Returning to the Classroom

2016 is well underway. In just a few more days I will return to the virtual university classroom.  This semester I will be teaching three completely full sections of Introduction to World Religions at Hodges University (my 16th, 17th, and 18th times to teach a course on world religions since accepting this adjunct role in 2011).   So What? Most regular readers of my blog are religiously literate about their own religion.  I wonder, however, how religiously literate you are when Read More …

Passionate Misunderstanding

The following is a reminder that Christian religious language isn't as widely known as many Christians assume: The City Council in Oxford (England) canceled this year's passion play because they didn't understand it was a religious event.  It has even been suggested that some of those tasked with rendering the decision believed the passion play was a reference to a live sex show. So What? Churches often rely on religious insider speak (aka Christianese) more often than most congregational Read More …

A Religious Double Standard

While one would hope that Americans hold informed, respectful, and tolerant views of persons of all religious traditions (including those who have opted to not follow a religious paths) numerous studies indicate that most people have very limited levels of religious literacy.  Sadly, one recent study found that there is a religious double standard regarding religious violence. More specifically: when people claim to be a Christian and commit violent acts in the name of Christianity, only 13% Read More …

Toward a Religiously Literate City

Bill Tammeus, a Kansas City area author and religious blogger, recently shared a list of ideas to help increase religious literacy.  He submitted these suggestions to the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council in response to their desire to engage in a sustained effort that would last a year or longer.  Tammeus' list included: Offer tours of sacred structures all over town — churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, etc. Put on a film festival featuring movies with religious themes. Maybe Read More …

Declining Biblical Literacy

Almost everyone agrees that Americans are not very religiously literate.  While lacking basic knowledge of the world's great religions, Americans typical know more about Christianity. Last week the Barna Group reported on research it undertook for a noteworthy client: the American Bible Society.  The following snapshot shows how people responded to some basic questions about Christianity: So What? John 3:16 has been among the most popular signs at American professional football Read More …

Religious Knowledge in America

Religious Knowledge in America I encourage you to test your religious knowledge by taking a fifteen question multiple choice survey.  Once you complete the survey you will learn how your religious literacy compares to those who participated in the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey.  The results of the survey suggest the average American isn't very knowledgeable about religion.  In fact, the average participant answered exactly half of Read More …