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Poll: Atheists and Agnostics Know About Religion (Merged)
Posted: 29 September 2010 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Michael De Dora - 29 September 2010 08:22 AM
dougsmith - 28 September 2010 10:18 AM
Skepticus - 28 September 2010 10:13 AM

Doug,

My bad, I apologize. I had wrongly assumed the blog was more intimately associated with the forum and that the name calling quoted directly by someone else was ok.

OK, understood. FWIW the Blogs are self-policed by the bloggers. I have no idea how each of them does it, but our rules here on the Forum are explicit. If Shook decides to delete that response or the offending phrase I will do the same here. It adds nothing to any reasoned argument.

FYI, bloggers actually cannot delete comments on their posts.

That’s absurd. But thanks for the heads up.

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Posted: 29 September 2010 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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dougsmith - 29 September 2010 09:58 AM
Michael De Dora - 29 September 2010 08:22 AM
dougsmith - 28 September 2010 10:18 AM
Skepticus - 28 September 2010 10:13 AM

Doug,

My bad, I apologize. I had wrongly assumed the blog was more intimately associated with the forum and that the name calling quoted directly by someone else was ok.

OK, understood. FWIW the Blogs are self-policed by the bloggers. I have no idea how each of them does it, but our rules here on the Forum are explicit. If Shook decides to delete that response or the offending phrase I will do the same here. It adds nothing to any reasoned argument.

FYI, bloggers actually cannot delete comments on their posts.

That’s absurd. But thanks for the heads up.

At least I see no procedure to do so, and I have never been told I could do it, or how to.

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Posted: 29 September 2010 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Michael De Dora - 29 September 2010 08:25 AM

On the topic of this thread, it’s important to notice that while atheists, agnostics, Jews, and Mormons came out on top, they still didn’t know much about religion (21/32 = 65 percent). It’s not like any portion of the U.S. is really literate on religion.

Sure, like any portion of the US isn’t really literate about history or science or geography or math or anything else.

(That said, the precise percentage of questions answered also depends on the kinds of questions asked, so it’s something of a false issue. Ask the right questions, your random sample could get 100% right or 100% wrong).

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Posted: 29 September 2010 05:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Write4U - 28 September 2010 05:21 AM

That poll is very good news. It shows that most atheists and agnostics have come to their convictions from knowledge, while most theists come to their conviction by indoctrination, without questioning.

I have encountered this a number of times.  Some Christian tries to proselytize me on the street.  If I am in the mood I’ll stop and talk.  Usually in less then 10 minutes they don’t wnat to talk to me anymore.  In one case the man was from “Jews for Jesus.”  LOL

The standard operating procedure seems to be that they expect to steer the sucker’s mind in a certain direction.  Ask them questions that go in a different direction then they get upset.  Especially if they don’t know the answer or get a confused look like they never thought of it.

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Posted: 29 September 2010 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Michael De Dora - 29 September 2010 08:22 AM

FYI, bloggers actually cannot delete comments on their posts.

Ah, so that explains why things I expected to get deleted have stayed in some places.

I guess I have annoyed a few economists.

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Posted: 30 September 2010 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Michael De Dora - 29 September 2010 08:25 AM

On the topic of this thread, it’s important to notice that while atheists, agnostics, Jews, and Mormons came out on top, they still didn’t know much about religion (21/32 = 65 percent). It’s not like any portion of the U.S. is really literate on religion.

What’s more interesting is the way the different religions ranked on the three different subscales.  White evangelicals scored high on bible knowledge but low on both world religions and religion in public life. Jews and atheists were highest in world religions and religion in public life.

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Posted: 30 September 2010 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Btw I also noticed that the lowest scoring groups listed were blacks and hispanics.  Wonder if that’s to do with test comprehension, rather than religious knowledge.

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Posted: 30 September 2010 04:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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skuld - 30 September 2010 11:35 AM

Btw I also noticed that the lowest scoring groups listed were blacks and hispanics.  Wonder if that’s to do with test comprehension, rather than religious knowledge.

No, I will bet you it has to do with religious knowledge. Most Hispanics I know around here are catholics who go to mass on Sundays, have a brief stint with catechism, but have very little other knowledge of the church and bible except what the priest tells them in church. The blacks go to church every Sunday…all day, attend bible classes, and read the bible. But they don’t ‘read’ the bible. They read passages ‘relevant’ to what is going on in their lives at the current time, or what the preacher tells them to read. It is rare to find a religious person who has read and studied the bible back to front…those you call ‘atheists’!

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Posted: 01 October 2010 07:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Michael De Dora - 29 September 2010 08:25 AM

On the topic of this thread, it’s important to notice that while atheists, agnostics, Jews, and Mormons came out on top, they still didn’t know much about religion (21/32 = 65 percent). It’s not like any portion of the U.S. is really literate on religion.

Is religion worth being literate about?

If 10 different groups believe in 10 different ridiculous concepts what is the point in knowing about 8 out of 10 of them.

Suppose 9 different groups believe in 9 different ridiculous concepts and 1 group has THE TRUTH which is so weird it sounds ridiculous.  How do you find that 1 group?

How many things are more interesting than religion to study and not obviously ridiculous?

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Posted: 01 October 2010 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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psikeyhackr - 01 October 2010 07:50 AM
Michael De Dora - 29 September 2010 08:25 AM

On the topic of this thread, it’s important to notice that while atheists, agnostics, Jews, and Mormons came out on top, they still didn’t know much about religion (21/32 = 65 percent). It’s not like any portion of the U.S. is really literate on religion.

Is religion worth being literate about?

If 10 different groups believe in 10 different ridiculous concepts what is the point in knowing about 8 out of 10 of them.

Suppose 9 different groups believe in 9 different ridiculous concepts and 1 group has THE TRUTH which is so weird it sounds ridiculous.  How do you find that 1 group?

How many things are more interesting than religion to study and not obviously ridiculous?

psik

IMO it is important to understand what people believe in order to understand how their beliefs influence their actions.  That’s especially important when one is talking either about fringe-y extremists (e.g. jihadists) or majoritarian parties in the way they treat the minority groups living among them.

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Posted: 01 October 2010 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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The “rank and file” of religious people are obviously not well theologically educated. So two reasons you are not going to be successful in arguing them out of their belief. One, they don’t have the background to understand your argument. Two, they look to their leadership to provide the apologetics. 

As long as their leadership provides a plausible explanation for why science is wrong they will accept that explanation on authority without questioning the logical fallacies or validity of the evidence offered. They want to believe anyway and religious authority gives them a plausible explanation to justify it.

If one wants to argue the merits of religious belief with religious people they’re going to have to take it upon themselves to educate believers about their own belief so they can understand the validity of the argument against it.

Obviously it is beneficial for religious leadership to limit the theological education of it’s members. So it’s not the rank and file of believers which one would need to have more theological education than. It’s the religious leadership which provides the apologetics that the validity of one’s argument will be measured by.

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Posted: 01 October 2010 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Most people don’t necessarily want you to convert to their religion per se (except fundamentalist Muslims), they just want you to believe in God.
Today many religious people believe in evolution and other universal laws etc, they just believe that all of it was created by God.

It is the prostletizers, the foot soldiers of god, the preachers, they will come to your door or hand pamphlets out on the streets, threatening you with hell and damnation, unless you convert. Unless you want to avoid them altogether, knowledge of the fallacies in the bible is a good weapon to counter their arguments and hopefully place a seed of doubt on the dogmatism.

The problem is that the bible, if interpreted as allegorical, does contain some truth as well as many falsehoods. Of course, this truth is not exclusive of religion, but also common sense. One does not have to be religious to “honor thy parents” , to “do unto others…...”,  to avoid the “seven deadly sins”, etc.
Most people do identify with those messages and as they are taught in the bible and associated with god, it reinforces their belief in god. To an average person a brutish claim that god does not exist and that the bible is a false book, without addressing these “truths” on a secular level, is also an attack on these fundamentally “humanistic” virtues described in the bible and which are dear to the person’s values.  We hear of “religious values”, these are mostly shared values, it is just that many atheists do not recognize this common ground. But you cannot dismiss them out of hand.

This is why, in debate, I always start with the declaration that the bible is an excellent teaching book and that Jesus was a teacher of virtue. Such a concession establishes a measure of trust and allows for further explanation that due to its age, the bible also contains several conclusions, which in more modern times have been disproven. This makes the bible a book written by man and not by God. Thus emphasizing the good things in the bible, but emphasizing the fallibility of man, and then pointing and discussing the allegories, the religious person will not feel that his entire belief and value system is being attacked.
But in order to be able to do this subtle conversion, one must have knowledge of the religion in question. There is no need to know every religion, just the one you are discussing.
You cannot kill god with a sledge hammer, only with better knowledge. Personally I don’t care if a person belives in god (by any other name), as long as he respects my humanistic freedoms and does not subject me to religious oppression. There is the crux.

[ Edited: 01 October 2010 12:32 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 01 October 2010 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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skuld - 01 October 2010 08:22 AM

IMO it is important to understand what people believe in order to understand how their beliefs influence their actions.  That’s especially important when one is talking either about fringe-y extremists (e.g. jihadists) or majoritarian parties in the way they treat the minority groups living among them.

And being able to answer this question contributes to that? 

What are the names of the first four books of the New Testament, that is, the four Gospels?

Get some of those Christians to check Mathew, Mark, Luke and John to see how many women went to JC’s tomb and first learned about the Resurrection.  OOPS!  They don’t match.  What usually happens is the Christians don’t want to talk to you anymore.

What does that say about understanding when they don’t know their own holy books?  They are very similar in mentality but just fixated in different directions but the differences hardly matter to people that don’t share the mentality.

psik

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Posted: 02 October 2010 08:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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skuld - 30 September 2010 11:35 AM

Btw I also noticed that the lowest scoring groups listed were blacks and hispanics.  Wonder if that’s to do with test comprehension, rather than religious knowledge.

In this weeks Buffalo News there was an editorial about this survey and blacks, I don’t remeber the name of the writer but he is a black, his point was that if a differnt set of questions were asked blacks would have scored higher, and then gave some sample questiions, about history of the Black Church.  Cultural bias is always a major problem in the structure of these surveys.  An excellent study of this is Jame’s Lawlers IQ Heritability and Racism.

[ Edited: 02 October 2010 08:18 AM by garythehuman ]
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All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

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Posted: 02 October 2010 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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garythehuman - 02 October 2010 08:04 AM

In this weeks Buffalo News there was an editorial about this survey and blacks,.... Cultural bias is always a major problem in the structure of these surveys.  An excellent study of this is Jame’s Lawlers IQ Heritability and Racism.

Many Moons ago I had a part time job in a camera department with a Black teenager.  He would bring a Bible and read it when things were slow.  But he always read aloud.  I found it kind of annoying but I didn’t say anything.

But one time he kept saying this word that I didn’t recognize and I asked him about it.  It turned out he was pronouncing the word subtle and sounding out the B, saying suB tl.  I suppose I can’t complain because when I was much younger than he was I remember pronouncing ocean, ohKEEN.  LOL

But some time later I loaned him my Jesus Christ Superstar LP.  I suppose I was not really being nice since I thought he would freak out.

But he came back and said he didn’t mind it but he thought the protrayal of Christ was TOO HUMAN.

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