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Most Americans Believe in God but Don't Know Religious Tenets

Americans are clear on God but foggy on facts about faiths.

The new U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, released today by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, finds that although 86% of us believe in God or a higher power, we don't know our own traditions or those of neighbors across the street or across the globe.

Among 3,412 adults surveyed, only 2% correctly answered at least 29 of 32 questions on the Bible, major religious figures, beliefs and practices. The average score was 16 correct (50%).

Key findings:

•Doctrines don't grab us. Only 55% of Catholic respondents knew the core teaching that the bread and wine in the Mass become the body and blood of Christ, and are not merely symbols. Just 19% of Protestants knew the basic tenet that salvation is through faith alone, not actions as well.