September 2010 Archives

"So why would an atheist know more about religion than a Christian?"

That question comes from an article in the LA Times, discussing "a survey that measured Americans' knowledge of religion [and] found that atheists and agnostics knew more, on average, than followers of most major faiths." It's not really surprising, given that

American atheists and agnostics tend to be people who grew up in a religious tradition and consciously gave it up, often after a great deal of reflection and study, said Alan Cooperman, associate director for research at the Pew Forum.

The result is that they know what they're rejecting.

One funky bit is that "Jews and Mormons ranked just below [atheists/agnostics] in the survey's measurement of religious knowledge -- so close as to be statistically tied." In fact, "Mormons, who are not considered Christians by many fundamentalists, showed greater knowledge of the Bible than evangelical Christians."

Another report on the survey, via MSNBC noted that

On questions about Christianity, Mormons scored the highest, with an average of about eight correct answers out of 12, followed by white evangelicals, with an average of just over seven correct answers. Jews, along with atheists and agnostics, knew the most about other faiths, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Less than half of Americans know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist, and less than four in 10 know that Vishnu and Shiva are part of Hinduism.

So I guess that means that formerly Mormon atheists/agnostics REALLY know their god shit, right? No wonder it's so rewarding to discuss religion with post-Mormons.

I love my people, man. I love my peeps.

p.s. For good measure, you can always read the NY Times coverage of the study too.

p.p.s. Take a shortened version of the questionnaire used in the survey yourself.

What's With Mormons and Marriage?


A few months ago I began thinking about the question, "What's with Mormons and marriage? Not just temple marriage, but gay marriage and plural marriage and mixed orientation marriage and early marriage and no sex before marriage? Is there another group on earth that fetishizes marriage more than Mormons? I don't think so."

And then I started thinking about the fact that while I've come across several anthologies of essays by Mormon women on motherhood, I've never seen an anthology of essays by Mormon women on marriage.

So I want to put one together. And I am soliciting essays for it.

Why You Should Be My Facebook Friend


If you know my real name, even if I don't know yours, and you're on Facebook, you should friend me. Why? Main reason: I'm funny there. The interplay of personalities gives me many opportunities to crack jokes, some of which are pretty darn good.

Here, for example, is a video posted yesterday by my FBF Peter, and the exchange it prompted:

My first comment:

I wonder if the guy helped himself climb by singing songs by that one gay piano dude Stevie Wonder? Wait--I mean blind piano dude.

Seriously: how does anyone tell gay people and blind people apart? I haven't figured out a foolproof system. I mean, ANYONE could be gay. Unless they tell you themselves, or you find out from others they've slept with and stuff, it's not like you just KNOW. And the blind people I've known personally were pretty much regular people too.

It's like that gay poet John Milton said: "The mind is its own place, and in itself/ Can make a gay person blind, and a blind person gay."

Remember when i wrote about how your average hardcore Mormon has a shitty spiritual immune system? Well, here's proof: a letter to Ask Mormon Girl from a poor guy whose family FREAKED OUT when he drank a cup of coffee:

Recently, while traveling with my brother I was waiting for a very early morning flight. I stopped to get breakfast and without thinking bought coffee. My brother was deeply offended. Several days later, my parents called requesting that I do not drink coffee in front of them because of its offensive nature.

Seriously: can you imagine someone being that upset by a simple cup of coffee? It beggars belief, which is why people try to insist that Mormons aren't really that fragile. Thank the FSM that some aren't. But unfortunately, too many others are.

The Q&A was also posted at Mormon Matters, where it provoked a variety of responses. While most commenters agreed that the parents had over-reacted and were out of line, several defended the parents' mindset and tried to justify it, pointing out, for instance, that when you're a visitor, you might refrain from activities that make your hosts uncomfortable.

OK, sure: we all moderate our behavior in others' homes. But the guy ordered a cup of coffee in a freakin' airport, and his family took offense. He didn't snort cocaine of his parents' dining table; he ordered a cup of coffee in a freakin' airport.

And one guy talked about how he tells his friends, when they apologize in their own homes for drinking, that there's no need to apologize.

I liked what a subsequent commenter had to say in response: "the fact that this friend would feel that he OUGHT to apologize to a guest for doing just as he pleases in his own home, tells you a lot about how judgmental and disapproving Mormons are often perceived as--and in fact really are."

Mormons really have a lot of work to do to make themselves less offensive to the rest of the world. And developing stronger spiritual immune systems would really, really help.


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