Stephen Prothero, author of the recently published Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — And Doesn’t
is chairman of the Religion department at Boston University. Religious Literacy is a study of the religious fervor and religious knowledge of the American people. To put his findings in a nutshell, Prothero found that while the American people have a very high amoumt of religious fervor, they are sorely lacking in knowledge of the religion they profess, especially American Christians.
To quote from Professor Prothero’s book:
Today, religious illiteracy is at least as pervasive as cultural illiteracy, and certainly more dangerous.
“Religious illiteracy is more dangerous because religion is the most volatile constituent of the culture. Americans’ knowledge of religion runs as shallow as Americans’ commitment to religion runs deep.
In the book, he gives numerous examples of American religious illiteracy. My two favorite ones were that a significant numver of Americans thought Sodom and Gomorrah were brother and sister, and that only one person our of every four could name at least one of the Gospels. U can see where people might have problems with places or people from the Old Testament, but not to be able to name one of the Gospels, the very core texts of Christianity, speaks volumes.
I have said here, or at least implied, in a number of my posts that most Americans have no clude what their religion is really about or what it teaches, especially politians who love to talk about Christian values. These people are so full of it, it is not even funny.
As Prpfessor Protherso says much more politely in his book, these politicians are a bunch of windbags who have little or no clue about the religion they so fervently profess. Using religion in politics has become fashionable and expedient in American politics. And since the American people are as ignorant of their own religion as these politicians, the politicians can say whatever they feel the American people want to here, clothe it in religion, whether the religion actually teaches what the politicans say or not, and be assured that no one will challenge their assertions, since the American people are as ignorant of the teachings of Christ as the politican is.
No one is going to challenge them? Not quite no one, for I certainly am going to pay more attention to the religious claims made by politicans, especially those running for national office, and if they spout BS, I will challenge them on it, you can count on that.
Here are some reviews of Professor Protheor’s book:
- ‘Knowledge of religion shallow, commitment deep’ in U.S >
- Americans get an ‘F’ in religion
- Blind Faith