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TEXAS FAITH 30: Why is there such a lack of religious knowledge?


Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

A recent survey by the Pew Forum for Religion & Public Life offered up some counter-intuitive findings. Among them, agnostics and atheists scored the highest of all respondents to the survey of religious knowledge. Not far behind were Jews and Mormons, so it wasn't that no faith tradition scored well on the 32-question quiz. But the findings did show that Protestants and Catholics particularly lacked a good understanding of religion in general. Mainline Protestants, for example, averaged correct answers only about half the time. The same was true for white Catholics
No one who teaches theology, leads a house of worship, or takes their faith seriously can like the numbers in that poll, even if your own tradition did okay. In general, the report shows a lack of religious knowledge among quite a few people of faith.
So, here's this week's question:
Although there are some exceptions, a wide of range of people of faith apparently don't possess a deep knowledge about religion in general. Why is this?
Read on for the answers from a wide range of our panel.

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas

Krishna describes in the Bhagavad Gita in Chapter 7 verse 16 that there four types of people who approach God. Those who are in distress, those who seek economic gain, those who are interested in expanding their knowledge, and those who are searching after the truth. Krishna also states that is quite rare for someone to sincerely seek God. "Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth." (BG 7.3) So it is even more rare for someone to have deep understanding of God.
The ancient sages of the east know the modern age as the age of Kali, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy. This particular ages was predicted in ancient Vedic texts such as the Srimad Bhagavatam describe, "Filling the belly will become the goal of life, and one who is audacious will be accepted as truthful. Beauty will be thought to depend on one's hairstyle. He who can maintain a family will be regarded as an expert man, and the principles of religion will be observed only for the sake of reputation." (SB 12.2.6)
Love requires the element of choice and as there is love in the Kingdom of God, birth in this material world the other choice. Therefore this world is a playground for those who are avoiding God, however in this current age materialism is heightened and thus it rare to find anyone with deep understanding of God.
To see all the responses from the Texas Faith Panel click here