Professor: Religion Courses Have Place in Public Schools

March 19, 2007


Source: The Dallas Morning News

Quick, where in the Bible can you find this quotation: "God helps those who help themselves"?

Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University, has discovered that it's one of the most popular "biblical" quotations cited by Americans-- incorrectly. Mr. Prothero has developed a religious literacy quiz that he's given to 300 of his students. All of them flunked.

Along with the quiz, Mr. Prothero's new book, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't, outlines his argument for why Americans need to be more literate about religion. He spoke by phone with special contributor Holly Lebowitz Rossi. Here are excerpts.

What is a religiously literate person?

It's someone who knows enough about Christianity and other religions to engage in public conversation. It's not about expertise, it's about being able to follow what's happening.