Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Are You Smarter Than An Atheist?
Here's an interesting quiz, covering religion in general. There are 32 questions in all.

Quote:Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups in a 32-question survey of religious knowledge by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. On average, Americans got 16 of the 32 questions correct. Atheists and agnostics got an average of 20.9 correct answers. Jews (20.5) and Mormons (20.3). Protestants got 16 correct answers on average, while Catholics got 14.7 questions right.

How will you do on the quiz?

I didn't do as well as I thought I would. I got Apollo, and Zeus, mixed up, and some other off the wall questions, which ended in an 85% score: 24 out of 32.

Go there and see how well you do. No "bearing false witness" now, ok?

91% here, which is 29 out of 32.

The quiz is very biased toward Jews and Muslims, some questions would be impossible to answer if you are just not interested in either.... but the three questions I got wrong were all Christianity-related... I thought higher of Catholics than I should have.

As for Zeus, this should have been a no-brainer, the etymology connects "Zeus" with "Deus", Greek paganism was just as monotheistic as Catholicism! S6
Sodomia delenda est

I know you are correct, concerning the Zeus thing. I just keep getting all those stupid G-ds mixed up, because all of them are the same, with just different names. I was just in a hurry. Almost all of the questions I missed were related to Mormon ones. I know next to nothing about them. I'm ashamed of myself too.

In fact, I thought it was biased toward Mormons, rather than Jews and Muslims. I got all of them correct, even the one about the Sabbath beginning on Friday. But I really should get them correct.

Crap, typo on my part, I meant "Jews and Mormons" of course, and this actually means "Mormons" since Mormons would know Jewish teachings way better than Jews would know Mormon's.
Sodomia delenda est

I missed the Zeus, Apollo question on purpose, got the rest accurate. I missed it cause you mentioned the subject. As far as knowing, I think Zeus and Apollo are the same god, Zeus is Greek for it, Apollo Roman for it.


What did you get wrong on the Catholics?
Bred and wine (did not expect them to be so literal) and salvation (actually, I still don't know the answer -- what do they need in addition to faith? pay the church tax?)

Both Zeus and Apollo are Geeks. Apollo is a very unusual case of a Geek with no Roman analogue... Zeus is Jupiter (short for Jehovah-Pater)
Sodomia delenda est

I scored 94%, with 30 right and two wrong. I was not sure whether aiming for Nirvana was a part of Hinduism or Bhuddism, and I forgot about the book of Mormon saying something about Jesus appearing to peoples in the Americas. Must be part of their "lost tribes of Israel" teaching.

As for the Zeus Apollo thing, Wickipedia says: "Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis." I just focused on the fact that Zeus is a Greek name. (It helps that I know a little Biblical Greek.)

It seems to me that someone who answered "I don't know" should get credit for the question about what is an agnostic. S1

I had some doubts about the question who believes in salvation by faith alone. While this was the historic dividing point between Protestantism and Catholicism, there are many Catholics today who will insist they believe in salvaton by grace alone--which sounds similar, until you learn what they mean by "grace"--something that is mediated by the church and the priesthood to the people, such as through giving them the communion wafer and wine. In my opinion the Christian Science Monitor got this right. Sola Fide, sola Scriptura (solely by faith, soley by Scripture, since as Paul said: "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."--Romans 10:17). This was the paramount slogan of the Protestant Reformation.

It was especially easy for me to get the names of the gospels, since way back in church school I memorized the list of the 66 books of the Bible. Which is actually very handy for looking up references in the Bible even today. (That 66 does not include the Apocryphal books, that are included in the Catholic Bible.)

While public school teachers technically are allowed to read from the Bible in class as examples of literature, in reality teachers must be very careful in doing so, and usually will avoid it. Or else "balance" it with readings from other religious holy books, and specifically say they are reading only as examples of literature, and do not mean to say the Bible selection is something the teacher believes. Most Christians who are public school teachers have a lot of trouble with this. They are strictly forbidden to confess their faith to children--at least if it is Christian. They could profess to be Zoroastrian, Wiccan, or atheist, and nobody's parents would threaten to file a lawsuit to get the teacher fired.

Yea, the Catholics take Jesus' instructions literally in the upper room, whereas most Prots think He was speaking metaphorically there. Transubstantiation is their term for it.

Concerning faith versus works as "access/adoptions of sons" to God, the honest truth is most all of us believe in works. Our confessions don't say we do, but, we do.

I don't, but, I rarely find a fellow believer who agrees with me when we talk.

The crux of the problem for us is the bible really is ANE Jewish literature written to the original audiences, not us or anyone else and stuff back then just isn't easy to grapple with for post enlightenment western people w/o serious research assistance.

Christians do not have a modern people group that are widely respected to "get" the original intent like Muslims do(both of us have Arabic believers whose culture is not so different from Jesus' era) and as such, we are left flailing away.

The entire biblical narrative for example is mainly about the God of Israel entering human history and "restoring Israel and through Israel, the nations/gentiles will be re-inherited by Yahweh and we all will be eternally with Him " here on earth, not this "going to heaven,going to hell" thing we're obsessed with.


The questions about what is allowed to a public teacher are court case law. You can read the bible in a "bible as literature" class or the koran or any other book, not as if you're teaching it to be spiritual truth like at home or in church. You can't lead the kids in prayer,etc.
I answered 30 right, and missed two. I mixed-up Elijah and Abraham - and hadn't the foggiest notion who Maimonides was. I would have guessed Jewish, but answered honestly that I didn't know. The reason atheists get more right than most church-goers is because the questions were all about comparative religions - not about what they are most familiar with. After all, a worm farmer doesn't study how to raise banana fish.

since we got into this I actually want to make sure I understand.

Quote:Concerning faith versus works as "access/adoptions of sons" to God, the honest truth is most all of us believe in works. Our confessions don't say we do, but, we do.

Are you saying that among the Catholics one needs faith+works (==good deeds?) whereas "officially" among the Protestants faith is enough but most (I'd think nearly all) still assume faith+works?

If yes, this all makes sense.
Sodomia delenda est

The Catholic doctrine of buying indulgences was at the heart of Luther's outrage at the church. He pointed out Faith is the end-all of Godliness, and paying bribes to have your sins forgiven by a priest was not.
Are you saying that in rejecting indulgences Luther also rejected good deeds altogether? Somehow I never realized this.... this is really interesting.
Sodomia delenda est

(12-03-2013, 12:17 AM)mv Wrote: Are you saying that in rejecting indulgences Luther also rejected good deeds altogether? Somehow I never realized this.... this is really interesting.

But what does criticizing the corruption of bribes have to do with rejection of good deeds?

I'm trying to understand what Wm is saying.... but I'm getting curiouser and curiouser now about the origins of the "faith alone, no good deed needed" in Protestantism.
Sodomia delenda est

Works are not the basis for salvation. They are judged to determine the genuineness of one's faith. Do we deny our faith by what we do, or do we show our faith by what we do? The key thing about faith is that it be whole-hearted. As the Psalmist prayed, "...unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart." (Pslams 86:11, 12) Here the Psalmist acknowledged that his real problem was a divided heart. Jesus now is working as our Mediator and High Priest in the Temple of God in Heaven, seeking to perfect the faith of His people. Faith in Him, not in ourselves or anything in our lives or experience.

Another way of looking at it is that God has provided for us in Christ all we need, foregiveness and credit for a new righteous life that merits for us complete salvation and glorification. But God respects our freedom of choice, and will not give us even salvation and glorification, unless we choose it. By our works we show what we are choosing. Do we consent that Jesus's death on the Cross was for us? Do we consent that He is the new Head of our race, the new Adam, and therefore is qualified to be the Lord of our lives?

Works cannot in any way make up for the sins we have committed. Only the Sacrifice of Christ paid the penalty for our sins--all the sins of all humanity. Only the righteous deeds of Jesus Christ in HIS life can give us a righteous life and standing for continued fellowship with God. Thus we are saved both by the death and by the life of Jesus Christ (or Yeshua Messiah). The Resurrection of Christ is just as vital to us as was His death on the Cross.

There is no room here for "meritorious works" on our part, no room for penances, no room for indulgences, nor for dispensations. The church has no authority to offer anyone any of these things.

The story is told of the infamous indulgence seller, Tetzel. A man came to him and asked if he could purchase an indulgence absolving him of any guilt for something he was about to do in the future. For the right price, Tetzel agreed. The man later waylaid Testzel's carriage, and stole all the money he had collected selling indulgences. When Tetzel sought to have the secular authorities prosecute the man, they all pointed out that Tetzel had just gotten them all to agree that secular authorities were bound to respect the indulgences, and forgive those whom the church forgave. So all of Europe laughted at Tetzel.

I apologize, it is confusing what I said.

Catholics, Orthodox and Anglicans believe one must believe in Jesus as Messiah/Son of God as well as accomplish various good works( some of the works are specific, such as water baptism and others would be various levels of demonstrated affinity for Christ after belief by actually doing what He told us to) to receive the gift of eternal life.

Most American evangelicals/Prots typically would disagree and say the following, "wrong, all that is needed for eternal life is to believe/have faith in Christ, period".

What I was trying to say is that even though most of we Prots would say that and it is in our formal church confessions, we don't really believe it. It would be exhausting for you to read the myriad ways we violate this.

One is simple and I'll use it as an example.

John 3:16, 20:31, these are simple, straightforward statements. Only an American evangelical can make them confusing.

Easy to understand, yet many of us would say this regarding both,"well, believe there really means make a committment to Christ", i.e. some kind of works.

Like , "OK Lord, I'll be a good servant of your's now". That has to involve some type of good works since that's all Jesus asks us to do as far as conduct.

So, we don't really believe in faith alone. Again, I do, but, most of us do not.

Whereas I do not believe the good works are necessary for "the gift of eternal life", I believe they are necessary for me to avoid a bad outcome at my personal judgment, so I would agree with the Catholics they are imperative for a good outcome.

Most evangelicals don't realize we're going to get an evaluation and our place in God's kingdom is determined by how we handle ourselves here. That's why good works are important to me, not gaining access to eternal life, as far as I am concerned, that was Jesus' job and He handled it.

My job is to follow His lead in how I interface with humans. That determines where I stand in the Divine pecking order.
In the early centuries of the Christian Church, the teaching that we are saved by our works was rejected as a heresy called "Pelagianism." The modified belief that we are saved partly by our faith and partly by our works was also rejected as the heresy of "Semi-Pelagianism." By the time of Martin Luther, the Catholic Church had drifted way into Semi-Pelagianism, which Luther, Zwingli, and all the other Protestants denounced as the heresy the Church itself had early on declared it to be.
Thanks, guys, now it is pretty clear.

The problem with good deeds seems to be the authority that evaluates them. There are several answers here, and all are problematic. "Church authority" leads to abuses, in the extreme cases indulgences, but lesser abuses would be unavoidable. There is an interesting variation of deterred authority which came up in the communism-as-religion model, but it is still prone to such abuses albeit to a lesser degree. The Judaism model of careful weighting good and bad at the end of each year seems to me just an overly-complex fallacy. Finally, Palladin's
Quote:Whereas I do not believe the good works are necessary for "the gift of eternal life", I believe they are necessary for me to avoid a bad outcome at my personal judgment, so I would agree with the Catholics they are imperative for a good outcome.
seems to be self-evaluation, and is perhaps the best answer possible but while I agree with it I cannot avoid thinking of a deluded individual with an unconventional idea of what good deeds are ... perhaps killing all cats in the neighborhood? Then how would Palladin (or myself) know that his definition of good is .. well .. good?
And this brings up a question if Luther et al (and anti-Pelagians before them) recognized the difficulty (impossibility?) of defining good... if this was their logic, then I understand why "by faith alone" is a sensible answer (not that I like it).

Anyway, I think I need to look further into this, and thanks again for the lead.
Sodomia delenda est


"Good works" may be defined as loving God and loving mankind. If that happens, we will automatically be considerate of others, forgiving, helpful, patient, giving, etc.

BTW, lots of this confusion( between my view and a Catholic's) is driven by the idea that we "go to heaven or go to hell". This drives many of us to interpret statements like this, "IF you do not believe I am He, you will die in your sins" as "You're going to hell ".

Or, "there will wailing and gnashing of teeth" as " hell ".

Or John 3:16 as "going to heaven". Then, when we read a verse making something like the relationship to God questionable(example, "anyone who puts their hands to the plow and turns back is not worthy of Me") we wonder about our eternal status. Are we now going to hell??? Stuff like this leads to the confusion about works/faith, IMO.

That simply is not what the biblical narrative is about. It's about Israel's legitimate hope of God entering human history to restore Israel forever HERE and in doing so, restoring the nations forever through Israel. That's what Isaiah 25 is about, the great feast of Messiah on Mt Zion here, on earth, for all humanity. The revelation calls this feast the wedding feast of the lamb.

The deal is God brings the heavenly to earth and marries it up. No one is "going to heaven", it's coming to us and no one is "going to hell" at least the hell of western theology. IMO, it never existed, it's a fictional/apocalyptic term used for metaphorical purposes by the biggest user of metaphor in earth's history, Jesus of Nazareth.

The concept isn't in the OT and whenever in the OT "fire" is discussed, it is mainly a metaphor for Divine judgment.

There's a quote in Genesis about Sodom's judgment something close to this, "I will destroy Sodom with an unquenchable fire". The fire there is permanent judgment, not literal eternal fireballs, that is typical ANE Jewish apocalyptic genre.
The ideas is simple: faith is the primary Biblical requirement with Christianity. Many sects and religions have rationalized that evil can be condoned by paying a bribe (indulgences) to the church.

Doing good works is a mark of the right attitude and is a part of faith - but shouldn't replace it as a substitute.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)