It’s a common mistake.

Take the quiz.

Discussion (57)¬

  1. Neuseline says:

    If more believers read the so-called holy books there would be more agnostics and atheists.

  2. kennypo65 says:

    Most xtians don’t read the bible, they just do what they’re told.

  3. Edwards says:

    mos Xians only read the pretty chapters and verses, or whatever their priest/pastor tells them to read.

  4. grandmaro says:

    Still slouchin’ toward Bethlehem at an accelerated rate. Will YOU be among those beamed up, Scotty?

  5. To quote John Sinteur in the Pastafarian News :
    “Most religious people treat the Bible like an End User Agreement: they don’t read it but just scroll to the bottom and click “I agree”.

  6. Jon B says:

    Repeated exposure to Shit Arm, Bad Tattoo by Half Man Half Biscuit will sort you out:

    If you’re going to quote from the Book of Revelation
    Don’t keep calling it the Book of Revelations
    There’s no “S”
    It’s the Book of Revelation
    As revealed to St John the Divine
    See also Mary Hopkin
    She must despair

  7. Andrew Hall says:

    Sarah Palin’s America would open up the good book if there were more pictures, word jumbles, and connect the dots.

  8. luciano tanto says:

    hola… ¡cada vez mejor!

  9. Author says:

    @Jon B You mean this?

  10. John says:

    Dr. House said that if you could reason with religious people, there would be no religion.

  11. HaggisForBrainsDS7 says:

    Brilliant double joke, although I have to confess I would not have got the first part without the email.

    Took the quiz – 93% Yeahh! (what the hell is “The First Great Awakening”? something American, I assume).

  12. Ketil W.Grevstad says:

    i like this one 🙂

    i also took the quiz. i get 8. out of 15 questions.
    its give me 53 %

  13. BarMonger says:

    11 of 15, pretty good for an atheist 😉

  14. BK says:

    I got one wrong but I don’t know which one. 93% right, 99th percentile

    even most knowledgeable Xtians get this one wrong: Who was born as a result of the immaculate conception?

  15. AJ says:

    14 out of 15 (The great awakening one).

    Can anyone direct me to the source of the Karl Giberson quote on the right?

    For teh lulz, I’d quite like to see it in context.

  16. AJ says:

    BK – Mary, Mother of Jesus

  17. Eli Dupree says:

    Awesome, I got 100%. I wasn’t very confident in my answers, but I had the right ones.

    I have a question though. HOWWW did only 11% of people get question 15 right? THERE WERE ONLY THREE POSSIBLE ANSWERS.

  18. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    The genius warped up in details
    “unrecognized brilliance” he wails,
    Facts they spew out their ass
    None can surpass.
    Intelligence wise, rated as “Fails”.

  19. Got 14 out of 15 but I cheated on the First Awakening and used Google. Got the one about the Jewish Sabbath wrong. Took a guess it was Saturday, and of course it was Friday. Shoulda Googled that one too. But aside from the once cheat and the bad guess…. you’ve got to be pretty dull to score badly on this quiz. Just goes to show what we’ve known all along. The religious are not the well educated, even about religion.

  20. Aj says:

    Eli – I suspect that most people don’t know when the first great awakening was (I certainly didn’t), so they guess Billy Graham as he seems more likely to be the right answer than a triple jumper.

  21. BK says:

    AJ, almost everyone thinks it refers to Mary’s impregnation.

    I’d love to see an exam that is xtian specific. I bet atheists and agnostics would still out pace the believers. This multi-religion approach is less interesting as I woudn’t predict a christian would know or care about any detail of another religion. But that they don’t know their own…

  22. Jim Baerg says:

    I knew the 1st Great Awakening was a religious revival in the 13 colonies sometime before US independence. The only name of the 3 that I knew was Billy Graham & I guessed right between the remaining 2, so I got 100%.

    I’ve only read small parts of the Bible, but reading lots of history allowed me to know the answers to most of the questions.

  23. Jon B says:

    @Author – yes I do. Not one of my favourite HMHB songs but fits in well in this context.

    13/15 – Not bad for an away game.

  24. IDenyEverything says:

    @Eli Dupree
    Must have been a loaded question, but why the bias against the correct answer ?
    I got Q15 right by picking the one I’d never heard of – not a strategy recommended in multi-choice.

  25. Stephen Turner says:

    15 out of 15, though I guessed about the First Great Awakening. Is there a Level 2?

  26. Mark says:

    “The person who translated the Bible into clear, excellent French prose is chiefly responsible for the collapse of Christianity in France. But the translators who put the Bible into archaic, sonorous and often unintelligible English (i.e., the King James Version), gave Christianity a new lease of [sic] life wherever English is spoken.”

    H. L. Mencken

  27. HaggisForBrainsDS7 says:

    @Aj – exactly my thought process. Who would have though an
    Olympic athlete could have started a religious revival?

    I think in general we have all proved the point. For me it’s a case of “know your enemy”.

    @BK, Aj – “immaculate conception” – I only just learned that a few weeks ago. Amazing the complications god had to sort out to make sure his son was sin free.

    @Mark – That quote makes a lot of sense. For a more readable version try the New International Version here: http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/New-International-Version-NIV-Bible/ (Still a bit boring and repetitive, but actually readable). For an entertaining commentary, try http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/index.htm

  28. oocares says:

    14/15 – Know your enemy. 🙂

  29. Allison says:

    “Things fall apart, the center cannot hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…” At least Jesus has good taste in poetry.

  30. Stonyground says:

    This is quite an old story isn’t it? I recall doing this questionaire about six months ago, I too scored very well. The subject was treated very well in this cartoon.

    I can recall that when I was a kid in the sixties a new translation called, I think, The Living Bible which used modern English, came on the scene. My mother and other adults were horrified that the word ‘pregnant’ was used in place of a euphemism such as ‘with child’. Oh to have known about the more traditional Bibles that are loaded with obscenities and to have been able to point those obscenities out to those ridiculous prudes.

  31. CarlosT says:

    100%. Had to guess on the First Great Awakening, but got it right because something sounded right about Jonathan Edwards. Almost got caught on the Jewish Sabbath being on Saturday, but remembered that they tend to time things by sunset and sunrise, so I said Friday.

    @Eli Dupree: you’d expect around 33.3333% if everyone were purely guessing, but they aren’t. Some know the correct answer: these answer correctly 100% of the time. Some “know” an incorrect answer: these answer correctly 0% of the time. Some know it’s not Billy Graham and are guessing between the other two: these would answer correctly about 50% of the time. And some are purely guessing and would answer correctly around 33.3% of the time. The relative proportions of these groups (and other permutations I might have left out) combine to give us a total outcome of 11% responding correctly.

  32. kiyaroru says:

    15/15 and I, too, guessed on the great awakening.
    @Mark, I love Mencken!

  33. keeyop says:

    11/15, wish I could take the FULL quiz!

    (The fact that these questions have been winnowed down from the original 32 make the quiz less than fully comparable… c’mon, Pew!)

    Great ‘toon, great link!

  34. plortho says:

    @Eli, Aj: yup, name recognition on this side of the pond probably skewed things, though not as humorously. (“John Edwards”, U.S. presidential candidate, scandal, etc.)

  35. Mary2 says:

    Excellent fun quiz. 14 correct. Like most others I had no idea about the Great Awakening – or that one of the guys was a triple jumper. I would have failed a sports quiz.

    @keeyop: I looked up the full quiz, most of the extra questions were statistical background stuff – what denomination are you etc.

    Love the fact that apparently “Fewer than half of Americans can name the four Christian gospels” and “One-third of Americans falsely believe that evangelist Billy Graham delivered the Sermon on the Mount”!

    Reminds me of one the highlights of my life; winning a game of Bible Trivial Pursuit against 3 fundamentalist born-again acquaintances. They were not happy that an atheist lesbian knew more about their holy book than they did! (It was a fluke, but I didn’t tell them that. God must have been on my side).

  36. Hubert Duun says:

    @AJ: I did some creative googling on the Giberson quote, and foud it here:


  37. Guzío says:

    The quiz was a piece of cake, I got right all of them, besides from the ones concerning the U.S. law… is logical, since I live in Mexico and have ever lived here.

    Maybe being specialized on study of religion helped. By the way, I used to be atheist, then catholic and now kind of agnostic, anyway, I can’t be counted as much of a believer, I think. Or can I?

  38. HaggisForBrainsDS7 says:

    @Mary2 – “(It was a fluke, but I didn’t tell them that. God must have been on my side).”

    Nice one! LOL!

  39. Don says:

    14 out of 15. I guessed right that it wasn’t Graham but guessed wrong between the other two.

  40. Prior Aelred says:

    I aced the quiz — OK, I am a monk-priest, so there’s that, but there were no trick questions (well, maybe the Jewish Sabbath), but anyone with an IQ higher than that of a gibbon who reads the Jewish & Christian sacred writings & has any level of critical reasoning (which seems to be vanishing in American universities) would do as well (or almost) — maybe the Athenians were mistaken …

  41. Prior Aelred says:

    Run-on — now wondering — Spinoza was a genius (OK– weak on the liturgical imperative that some people manifest) & by some (insightful) people is considered the precursor of modern secularism, might actually be the father of post-modernism. (Comments?)

  42. Intelligent Designer says:

    That was fun – I got 13/15 (prayer in school and the ‘suffering character’ were gaps in my knowledge that I’m happy have been filled). Best news is that my wife is a practising Christian and only got 12! Is it wrong to gloat in triumph over loved ones? 😉

    BTW – T_shirt idea is great, Author – do it!!

  43. Daoloth says:

    If only creationists read about biology as much as atheists read about religion.

  44. Stonyground says:

    I did the quiz again and scored 100%. Obviously it was a help having done it before and having heard some of the awkward questions discussed in the comments.

    Jonathan Edwards is intersting because he was quite a devout Christian during the whole of his athletics career. The BBC thought that as a personable and well known Christian he would be a good choice to take part in a programme about early Christianity that involved trecking around the Middle East. It appeared that he had not really thought about Christianity that much so when he travelled the road to Damascus in the company of some more thoughful Christians, he thought about it and had a road from Damascus moment.

  45. Prior Aelred says:

    OK — I aced the quiz — no trick questions, so no big deal for a priest-monk — but, yes, most people who “believe in the Bible” are people who haven’t read it — actually quite typical of faith in anything (or anyone) — there has always been a powerful tension between the (as Pascal put it) the “God of the philosophers & the angry old man invisible cloud being (how could anyone deny Spinoza’s definition of God?).

  46. DA says:

    Nailed it, 15/15. However, I’ve belonged to three different faith traditions during my life, so not sure it was fair.

    Prior, I don’t so much disagree with Spinoza’s definition as I feel like it makes the concept of God meaningless. Same with the ‘gods’ of the Epicureans; they may as well not be there. So I tend to suspect that people like the Epicureans and Spinozans (as well as other figures who postulated an essentially atheistic worldview while still speaking about God, like Francis Bacon, Voltaire, the Deists, the Stoics, or some Muslim philosophers, especially Sufis) simply didn’t want to be murdered by the mob or regarded religion as a social necessity. If God is just everything or another word for reality, sure, I believe in God. But the gods of humanity tend to have some very distinctive attributes that rule this kind of thing out.

  47. dimbulb says:

    Missed one, never heard of Edwards.
    Not perfect but I’ll bet 14 of 15 Christians wouldn’t get the humor in Barmaid’s comment.

  48. wd says:

    i got 15/15; didn’t guess on any. it’s more about religion than the bible. currently in ‘deconversion’ but have been a member of a conservative protestant (not fundy) church for 13 years. some of us know some stuff =] can’t count how many churchgoers i’ve corrected on that revelations thing though -that was funny. loved j&m even when i was deep into the belief – maybe you had something to do with the change… (crappy laptop, apologies for all lower case)

  49. Some Matt or other says:

    @keeyop: Here’s a PDF of the full quiz used in the survey. Like Mary2 said, most of the extra questions were to identify the background of the respondent, but there were a fair number of additional knowledge questions too. I’ve copied them here for anybody who wants to keep playing:

    Which of these is the king of gods in ancient Greek mythology?
    1 Zeus
    2 Mars
    3 Apollo

    What is the name of the holy book of Islam?
    (not multiple choice)

    An atheist is:
    1 Someone who believes in God
    2 Someone who does NOT believe in God
    3 Someone who is unsure whether God exists

    An agnostic is:
    1 Someone who believes in God
    2 Someone who does NOT believe in God
    3 Someone who is unsure whether God exists

    What is the first book of the Bible?
    (not multiple choice)

    What are the names of the first four books of the New Testament of the
    Bible, that is, the Four Gospels?
    (not multiple choice)

    Where, according to the Bible, was Jesus born?
    1 Bethlehem
    2 Jericho
    3 Jerusalem
    4 Nazareth

    When was the Mormon religion founded?
    1 Before the year 1200 A.D
    2 Between 1200 and 1800
    3 Sometime after 1800

    The Book of Mormon tells the story of Jesus Christ appearing to people
    in what area of the world?
    1 The Americas
    2 Middle East
    3 Asia

    Which of these religious groups traditionally teaches that salvation
    comes through faith alone?
    1 Only Protestants
    2 Only Catholics
    3 Both Protestants and Catholics
    4 Neither Protestants nor Catholics

    Which Bible figure is most closely associated with willingness to
    sacrifice his son for God?
    1 Job
    2 Elijah
    3 Moses
    4 Abraham

    The Dalai Lama is:
    1 Catholic
    2 Jewish
    3 Buddhist
    4 Mormon
    5 Hindu

    Maimonides was:
    1 Catholic
    2 Jewish
    3 Buddhist
    4 Mormon
    5 Hindu

    Which of the following statements best describes what the U.S.
    Constitution says about religion?
    1 Christianity should be given special emphasis by the government
    2 The government shall neither establish a religion nor interfere with
    the practice of religion, or
    3 The Constitution does not say anything one way or the other about religion

    According to rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, is a public school
    teacher permitted to offer a class comparing the world’s religions?
    1 Yes
    2 No

    Most people in India consider themselves:
    1 Buddhist
    2 Hindu
    3 Muslim
    4 Christian

    Most people in Indonesia consider themselves:
    1 Buddhist
    2 Hindu
    3 Muslim
    4 Christian

    Which of these people developed the theory of evolution by natural selection?
    1 Charles Darwin
    2 Sigmund Freud
    3 Clarence Darrow

    And which of these court trials focused on whether evolution could be
    taught in public schools?
    1 The Scopes trial
    2 The Salem witch trials
    3 Brown versus Board of Education

  50. foundationist says:

    Thanks, author, quite funny that. I have not read the Bible from cover to cover myself. Quite frankly, I’ve got better things to do with my time. But in the test survey I still got all questions correctly, except the Great Awakening. Being not american, I actually had to look that one up in Wikipedia.

    @Some Matt or other:

    Thanks for that. There seems to be a mistake right in the first question. Mars wasn’t a Greek god, he was the Roman version of Ares, who was the Greek god of war. Now, maybe the people who devised the quiz did this on purpose, but I have a suspicion that they – as so many others – just lump Roman and Greek gods into one and the same thing. However, they differed vastly in cult and – for want of a better word – theology. Mars, for instance, played a far greater role in Rome than Ares ever did in Greece.

  51. ShaunOTD says:

    Multiple choice tests often include false answers that are invalid, not just wrong. I wouldn’t read too much into it.

  52. Aj says:


    Thank you, I really should get down the dojo and start practicing my google-fu.

  53. joe says:

    Thank God more believers don’t read their holy books. The smartest thing the RCC ever did was to keep followers from reading the original version of these fairytales. The stonings and genocides would be unending if the morons who follow these cults actually read what their founders actually believed. (14 of 15, of course)

  54. Micheál says:

    15 out of 15, and I’m an atheist. Whoohoo! 🙂

  55. fenchurch says:

    Dang, I got only 14 out of 15. 🙁 I’m a bad atheist! I should have gotten perfect… how else can I maintain my militant fundamentalist elite smugness without literally being superior in every way to those silly geese theists?
    (wikipedia-ing First Great Awakening).

  56. smartalek says:

    Late to the party, am I?
    The inclusion of the Great Awakening question is manifestly (heh) unfair — but given the natural arrogance of most Americans, and how that reflects in our institutions, actions, policies, beliefs, &c, it’s probably a major plus that there was only one such question in the lot.
    15 for 15, of course.
    But as an atheist-leaning agnostic of Jewish heritage and US upbringing, I’m obviously unfairly advantaged.
    (You did notice that the one group that scored higher than atheists was Jews, didn’t you?)
    Plus, the test really was pretty basic. I’m w/ Stephen Turner, above; there shoulda at least been a level 2. And thank you, Matt (whichever one) for providing the full Q-set; definitely helpful.

  57. Voice+of+Saison says:

    Woohoo! got 100%, but guessed on “friday” and the last question.


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