On page 37, we discover:
The survey results are clear: People with higher levels of education tend to be more knowledgeable about religion.Which makes perfectly good sense. Education tends to drive most tests of knowledge, from politics to science to health. Having taken a specific college-level religion course also leads to greater knowledge, at least on the items asked here -- which, by the way, strike me as both comprehensive and fair when it comes to measuring something as difficult as "knowledge" of religion.
There are some fascinating demographic breakdowns deep in the study, though few of them truly surprising. Indeed, they look a lot like the results you'd get studying political knowledge. For those who care about such things, Republicans outscored Democrats on religious knowledge, but self-described conservatives and liberals were a statistical tie. Go figure.
At the end, the fine folks at Pew crank the data through a regression analysis to see what really matters when it comes to what people know about religion. The results?
- Education matters. It dominates the model.
- But religious affiliation still explains some of the variance, which is a fancy way of saying even if you control for education, atheists/agnostics, Mormons, and Jews still outperform everyone else.
- Controlling for all this, having a high religious commitment also adds a bit in performance.