Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Religious Illiteracy

A friend sent me this article from the L.A. Times* (free registration required), but here is my favorite part:

The sociologist Peter Berger once remarked that if India is the most religious country in the world and Sweden the least, then the United States is a nation of Indians ruled by Swedes. Not anymore. With a Jesus lover in the Oval Office and a faith-based party in control of both houses of Congress, the United States is undeniably a nation of believers ruled by the same.

Things are different in Europe, and not just in Sweden. The Dutch are four times less likely than Americans to believe in miracles, hell and biblical inerrancy. The euro does not trust in God. But here is the paradox: Although Americans are far more religious than Europeans, they know far less about religion.

In Europe, religious education is the rule from the elementary grades on. So Austrians, Norwegians and the Irish can tell you about the Seven Deadly Sins or the Five Pillars of Islam. But, according to a 1997 poll, only one out of three U.S. citizens is able to name the most basic of Christian texts, the four Gospels, and 12% think Noah's wife was Joan of Arc.

That paints a picture of a nation that believes God speaks in Scripture but that can't be bothered to read what he has to say.


Substitute American religious fundamentalists with our own home-grown Kuwaiti versions, and you'll see the parallels are frighteningly similar! I admit I laughed out loud at the Joan of Arc reference..

Anyway, chew on this post while I'm away for the Eid... and عيدكم مبارك

This time I'll post some pictures when I get back!

*By Stephen Prothero, Boston University, author of "American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon"

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for the link, Zaydoun
    Comparative religion studies is what we desperately need here.. along with some live music, art, and theater (and I don't mean the Super S6ar kind of theater)..
    That should help open up people's minds and hearts.

    Happy Eid to you
    May it be terror-free

    ReplyDelete
  2. 3eedek embarak, Oo take care of your self guapo Z...
    Stay safe & Be Good :pP~~

    3eeDkom embarak everyone..
    &
    3asakom men el3aydeen wel fayzeen enshallah..
    Allah y7afeth deratna.. Oo allah yaster..

    G0LDeNeYah
    (F)

    ReplyDelete
  3. First of all, Happy Eid to all of you.
    I always have uncertainties about general opinion surveys (assuming, I have not read the whole article yet); most of them are bias and lead toward certain outcome.

    ReplyDelete
  4. First of all, Happy Eid to all of you.
    I always have uncertainties about general opinion surveys (assuming, I have not read the whole article yet); most of them are bias and lead toward certain outcome.

    ReplyDelete
  5. First of all, Happy Eid to all of you.
    I always have uncertainties about general opinion surveys (assuming, I have not read the whole article yet); most of them are bias and lead toward certain outcome.

    ReplyDelete
  6. First of all, Happy Eid to all of you.
    I always have uncertainties about general opinion surveys (assuming, I have not read the whole article yet); most of them are bias and lead toward certain outcome.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Excellent article Zaydoun...really the best analysis of the situation ive read all week!

    Have a nice trip o troo7 o tirja3 bilsalama inshalla :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. It is evident that the more people learn about religions, the less they believe in them. This is probably why we have extreme fundamentalists in the country: ignorance.

    Happy Eid to you all. Enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. you don't have to have a subscription to access the article

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is way off-topic, but I didn't know how else to contact Zaydoun. At any rate, in a previous topic regarding www.secularkuwait.org, there has been a discussion about "liberal" vs. "secular".

    Note that the site name is NO mistake. From our point of view, All liberals are by default seculars. However, seculars are not necessairly liberals.

    You might want to check the following post for more clarification:

    http://www.secularkuwait.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=765

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  11. why isn't my post getting uploaded???

    ReplyDelete
  12. why isn't my post getting uploaded???

    ReplyDelete
  13. i think its the other way around in America so confusing, much easier if ur an atheist like me, just hide ur beliefs (or lackof) if ur kuwaiti like me because people might hurt or even kill you

    ReplyDelete
  14. Happy belated Eid to all. Zaydoun, where you been man?

    ReplyDelete
  15. As an American, married to a Dutch man, and living in Europe, I can relate to your post and agree with your assessment that American's actually know far less of religion and it's part in world history than do the Europeans. The profound ignorance to truth, history and life outside their small circle (a very common shortcoming), makes the self-righteous Evangelistic Christian Fundamentalists very dangerous, and not just a little bit frightening!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm back... relaxed and ready, and just a bit jetlagged ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. DJ... trust me, we're just as frightened here!

    ReplyDelete

Keep it clean, people!