Author Gives Americans An “F”



©2007 Sharon Hughes 

It seems every Easter now we are seeing someone new talking about Jesus in unorthodox ways. This year it’s about a new tomb found with proponents claiming Jesus was married and buried with his wife. Are Americans buying this story? Very few, especially as compared to the DaVinci Code when it came out in movie form last year.

While the great majority of Americans claim to believe in God and to be of the Christian faith, what do Americans really know about God?

USA Today reported last week on the outcome of a quiz given by Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University and author of “Religious Literacy, What Every American Needs to Know”, which shows 60% of Americans can’t name 5 of the 10 Commandment in the Bible, and over half of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were...married.

I picked up the paper while waiting for an appointment at the Hotel to finalize plans for our upcoming WOMANTalk Spring Luncheon, and decided to conduct my own mini survey, and asked three young women in their twenties working behind the front desk, if they knew what Sodom and Gomorrah was. All three said no, they had no idea, they had never heard of them.

Unbelievable. But, whose fault is it that young people are so unfamiliar with such (formerly) common known accounts from the bible? Parents for not passing on an education of the Bible? Society for pushing God out of the schools? Or the individuals themselves?

Here are some of the other questions in the Pop quiz:

  • Name the four gospels
  • What are the first five books of the Hebrew Bible or the Christian Old Testament?
  • Where according to the Bible was Jesus born?
  • What are the Seven Sacraments of Catholicism?
President George W. Bush spoke in his first inaugural address of the Jericho road. What Bible story was he invoking?

“We’re impoverished by ignorance,” says Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, who blames Sunday Schools for ‘trivializing religious education.’

Interestingly, Prothero’s solution is to require middle-schoolers to take a course in world religions, and for high schoolers to take one on the Bible, and all college undergrads to take at least one course in religious studies.

The author also says schools are failing on the religious literacy front because they ‘reduce religion to morality’. “We are not all on the same one path to the same one God. Religions aren’t all saying the same thing. That’s presumptuous and wrong. They start with different problems, solve the problems in different ways, and they have different goals.”

While the author’s ideas are great, it would be a huge battle to implement them.

The ACLU, Richard Dawkins and others of the ‘new atheism,’ which is a more aggressive atheism, (see ‘Blasphemy Challenge’) wouldn’t stand for a return of God to our public schools.  And their allies, such as the Center for Progressive Christianity and Soulforce, the gay-activist group which is currently on its Equality Ride across the nation protesting the moral codes of Christian colleges, would be fighting alongside them.

I asked earlier in this article who is to blame for America getting an “F” in religion, but that isn’t as important as this question: who will fight and pull in the opposite direction to see America ’s grade go up? You?


Sharon  Hughes is Founder and President of The Center for Changing Worldviews and a radio talk show host on KDIA AM1640 in San Francisco, RIGHTALK.com, and online at Oneplace.com. Her column appears in many recognized news sites and publications, most recently FRONTPAGEMAG. She also writes for  NewsBusters.org., a division of The Media Research Center. For further information visit her Websites www.changingworldviews.com, WOMANTalk.us, and Blog http://changingworldviews.blogspot.com. Or Contact: sharon@changingworldviews.com 


Radio Talk Show Changing Worldviews, KDIA AM1640 San Francisco Bay Area and Around the world Online at Oneplace.com