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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Religiosity

We've had an almost crushingly large amount of religious conversations lately, and I would be remiss to not archive at least a few of the links we ran across during our discussion.

The conversation ran over a wide range of topics, enough that I'm not going to attempt to encapsulate it here in it's entirety. Instead I'm jut going to provide the links to a few interesting nuggets, and I'll let you hash it out in your own head.

One of the first questions we bantered about was how much religion exists in the world, and how it is currently fairing. Turns out Gallup did an interesting survey to look at how 'religious' is our country.

It's an quick read, but the two main points that come from it are,

  1. The more rich/first world your country is, the less stock you put in religion.
  2. America is below average for global religiosity, but we're very religious relative to other rich/first world countries.

(As an aside, Gallup showed that the Southern States, such as Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas have similar religious fervor to Lebanon, Iran, and Iraq.)

The second path the discussion took was whether those people claiming religious ties were true believers or if they were more likely agnostic. The central question being does a religious person behave in a different manner than an atheist? Does belief in a supernatural higher being change a person's day to day life?

We didn't really get around to answering that, but we did get a lot closer to defining atheist and agnostic. The atheist looks something like this:

Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there's no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder.


and the agnostic looks something like the video below.

2 Comments:

Blogger Terathis said...

A video that should be required viewing in all schools.

4/07/2009 5:55 PM  
OpenID erinfaye said...

Difficult conversations to have when someone is trying to convince you of the existence of God--you demand evidence as the video instructs. There is none--you are expected to have "faith". Discussion stalls and you are the one who is considered arrogant and close-minded. The video is brilliant of course, but real life conversations about religion can never really progress in any kind of meaningful way.

4/10/2009 6:09 PM  

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