Well it’s finally out. The US Religious Knowledge Survey was released today by the Pew Forum on religion and public life. This religious knowledge survey says that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons, a group adding up to less than 7% of all Americans, scored the highest on understanding world religions. In general, this particular religious survey points out that doctrines simply don’t grab Americans. Doctrines are not only unimportant American Christians seem wholly unaware of them. Only 55% of Roman Catholic respondents knew the core teachings of the Mass. And just—catch this number—19% of Protestants knew the basic tenant that salvation is through faith alone not actions as well. This particular religious knowledge survey goes on to point out that just 55% of all respondents knew that the “golden rule” isn’t one of the Ten Commandments. And 45% could name all four Gospels. In other words, more than half could not name Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The bottom line of this survey is that we not only do not know essential Christian doctrine, but we don’t seem to care, and certainly are not reading our Bibles. The reason that I am highlighting this US Religious Knowledge Survey, again released today by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, is to say the need for the Christian Research Institute, what we do is more significant now than ever before. We’re in a biblically illiterate doctrinally illiterate culture.
What does that mean? It means that people will fall for the skin of the truth stuffed with a great big lie, over and over and over again, because they cannot discern between truth and error, wheat and chaff, heat and light. It’s time for us to get back to basics. To get into the Word of God and get the Word of God into us.
If you have not yet started on the Legacy Reading Plan, we’re done with the Old Testament as of this month, and next month we start a brand new track, we’ll be going through the New Testament. Again that’s beginning in October we start with the New Testament. We don’t do it as most reading plans do it. We start in John, and after we’ve read the Gospel of John, we read the epistles of John, and then we read the Book of Revelation. Why? Because we want to read the New Testament by author. Every author has unique characteristics. If you read my books, you can see my fingerprints all over them. The same thing is true with the Gospel of John, and John’s epistles, and the Book of Revelation. And then in November, we’re going to read through the epistles; in December, the Gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as well as Acts. But we want to read through the teaching epistles before we read through the historical narratives, so we’ll be able to read them for all their worth.
1. Cf. The Pew Forum, “US Religious Knowledge Survey,” http://pewforum.org/Other-Beliefs-and-Practices/U-S-Religious-Knowledge-Survey.aspx