It’s hard, you try it: it’s the Religion 101 final exam. I sure hope they post the answer key sometime.
Although…if it’s evaluated in the same way religion is, maybe any answer will do, and I’ve actually aced it.
Oh, wait — I answered it the atheist way, which is to leave it blank. That’s probably the one way you’re guaranteed to get stern angry looks from the teacher and expulsion from the whole school.
From reading your comments, PZ, I expected some woo and blather. The test was actually pretty amusing!
The Lord loves sarcasm.
Ebonmusings.org and it’s blog, daylightatheism.org are fantastic. I couldn’t recommend them more.
I like number 25, but it would be more accurate to say that the counseling service requires a membership fee of ten percent of your income.
I always liked essay format exams better. Giving the Examinee the liberty to elaborate on their convictions. We are trying to induce memetic evolution over at our blog by holding a posting competition.We are two lowly graduate students who ask for your creative multimedia post entries for a cash prize that we have scrounged from our student stipends. Show your posting prowess and perhaps something beautiful will emerge.
I think the best way to answer those dreadful questions will be with one definitive word at the bottom: Dreck.
100%… wahoo!… *sigh* oh, right.
Oh such cheek. Always a great way to start the day.
It’s funny while actually having some depth. I think this would make more of an impression on believers than if the same points were presented in rant form.
Just Plain Cliff says
Of course you failed the test, PZ. That test is so hard even Jesus would have failed it.
who cares says
You can answer some of the questions
like #2. That is A, B or C. Seeing that D is for the people who think the Pope is the anti-christ :p
I like the extra credit for #6 :D
And I do think you might want to answer some of the questions, #23 is a good example.
You were too young to remember, but your mother tells you this story constantly:
Before leaving the house in the morning, your father had me take a poorly written note that says “Behave, be back soon. Oh, and watch out for that anti-dad dude.” That was many years ago, and still no sign of him, though your mother insists that he’ll return any time now. What is the most likely explanation?
a) Really long staff meeting
b) Caught in rush-hour traffic
c) 2012, bitches!
d) Your mother is lying to you
If God wanted us to take tests, he would have given us answer sheets.
Instead he gave us grains and hops to make beer.
God loves us…
Ennui @ 12
I’m guessing that would be due to the 10,000,000 slide PowerPoint presentation by Huffenmier from Accounting.
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God’s ways to man.
~ A. E. Houseman
Pete Rooke says
All of the questions can be reduced to “why does the Lord not intervene in times of crisis?” Because that way lies a world in which people are robbed of their freewill. It is a terrible price to pay and yet, in a world suffused with evil, it is necessary. Think of it as separating the wheat from the chaff in order for their respective place of arrival after life. The chaff are condemned to hell and the wheat go to Heaven. Yes, it can seem cruel, we have but to consider but one instance of a fawn, caught in a bushfire, who suffers, badly burned, for days afterwards with no hope of salvation. But so it must be for God has ordained it so.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
What an asshole your imaginary friend is.
Yay! It’s the Prodigal Rooke, come back to us!
“Instead he gave us grains and hops to make beer.”
Presumably, you’re referring to Enki, although the Christians apparently were the ones who added hops, a throughly modern (1000CE)corruption of the original product.
Real free will would be the choice to refuse to follow doG without the threat of eternal damnation. When you’ve got a gun to your head, you don’t really have a choice.
You should read some of the articles at the site. You’ll be enlightened.
You appear to be the victim of a cruel joke.
I enjoyed the questions, but can already anticipate theistic rebuttals for many of them, since they’re based on analogies and it’s always pretty easy to critique analogies. Most of the questions are also directed specifically against Biblical literalists and ‘conservatives'(not that there aren’t plenty of them.)
My personal favorite was the essay question, which asked:
followed of course by a variety of highly diverse gods that can’t be reconciled as being ‘different versions of the same thing’ unless you get very, very sloppy and vague on what you mean by ‘god.’
I think I liked it because this form of sappy-happy-clappy ecumenicism is the one I personally come across the most. It’s the “Argument from the Blind Man and the Elephant.” Everybody gets to be right in some way, the details don’t matter — and yet, miraculously, only the speaker themselves has the ability to be completely right about the fact that God doesn’t care about any of the details.
Just Plain Cliff @ #10:
Is that a new version of the “could god create a rock so heavy that he couldn’t lift it” poser?
“Could god set a quiz so hard that he’d fail it?”
Pete Rooke says
You do not understand the power and strength Faith provides. Consider the most horrific case that I can think of:
Many Jews, malnourished and terrified, were herded into chambers where they knew they would not escape from and yet maintained their faith in the knowledge that there was a place for them in Heaven. You have but to listen to the tales of survivors and diaries from the the dead to realize quite how powerful it can be.
It is a terrible price to pay and yet, in a world suffused with evil, it is necessary. – Pete Rooke
Pete, you moron, your imaginary sky-fairy is supposed to be omnipotent and omniscient. So why doesn’t he get rid of the evil, or better yet, why didn’t he create the world, and people, so there wouldn’t be any in the first place?
Hint: in your answer, you will not need to mention miniskirts, milkmen with rotten teeth, or books bound with human skin.
Irene Delse says
@ who cares #11
Nope. From a Catholic pov, the “right” answer should be “You run to the nearest church and bring a priest to administer the viaticum (Eucharist) to the dying man, to ensure that instead of dying alone, he dies with Christ and gets eternal life”.
Praying God to spare a man dying from natural causes sounds a bit too close to idolatry, anyway. A good Christian should rejoice that the old man is leaving that valley of tears to meet the Lord and enjoy eternal bliss. Sheesh.
A simple test of freewill, Rooke.
Choose one only:
God wants you to choose the right one and has indicated his desire in two inerrant books, each advocating a different choice. Each must be interpreted correctly, since they are not only contradictory but both demonstrably false.
Choose wrong, of course, and you will be punished for eternity.
But this choice is necessary to preserve your free will and decide if you are deserving of eternal happiness or torture.
Tough choice, but then God is mysterious, isn’t he. Must be for your own good.
What’s your choice, then? A) or B)?
Because that way lies a world in which people are robbed of their freewill.
No it doesn’t. It only “robs” us of our free will to believe or not in God; it only robs us of “faith”. But why the hell is that so important? Why does this “God” person sort the wheat from the chaff based solely on whether they have the ability to believe in stuff with no proof nor even evidence? Why not on what they have actually done with their lives?
Oh, and welcome back, we were running low on sick analogies.
Poor example. This only shows how desperately people can cling to their myths in their darkest hour. It says nothing about whether or not free will exists within xtian mythology.
Pete Rooke says
I should also say that Dr. Myers should not be concerned about failing a faux religion 101 test. He should be concerned about failing the test of life. The pass mark is high and repentance does not seem forthcoming.
” It says nothing about whether or not free will exists within xtian mythology.”
Not only that, but according to said mythology, the Jews in question were actually wrong to cling to those incorrect beliefs and went straight to Hell for it.
It does, however, continue the long theist tradition of somehow knowing what private thoughts someone held immediately before dying.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
It’s funny that you actually think Dr. Myers is concerned about the test.
The Rooke is clueless parade marches on.
I should also say that Dr. Myers should not be concerned about failing a faux religion 101 test. He should be concerned about failing the test of life. The pass mark is high and repentance does not seem forthcoming. – Pete Rooke
How quickly you resort to threats, Rooke. But they are empty, childish threats.
Prof MTH says
That is NOT a Religion 101 test as I was given in undergraduate school or as it is taught at my current university where I teach. (I do not teach in the Religious Studies Department.) Religion 101 is an introduction to the development of religion from a historical perspective starting with early hominids. Is asks questions such as What does ‘sacred’ mean? What makes an object or practice sacred rather than profane? What constitutes a practice or belief set as religious? What are the differences and similarities in religious practices across cultures and time and why?
Pet Rooke #24 wrote:
No, we’re not denying that deep convictions can provide moral strength to people. The problem is with the method of “faith” itself. It’s basically a commitment a person makes to themselves to spindoctor all evidence to fit a pre-selected conclusion.
Consider the question of the Problem of Evil. If God exists, then apparently pointless suffering absolutely cannot be pointless. It must be there for a greater good. Therefore, the task for the believer is to come up with some idea that will justify suffering. The suffering is a good thing, necessary for a Higher Purpose, and the world would have been a worse place without it.
That’s scary territory.
It is one thing to ask yourself “if suffering happens, then how can we use it to make ourselves stronger, or better, or more prepared to prevent it from happening in the future?” But it is another thing to say “if suffering happens, then how can we come up with some reason that it was done on purpose, just so that we can become stronger, better, etc.” That second question turns everything into a story about the believer, and ends up claiming that, with God, the Ends Justifies the Means.
The stories don’t work well. You come up with situations like ‘God allowed your son to die slowly of cancer so that you might turn to God and strengthen your faith in His love. That was apparently the only way He could get your attention properly.’
A lot of these ‘excuses’ and rationalizations are much creepier than accepting that bad things happen to good people without some Master Plan behind it all. The fact that we can make lemonade out of lemons, so to speak, does not justify seeing evil as a personal test of character. If
“God never sends you more than you can handle,” then those who break under tragedy deserved what they got — a lesson in how much they suck as human beings.
I’m willing to bet they also don’t teach humour there…
Postman (Formerly Known As Randy) says
The “Test of Life”, Pete? Is that the one where the more people you force your mythology on, the higher your grade?
Prof MTH #34 wrote:
Yes, we know. It’s a satire which is making a point different than “look how silly these Religion 101 courses are!”
Hey Pete, you sneaky devil. You’re not trying to change the subject are you? Back to that pesky question about free will.
As long as the threat of hell exists, the choice to follow doG cannot be considered a free choice. As was noted by the author in one of the articles at the site, real free will would be a choice between two heavens — one with doG and one without.
I’ve gotta go now, but in the words of your savior and in the voice of the Terminator — same thing I guess, only Arnold’s more believable — “I’ll be back.”
Nerd of Redhead, OM says
I see Pete “total fool” Rooke is back with his imaginary deity. Time to acknowledge your delusions Pete. Believing in something that has no physical corpus is for children, not men. And believing in a work of fiction that is called the bible is on the same plane. Not for real adults. Crawl back to your fictional and imaginary comforts and let us real adults discuss things.
Prof MTH apparently had a Humorectomy.
Unsubstantiated superstitious value tradition.
What do I win?
THE TEST OF LIFE. You are such the drama queen.
Obviously you have no life so belief in a mythical being soothes your miserable, lonely existence.
So do you actually contribute to the world in some positive way Petey? Or do you just babble on about fictional gods? The writing is on the wall for you, Petey. “Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.”
Janine, Insulting Sinner says
What was the point of the Rookie’s latest insane screed, that the conditions of death camps is proof of the wonder and awesomeness of faith. And someone please correct me if I am wrong but belief in an afterlife is not one of the main beliefs of Judaism.
I guess that according to the Rookie, the Warsaw Uprising was a case of Jews losing their faiths and trying to fight for life.
Pete Rooke #16 wrote:
When people believe that God did intervene in a time of crisis to prevent suffering — that He directed a tornado away from a school, or cured a terrible disease because He was prayed to — people then claim that these examples of “miracles” strengthen their faith. Were they robbed of their free will? Did Moses lose his free will to choose to believe in, believe, and love God, when he went up Mt. Sinai and received the tablets?
The “proof of God’s existence and love robs us of the free will to believe in Him” is a poor argument. Your children are not turned into robots who must obey your every command because they can 1.) see you directly 2.) know exactly what you want them to do 3.) know that they can count on you to try to save them from searing, horrible, crippling pain, if you could.
Uh, Pete, very few Jews believe in heaven.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
It’s also interesting that when confronted with someone questioning faith that the go to example is almost always Jews and the holocaust.
You have to but listen to the tales of the survivors and diaries from the dead to realize that a nation of Christian willingly carried out the genocide that allows us to marvel at the faith of the survivors.
People, don’t let facts get in the way of Pete Rooke’s truth! He doesn’t. If Petey believes jews believe in an afterlife in heaven then that’s a certifiable truth!!! (he’s certifiable all right…)
I’m more impressed by the faith of the Muslims! I mean, they are willing to crash airplanes into buildings killing themselves and thousands of others. Clearly, the super-strong faith of those Muslims proves without a doubt that Allah exists and Mo is his prophet!
I don’t get #8. Can someone with a working sense of humor explain it: mine seems to be broken.
The answer to #12 is C: Apollonius clearly knew CPR, which can occasionally reverse sudden cardiac death even in the absence of defibrillation.
Which brings us the second question. Was there any other point of maintaining the belief other than comfort if God wasn’t going to save them anyways? Because God didn’t save them, other people did. And even after they were saved, I don’t think things were happy happy joy joy because really, they lost everything.
Pete Rooke in #16 wrote:
Actually, that’s a bit of a fib, isn’t it Petey? Can you say ‘Lying for Jesus’?
Whereas numbers 1,2,3,4, and 8 can be interpreted to be based on the problem of evil, the rest expose the hypocrisy of the bible, the sickening standards of morality preached in the bible, the inability of the religious to think rationally and objectively and various other disturbing aspects of christianity that are obvious to everyone but, apparently, christians themselves.
@ Rooke, you human-hating SOB:
I first understood the story of the flood when I was five. I saw through it and every human-hater like you on that day and have despised the porn and human-hating shit of religion ever since.
Pull your head out of your ass and read:
If the ‘God’ of the KJV exists:
1) ‘God’ knows everything, even from before he created light, he knew the beat of every bird’s wings from creation to the end.
2) ‘God’ knew, even before he created light, that the men of Sodom and Gomorrah would act in the manner that made him angry.
3) ‘God’ still made those men EXACTLY the way they would be in order to act in the way that angered him.
4) ‘God’ then killed every living thing on the planet because the men he made to act in the way that angered him acted in the way he made them to act, as he knew they would even before he created them.
At five years of age I knew that meant two things:
1) That the adults who were telling me this pornography were idiots, or
2) ‘God’ was one sadistic m-f-r.
You stinking moron, Rooke, if the piece of shit ‘God’ of the KJV is real, there is no such thing as free will. Even at five I realized that ‘God’ knew in advance how the ‘wills’ that constitute every human would act before he created them. It was frighteningly obvious even then that that meant that ‘God’ created people to torture them for eternity because he knew in advance that he made them to turn away from him and reject him. The implications of this shocked me to my core even at five. The fact that the adults then (and now) were not vomiting with fear and/or disgust at the implications still leaves me puzzled at how they can be so stunningly obtuse.
For you to imply, in any manner, that the suffering of any human or animal is the result of “God’s” plan or will reveals that you are a sick and twisted pervert of the worst, most despicable kind. Exactly like the sick and twisted perverts who wrote that filthy pornography, the KJV. So Rooke, take your sadistic, panting love of ‘free-will’ suffering, and shove it up your ass along with your pointed head.
To the regulars:
Apologies for my vitriol.
I’m just running out of patience over that fact that in over fifty years since that day I’m seeing this shit growing, not dying.
Normally, it’s enough to simply laugh at shit like Rooke while I watch you rip him to shreds but this morning…
I’ll go get some coffee now…
Anyway, cheers to y’all…
I didn’t make it all the way through the test, but as a believer I couldn’t find one answer in the first 10 questions that fit what i believe or even came very close
Since a lot of the conversation involves theodicy, I’ll link The Tale of the Twelve Officers for those who haven’t read it yet. I’ve always felt the apologetics regarding the Problem of Evil are pure bullshit if we’re considering an omnipotent, omniscient god as the Christians do, and I thought that was a good explanation why.
Also, what Sastra said. The religious inherently argue in bad faith; the main focus of any argument or testimony regarding their experiences is showing how their faith is affirmed, whether or not it contradicts past assertions. God lets children die horrible deaths because we have free will, but when someone wins a football game it’s “praise the Lord, I win because he’s on my side”.
Bill from Dover says
But… didn’t the Mormons steal their souls and send them to a random planet first?
Dianne #51 wrote:
I think question #8 is meant to highlight the disconnect between the way the world really is, and the way you would expect the world to be, given that God exists.
Here’s a reprint:
The reasonable answer to this question — meaning the one you’d arrive at just looking at it objectively — is that the people of Planet A, the magical world where things are morally fair, would naturally believe that God was all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving, because they’d infer that sort of God from the evidence. A God like that, would be expected to make a world just like Planet A.
The people on planet B (which sounds suspiciously like earth) would of course reasonably infer that God was either absent, or indifferent, or a bit mean. Answering otherwise would be strained, bizarre, and silly — which is why the question is supposed to be funny. A hypothetical “religious” person is supposed to conclude the opposite. A loving God created the world of pain and suffering, and the indifferent God knocked off paradise and left.
People who believe that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving have not derived that conclusion from looking around. Instead, they start out with that belief, and then try to figure out some way to shoehorn a God like that, into a world like this one. The fact that they have to come up with excuses is good evidence that even they recognize the problem.
Well of course not. That’s the whole point of the ‘test’. It is designed to show how the faithful, while claiming to believe in a loving and compassionate god and who think that the bible is a source of morality can only maintain this belief by cherry-picking the nice bits and ignoring the blatant evil attributed to their god in their bible.
J Myers says
Elton, if you could write in answers for, say, the first 4 or 5 questions, what would they be? (And really–you didn’t see “anything close” to what you believe is a correct answer for #2 or #4?)
Demonic Gophers says
“I didn’t make it all the way through the test, but as a believer I couldn’t find one answer in the first 10 questions that fit what i believe or even came very close”
“10. As we all know, there is only one true religion. What is the one true religion in each of the following circumstances?”
That isn’t multiple choice. You can give any answer you want. You can even make up your own ‘one true religion’ that perfectly reflects what you believe.
I, also, would like to see the answers you’d write in for some of those.
Stephen Wells says
@45: forget Moses’ free will. A few verses later, some guys quarrel with him and God toasts 250 of them with fireballs and drops the other 250 into a hole in the ground. Check it out: Numbers 16:4-50. Neatly, Moses actually has this happen in public so that everyone can see whether God is active or not.
But Pete Rooke will be right back to tell us it’s fine.
Your annual church contribution to the Our Lady of Stop the Child Molestation – 10% of income.
Your cost for following the adoration-hound, egotistical, hypocritical Lord of Hosts – 10% of income & a lifetime of guilt and repressed sexual desires.
Taking the Religion 101 exam – Priceless.
I don’t think god grades on a curve; so, I didn’t take the test to avoid the possibility of getting hit by lightning.
I think the point of q8 is that people make gods in their image, not the other way around.
Again Sastra said it better.
Insightful Ape says
Hey rookie, you need to smoke some crack to feel how powerful it can be.
I would also suggest that you be wary about failing the test of life. You know, according to a billion Muslims, you’ll be going to hell if you don’t accept god’s true prophet mohamad.
G. Tingey says
G. K. Chesterton, actually ……
Every morning, I check out ebonmusings.org where I was privileged to post the exam a few years back as a guest article, and then flip over here to my second favorite blog. Thanks Dr. PZ for the link! As for the answer key, anyone who sends me 10% of their income will receive one.
#15 -#68 It was Houseman
Hey Terrence (#69)!
Congratulations for writing a most amusing spoof exam. It is somewhat telling, I think, that believers such as Petey and Elton just don’t seem to ‘get it’.