Atheists Outscore Believers


Bar Sinister
+2
#1
In an interesting paradox a survey in the USA revealed that on a 32 question quiz about religion atheists and agnostics scored the highest.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/us...?_r=2&src=tptw

From my personal experience I don't find this particularly surprising. I have often found believers to be woefully ignorant not only of other religions, but of their own.
 
Bcool
#2
Quote: Originally Posted by Bar Sinister View Post

In an interesting paradox a survey in the USA revealed that on a 32 question quiz about religion atheists and agnostics scored the highest.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/us...?_r=2&src=tptw

From my personal experience I don't find this particularly surprising. I have often found believers to be woefully ignorant not only of other religions, but of their own.

Very interesting and it did surprise me on some counts: " Fifty-three percent of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the man who started the Protestant Reformation." Wow!

I suppose if one is a believer then one tends to concentrate on their particular belief and exclude others. Although some of the questions apparently were not specific to religious beliefs - the religious literature in schools question for instance.

I did the little 6 question sample quiz, 5 out of 6. Got a commandment wrong! Tsk!

A paradoxical question occurs: are atheists and agnostics actually "believers" in the sense we do have beliefs about what we do not believe in?
 
Walter
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by Bar Sinister View Post

In an interesting paradox a survey in the USA revealed that on a 32 question quiz about religion atheists and agnostics scored the highest.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/us...?_r=2&src=tptw

From my personal experience I don't find this particularly surprising. I have often found believers to be woefully ignorant not only of other religions, but of their own.

All believers are stupid except for those who aren't.
 
wulfie68
+1
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Bar Sinister View Post

In an interesting paradox a survey in the USA revealed that on a 32 question quiz about religion atheists and agnostics scored the highest.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/us...?_r=2&src=tptw

From my personal experience I don't find this particularly surprising. I have often found believers to be woefully ignorant not only of other religions, but of their own.

At first I was surprised by this but after some additional thought I wasn't.

This is a bit of simplification but Believers, regardless of religion have that faith to guide them. They don't need as many answers because their faith already provides them. Conversely, Atheists look for answers to support their analysis of the issue and Agnostics are looking for more answers than any one creed is providing and continues to question.

In terms of the historical questions, well why should our society be any different in its apathy about religious history than it is about the rest of our history?
 
karrie
+1
#5
Did they factor in for cultural religiosity? Someone who really cares so little about looking into religion that they will just carry on with whatever label their parents gave them, will obviously score low on tests regarding religion. One day, people who were raised hearing 'we're atheist dear' will be equally as dumb about why they're atheist and just write 'atheist' for cultural/familial reasons.
 
Cliffy
+1
#6
Some atheists were raised in atheist families, but by far, self proclaimed atheists and agnostics were raised in religious families and found it lacking or hypocritical. They bothered to investigate the history of their religion and that of others, and compare the different philosophies to see which, if any, sounded more reasonable. Most religion requires blind adherence to dogma fed to them by their so-called leaders. I have had religious conversations with people of many "faiths" and found it rare that someone professing a particular dogma to question that dogma or their leaders. It would stand to reason then, that atheists and agnostics would score higher.

Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

Did they factor in for cultural religiosity? Someone who really cares so little about looking into religion that they will just carry on with whatever label their parents gave them, will obviously score low on tests regarding religion. One day, people who were raised hearing 'we're atheist dear' will be equally as dumb about why they're atheist and just write 'atheist' for cultural/familial reasons.

You are correct about that. It takes an inquisitive mind to look deeply into the subject.
 
Avro
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by Walter View Post

All believers are stupid except for those who aren't.

Prove it.
 
relic
#8
Meby their not stupid,meby just lazy,it's a lot easier to have your beliefs fed to you than figure things out for yourself,the same kind of people are seriously political,believe everything their chosen government tells them.Not a lot of free thinking going on.
 
ironsides
#9
Some people just need a belief in something to get thru everyday life. It doesn't make them stupid, just needy. Like those who drink, smoke or use drugs. (maybe those who need drink, smoke or use drugs are stupid knowing the consequences.)
 
Dexter Sinister
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Walter View Post

All believers are stupid except for those who aren't.

Well of course, how could it be otherwise? The categories are exhaustive, same as in "All believers are female except for those who aren't." All X are A or not A, there are no other possibilities.
 
Avro
-1
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by Dexter Sinister View Post

Well of course, how could it be otherwise? The categories are exhaustive, same as in "All believers are female except for those who aren't." All X are A or not A, there are no other possibilities.

Anybody who believes in God, any God, is seriously deluded.
 
Dexter Sinister
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by Avro View Post

Anybody who believes in God, any God, is seriously deluded.

Yes, I agree it's a delusion, and unlike most delusions it's one generally approved of in most societies, but neither point has any bearing on Walter's statement, which is trivially true just because of the way it's constructed.
 
Bar Sinister
#13
I really did not intend to have believers and non-believers exchanging insults in this thread. I am very good friends with a number of believers. I don't consider them stupid for their beliefs, because I know they are not. So far as I have been able to determine the difference between those with religious beliefs and those who don't have any is that believers have turned off a portion of the rational section of their minds. Atheists and agnostics seem to have difficulty in suspending disbelief, a characteristic that seems necessary in most religions considering the fantastic ideas most religions include as part of their doctrine. In other words a believer may be perfectly rational in all areas of his life except one - that of his religion. I really have no explanation for this phenomenon except the fact that different minds work in different ways.
 
gerryh
+1
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by Bar Sinister View Post

I really did not intend to have believers and non-believers exchanging insults in this thread. I am very good friends with a number of believers. I don't consider them stupid for their beliefs, because I know they are not. So far as I have been able to determine the difference between those with religious beliefs and those who don't have any is that believers have turned off a portion of the rational section of their minds. Atheists and agnostics seem to have difficulty in suspending disbelief, a characteristic that seems necessary in most religions considering the fantastic ideas most religions include as part of their doctrine. In other words a believer may be perfectly rational in all areas of his life except one - that of his religion. I really have no explanation for this phenomenon except the fact that different minds work in different ways.


I find the comment in red just as insulting as the comments by the others that those that are "religious" are delusional.


The word that you all seem to have a problem with is "faith".
Last edited by Ron in Regina; Sep 30th, 2010 at 12:23 AM..Reason: http://www.canadiancontent.net/corp/TOS.php
 
Dexter Sinister
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryh View Post

The word that you all seem to have a problem with is "faith".

No, I don't think so. Faith in this context means belief in the absence of evidence, and sometimes in spite of the evidence, as half a dozen posters here repeatedly demonstrate. That is not a virtue; Doubting Thomas got it right the first time and then was browbeaten into submission. It's not an insult to call it a delusion unless you choose to take it that way, and obviously you do, but all delusion means is a fixed false belief, a conviction that something is true that in fact isn't. Putting the label "religion" or "faith" on it doesn't render it immune to criticism, though a lot of people, yourself included, seem to think it does.
 
gerryh
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by Dexter Sinister View Post

No, I don't think so. Faith in this context means belief in the absence of evidence, and sometimes in spite of the evidence, as half a dozen posters here repeatedly demonstrate. That is not a virtue; Doubting Thomas got it right the first time and then was browbeaten into submission. It's not an insult to call it a delusion unless you choose to take it that way, and obviously you do, but all delusion means is a fixed false belief, a conviction that something is true that in fact isn't. Putting the label "religion" or "faith" on it doesn't render it immune to criticism, though a lot of people, yourself included, seem to think it does.


Yup, your usual insulting answer.
Last edited by Ron in Regina; Sep 30th, 2010 at 12:25 AM..Reason: http://www.canadiancontent.net/corp/TOS.php
 
Ron in Regina
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by Dexter Sinister View Post

No, I don't think so. Faith in this context means belief in the absence of evidence, and sometimes in spite of the evidence, as half a dozen posters here repeatedly demonstrate. That is not a virtue; Doubting Thomas got it right the first time and then was browbeaten into submission. It's not an insult to call it a delusion unless you choose to take it that way, and obviously you do, but all delusion means is a fixed false belief, a conviction that something is true that in fact isn't. Putting the label "religion" or "faith" on it doesn't render it immune to criticism, though a lot of people, yourself included, seem to think it does.


Faith is an interesting phenomenon. I happen to not be religious, but I do have
some beliefs that I can't prove to others definitively that I'm right in those beliefs,
but it doesn't make them any less valid to me. Some is based on antidotal
evidence, and some of even less than that, in that folks I trust and have no
reason to doubt (& they aren't recruiting anyone, or selling anything) have
experienced.....strangeness.

Yes, their experiences can be explained away, but for what gain? That may
very well make me delusional, but I'm O.K. with that.
 
damngrumpy
+1
#18
I think the real truth lies somewhere in between. Most people even some non believers,
suddenly look for some comfort in something once they are threatened health wise or in
some other crisis. Most don't understand they are not practicing religion but following in
the footsteps of tradition handed down by parents and other community leaders. The
sad fact is, presented with real questions, they do not know the history of their faith
when they are tested. It should also be noted religion fluctuates by percentage. A few
years back, the conservative religious groups had numbers and influence in America.
Now of course that has shrunk back ten points or more. I think the reason is that once
the young ones grow up, they go off to college and move out into the real world and find
out that there is a lot of fun they missed. Their children often pick up the faith that was
to some extent abandoned by their parents and the numbers go up again. People thus
feel a need to be a part of something that is bigger than themselves. It is sometimes
called faith. Sometimes clinging to that inward faith, does not allow some of these folks
to see the opportunities that could better their lot in life.
I have friends who are devout Christians, one a Muslim, and some who don't believe in
anything. Just for the hell of it I worship the number 17. Its not that I need to believe in
that number, but hey, everyone should believe in something right? I get a lot of questions
but I don't take it too seriously. I sometimes remind people I am a retired Catholic.
Organized religion creates little circles, of people who believe in some future judgement
day and that the end of the world is coming. I believe the end will come, by some natural
disaster, so I want to put as much into life as I can before the clock stops ticking.
Even atheists get closer to believers in times of crisis, is it religion? No it is in fact a fear
of the unknown, but it too shall pass.
 
Cliffy
+1
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by Ron in Regina View Post

Faith is an interesting phenomenon. I happen to not be religious, but I do have
some beliefs that I can't prove to others definitively that I'm right in those beliefs,
but it doesn't make them any less valid to me. Some is based on antidotal
evidence, and some of even less than that, in that folks I trust and have no
reason to doubt (& they aren't recruiting anyone, or selling anything) have
experienced.....strangeness.

Yes, their experiences can be explained away, but for what gain? That may
very well make me delusional, but I'm O.K. with that.

Unless we experience something first hand it is all anecdotal evidence. Faith can be something as simple as believing what scientists or news casters say is true. The truth is subjective and only relative to the believer or non-believer. Whether there is a god or not all depends on what an individual is willing to accept. I may not believe in the biblical god but that does not preclude that I do not have a faith. Faith itself is relative to the individual. There really is no clear definition. To me it is about trust in the benevolence of life itself, not a belief in something unseen or ethereal.

I just finished reading a paper that challenges Einstein theory of relativity. The guy made a good argument. Since I, along with many others, do not really understand it, I file the whole thing under possibilities. I have some very strange experiences that most would say are delusional but to me they happened, so I don't debate whether it is possible or not. I just accept them as valid. Many of them I have studied and come up with explanations that are reasonable to me but I have no expectation of anybody else believing it. If it does not fit into someone's belief system there is no way they can understand it.
 
Bcool
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by damngrumpy View Post

I think the real truth lies somewhere in between. Most people even some non believers,
suddenly look for some comfort in something once they are threatened health wise or in
some other crisis. Most don't understand they are not practicing religion but following in
the footsteps of tradition handed down by parents and other community leaders. The
sad fact is, presented with real questions, they do not know the history of their faith
when they are tested. It should also be noted religion fluctuates by percentage. A few
years back, the conservative religious groups had numbers and influence in America.
Now of course that has shrunk back ten points or more. I think the reason is that once
the young ones grow up, they go off to college and move out into the real world and find
out that there is a lot of fun they missed. Their children often pick up the faith that was
to some extent abandoned by their parents and the numbers go up again. People thus
feel a need to be a part of something that is bigger than themselves. It is sometimes
called faith. Sometimes clinging to that inward faith, does not allow some of these folks
to see the opportunities that could better their lot in life.
I have friends who are devout Christians, one a Muslim, and some who don't believe in
anything. Just for the hell of it I worship the number 17. Its not that I need to believe in
that number, but hey, everyone should believe in something right? I get a lot of questions
but I don't take it too seriously. I sometimes remind people I am a retired Catholic.
Organized religion creates little circles, of people who believe in some future judgement
day and that the end of the world is coming. I believe the end will come, by some natural
disaster, so I want to put as much into life as I can before the clock stops ticking.
Even atheists get closer to believers in times of crisis, is it religion? No it is in fact a fear
of the unknown, but it too shall pass.

Thank you for this super post, you have a unique, gentle and non-judgemental approach that is both comforting and thoughtful.

Quote:

Ron from Regina: Faith is an interesting phenomenon. I happen to not be religious, but I do have some beliefs that I can't prove to others definitively that I'm right in those beliefs, but it doesn't make them any less valid to me. Some is based on antidotal evidence, and some of even less than that, in that folks I trust and have no reason to doubt (& they aren't recruiting anyone, or selling anything) have
experienced.....strangeness.

Yes, their experiences can be explained away, but for what gain? That may very well make me delusional, but I'm O.K. with that

Quote: Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post

I have some very strange experiences that most would say are delusional but to me they happened, so I don't debate whether it is possible or not. I just accept them as valid. Many of them I have studied and come up with explanations that are reasonable to me but I have no expectation of anybody else believing it. If it does not fit into someone's belief system there is no way they can understand it.

So what you're both saying, if I'm understanding correctly, is that these strange experiences are very individualistic to you both in that you can accept them as authentic, valid but unprovable and inexplicable experiences? If you were a person of religious conviction, do either of you have an opinion as to whether you would have had to deny that they happened? I know that's probably a question that would be tricky to answer because of the differences in the many religions, but most religions seem not to allow for a person to acknowledge experiences that do not fall within the confines of the structured and accepted parameters of religious tenets.

Very interesting. It's a me too thing. Some I've explained to myself as those things that we have not progressed enough to understand. Others... I have nothing except they happened.
 
ironsides
#21
Test yourself on religion

Here are five questions from the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey:

Most Americans believe in God but don't know religious tenets - USATODAY.com

 
wulfie68
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by ironsides View Post

Test yourself on religion

Here are five questions from the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey:

Most Americans believe in God but don't know religious tenets - USATODAY.com

I actually read through it the other day (followed the links and then went to the appendix of the Pew Survey to see the raw questions) and honestly the ones I didn't get were the 4 gospels (confirmation classes were almost 30 years ago and I haven't been in a church in close to 20), Maimonides and the Billy Graham question. Some of the others I thought were gimmes if you just used reason with the answers (i.e. the leading prayer/bible as literature/comparative religions ones). And yes, even though I was raised Lutheran, I consider myself in the heathen corner as an agnostic.
 
Cliffy
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by Bcool View Post

Thank you for this super post, you have a unique, gentle and non-judgemental approach that is both comforting and thoughtful.



So what you're both saying, if I'm understanding correctly, is that these strange experiences are very individualistic to you both in that you can accept them as authentic, valid but unprovable and inexplicable experiences? If you were a person of religious conviction, do either of you have an opinion as to whether you would have had to deny that they happened? I know that's probably a question that would be tricky to answer because of the differences in the many religions, but most religions seem not to allow for a person to acknowledge experiences that do not fall within the confines of the structured and accepted parameters of religious tenets.

Very interesting. It's a me too thing. Some I've explained to myself as those things that we have not progressed enough to understand. Others... I have nothing except they happened.

The validity of personal experiences depend on whether or not they fall within your acceptable beliefs. I have approached the subject, for most of my life, by suspending belief. I find they are more of a hindrance than a benefit. Faith to me is a suspension of belief, a letting go rocks and learning how to swim in the stream of life.
 
Goober
+1
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by Bar Sinister View Post

In an interesting paradox a survey in the USA revealed that on a 32 question quiz about religion atheists and agnostics scored the highest.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/us...?_r=2&src=tptw

From my personal experience I don't find this particularly surprising. I have often found believers to be woefully ignorant not only of other religions, but of their own.

And I also find Atheists to be quite well informed - Why - Because they preach their own Gospel for lack of another term.

Me I am just a simpleminded Christian - Does that offend a well informed atheist?
 
Bcool
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by Goober View Post

And I also find Atheists to be quite well informed - Why - Because they preach their own Gospel for lack of another term.

Me I am just a simpleminded Christian - Does that offend a well informed atheist?

Why on earth would it? What you believe is your business. Nor would any reasonable atheist, agnostic or secular humanist regard you as "simpleminded" because you have a faith you believe in. Freedom of belief being one of the main tenets of all three.

Offence only comes into the picture when a person or persons of religious convictions forcefully proselytize to or denigrate a person who has decided religion is not for them.
 
Goober
+2
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by Bcool View Post

Why on earth would it? What you believe is your business. Nor would any reasonable atheist, agnostic or secular humanist regard you as "simpleminded" because you have a faith you believe in. Freedom of belief being one of the main tenets of all three.

Offence only comes into the picture when a person or persons of religious convictions forcefully proselytize to or denigrate a person who has decided religion is not for them.

Time and again many insult posters because of their Religious Beliefs - Just the facts -

Myself to paraphrase something I read some time ago pertaining to religion and belief - To accept logic you must also accept the unexplained. - My own interpretation - If you cannot accept that then you are using flawed logic.

Myself i am a very simple Christian - believe what you wish - it is your own decision - Not mine - nor can i prove why i believe and nor should I be required to.

Live and let live is easy to state but difficult to live.
 
Colpy
+4
#27  Top Rated Post
Of course they score well!

Nobody is more obsessed with religion than a proclaimed atheist......
 
wulfie68
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by Colpy View Post

Of course they score well!

Nobody is more obsessed with religion than a proclaimed atheist......

This is truth. Many (not all but many) atheists treat their atheism the same as evangelical fundamentalists do.
 
Cliffy
+1
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by wulfie68 View Post

This is truth. Many (not all but many) atheists treat their atheism the same as evangelical fundamentalists do.

I bet the percentage of proselytizers are the same on both sides. I was brought up by a very religious man. But although I rejected that religion, I studied many others, eastern and western, and found them all both useful and lacking. I discovered that the journey toward the truth is a very personal one, so I reject all religion as a personal choice. But if it brings a sense of peace to others, who am I to say they are wrong. As I have said before, most atheists were brought up in a religious setting and for whatever reasons, have rejected it. There may be some very strong emotional reasons for that and that is why they are so adamant about it.
 
gerryh
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by Bcool View Post

Why on earth would it? What you believe is your business. Nor would any reasonable atheist, agnostic or secular humanist regard you as "simpleminded" because you have a faith you believe in. Freedom of belief being one of the main tenets of all three.

Offence only comes into the picture when a person or persons of religious convictions forcefully proselytize to or denigrate a person who has decided religion is not for them.

Yet you and Dexter and a few others in this thread HAVE chose to insult those of faith
 

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