Friday Follow-Up: Religion, Things to Read

Our religion topics always attract new people, and bring out our most articulate regulars.  Between Lace, Norm, John, Friar Fred, Moss and his friend Javier, and a politically well-informed newcomer named Jack, we had eleven people and a good discussion. 

But, do we really understand religion better than most other Americans?  Take this quiz that was in the news a lot this week to find out.  The Pew Center polled the public on its knowledge of basic religious facts — and the results were kind of grim.  In the words of the Christian Science Monitor:

[M]any respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.  Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn’t know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.  More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation

Interestingly, the subgroups that did the best on the quiz were atheists, Jews, and Mormons.  Before you do your crazy agnostic end zone dance, however, ask yourself how surprising it really is that religious minorities tend to be pretty familiar with the majority’s culture.

Separately, someone asked me after the meeting to recommend some good books.  This site has a tab of “Books We Like.”  I’d recommend from it both The Story of Freedom and Freedom’s Power

As for political blogs, this post of mine a while ago listed some of my favorites (What To Read About Politics And Public Affairs).  In earlier posts I recommended sites to read on foreign affairs and economics.  I’ve been meaning to do one on legal/Constitutional sites, too.

JACK:  You said you were a blog commenting maniac.  Which ones do you read?


2 responses

  1. Hi DavidG, I’m hoping this is the right way to contact you. I’m on listservers from several scientific and other groups. I comment within their sites and at nationally circulated newspaper and magazine sites. Here’s a link to one I composed today where I shamelessly plugged our Civilized Conversation group and how well our topics and discussions fit into Massimo Pigliucci’s post. If I can get your email, I could forward you dozens of my enthusiastic blogs and comments! Thank you for moderating and directing such an interesting group! Take care, Jack

    1. Thanks for the plug, Jack! I’m on vacation until next Monday. I’ll give you my email afterwards so I don’t get a cluttered inbox while away.


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