Test yourself on the basics of religion

June 17, 2007

The Bible is the No. 1 bestseller in American history, and today nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that this book holds the answers to all or most of life's basic questions. Yet this scripture is revered far more that it is read. Are you religiously biblically literate? Or are you among the majority of Americans for whom the Bible and other religious texts remain closed books? Take this religious literacy quiz and find out

QUESTIONS: 1. Name the four Gospels. List as many as you can. 2. Name a sacred text of Hinduism. 3. What is the name of the holy book of Islam? 4. Where, according to the Bible, was Jesus born? 5. President George W. Bush spoke in his first inaugural address of the Jericho road. What Bible story was he invoking? 6. What are the first five books of the Hebrew Bible or the Christian Old Testament? 7. What is the Golden Rule? 8. "God helps those who help themselves": Is this in the Bible? If so, where? 9. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God": Does this appear in the Bible? If so, where? 10. Name the Ten Commandments. List as many as you can. 11. Name the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. 12. What are the seven sacraments of Catholicism? List as many as you can. 13. The First Amendment says two things about religion, each in its own "clause." What are the two religious clauses of the First Amendment? 14. What is Ramadan? In what religion is it celebrated?

Adapted from Stephen Prothero's "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know - and Doesn't"

ANSWERS: 1. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (1 point each) 2. Can include the Vedas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Yoga Sutras, Laws of Manu, Kama Sutra (1 point) 3. Quran (1 point) 4. Bethlehem (1 point) 5. The Good Samaritan (1 point) 6. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (1 point each) 7. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Matthew 7:12) or a similar sentiment from Rabbi Hillel or Confucius. ("Love your neighbor as yourself" is not the Golden Rule.) (1 point) 8. No, this is not in the Bible. In fact, it is contradicted in Proverbs 28:26: "He who trusts in himself is a fool." The words are Ben Franklin's. (2 points) 9. Yes, in the Beatitudes of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3) (2 points) 10. The Protestant, Catholic and Jewish versions of the Ten Commandments differ. Give yourself credit for any ten of the following 12 commandments, each of which appears in at least one of those three versions: I the Lord am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make yourself a graven image. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Honor your father and mother. You shall not kill/murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods. (10 points) 11. Life is suffering. Suffering has an origin Suffering can be overcome (nirvana) The path to overcoming suffering is the Noble Eightfold Plan. (4 points) 12. Baptism Eucharist/Mass/Holy Communion Reconciliation/Confession /Penance Confirmation Marriage Holy Orders Anointing of the Sick/Last Rites (7 points) 13. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." (1 point each) 14. Muslim holiday characterized by a month of fasting (2 points) Scoring: Add up total points, multiply by two. A is 90 points or higher; B is 80-89; C is 70-79. A passing grade is 60 points or more.

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