Pop Quiz: Survey Tests Americans on Religion

Atheists and agnostics scored the most right answers.

Sept. 28, 2010 — -- America is one of the most religious nations on Earth, but a new poll finds that many Americans struggle to answer basic questions about faith, even their own.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released the results of a survey today that tested respondents on 32 questions about a variety of faiths. The questions ranged in complexity from the name of the Islamic holy book to the century that the Mormon religion was founded. Americans, on average, got only 16 answers right.

Americans Quizzed on Religion

Here's a few of the questions:

Can you name the four gospels?

If you said, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you're among only 45 percent of Americans who got it right.

Click here to take the Pew's "Religious Knowledge Quiz."

Another question: Is the Golden Rule one of the Ten Commandments?

If you said no, you're among 55 percent of Americans who got it right.

The results of the survey showed that those who knew the most about Christianity were Mormons. They averaged eight correct answers out of the 12 that were asked about the Christian faith. White Evangelicals were second in their knowledge of Christianity according to the study.

Atheists Knew Most About Religion

Agnostics and atheists did particularly well on questions about world religions like what religion is the Dalai Lama and the meaning of Ramadan. Overall, atheists and agnostics answered the most questions correctly, an average of 21 right answers.

Jews and Mormons on average answered 20 questions correctly. Protestants averaged 16 right answers and Catholics knew less than half of the correct answers.

'Low Bible Literacy Troubling'

There were some surprising misses.

Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics didn't know that church doctrine says that during Holy Communion, the bread and wine isn't just a symbol but actually becomes the body and blood of Christ.

More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person responsible for inspiring the Protestant Reformation.

Church leaders that ABC News spoke to today said they found the apparently low Bible literacy troubling.

"We need a church that's strong, that knows its own holy book, and that is living according to it," Robert Briggs from the American Bible Society said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click here to return to the "World News" page.