Americans' Knowledge of the Four Gospels

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My final presentation for Advanced Data Analysis in which I manipulated data from the Pew Forum' 2010 survey, "What Americans Know About Religion".

My final presentation for Advanced Data Analysis in which I manipulated data from the Pew Forum' 2010 survey, "What Americans Know About Religion".

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  • PT 3(mean is .38 higher using educational attainment as ordinal rank)
  • Multiple Logistic Regression of the Age, Income, Interaction of Age and College Graduates, and Knowledge of the Four Gospels revealed no statistically significant results Multiple Regression Analysis of Income by Race and College Education did not reveal any statistically significant results
  • This a second regression predicting income, using the variable of knowing the 4 gospels as an independent variable.  This time control for education, race and gender, using appropriate dummy variables. 
  • 1 In other words, more people who had B.A. knew the 4 gospels than those who didn’t 2– The p value was 160.266 with 6 degrees of freedom and an alpha of .000Adding in educational attainment and race does not affect relationship between knowing the 4 gospels and income 3. In other words, I cannot see a trend between income and knowing the 4 gospels. 4- HOWEVER, Using my key variable as independent variable, I could predict income when I attempted to do an OLS regression. Oddly enough, people who have B.A. or more made $10,000 less than the control group-people with some college


  • 1. Seth Allen Nov. 28, 2012SOC 618 : Advanced Data Analysis
  • 2. A Fourth Great Awakening?  Until the 1980‟s, the consensus of Western religious scholars was that religion in the West was in decline Prothero (2007), Stark and Finke (2005), Fogel (2002), and Berger (1999) note a resurgence of evangelical Christianity in the United States since the 1960‟s But does this supposed awakening affect Americans‟ knowledge of basic aspect of biblical literacy? Can they state the four gospels? And are their differences in knowing the four books and education, race, gender, or similar variables?
  • 3. Pew Forum on American Religious Knowledge Survey  Conducted in 2010 with 3,412 respondents in the continental U.S.  2/3rd were landline, 1/3 were conducted by cell phone  Conducted in Spanish and English Researchers used a 95% confidence interval Responses were weighed for over-representation of religious groups in surveys and for possibility of double sampling in same household Gender was not asked on the survey I selected the question: “Will you tell me the names of the first four books of the New Testament of the Bible, that is the Four Gospels?”
  • 4. Biblical Literacy in the U.S.  Nearly 40% of the survey respondents refused to answer Of those who did responded, 84% could name the four gospels correctly Slight positive correlation between being college educated and knowing the 4 gospels Respondents who could name the 4 gospels were slightly older (mean of 4 years) with a narrower dispersion ages than those who could not
  • 5. Methods  My key variable, knowing the four Gospels, was coded as a dummy variable for regression analysis  Survey participants who did not answer were removed from dummy variable  Participants who could correctly name all four were coded as 1, all others as 0 Multiple Logistic Regression revealed no statistically significant results
  • 6. Knowledge of the Four Gospels and Race100.0%90.0% 86.0% 79.1%80.0% 71.3%70.0%60.0% Don‟t Know 4 Gospels50.0% Know 440.0% Gospels 28.7%30.0% 20.9%20.0% 14.0%10.0% 0.0% White Black Other Race
  • 7. Knowledge of the Four Gospels and Education100.0%90.0% 87.2% 85.1% 81.4% 82.2%80.0%70.0%60.0%50.0% Yes40.0% No30.0% 18.6% 17.8%20.0% 12.8% 14.9%10.0% 0.0% Less than high High School Some college BA + school Diploma
  • 8. Knowledge of Four Gospels and Political Ideology100.0% 88.6% 88.1% 86.8%90.0% 82.2% 79.9%80.0%70.0%60.0%50.0% No40.0% Yes30.0% 17.8% 20.1%20.0% 13.2% 11.4% 11.9%10.0% 0.0% Very Conservative Moderate Liberal Very Liberal Conservative
  • 9. Knowledge of Four Gospels and Identifying as „Born Again‟100.0% 89.6%90.0% 85.3%80.0%70.0%60.0%50.0% No, not born again40.0% Yes, born again30.0%20.0% 14.7% 10.4%10.0% 0.0% Don‟t Know Four Gospels Know 4 gospels
  • 10. OLS Regression Results  StandardizedModel Coefficients t Sig. Beta(Constant) 19.296 8.122 0Know All Four 1.276 0.029 0.202GospelsLess than H.S. -.468 -0.011 0.64DiplomaH.S. Diploma 5.375 .061 0.013Other Race (Dummy .000 0 1Variable)Black (Dummy -.172 -0.004 0.864Variable)B.A. + 0.012 .493 0.622
  • 11. Other Regression Analyses  Doing a chi square test, I did discover higher than expected frequency between knowing the four gospels and having a Bachelor‟s degree or higher In my binary logistic regression analysis, I did not find a significant variation in educational attainment, race, or income for those people knowing the four gospels Variation in income cannot account for knowing the four gospels Multiple regression analysis reveals that income can predicted by age, gender, and knowing the 4 gospels
  • 12. Age, Educational Attainment, and Age/Education Interaction 30252015 Less than BA BA +1050 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64
  • 13. Discussion  Many participants refused to answer the question; could be due to discomfort with question or fear of answering incorrectly, consistent with „civil religion‟ thesis (Bellah) Despite what one might guess, knowing the four gospels cannot predict income, race, or educational attainment or vice versa What other variables could better measure religiosity?
  • 14. Suggested Readings Berger, P. L. (1999). The desecularization of the world: Resurgent religion and world politics. Washington, D.C: Ethics and Public Policy Center.Finke, R., & Stark, R. (2005). The churching of America, 1776-2005: Winners and losers in our religious economy. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.Fogel, R. W. (2000). The fourth great awakening & the future of egalitarianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Prothero, S. R. (2007). Religious literacy: What every American needs to know--and doesnt. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.