Thursday, September 30, 2010

I don't really think there's a way to present these findings without pissing off a lot of people.

This really doesn't surprise me in the least:

On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.

Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences.

"Even after all these other factors, including education, are taken into account, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons still outperform all the other religious groups in our survey," said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at Pew.

Let's all take a moment to be smug about that. Done? Okay.

I remember back in my younger, more assholish days debating the religion on the internets, and my big scare factor was that although I wasn't a person of faith, I was raised Catholic, so I knew that bible inside and out. So don't try to fool me, fundies, 'cause read something once. I know your game.

Ah, more assholish days, how I miss you sometimes.  

Anyway, someone informed me that stating I was raised Catholic really doesn't boost up my bible-learnin' bona fides, as the fact that Catholics don't actually read the bible is somewhat of a running joke within the Church. To which I was like, what the hell did they do to pass the time during the Sunday faith marathon then? Because what with the mass and the Sunday school classes and all, it gets a bit long and boring. I guess to pass the time they'd just tell jokes about Catholics. Or more likely be devout, because I suppose a lot of them took it more seriously then I did.

The obvious, enjoyable and cliché observation here is that naturally anyone that actually learns about their own religion wouldn't want any part of it (because it's lame, ha!). The less offensive interpretation is that a serious reading through these religious texts can only bring to one's attention the contradictions within them, and this will eventually make a person skeptical. But more likely it's that those that are more inclined to be skeptical in the first place would probably take on the process of reading through these texts because they have an intellectual interest in doing so, and are not content to merely rely on faith and the preacher's interpretation.

But there's also the factor that major religions like Christianity can still be major players in public policy today, so there's a strong tendency to play along within the sphere of religion when discussing law and politics. Athiests and Agnostics are aware that just saying "I don't believe the same thing you do" has no sway in these sorts of debates, it's just taken as proof that they are wrong. So those that aren't inclined to believe that law X must be passed or else baby Jesus will cry tend to buck up on information to defeat the faith-based monster that's always sniffing around in our panty drawers. Once you start using one's one faith to counter faith-based arguments, you start playing on their field, you can't as easily be passed off as an unreliable observer or ignored.

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