7
   

Aetheists know more about religion

 
 
parados
 
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 07:42 am
This is an interesting story.
Survey: Americans don't know much about religion
But atheists actually know more than Protestants and Catholics


Quote:
A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.


Quote:
The survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history. The U.S. is one of the most religious countries in the developed world, especially compared to largely secular Western Europe, but faith leaders and educators have long lamented that Americans still know relatively little about religion.


Does blind faith require you turn off your brain or is there something else at work here?
 
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 08:22 am
@parados,
I worked for many years in a large office bldg, there was a number of strongly religious peeps representing several protestant sects who would often argue among themselves, I was the known atheist, when they in argument reached an impasse they would come to my office to ask me because they all accepted that I had more actually knowledge of the subject than they did. Interesting that.
saab
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 08:23 am
@parados,

At first it seems amusing, but to be a good atheist and to be able to argue well you have to have a good knowledge about religion.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 08:23 am
Edgar posted this in Lil Kay's atheist thread. It is hilarious.

On the subject of religion and education, many religions have been opposed to any knowledge available outside scripture. I was working in a family shelter in the late 1980s, and one day i came to work after having been to the used book store, where i had some great finds. One of our workers was a relatively young and intelligent woman with a university education, who had become a "born again" christian. She came out with this line that the only thing i needed to read was scripture. So, i pointed out to her that one of the books was Bede's The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, that another was two biographies of Charlemagne, both written by clerics, and that a third was John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. It made no difference to her. Since she has been "born again," her mind had shut down, and as far as she was concerned, the only thing one needed to read was the Bobble--and she said as much.

After all, anything else could be dangerously heretical.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 08:24 am
@parados,
parados wrote:

This is an interesting story.
Survey: Americans don't know much about religion
But atheists actually know more than Protestants and Catholics


Quote:
A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.


Quote:
The survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history. The U.S. is one of the most religious countries in the developed world, especially compared to largely secular Western Europe, but faith leaders and educators have long lamented that Americans still know relatively little about religion.


Does blind faith require you turn off your brain or is there something else at work here?


That's why they're called "flocks".
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 08:24 am
@parados,
I'm not at all surprised by the study's outcome. I suspect the people described in the PEW study are those who are taught what to think rather than those who are taught how to think.

BBB
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 08:28 am
@dyslexia,
on the other hand I've known some religious peeps who were very knowledgeable, not only about their own faith but also about various other theologies.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 08:31 am
@dyslexia,
me too. My stint at the Lutheran church last winter was interesting. There was a congregant who led an adult ed theology class. I looked through his materials and found them to be surprisingly unbiased. Most of the religious peeps I know who have an understanding of other theologies have a difficult time not painting all other faiths as somehow inferior to theirs.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 08:52 am
@JPB,
on the other other hand I have found that while typical christians are theological ignorant; typical atheists are equally theologically ignorant rendering the 2 sides arguing/debating biblical passages (how bizarre is that?) if you ask either side about a major (if not the the major) tenet of christianity "does essence precede existence" neither the christian nor the atheist will understand the question let alone be able to answer it.
plainoldme
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 09:02 am
I think this falls under the rubric of familiarity breeding contempt.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 09:06 am
@dyslexia,
EXISTENTIALISM: Jean Paul Sartre

Syllabus

Atheistic Existentialism: "Atheistic existentialism...states that if God does not exist, there is at least one being in whom existence precedes essence, a being who exists before he can be defined by any concept, and that this being is Man...What is meant by saying that existence precedes essence? It meant that, first of all, man exists, turns up, appears on the scene, and, only, afterwards defines himself. If man, as the existentialist conceives him, is indefinable, it is because at first he is not something. Only afterward will he be something, and he himself will have made what he will be. Thus, there is no human nature, since there is no God to conceive it."

Humans as Subjectivity: "For we mean that man first exists, that is, that man first of all is the being who hurls himself toward a future and who is conscious of imagining himself as being in the future. Man is at the start a plan which is aware of itself, rather than a patch of moss, a piece of garbage or a cauliflower; nothing exists prior to the plan; there is nothing in heaven; man will be what he will have planned to be....But if existence really does precede essence, man is responsible for what he is. Thus, existentialism' s first move is to make every man aware of what he is and to make the full responsibility of his existence rest on him."

Humans as Responsibility: "And when we say that a man is responsible for himself, we do not only mean that he responsible for his own individuality, but that he is responsible for all men."

"When we way that man chooses his own self, we mean that every one of us does likewise; but we also mean by that that in making this choice he also chooses all men. In fact, in creating the man that we want to be, there is not a single of our acts which does not at the same time create an image of man as we think he ought to be. To choose to be this or that is to affirm at the same time the value of what we choose, because we can never choose evil. We always choose the good, and nothing can be good for us without being good for all."

Bad Faith: A choice not to choose, or to pretend one had no choice but x. One chooses in order not to be responsible for one's choice. But this is impossible, no matter how one chooses one is responsible.

Humans in Anguish: "The man who involves himself and who realizes that he is not only the person he chooses to be, but also a law-maker who is, at the same time, choosing all mankind as well as himself, cannot help escape the feeling of his total and deep responsibility. Of course there are many people who are not anxious; but we claim they are hiding their anxiety, that they are fleeing from it....Anguish is evident, even when it conceals itself."

Humans in Forlornness: "When we speak of forlornness, we mean only that God does not exist and that we have to face all the consequences of this....The existentialist thinks it very distressing that God does not exist, because all possibility of finding values in a heaven of ideas disappears along with Him; there can no longer an a priori Good, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it. Nowhere is it written that the Good exists, that we must be honest, that we must not lie; because the fact is we are on a plane where there are only men....Neither within him or without does man find anything to cling to. He can't start making excuses for himself.

Finite Freedom: "If existence really does precede essence, there is no explaining things away by reference to a fixed and given human nature. In other words, there is no determinism, man is free, man is freedom. On the other hand, God does not exist, we find no values or commands to turn to which legitimize our conduct. So in the bright realm of values, we have no excuse behind us, nor justification before us. We are alone, with no excuses."

"...Man is condemned to be free. Condemned, because he did not create himself, yet, in other respects is free; because, once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does."

An Example: There are moments when no matter what we choose, no clear path of goodness is possible. Thinks of a young man during WWII who can either stay with his elderly mother in Paris (after her other son has been murdered by the Nazis) in order to protect and comfort her, or escape to England in order to fight with others against the Nazi's power. "As a result, he was faced with two very different kinds of actions: one, concrete, immediate, but concerning only one individual; the other concerned an incomparably vaster group, a national collectivity, but for that very reason was dubious, and might be interrupted in route. And at the same time, he was wavering between two kinds of ethics. On the one hand, an ethics of sympathy, of personal devotion; on the other, a broader ethics, but one whose efficacy was more dubious. He had to choose between the two."

Humans in Despair: "As for despair, the term has a very simple meaning. It means that we shall confine ourselves to reckoning only with what depends upon our will, or on the ensemble of probabilities which make our action possible....No God, no scheme, can adapt the world and its possibilities to my will."
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 09:16 am
@JPB,
JPB wrote:
Most of the religious peeps I know who have an understanding of other theologies have a difficult time not painting all other faiths as somehow inferior to theirs.

Why shouldn't they?
JPB
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 09:55 am
@dyslexia,
hmmmm.... is that a theological question or a philosophical one? And, then I guess, one must define the difference between those? I see theological questions as dealing with the practice of a belief system and the philosophical questions dealing more with what's underneath them.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 09:59 am
@joefromchicago,
That's fine so long as they're honest about it. Acknowledging that one is incapable of being neutral in presenting other points of view is probably pretty difficult, but not doing so is a disservice to the audience when they're looking for knowledge.
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 10:47 am
@JPB,
If someone is giving an objective assessment of a religion's theology, then I would agree. Someone lecturing on the topic of the world's religions, for instance, isn't supposed to put his theological thumb on the scale when describing their differences. I've seen that here on this forum, where someone will say "all Christians believe in X" as if the matter were settled, even though"X" is a matter of significant debate (e.g. "all Christians believe salvation is attained solely through faith"). On the other hand, if a Lutheran were extolling the virtues of Lutheranism, I wouldn't be surprised if he also expressed the opinion that Lutheranism is better than any other religion. In fact, I'd expect it. After all, you wouldn't expect a Ford salesman to say that a Chevrolet is just as good.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 11:03 am
@parados,
Atheists may have more facts about christianity, but it is my opinion that a person declares himself an atheist only after failing to grasp the meaning and purpose of religion.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 11:08 am
@Cyracuz,
well cyracuz, that's as good an opinion as any other.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 11:37 am
@dyslexia,
It is.
Religion is vital for the success of any human society, and nothing but a deified absolute can impress the moral values that are needed to coexist on an individual who is oblivious to the need of them. The degree of intellectual control of emotions isn't strong enough in all individuals to allow for such concepts to form the emotional ties that constitute a fundamental moral truth, unless they are presented as originating from a supreme ideal of absolute truth.

Believing in this might make an atheist, but why would any sound thinking person ever try to tell that to one who is not equipped to understand it, but still inclined to rely on belief more than sound reasoning? What would it acomplish if he believed you?
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 11:42 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:
Religion is vital for the success of any human society . . .


Horseshit.

Quote:
. . . and nothing but a deified absolute can impress the moral values that are needed to coexist on an individual who is oblivious to the need of them.


More horseshit. If what you allege were true, there would have ceased to be sociopaths and psychopaths long, long ago. Society has never lacked for examples of either type. You're just throwing out ipse dixit turds for which you have no reliable evidence.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 11:48 am
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
a fundamental moral truth
you're kidding, right?
 

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