Thursday, March 29, 2007


Religion For $100, Alex!

Americans are a deeply religious people who know nothing about religion according to author Stephen Prothero in his new book, Religious Literacy. The following is a portion of Prothero’s test of religious knowledge:

1) Name the four Gospels.
2) Name a sacred Hindu text.
3) Name the holy book of Islam.
4) Name the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament.
5) Name the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.
6) What is Ramadan and in what religion is it celebrated?
7) What is the Golden Rule?
8) Name the 10 Commandments.
9) What does the First Amendment say about religion?
10) Is the saying "God helps those who help themselves" in the Bible?
Okay, I knew all except numbers 5 and 8 (though I got a majority of the 10 Commandments).

But it seems that, in a country where about 90% of the populace claim to be believers, an agnostic like me is nonetheless in the high end of scorers.

This is not just an amusing embarrassment to American theists, it can be deadly too. As Prothero, chair of Boston University’s religion department, says:

We see it played out every day on the killing fields of Iraq and Afghanistan. The inability of the people leading the "war on terror" to figure out the basics of Islam — Shiites? Sunnis? Kurds? Who knows? — only exacerbates the problem, he said.

"We’re surprised that all of a sudden, the Sunnis and Shiites are fighting, but that’s the kind of thing you would learn in high school," Prothero said.
If you need the answers, you can find them at the bottom of the article.

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace Be With You

PS: I am a recovered alcoholic with 22 years of sobriety.
I appreciated "Religion for $100 Alex."

I recently read an interesting article, which brings up the issue; here's the link if you're interested:

Basically, the author asserts that Americans are religious, but don't seem to get Jesus right (in their minds, or in their actions). I agree.

My agnostic friends tell me that if they're going to have Jesus shoved down their throats... for God's sakes, at least make sure it's the right Jesus...
Religious Guy: Thanks for the article. It looks most interesting. (I'm a bit under the weather today but I'll give it a good reading soon.)

Patrick: I'm glad religion helped you and hope it continues to.
"Patrick"? Or should I call you "Michael"? You're here too? I was all convinced that I was special and that I was the only person you were trolling, sitting alone at your computer in the darkness while eating an over-filled peanut butter sandwich. Well you can take your cheating, crazy trolling self somewhere else. Stay here for all I care.

You don't make someone think you're the sole object of a crazy lunatic's religious obsession and then just start Jesus-Cheating with other bloggers. It's not right. Have a little common courtesy.
Well you can take your cheating, crazy trolling self somewhere else. Stay here for all I care.

Do I get a vote?
You certainly do, sir. I'd make him go somewhere else. Maybe back to being MY exclusive crazy troll-whore where he belongs. ;)
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