Thursday, March 08, 2007

Religiously illiterate

Here is an article I came across in USA Today entitled "Americans get an F in Religion" by Cathy Lynn Grossman.

"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.

His new book, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — and Doesn't, argues that everyone needs to grasp Bible basics, as well as the core beliefs, stories, symbols and heroes of other faiths.

Belief is not his business, says Prothero, who grew up Episcopalian and now says he's a spiritually "confused Christian." He says his argument is for empowered citizenship.

"More and more of our national and international questions are religiously inflected," he says, citing President Bush's speeches laden with biblical references and the furor when the first Muslim member of Congress chose to be sworn in with his right hand on Thomas Jefferson's Quran.

"If you think Sunni and Shia are the same because they're both Muslim, and you've been told Islam is about peace, you won't understand what's happening in Iraq. If you get into an argument about gay rights or capital punishment and someone claims to quote the Bible or the Quran, do you know it's so?

"If you want to be involved, you need to know what they're saying. We're doomed if we don't understand what motivates the beliefs and behaviors of the rest of the world. We can't outsource this to demagogues, pundits and preachers with a political agenda."

Scholars and theologians who agree with him say Americans' woeful level of religious illiteracy damages more than democracy. "


Continue reading by going HERE!!!

Also there is a "test your religious literacy" quiz on the left side of the linked page. Check it out too!

1 comment:

MOM said...

We are, sadly, not literate about so many things - our own country government, other countries, basics of religions... Are we not as smart as our 5th graders?

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