Originally posted by FreakyKBH
This just in from LA Times, relative to a study conducted examining the knowledge level of atheists/agnostics on all things involving God.
EDIT: One small caveat to be considered...
For comparison purposes, the survey also asked some questi ...[text shortened]... ng: 4% of Americans believe that Stephen King, not Herman Melville, wrote "Moby Dick."
I am often skeptical of surveys of religious knowledge. Religion doctrines are often terribly complicated and it is often difficult to test whether real knowledge exists. Take for example the Trinity. An atheist may quite accurately reiterate the basic Trinitarian formula 'Three persons and one nature'. He may even be clever and impress his interviewer with his knowledge of metaphysical vocabulary, discussing the difference between the substance and the subsistent person. Yet his objections may betray absolute ignorance of the actual semantic content of these words.
In contrast, a Trinitarian Christian may completely jumble all the words. Most Trinitarians do in fact profess something sounding very Seballian (each person as a manifestation of the one God.) Yet their religious devotion and feelings about God perhaps more eloquently capture the meaning of the Trinity. The Christian might, for example, thank Jesus for his sacrifice and pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance (clearly showing an understanding of the economic Trinity) but at the same time invoke God in prayer (showing the unity of nature.)
Now the article mentions indirectly the doctrine of transubstantiation. Any inquiry of this is bound to be misleading. The bread and wine do
symbolise the body and blood of Jesus. The Catholic Church does not teach that the bread is literally flesh and the wine literally blood -- but that both equally share the real presence of Jesus. A Catholic might not be able to verbally differentiate the symbolic aspects of this ritual from the substantial (or transubstantial.) Their religious behaviour, however, genuflecting and kneeling to the Eucharist, praying before it and so on, does suggest their knowledge of this.
So ultimately all a quiz could do is assess their verbal ability to summarise the doctrines of their church. It does not really assess their actual knowledge.