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Media Memo: Expert available to discuss survey regarding Americans' religious knowledge

TO: News Editors and Directors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume

DATE: Sept. 28, 2010

SUBJECT: Expert available to discuss survey regarding Americans' religious knowledge

Dr. Scott Lowe, professor and chair of the philosophy and religious studies department at UW-Eau Claire, is available to comment on a new survey regarding Americans' religious knowledge.

You can reach Dr. Lowe at 715-836-2993 or lowed@uwec.edu.

The independent Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey tested a range of religious knowledge, including questions about the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and famous religious figures.

The survey, which was released today, shows that large numbers of Americans are uninformed about the tenets, practices, history and leading figures of major faith traditions, including their own.

The survey involved phone surveys with 3,400 Americans who were asked 32 questions. On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly.

Atheists and agnostics scored highest, with an average of 21 correct answers, while Jews and Mormons followed with about 20 accurate responses. Protestants averaged 16 correct answers, while Catholics followed with a score of about 15.

Previous surveys by the Pew Research Center have shown that America is among the most religious of the world's developed nations. Those surveys found that nearly six-in-10 adults in the United States say that religion is "very important" in their lives, and roughly four-in-10 say they attend worship services at least once a week.

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