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Religious Literacy Quiz

October 25th, 2016 by Brian Pinter

During our first session of our Religion in America Lecture Series, we took the following Religious Literacy Quiz. How many can you answer?

  1. Which holy book stipulates that a girl who does not bleed on her wedding night should be stoned to death?
    a. Koran
    b. Old Testament
    c. (Hindu) Upanishads
  2. Which holy text declares: “Let there be no compulsion in religion”?
    a. Koran
    b. Gospel of Matthew
    c. Letter of Paul to the Romans
  3. The terrorists who pioneered the suicide vest in modern times, and the use of women in terror attacks, were affiliated with which major religion?
    a. Islam
    b. Christianity
    c. Hinduism
  4. “Every child is touched by the devil as soon as he is born and this contact makes him cry. Excepted are Mary and her Son.” This verse is from:
    a. Letters of Paul to the Corinthians
    b. The Book of Revelation
    c. An Islamic hadith, or religious tale
  5. Which holy text is sympathetic to slavery?
    a. Old Testament
    b. New Testament
    c. Koran
  6. In the New Testament, Jesus’ views of homosexuality are:
    a. strongly condemnatory
    b. forgiving
    c. never mentioned
  7. Which holy text urges responding to evil with kindness, saying: “repel the evil deed with one which is better.”
    a. Gospel of Luke
    b. Book of Isaiah
    c. Koran
  8. Which religious figure preaches tolerance by suggesting that God looks after all peoples and leads them all to their promised lands?
    a. Muhammad
    b. Amos
    c. Jesus
  9. Which of these religious leaders was a polygamist?
    a. Jacob
    b. King David
    c. Muhammad
  10. What characterizes Muhammad’s behavior toward the Jews of his time?
    a. He killed them.
    b. He married one.
    c. He praised them as a chosen people.
  11. Which holy scripture urges that the “little ones” of the enemy be dashed against the stones?
    a. Book of Psalms
    b. Koran
    c. Leviticus
  12. Which holy scripture suggests beating wives who misbehave?
    a. Koran
    b. Letters of Paul to the Corinthians
    c. Book of Judges
  13. Which religious leader is quoted as commanding women to be silent during services?
    a. The first Dalai Lama
    b. St. Paul
    c. Muhammad
  14. Name the Four Gospels. List as many as you can.
  15. Name a sacred text of Hinduism.
  16. Name the holy book of Islam.
  17. Where, according to the Bible, was Jesus born?
  18. George Bush spoke in his first inaugural of the Jericho road. What Bible story was he invoking?
  19. What are the first five books of the Hebrew Bible or the Christian Old Testament?
  20. What is the Golden Rule?
  21. “God helps those who help themselves.” Is this in the Bible? If so, where?
  22. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.” Does this appear in the Bible? If so, where?
  23. Name the Ten Commandments. List as many as you can.
  24. Name the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.
  25. What are the seven sacraments of Catholicism? List as many as you can.
  26. The First Amendment says two things about religion, each in its own “clause.” What are the two religion clauses of the First Amendment?
  27. What is Ramadan? In what religion is it celebrated?



1. b. Deuteronomy 22:21.
2. a. Koran, 2:256. But other sections of the Koran do describe coercion.
3. c. Most early suicide bombings were by Tamil Hindus (some secular) in Sri Lanka and India.
4. c. Hadith. Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet to be revered.
5. All of the above.
6. c. Other parts of the New and Old Testaments object to homosexuality, but there’s no indication of Jesus’ views.
7. c. Koran, 41:34. Jesus says much the same thing in different words.
8. b. Amos 9:7
9. all of them
10. all of these. Muhammad’s Jewish wife was seized in battle, which undermines the spirit of the gesture. By some accounts he had a second Jewish wife as well.
11. a. Psalm 137
12. a. Koran 4:34
13. b. St. Paul, both in 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2, but many scholars believe that neither section was actually written by Paul.
14. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
15. Vedas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Yoga Sutras, Laws of Manu, or Kama Sutra
18. Good Samaritan
19. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
20. ”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Mt. 7:12)  Or a similar statement from Rabbi Hillel or Confucius.  “Love your neighbor as yourself” is not the Golden Rule.
21. No, this is not in the Bible.  In fact, it is contradicted in Proverbs 28:26.  “He who trusts in himself is a fool.”  The words are Ben Franklin’s.
22. Yes, in the Beatitudes of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:3).
23. No other gods before me; you shall not make yourself a graven image; you shall not take the name of the Lord in vain; remember the Sabbath and keep it holy; honor your father and mother; you shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor; you shall not covet.
24. Life is suffering; suffering has an origin; suffering can be overcome (nirvana); the path to overcoming suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path.
25. baptism, eucharist/mass, reconciliation/confession/penance, confirmation, marriage, holy orders, anointing of the sick/last rites
26. ”Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”; the words before the comma are the Establishment Clause, the words that follow are the Free Exercise Clause.
27. Ramadan is a Muslim holiday characterized by a month of fasting.

Brian Pinter

Brian Pinter serves as the Director of Spiritual Formation at Christ Church. He is also a certified Spiritual Director.