I just came across this and thought I’d share.
I haven’t said much about the Pew Forum poll regarding people not knowing things about religion because in general it was something mildly interesting but I thought the whole “OMG” response among religious people and the “hahahaha suxxors” response among atheists was ignorant at best, uncharitable at worst, and thoroughly *yawn*
But I came across this post and appreciated some of what the roundtable of scholars had to say on the subject. The takeaway for me was that a great many religious folks just aren’t in it for a set of history lessons. That John Edwards was a major figure in the first Great Awakening, that Muslims celebrate Ramadan, etc., all these things aren’t bad things to know (I’m not disparaging knowledge), but a lot of folks go to church to feel a breath of life in otherwise troubled or sad or distracted lives. Whether they get it or not, I don’t know, I think it’s far too often that people walk out of church not knowing what they came for or what they got from it, but that’s why a lot of them go, I think. And some go for the coffee and cheese crackers. And some go because their friends go. And some go for networking. And some go out of obligation. And some go out of a feeling that their children need “moral values,” whatever that means, as if the church should be in the business of teaching your children proto-ethics via allegory. And so on. But I doubt a great many of them go in order to be more deeply educated about the vagaries of 17th century religious movements.