Third Hour

Study Shows That Latter-day Saints Know Very Little About Other Religions

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If you were to take a quiz with 15 questions about other major U.S. religions, how many do you think you'd get right? I got 10. Okay, so obviously that's not great — but sadly, I fared a little better than other Church members. On average, we scored less than 7 out of 15. To say that the majority of us  know little about other religions is, unfortunately, totally accurate. But how can we fix it? And honestly, does it even matter if we don't know things about religions other than our own? Yes, it matters — and it can be fixed. Pretty easily, in fact. Pew Research Quiz Results Pew Research Religious Knowledge Results Last month, Pew Research published an article entitled "What Americans Know About Religion" that included results from a religious knowledge quiz/survey conducted in February. The quiz had over 10,000 participants, among whom were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The results concluded: "On average, Jews, atheists, agnostics, and evangelical Protestants score highest on the new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming...

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32 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

True, but in fairness most people who are serious about their religion don't know much about other religions. That goes for Catholic, Buddhists, Baptists, and yes, even atheists. 

I'm an exception to this, I've always been fascinated by other religious beliefs, but I think you hit the nail on the head. Most of us (generic) when we feel like we have fpund the truth, become uninterested in ither people's truth. It's unfortunate, because the best way to understand someone else is to understand their belief system, but it's true.

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3 minutes ago, Midwest LDS said:

It's unfortunate, because the best way to understand someone else is to understand their belief system, but it's true.

Amen bud. We're so busy trying to prove we are right that we've long since stopped trying to understand one another.

I've always wondered what our response would be if a devout Lutheran (pulling religions out of the sky here) asked us to a bible study or to go to a church function. If we ask him to come to one of our activities, we should be willing to do the same.  

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12 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

Amen bud. We're so busy trying to prove we are right that we've long since stopped trying to understand one another.

I've always wondered what our response would be if a devout Lutheran (pulling religions out of the sky here) asked us to a bible study or to go to a church function. If we ask him to come to one of our activities, we should be willing to do the same.  

Absolutely. It's why I always answer the door when a religious person stops by. 

A. I'm genuinely curious.

B. I bothered a lot of people when I was a missionary so I feel like it's my responsibility to answer the door and hear them out. 

C. If I want others to listen to the truth of the restored gospel, I need to be willing to extend them the same courtesy.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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1 minute ago, Midwest LDS said:

Absolutely. It's why I always answer the door when a religious person stops by. 

A. I'm genuinly curious.

B. I bothered a lot of people when I was a missionary so I feel like it's my responsibility to answer the door and hear them out. 

C. If I want others to listen to the truth of the restored gospel, I need to be willing to extend them the same courtesy.

Perfectly said my friend. It just comes down to basic manners, fairness, and courtesy. 
 

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7 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

Amen bud. We're so busy trying to prove we are right that we've long since stopped trying to understand one another.

I've always wondered what our response would be if a devout Lutheran (pulling religions out of the sky here) asked us to a bible study or to go to a church function. If we ask him to come to one of our activities, we should be willing to do the same.  

My response: jump up and down in excitement!  When-- can I make it work for my schedule?  

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3 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

I've always wondered what our response would be if a devout Lutheran (pulling religions out of the sky here) asked us to a bible study or to go to a church function. If we ask him to come to one of our activities, we should be willing to do the same.  

My experience may be atypical, and times may have changed, but I dated a member of the Church of Jesus Christ in the late 1980s for a long time.  I was not a member, and that threw sand in the gears of our marriage plans.  Finally she asked me to go to her bishop for counseling to sort things out, and I suggested that I visit her ward now and then, and she come to my church (a Baptist church just down the road).  This bishop was a very nice man, but his answer was a horrified, full-blown, technicolor "no," accompanied by a fist thump that jiggled all the books on his desk.  

But my girlfriend would have received the exact same answer from my Baptist pastor had the situation been reversed.  I'm not criticizing anyone, just observing past events.

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@Midwest LDS-It's changing. A few decades ago you could live in a bubble. I'm not saying you wouldn't encounter anyone who disagreed with you, but for many religions, that wasn't the case. You went to church with these people, you lived with these people, you went to school with them, you worked with them etc, etc. Now, the world is much smaller and people move around a lot more. Not complaining, I think it's a good thing. "Even" Utah is getting more diverse. 

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Just now, MormonGator said:

@Midwest LDS-It's changing. A few decades ago you could live in a bubble. I'm not saying you wouldn't encounter anyone who disagreed with you, but for many religions, that wasn't the case. You went to church with these people, you lived with these people, you went to school with them, you worked with them etc, etc. Now, the world is much smaller and people move around a lot more. Not complaining, I think it's a good thing. "Even" Utah is getting more diverse. 

Yep it's true. It's more difficult to live in a bubble these days. Not impossible, you can easily have an electronic bubble too, but it's harder.

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1 minute ago, Texan said:

My experience may be atypical, and times may have changed, but I dated a member of the Church of Jesus Christ in the late 1980s for a long time.  I was not a member, and that threw sand in the gears of our marriage plans.  Finally she asked me to go to her bishop for counseling to sort things out, and I suggested that I visit her ward now and then, and she come to my church (a Baptist church just down the road).  This bishop was a very nice man, but his answer was a horrified, full-blown, technicolor "no," accompanied by a fist thump that jiggled all the books on his desk.  

But my girlfriend would have received the exact same answer from my Baptist pastor had the situation been reversed.  I'm not criticizing anyone, just observing past events.

My neighbors have invited me to their church recently-a Baptist church in the next town over. The few times I've gone the congregation and staff have been incredibly warm and friendly. 

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1 minute ago, Midwest LDS said:

Yep it's true. It's more difficult to live in a bubble these days. Not impossible, you can easily have an electronic bubble too, but it's harder.

I feel a little sorry for people who want to live in a bubble. Nothing wrong with it, I'm sure some people would like to go back to a time when they were surrounded with people who basically agreed with them on all issues. It's not going to happen, so they better learn to adapt. 

 

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Just now, MormonGator said:

I feel a little sorry for people who want to live in a bubble. Nothing wrong with it, I'm sure some people would like to go back to a time when they were surrounded with people who basically agreed with them on all issues. It's not going to happen, so they better learn to adapt. 

 

The world is just too interesting to live in a bubble. I remember when I was tracting on my mission I ran into a Zoroastrian (tiny Iranian religion, maybe 100,000 to 200,000 worldwide). I was thrilled! I actually think I threw him off a lot because I was asking him a whole bunch of questions about his beliefs and he quickly closed the door. I regret causing him any discomfort if I did, but I was probably the only American he had run into since he immigrated from Iran who knew anything about his beliefs lol.

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1 minute ago, Midwest LDS said:

The world is just too interesting to live in a bubble. I remember when I was tracting on my mission I ran into a Zoroastrian (tiny Iranian religion, maybe 100,000 to 200,000 worldwide). I was thrilled! I actually think I threw him off a lot because I was asking him a whole bunch of questions about his beliefs and he quickly closed the door. I regret causing him any discomfort if I did, but I was probably the only American he had run into since he immigrated from Iran who knew anything about his beliefs lol.

I know what you mean. I collect statues of Ganesh. When I saw a statue in a store once in a small NH town the dude was stunned I knew who he was! 

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6 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

I know what you mean. I collect statues of Ganesh. When I saw a statue in a store once in a small NH town the dude was stunned I knew who he was! 

Just to show you what a simpleton I am, for years I thought Ganesh and ganache were the same thing: some sort of Hindu chocolate god.

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6 minutes ago, Serviteur du seigneur said:

I know a lot about other religions, because i searched through all of them before being sure that this is the right place.

That's awesome. It strengthens your own faith to read about the faiths of others. 

Edited by MormonGator

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5 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

That's awesome. It strengthens your own faith to read about the faiths of others. 

Yes, its as if the church is full and complete, and it has all of the explanations lacking in other religions. That was what i concluded when i decided to be baptized.

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5 minutes ago, Serviteur du seigneur said:

Yes, its as if the church is full and complete, and it has all of the explanations lacking in other religions. That was what i concluded when i decided to be baptized.

That's awesome my friend. If I'm being honest I think it's a sign of insecurity to never learn about religions other than your own. Same with politics too, for the record. 

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This article is a stretch. I'm unconvinced. Sorry Amy -- I'm going to continue knowing the exact amount about other religions as I do now, which is very little. You're argument that it matters does not persuade. I've got more important things to learn in my limited time. And I don't buy for a second that I can't love them properly if I don't know trivia about their dogma.

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ETA: You can still do this if you want, but I found the linky to the actual quiz: https://www.pewresearch.org/quiz/u-s-religious-knowledge-quiz/

 

Article cites how well the author did on the questions (10/15), and what the average was (7/15 for LDS), but I didn't see a link to take the quiz. If you're like me and want to feel all smug and superior, here's the 32 questions the quiz was drawn from (I'm using the paraphrased version from the link, I (Excel) randomized the questions and the answers):

 

1. Who is most closely associated with willingness to sacrifice his son to obey God?
a. Jacob
b. Cain
c. Levi
d. Abraham

2. What was the religion of Maimonides?
a. Buddhist
b. Jewish
c. Catholic
d. Hindu
e. Mormon

3.Easter Sunday commemorates what?
a. Crucifixion
b. Resurrection
c. Last Supper
d. Ascension

4.What does the U.S. Constitution say about religion as it relates to federal officeholders?
a. Must affirm that all men are endowed by Creator with unalienable rights
b. No religious test necessary for holding office
c. Sworn in using Bible
d. Does not say anything

5. Which of these is NOT in the Ten Commandments?
a. Golden rule
b. Keep Sabbath holy
c. No adultery
d. No stealing

6. Which religious tradition is Kabbalah most closely associated with?
a. Zoroastrianism
b. Judaism
c. Hinduism
d. Islam

7. Ramadan is … , , ,
a. ... an Islamic holy month
b. ... a Hindu festival of lights
c. ... a Jewish prayer for the dead
d. ... a festival for Buddha’s birth

8. Which Bible figure is most closely associated with leading the Exodus from Egypt?
a. Moses
b. Elijah
c. Joseph
d. Daniel

9. What is the religion of most people in Ethiopia?
a. Islam
b. Buddhism
c. Sikhism
d. Hinduism
e. Christianity

10. • Where did Jesus live during his childhood and young adulthood?
a. Bethlehem
b. Jericho
c. Nazareth
d. Jerusalem

11. Which is one of Buddhism’s four “noble truths”?
a. monotheism
b. Buddha was perfect
c.  every being has immortal soul
d. the truth of suffering

12. When does the Jewish Sabbath begin?
a. Saturday
b. Friday
c. Thursday
d. Sunday

13. Prosperity gospel teaches …
a. ... strong faith leads to financial success and good health
b. ... God’s blessing is given to the poor who store up treasures in heaven
c. ... to whom much is given much is expected
d. ... easier for camel to go through eye of needle than for rich person to enter the kingdom of God

14. An atheist …
a. ... is unsure whether God exists
b. ... believes in multiple gods
c. ... believes in God
d. ... does NOT believe in God

15. Which best describes the Trinity?
a. One God in three persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
b. There are three Gods (Father, Mother, Son)
c. Coming of Christ foretold by three prophets (Elijah, Ezekiel, Zechariah)
d. There are three patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob)

16. Which text is most closely associated with Hindu tradition? 
a. Vedas
b. Tao Te Ching
c. Quran
d. Mahayana sutras

17. How many adults in the U.S. are Jewish?
a. Less than 5%
b. One-in-ten
c. One-in-four
d. Half or more

18. What is the religion of most people in Indonesia?
a. Hinduism
b. Christianity
c. Buddhism
d. Sikhism
e. Islam

19. Who is most closely associated with saving Jews from murder by appealing to king?
a. Esther
b. Sarah
c. Rebecca
d. Ruth

20. Which religion requires men to wear a turban and carry a ceremonial sword?
a. Buddhism
b. Islam
c. Sikhism
d. Hinduism

21. What best describes Rosh Hashana?
a. end of Torah reading
b. New Year
c. candles lit for eight nights
d. Day of Atonement

22. What is the holiest city in Islam, to which Muslims are expected to make a pilgrimage?
a. Mecca
b. Cairo
c. Jerusalem
d. Medina

23. What is the religion of most people in Thailand?
a. Buddhism
b. Hinduism
c. Islam
d. Sikhism
e. Christianity

24. Which group traditionally teaches that salvation comes through faith alone?
a. Catholicism
b. Protestantism
c. neither
d. both

25. What was the religion of Joseph Smith?
a. Hindu
b. Catholic
c. Jewish
d. Mormon
e. Buddhist

26. In Catholicism, purgatory is …
a. ... an offering made during confession
b. ... where souls are purified before entering heaven
c. ... a purification process made during self-reflection
d. ... where souls go for eternal punishment

27. Who delivered the Sermon on the Mount?
a. Paul
b. Jesus
c. Peter
d. John

28. Which is the Catholic teaching about bread and wine in Communion?
a. They are symbols of the body and blood of Christ
b. They become actual body and blood of Christ

29. An agnostic …
a. ... does NOT believe in God
b. ... believes in God
c. ... believes in multiple gods
d. ... is unsure whether God exists

30. How many adults in the U.S. are Muslim?
a. Less than 5%
b. one-in-ten
c. one-in-four
d. half or more

31. Which figure is most closely associated with killing an enemy with a stone?
a. Solomon
b. David
c. Isaiah
d. Joshua

32. Which religious tradition is yoga most closely associated with?
a. Islam
b. Hinduism
c. Zoroastrianism
d. Judaism

 

I'll post the answers later (or you can look them up in the link).

Edited by mordorbund

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8 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

This article is a stretch. I'm unconvinced. Sorry Amy -- I'm going to continue knowing the exact amount about other religions as I do now, which is very little. You're argument that it matters does not persuade. I've got more important things to learn in my limited time. And I don't buy for a second that I can't love them properly if I don't know trivia about their dogma.

It is one of the most effective ways to be a missionary though. I refer you to the story of Ammon teaching King Lamoni. Lamoni had no idea who God was until Ammon referred him to the Lamanite belief in the Great Spirit and tied the two together. Or the numerous times in the Bible where the apostles used their intimate knowledge of Jewish teachings to bring Jews to a knowledge of Christ as their Messiah. Many times when we speak to someone of a different faith than us, we use the same words as them, but are not talking about the same thing (eg. Born Again Christians talking to us about Salvation. We both use the term, but have different meanings for it). Not knowing their beliefs on the subject actively hinders our attempt to teach them the Gospel because we aren't actively understanding each other. I can't tell you the number of times on my mission where knowing a little bit about someone else's beliefs, helped me communicate with them far more effectively. Perhaps knowing little bits of trivia to pass an online quiz is unimportant, but knowing something about other faiths is knowledge worth having.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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Guest Mores
8 hours ago, mordorbund said:

ETA: You can still do this if you want, but I found the linky to the actual quiz: https://www.pewresearch.org/quiz/u-s-religious-knowledge-quiz/

Article cites how well the author did on the questions (10/15), and what the average was (7/15 for LDS), but I didn't see a link to take the quiz. If you're like me and want to feel all smug and superior, here's the 32 questions the quiz was drawn from (I'm using the paraphrased version from the link, I (Excel) randomized the questions and the answers):...

I got three wrong.  I had to guess a an additional three more.  But they were educated guesses based on what I knew of the religion.  So, maybe that counts for half of those three.  Still, I got 29 (or 27.5) out of 32 (85% to 90% -- not bad).  Here's what I missed:

Maimonides: This would be a bit like asking a non-LDS person "Who is Hugh Nibley?"  I doubt many outside our religion would get that.  These days, I figure many Saints would not get that either -- especially the younger generation.

Ethiopia: This is more of a geography question than a religion question.  One could argue that it is a bit like people asking what is the dominant religion in the state of Utah?  But I'm still wondering if this is a fair question.  The fact that our faith is dominant in Utah is common knowledge among Americans.  But who the heck knows much about the cultural makeup of Ethiopia?  I didn't even know they had a culture at all.  I don't think this is a fair question.

Hindu Texts:  OK, I guess this is like asking about the D&C being associated with LDS beliefs.  Perhaps the PoGP.  We can't really say it's like the BoM, because the name of the book kinda gives it away.  I doubt many outside the faith would know about he D&C or the PoGP.

No, I believe there must be a differentiation between three levels of knowledge of other faiths/cultures.

1) Common knowledge.  There are some things that are common knowledge: Ramadan is the Muslim Holy Month, Chaukah is the Jewish Festival.  Christians meet on Sundays.
2) Moderate interest and curiosity.  Things that would have been brought up casually if you had a close friend who was observant in another faith.  LDS practice of baptism for the dead, or the difference between temples and churches.  Sealings.  Three Degrees of Glory.
3) In depth: Those things you'd only know if you took an active interest and study in another faith. I hope you know what these are.

Cat 1: I think it would be fair to expect most people to know these items.  They are, after all, common knowledge.  But when Buddhist and Hindus don't actively proseletize, how much is actually common knowledge?

Cat 2: It may show a bit more of a cosmopolitan mind and lifestyle if one were to have a variety of friends with differing backgrounds.  And it would show great love to others if you got to know them well enough to hear tidbits about their religion and how it affects their life.  But most Buddhists and Hindus simply don't do much in actual practice, nor speak of it much in casual conversation.  Not the ones I knew -- friends which were observant in their religion.  They lived it.  They believed it.  But I just never saw or heard much from them about it.  I had to actively ask them questions to get anything out of them.  Even then they were very sparing in their faith. 

But it soon becomes obvious that those who are in a minority faith would be more aware of beliefs of a majority faith.  And for these purposes, LDS would fit into "Christian".  

Cat 3: I don't think this is a fair category to get into.  Most of us don't have time.  If one happens to be a scholar in the field, sure.  That's what you do for a living.  Or maybe that's one of your hobbies.  But why else would you get into that level of detail if you're not looking for a new religion?  So, when some of these questions get into this third category, I don't think that's really a fair set of questions.

Bottom line, if you switched the questions to be specifically about our faith, how would others fair?

Edited by Mores

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13 minutes ago, Mores said:

It may show a bit more of a cosmopolitan mind and lifestyle if one were to have a variety of friends with differing backgrounds. 

Slightly off topic-It's interesting to me that the people who usually surround themselves with others who think the same way they do are elite leftists living in Manhattan, Malibu, San Fransisco, Boston, etc and are convinced they are "cosmopolitan" and "tolerant" when in reality they never met a conservative in their lives and are the farthest thing from either "cosmopolitan" or "tolerant." 

The same actually can't be said about religious people. Even the most fundamentalist, conservative,  never-left-small-town-Utah LDS person has met more people who disagree with them than someone living in a elite blue circles in the cities I mentioned. 

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