Pew Research Poll on religious knowledge has been all over the webosphere. Christians did not fare too well compared to Jews, Atheists, and Mormons. In fact, I think Christianity did worse than the study indicates. By dividing Christians into subgroups (which they did not do for anyone else), they allowed a few Christian groups to float closer to the top. Taken as a total average, the numbers are even lower.
It actually does not surprise me that Christians score low. This was a religious test.... not a Christianity test. In my experience, most Christians are not only disinterested in what goes on with other religions... they often feel that such knowledge could taint them. Usually, anything they learn about another religion comes from a Christian.
Before my family moved out to Utah six years ago, a number of fellow Christians offered us books about Mormons. None of these were actually written by a Mormon.
So, if Christians generally see other religions as a threat or of no value, and the only reason to learn about them is for protection or proselytizing; and any education received is from a (probably) biased or inaccurate source .... is it any wonder that Christians would score low?
Unfortunately, according to the articles and blogs I am reading, most Christians are interpreting this study as:
We need to read our Bibles more.
I disagree.... you just need to get out more.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I don't know if my son can imagine, at his age, how much joy that question brings me. Clutching a small stack, he told me that he was finished with all of his books from our last run, and needed more.
So off to the library we went. I made my usual side turn just inside the door to see if there were any worthy books for sale. I often find at least one the library is cutting loose, but today was not the day. I then went to find Jake, who already had three books tucked under his arm and was busily searching for more.
I debated just shadowing him. I knew if I headed over to the religion/philosophy isle, I would bring something home. I already have two from the library and barely have time for those.... why grab anymore?
"I'll just look," I tell myself.
Through the rows I see many old friends, a few I am beginning to know, and some I would like to meet. Marcus Borg, Karen Armstrong, the latest by David Dark.... I am always amazed at what a good selection they have.... Hitchens, been enjoying his Vanity Fair articles, I need to read something by him.... skip past the televangelist stuff to other faiths.... the Dali Lama.... what? no Thich Nhat Hahn? ... must be all checked out...
A tug at my elbow...
"Dad, are you ready?"
Jake is a young reader.... very task oriented.... he has his books and is ready to go.
That's ok.... he is just beginning.... someday he will savor these isles, pause at the pages, lose himself in their presence .....
His stack has grown to eight and we head to the check out. We place the nine books on the conveyor (did anyone think I could resist?) and grab our receipt. Outside a gentle rain is falling. Jake is bent over as he walks.
"What are you doing?" I ask.
"I have to protect the books," he says without looking up.
How did I get so blessed?
Posted by Andrew at 8:14 PM