the Great Awakenings.


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