29 September 2010


As I mentioned in my previous post, I do not donate money to religious organizations, even though they may be doing good work. My reason is that, in many cases, the relief workers are more interested in converting people than meeting their basic needs in a time of hardship or disaster.
There are plenty of secular groups which provide relief, so I choose to donate to them.
Non-Believers Giving Aid and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science have partnered with Doctors Without Borders to help people whose lives have been shattered by natural disasters, such as those in Haiti and, more recently, Pakistan.
All donated money, every cent, is forwarded to Doctors Without Borders.

If you are interested in contributing, please click HERE.

26 September 2010


Despite all the evidence to the contrary, we’ve recently heard about the growing number of Americans who believe President Obama was not born in the U.S. and is a Muslim, not a Christian.
I recently took a survey on the Association of Religions Data Archives which also brought up some disturbing statistics for me.
Some questions could be answered yes or no, but some had 5 choices from “always” to “never” or “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” Thus, unless one answered “never” or “strongly disagree” the respondent believed the statement to some extent or other.

The statistics are from a 2005 Baylor Religion Survey.

By answering the survey questions on the ARDA website, one’s own results are compared to the 2005 survey. The results come up in two columns, comparing others like oneself (age, gender, and religious affiliation) and comparing oneself to the entire study group.

Some results follow:
As reflected the in graph above, those who believe in:
God 89%
Satan 73%
Heaven 82%
Hell 71%
Purgatory 41%
Angels 80%
Demons 66%
Armageddon 55%
Rapture 49%
Ghosts 46%
Despite these high numbers of belief, when asked if they had experienced a miraculous, physical healing, only 31% said they had. Only 6% had a vision of a religious figure while awake and only 14% had heard the voice of God speaking to them.
Many people think God is slightly more involved in their own lives than in everyone else’s. While 85% think God is directly involved in world affairs, 86% think he is involved in their own affairs.
On the other hand, they think their own sins are of slightly less concern to God than other people’s sins. While 87% think God is angered by human sin, only 85% think he is angered by their own sins.
And, of course, there are those who believe that God favors the United States in world affairs (57%) and that God favors one political party in the U.S. (43%.) Gee, I wonder which party that is.
When it comes to the paranormal, 76% assume that science will discover Bigfoot & the Loch Ness Monster, 78% think places can be haunted, 65% think astrology impacts one’s life and personality, and 87% believe it is possible to influence the physical world through the mind alone.

Other questions were about abortion, sex, alcohol, pornography, stem cell research, consumer consumption, taking care of the sick and needy, and seeking social and economic justice.
I found it interesting that while 57% think it is important to convert others to their religious faith and 86% think it important to teach others their own morals, only 40% think it important to seek social and economic justice for others. These statistics are why I never donate to religious organizations, which (in my opinion) are often more interested in converting people in disaster areas (such as Haiti) than in helping the people with their basic needs. I gladly donate to non-religious relief organizations.

To take the ARDA online survey, click HERE.

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Religious fundamentalists alone are a huge popular grouping in the United States, which resembles pre-industrial societies in that regard. This is a culture in which three-fourths of the population believe in religious miracles, half believe in the devil, 83 percent believe that the Bible is the "actual" or the inspired word of God, 39 percent believe in the Biblical prediction of Armageddon and "accept it with a certain fatalism," a mere 9 percent accept Darwinian evolution while 44 percent believe that "God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years," and so on. The "God and Country rally" that opened the national Republican convention is one remarkable illustration, which aroused no little amazement in conservative circles in Europe.

--- Noam Chomsky

speech to the Library Information Technology Association

June 1992, San Francisco

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