Saturday, October 23, 2010

More American ignorance, score another point for atheists

Fresh on the heels of being chewed out by an ignorant American for not knowing how to spell (I often use proper English spelling, ie. the British spelling, in my posts), I have more to post about American ignorance.

I've been sitting on this post for nearly a month.  Two readers each sent it in to me, which was actually the first time I had seen it.  Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

In a nutshell, the topic is a survey done of Americans containing basic questions about the Christian religion, and some VERY basic questions about other major world religions.  They did pretty poorly in general.  I want to tackle this topic from a few different angles:

1.  The highest average score in the survey was from atheists and 'agnostics' (whatever that means)!  Burn!  Another thing many Americans are also ignorant about is atheists and how we become atheists.  As demonstrated by the survey on religion, we are not unaware of religion and its beliefs.  On the contrary, we are the MOST well-educated about religion in general.  This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, as other surveys have shown that atheism increases with the highest level of education received, and people who are highly-educated in one area are often pretty smart and educated in other areas, too.  In fact, it was exactly BECAUSE I became educated about other religions that I had to drop my own when I realised it was no different from the others.  See my de-conversion story. So you religious fucktards, again I'll explain that many of us are atheists precisely because we have examined the faiths, we have examined the evidence, found none, and rejected them all.

2.  The questions that these Yanks failed to answer correctly about other world religions were EXTREMELY basic.  What religion is the Dalai Lama?  Which religion celebrates Ramadan?  Which religion do Vishnu and Shiva belong to?  Come on!  How fucking ignorant about the world do you have to be to not know the answers to these?  Even if you've never studied world religions, you should know these answers just by reading news and following world events!  Oh right, the Americans don't do much of that, either.  They can't even find the countries they invade on a map.

3.  The questions were all multiple choice, so the percentages who answered correctly need to be more closely examined.  For example, the survey found that 45% of Roman Catholics did not know that the communion and wine are believed to actually become the body and blood of Jesus after being blessed by the priest.  In other words, they don't know that they are participating in (what is believed to be) a cannibalistic ritual.  But take a closer look at that number of 45%.  The question only had 2 choices!  So if people were just flat-out guessing, you'd expect a 50-50 distribution.  Very few of those people 'switched' from the wrong answer to the right answer, making a 55-45 distribution.  After you do the math, it could really be argued that only 10% of Roman Catholics truly KNEW the answer, and the others were guessing.  If it was true that 50% of Catholics KNEW the answer, with the other 50% guessing, you'd expect a distribution of 75-25 in favour of the correct answer.  Note that there was an option for "I don't know", but few people chose it.  It therefore doesn't affect my point much, even though it would have a small effect on the actual numbers.

4.  Mormons scored highest on questions about Christianity.  That should piss off all of those mainstream Christians who bad-mouth Mormonism.

5.  Most people do not know about these other religions because they have never explored them.  They just blindly follow whatever religion they were born into.  There are very large percentages of Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims in the world, but very little movement between them.  It shows a lack of critical thinking ability if people don't even question their own religion enough to explore it and to explore the alternatives.  People are sheep, who need to be lead.  Only a small percentage are leaders.  Check out this guy.  When he thought he was 'regular' Polish, he was a neo-Nazi, running around literally beating up Jews.  Then he finds out he IS a Jew, and converts to Orthodox Judaism.  This is a guy who is clearly just looking for other people to lead him.  I doubt he's given any critical thought at all to his belief.

There are 2 news articles about the survey here and here (thanks to my readers).  You can sample some of the survey questions for yourself here (I scored 14 out of 15).  A total summary including exact wording and results can be found here.

13 comments:

Werner K said...

It seems to me you so vehemently oppose Theism that that is now your religion, you praise the "Opposition of Theism".

Does that not just make you another religious nut like Richard Dawkins?

Chris Griglack said...

Werner, as an atheist, I would answer no to your clearly loaded question. The core value of a religion is faith in something with no actual evidence while the vehement opposition to religion values the application of critical thought to our own thoughts and actions.
The major difference here is that atheists do not ask someone to lead them in their opposition against people with different beliefs. All religions have an established hierarchy by which the people at the top make choices which affect everyone involved for no better purpose than to keep their following believing in something they can not prove.

Admin said...

"It seems to me you so vehemently oppose Theism that that is now your religion, you praise the "Opposition of Theism".

Does that not just make you another religious nut like Richard Dawkins?"


It seems to ME that you're an idiot. You think lack of religion is a religion and that Dawkins is a religious nut? Doesn't that make you another fucking moronic theist like Ray Comfort?

All praise opposition of theism! *cough*

Admin said...

Chris, you gave Werner way too much credit by writing such a well thought-out response. He did not deserve it for that post. I put as much thought into my response as he put into his comment.

Godornot said...

You talk about knowing more than others about religion, yet, you don't know what an agnostic is!

Let me enlighten you. You are an atheist, you believe that there is no God, and you get upset when others don't agree with your belief.

An agnostic is someone who doesn't believe that it is possible to prove that God exists, or doesn't exist.
That means that they have no belief either way and life is too short to worry about it!

You seem to be an extreme atheist which is damn close to a disorganised religion! You follow the teachings of Dawkins. What ever he says, you agree with.

Think about it - what if everybody got it wrong? What if the concept of a control is not one thing, but actually a code placed into every atom? What if every atom has a goal of where it wants to be sometime in time?

Just declaring yourself an atheist and thinking you have all the answers is just lazy!

Admin said...

"You talk about knowing more than others about religion, yet, you don't know what an agnostic is!"

Is that so?

"Let me enlighten you."

Oh yes, please do. I really don't know what this word means.

". You are an atheist, you believe that there is no God..."

Yes, I do believe so. But also anybody who has no belief in a god is also an atheist, whether they'd go as far to say that there are no gods or not.

"An agnostic is someone who doesn't believe that it is possible to prove that God exists, or doesn't exist."

Yes, and therefore it is possible to be an atheist and an agnostic, like me.

"That means that they have no belief either way..."

Meaning that they are atheists because they are not theists. Is this making sense to you yet?

"You seem to be an extreme atheist which is damn close to a disorganised religion! You follow the teachings of Dawkins. What ever he says, you agree with."

Uh-huh.... So it doesn't matter that I was an atheist for well over 10 years before I'd ever even heard of Dawkins? And I've read one of his books and seen a couple of videos. Yes, we all praise Dawkins. You're a fucking idiot, did you know that?

"Think about it - what if everybody got it wrong? What if the concept of a control is not one thing, but actually a code placed into every atom? What if every atom has a goal of where it wants to be sometime in time?"

Not another philosophy freak!

"Just declaring yourself an atheist and thinking you have all the answers is just lazy!"

Where did I say that I think I have all of the answers? Find it. I fucking dare you to find it!

Admin said...

Ha, I think the last commenter (before me) is an atheist and is too stupid to know it. Hiding behind this "agnostic" label is not only meaningless, but cowardly. You don't have a belief in gods? You're an atheist! Now get down on your knees and thank Dawkins, you dumb fuck!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I scored 13 out of 15. (I should have known Pakistan was predominantly Muslim, and I had never even heard of the Great Awakening.) I have never studied religion. All I know comes from everyday news and reading. It is sad that so many people are so isolated from from the world around them.

Admin said...

"All I know comes from everyday news and reading. It is sad that so many people are so isolated from from the world around them."

Exactly my point.

Jim said...

I got 14 out of 15 correct. Never heard of the "First Awakening" either.

I remember going through communion classes (I was raised Lutheran, which helps with knowing Martin Luther), and they told us all about Catholics believing the wine and bread actually became the body of Christ. So I raised my hand and asked why Catholics practiced cannibalism and vampirism. Our priest looked at me and said (I shit you not), "Why do you think we broke of from that bunch of crazies?" It's pretty awesome the way religions can just make up their own damn minds as to what is true or not, and it's not that big of a deal.

ANTZILLA said...

I'm an atheist, who is Richard Dawkins?

Anonymous said...

ANTZILLA, some crackpot.

Just because he makes sense, and has evidence, and doesn't rely on other ignorance and..... hmmm...

ANTZILLA said...

Ohh.. he must be one of those secular, no god in heart fools I keep being read to about.


... I think all this goes to show Americans in general are fucking stupid... mean almost every American I've ever met/see/heard is so stupid it borders on retardation... and the people who have some common sense let along some intelligence are ridiculed by general populace?????