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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Griper Blade: Fanaticism Disguised as Skepticism

If you've got a question about religion, ask an atheist. That's the short version of the findings of a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll. Pew polled 3,400 Americans and asked questions about broad religious knowledge. Of 32 factual questions, the average atheist was able to answer 20.9. Meanwhile, the talk-about-God-all-the-damned-time people -- white evangelical protestants -- managed to get only 17.6 correct. If you want to know about religion, don't ask the religious -- they don't know crap.

This is one of those "man bites dog" stories that isn't as surprising as you'd think. Most atheists become atheist after being born into some faith tradition. Atheism isn't really a religious belief (disbelief can't logically be belief), so much as it's a conclusion. And it's a conclusion reached after investigation.

I'm not posting this to blow my own atheist horn. Rather, I'm making a point about skepticism. Atheists come to their disbelief for a reason. And we do it in spite of a culture that makes faith a virtue. It's the end of a process; we look at all the facts and come to a conclusion. You can't say that an atheist wants to believe in atheism, because most religions promise a lot better things than atheism does. "You get to be worm food!" isn't the best sales pitch in the world. Atheism is what you're left with after you've eliminated all the other possibilities...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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