Thursday, March 08, 2007

USA Flunks Religion

Just wanted to share the reason for my existence (if you're new to the blog, I teach Catholic theology at a college):

Nation Gets An F In Religion

Sometimes dumb sounds cute: Sixty percent of Americans can't name five of the Ten Commandments, and 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.

Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University, isn't laughing. Americans' deep ignorance of world religions — their own, their neighbors' or the combatants in Iraq, Darfur or Kashmir — is dangerous, he says.

p.s. It's not my fault! I'm a poor worker in the vineyard of the Lord, people! (banging head on wall)


RobK said...

No surprise. When you ask the public pretty much anything, no more than 60% can get it right.

So, I am not surprised here. Sad, but not surprised.

angelmeg said...

I'm sure most of your students would have squeaked into the 40% that wouldn't flunk.


Adoro te Devote said...

I'm so completely unsurprised.

But it's not your's the fault of those who have gone before you, and your job and my job (in my small way) and the job of those of us who KNOW is to teach those who are clueless.

All those clueless souls....

Suddenly I'm feeling overwhelmed...

Ray from MN said...

If his "test" was composed as "completion" questions, that gives a lot more credibility to it than if it had been "multiple guess", as we used to say (rather than multiple choice).

I question the wisdom of putting the "Jericho Road" question in a test of this nature. Even theology professors would miss that one, one would bet.

One could ask, I suppose, what species of pig did Jesus drive into the sea?

Similarly , I could quibble and argue that Bhuddism is not a religion as there is no "god" in its belief system. But most people would miss that point also.

The Ironic Catholic said...

Adoro, the ignorance bothers me less than the apathy. Ignorance is relatively easy to address. Apathy is not. THAT's the problem, IMHO. Sigh.

Adoro te Devote said...

IC ~ You're so right. Ignorance can be addressed...the real problem IS apathy.

Now I feel even worse. We can be enthusiastic, but if people aren't open, then there's nothing we can do.

But as a friend of mine once told me, "You never know who's watching you..."

That friend is a Protestant Pastor, was raised Catholic and clearly, left the Church. How sad, but I will say this; he is a wonderful human being and I miss the chats I used to have with him.

And he was so right; we never know who's watching or reading our words, and even if there's nothing outward to indicate they "get it", something might be happening internally.

You may hear from students way down the road who come back to you and say that even though they initially rejected what you said, they later grew up and realized that you spoke the truth and it was a factor in their conversion.

Awesome stuff.

The Ironic Catholic said...

Adoro, you;re right. We plant seeds. God brings forth the fruit. And sometimes students do come back and say "Hey...that really made me think!" Two guys told me a few weeks ago an introductory course they took with me really solidified their committment to seek out ordination, and that made me feel really good. But no more so than the young woman who says that she finally realized withholding forgiveness was key to all her anger and resentment and messed up life. Etc.

Then again, many of my students in teh earliest class just fall asleep. oh well. :) Keeps me humble.

Allen said...

I'm a poor worker in the fields of the Lord as well. Or so my congregation keeps reminding me!