walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

Pew survey on religion

http://pewforum.org/Other-Beliefs-and-Practices/U-S-Religious-Knowledge-Survey.aspx

R. was telling me about this, so I went to check it out. Amusingly, he got 100% even tho he had to guess on the Great Awakening question. He misread it, thinking it was about the 2nd Great Awakening, but still picked Jonathan Edwards.

Digging down to find the full questionnaire is really interesting; it answered a bunch of longstanding questions I had about how they extract denominational affiliation (short form: they just pick a level of detail and let you volunteer more if you want to, and yes, they do arrange the questions based on a combination of what you said earlier about affiliation and your stated race).

R. and I then had a very long conversation about whether he ever learned about Jonathan Edwards in his two years of high school US history, which only had an honors division in the second year. He went to Longmeadow High School (you know, really, not that freaking far from Edwards stomping grounds. And I do mean stomping.), so it is just inconceivable to me that this wouldn't even be mentioned. OTOH, Massachusetts has demonstrated a remarkable capacity over the centuries to really Just Not Talk About things that make people uncomfortable. A few rounds of people like Edwards and nearly anyone would decide to make religion a No Go zone for conversation.

Given the incredibly low rates on that question (in the face of only three choices, even! One of them Billy Graham!), I have to suspect that a whole lot of people never learned about the Great Awakening. I'm a little uncertain how much sense the First Amendment religion clauses could make if you didn't know this part of our history. Honestly, what went on in the colonies make JW's look calm and reasonable.
Tags: religion, survey says
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