Note: Today, I’m going Onion-style here with a blog in response to an article on msnbc.com posted 9/28/10, titled “Survey: Americans don’t know much about religion” by Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press. To read the article, go here: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/39397251/ns/today-today_people. To figure out what I mean by Onion-style, go here: http://www.theonion.com/
According to a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, American atheists and agnostics score higher than American Christians on tests of religious knowledge.
Stunned by the survey results, people across the country took to the streets in what is widely believed to be the largest spontaneous protest to a survey since polls revealed that sports fans prefer Wisconsin cheese to Brett Favre by a two-to-one ratio.
In one small town in Delaware, parents picketed a local school. Nell Crater, whose twin sons attend eighth grade, threw up her hands in despair when asked why she was protesting.
“It’s bad enough that my boys can’t do math or make the track team. I have given up hope that my boys will ever be rich or famous, no matter how many times I read The Secret. But now I find out that I can’t put them in the priesthood either?” Tears ran down the woman's face as she added, “I don’t even know why I dabbled in witchcraft when I was a teenager. It doesn’t work.”
Responding quickly to allegations of poor teaching in schools, the National Education Association (NEA) issued a strongly worded press release: “The Pew survey has revealed many troubling realities—realities that the NEA has attempted to bring to public attention for quite some time. Our children don’t know that Martin Luther started the Reformation. They don’t know that Maimonides was Jewish. But they do know how many lines Justin Bieber had on the season premiere of CSI. Our teachers certainly do not broadcast lousy TV in our classrooms. The blame lies elsewhere.”
Alan Starr, an adjunct professor of literature at the Bricktown Community College near Oklahoma City, shared his frustration upon hearing the Pew Forum’s findings. “A 32-question test, and the highest score was a 21? That’s an F. An F! I don’t care if the atheists do work hard and hand in their work on time! Why are we rewarding them with attention like this? I don’t care if this isn’t a real college. We don’t have to graduate people who get Fs.”
Political spin-meister John Carville put a more positive twist on the news. “Only half the people surveyed knew the name of the Islamic holy book or the first book of the Bible? Why, that just means the American public is looking for some new, fresh faces in the upcoming elections. It’s time to put Twilight on the ballots in November, and really get us a winner. That’s a change Americans can get behind.”
Experts in religion were much more cautious in their response, urging people to avoid overreacting to the survey findings. According to Jim Pickens, theologian and marketing guru at Heavenly University in San Francisco, “Americans have a long history of not knowing anything about anything. So, this Pew survey is nothing to be concerned about.”
Pickens also pointed out that the survey has positive implications. “These results could be used to better the lives of Americans in ways we haven’t even fathomed yet,” Pickens said.
“For example, if atheists and agnostics know religious facts better than religious people, it may mean that they study new things more intensely before they reject them. This could easily explain the sudden interest in things that seem ridiculous to most Americans—such as a large number of hits on a Perez Hilton YouTube video, or a high level of interest in Big Brother 12. People who don’t believe in God or aren’t sure could be playing havoc with our TV ratings and Google search results. That says something about how we live today.”
In a public statement issued live to the press earlier today, the Pew Forum defended its findings. Pew spokesman John Bench said, “Hey, we were just asking questions. Next week, we’ll be asking how many people prefer McDonald’s to Burger King after attending Sunday morning services. This stuff is not that big a deal.”
Copyright © 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.