Lots of stories recently about a a new poll that “finds atheist and agnostics know more about religion than believers do.” Some blogs have been decrying the state of Catholic eduction since what they identified as Catholics did the worst on the 32 question quiz.
Jimmy Akin wrote an excellent response to this poll basically saying that like most polls it does not necessarily prove anything and the majority of questions on the quiz do not relate to the faith of the person taking the quiz. It was more comparative religion trivia than what the person who took the quiz knows about their faith.
I took the quiz and got a perfect score and I can certainly say that if I had taken the same quiz when I was an atheist I would have been lucky to get any right except the questions on public schools. Though I was a rather arrogant atheist so firm in my disbelief that I never investigated religions at all. There were more questions about Mormons than Catholics. So I can easily see why many people would not do very well on this test. I knew the answers by reading apologetics and listening to Catholic Answers since they day they started their radio show.
As to 55% of Catholics getting Catholic teaching on the Eucharist correct it is hard to say what that means. Someone identifying themselves as Catholic does not really say much since many who have stopped practicing their faith still identify themselves as such. While I have no problems decrying the state of Catholic education, I would seriously doubt that only 55% of weekly Mass going Catholics did know this teaching. It is another story how much they believe in the Eucharist. In fact we should be amazed that after decades of felt banner apologetics and weak catechetical tools that so many believe and that Eucharistic Adoration is on the upswing.
Not to mention, as Mr Ross Douthat points out, that this study has separate groups for atheists/agnostics (the smaller group which gets good scores; call them “practicing atheists or agnostics”) and people who describe their religion as “nothing in particular” (the much larger group, which had among the lowest scores, call them “nonpracticing atheists and agnostics”), while lumping practicing and non-practicing Catholics together (ditto for Protestants).
The problem with the Eucharist question is that the correct answer says “the bread and wine ACTUALLY turn into the Body and Blood.” While this is of course true, it does not differentiate between substantial change and physical change, so I could see how some people would be hesitant to select it even if they did hold the Church’s view.
>>so I could see how some people would be hesitant to select it even if they did hold the Church’s view<<
I understand where you're coming from and just imagine what people thought when they actually walked with The Son of Man and in so many Words, He told them that unless they ate of His Flesh and drank of His Blood, they could not be His Disciples.
I hear ya! Victor that was because back then He had over five thousand following Him around and He could barely breath so He had to dicourage a few of them and that was a pretty Good Way of doing "IT" 🙂
Really? Go Figure!
It still amazes me that there was such a high per-centage of Catholics who are “confused” about what the Eucharist really is. There are also many people who don’t show reverence for the Eucharist or the Tabernacle either. I once went to a Sunday evening Mass at another parish in my area, and was shocked to see altar servers approach the Sanctuary where the Tabernacle was in plain view, and just walked by it like it was just any old object that they passed without a thought. And it’s not relegated to just the United States either. I once had an Australian Catholic tell me that there is no consecration during the Mass.
The transformed magic host claim is the easiest supernatural claim made by the RCC to test.
I grew up in the RCC and went to RCC schools until age 13 and always found this claim to be the most interesting and least believable of the all.
We can subject a sample of hosts simply to a side by side blind test and to a team of chemists at MIT and Cal Tech with transformed and non-transformed hosts. Then have them run the full battey of modern chemical analysis and see if anything happens and if there is any difference to back up the extaordinary calim of the RCC. If they find a difference betweeen the samples then the RCC can make the claim with independent scientific proof.
Otherwise they can classify it as a really nice symbolic act.
The poverty of Catholic education over the last, say 40 years, really cannot be underestimated – at least where I live. Now we have some better bishops who are trying to turn things around, but struggle to find enough teachers.
I hear ya! We’ll believe in “The Eucharist” when God proves “IT” to U>S and done as we think “IT” should be done but until then no dice, so make sure and tell sinner vic that’s how we aliens see “IT” Victor!
Really! Got “IT” sinner vic? Go figure! 🙂
I got 30 right out of the 32. I have to say there were a few where I went with the “best” answer as to what I would consider the “right” answer. Also, was “don’t know” one of the options in the actual poll? Perhaps Catholics were more honest whereas others guessed 🙂
Catholic education, is definitely suffering. I say this as someone who (recently) graduated from a Catholic high school and a Catholic grade school before that. There was hardly any emphasis on religion classes. I’d go into specifics, but there’s really no time.
The test was sketchy. I’m Catholic and only I got one wrong. I said “Nirvana” was a part of Buddhist beliefs. The answer was “Hindu”. Actually, it can go both ways.
Remember Lincoln’s immortal words: “Better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”
It is obvious from your statement that you have NO idea of what the Eucharist is about and what its consecration means. May I suggest that you get educated on the subject before talking about it again?
DCH: You have such faith in the powers of natural philosophy, that you consider its techniques capable of a reliable test for supernatural properties.
Science doesn’t make such a claim but scientism does.