Survey: American Knowledge of Religion 'Poor'

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A new survey has found that Americans know very little about religion.

Researchers from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life polled more than 3,400 people. They were asked questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions.

Atheists, Agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Catholics in questions concerning teachings and history. Many Protestants could not correctly give the most basic teachings of their own faiths.

More than half of the Protestants surveyed could not correctly identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation.

Forty-five percent of Catholics do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize, but actually becomes the body and blood of Christ.

And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides -- one of the greatest rabbis in history -- was Jewish.

How much do you know about religion?  Take the Pew Forum quiz here.

"We could have designed harder questions, or easier ones. As it happens, through a combination of good survey design and good luck, the results were an almost perfect bell curve in which the average score was exactly half of the 32 possible correct answers, and very few people got all questions right or all questions wrong," said Luis Lugo and Alan Cooperman, director and associate director of the research.

The findings were released Tuesday and are based on a nationwide poll conducted from May 19 to June 6 of this year.

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