Fertile Soil

We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements – transportation, communications, and all other industries; agriculture, medicine, education, entertainment, protecting the environment; and even the key democratic institution of voting – profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.

—Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World

A recent poll by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute found, as many previous surveys have found, that Americans’ knowledge of political and historical facts about our country is abysmal. But this one added a twist – it surveyed elected officials as well as ordinary citizens, and found that their knowledge of the same facts was, if anything, even worse. (You can take the quiz yourself.)

I’m astounded that elected officials didn’t do better than the average person. This is a worrying development that suggests the pervasive anti-intellectualism in our society is making its way into government. With some of these questions – for instance, the question about which branch of government has the power to declare war – the incorrect answers can likely be blamed on the influence of a right-wing movement that’s actively hostile to the ideas of judicial review and separation of powers. But many of the questions have no such ideological implications, and wrong answers can only be blamed on a more general hostility to empirical knowledge, education and other positive qualities commonly scorned in the media as “elitism”.

Anti-intellectualism in America

Photo courtesy of UMKC’s Scopes trial page.

Commenters like Susan Jacoby have noted the pernicious effects of dumbing down our civil discourse, making us less able to evaluate the policy choices we face as a democratic nation. But worse than not knowing is the attitude that we don’t need to know – that subjective certainty or ideological dogma can stand in for consensus, empirical knowledge about the way the world works. Religious faith is a special offender in this regard, teaching as it does that authority or tradition is a sufficient reason to believe something, and often praising believers as virtuous for believing things that are contradicted by the evidence. An ignorant, poorly educated society is fertile soil for every kind of superstition. Conversely, less educated people are far more likely to believe in ideas such as miracles, demons, and biblical literalism. (See also.)

Anti-intellectualism is nothing new, of course. There’s always been a strong undercurrent of it in American society, one that dates back at least to the Scopes trial, and it’s not a surprise that belligerently anti-science regions of the country elect representatives who act in kind. That’s not new, but what is new is that our society – stretching the limits of what Earth’s resources will support – is increasingly dependent on science and technology, and increasingly beset with problems, such as global climate change, that only scientific understanding will give us a hope to comprehend or solve. As the stakes get higher, we can less and less afford to have irrationalism poisoning the public debate and swaying our policy choices. The risk is too great that it will lead us astray at a critical moment.

The problem of anti-intellectualism has no easy solution, particularly when so many people take pride in their ignorance rather than viewing it as something to be ashamed of. Improving public schools is necessary, but at best it treats a symptom rather than a cause. What we need more is a return to the attitude that being intelligent and educated is a good thing which people should aspire to.

This is part of the reason why atheists must take a greater role in public discourse. Religious liberals and moderates can and often do join with us on specific social issues – but even they, for the most part, take the position that faith is an acceptable way of making policy decisions. We have an altogether different message, and one that’s far more vital: decisions that affect the common good must be made on the basis of reason. That’s a message worth promoting, and that’s why we should disregard the squawking of those pundits who urge atheists to keep quiet and not criticize religion, because it’s “disrespectful”. Our message, in the long run, is crucial and necessary; if we need to do damage to established superstitions to get it out, so be it.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://jivlain.wordpress.com Jivlain

    Hmmmmm, elected officials got 44% and yet I, as someone who has never even visited the US got over 90%?

    You do have a problem there.

  • velkyn

    Society also bears some of the blame in saying we have to be politically correct and “accept” the willfully ignorant and/or just plain stupid as equals. IF you dont’ do this, you are called “elitist”. I am not sorry that I am more intelligent than the majority of humanity and I don’t see why the idiots should run the shop. BTW, it’s been shown that the ill-educated and/or less intelligent think that they are better than they are, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger_effect

    Religous liberals and moderates are as culpable as their fanatic brethern for this glorifying of ignorance. How many times has anyone seen them actually dare to critize the fanatics for this or any other extremist policy? Their voices are rare and faint. I see little reason to give them any credit at all.

  • http://stereoroid.com/ brian t

    That is not good. I scored 29/33 (88%) – and I’m not even American, nor have I formally studied American history. Just read about it, from time to time. Many of the questions could be answered by process of elimination e.g. #9.

  • http://mcv.planc.ee mcv

    I have a similar comment. I got 72%. I’m not an American nor taken any American courses in university or high school. But I have to admit that I have watched a lot of American movies and TV shows where some of these issues have come up.

  • http://mcv.planc.ee mcv

    As a follow-up – I recently read the regulations concering gaining citizenship in Estonia (my home country) and I’m not that sure that I could pass all the required exams. I’m certain that after a short study period it wouldn’t be hard, but as a citizen I ought to know the things without any study.

  • Alex, FCD

    I got an 88% when I took it after I saw it on Stranger Fruit (come for the science, stay for the Mustelids). Same story: I’m a foreign national (an atheist socialist foreign national working on a degree in evolutionary biology at that).

  • http://cranialhyperossification.blogspot.com GDad

    I got 31/33 (93.94%). I am an American, but after seeing the high scores of the international crowd, I’m not as cocky about my score as I was a moment ago. But those two questions were kind of tricky.

  • Witmer

    I’m an American and scored above an 80%. In my view this is a good demonstration of the ineptitude of American secondary education. In most schools students get American History all year long, yet they seem to get nothing from it.

    I’d like to see valid/reliable tests given to elected officials in order for them to represent any kind of public office. The standards need to be higher than 50%—much higher. I believe that if you don’t know the basics of the constitution, you shouldn’t be in office.

  • Alex Weaver

    Missed three on the economic section, one of which was ambiguously worded, one of which seems questionable, and one of which seems more ideological than objective. What is wrong with people?

  • Wayne Essel

    Well, I didn’t expect to do as well as I did. Got a 97% (missed one, the one about FDR’s threat upon the declaration that part of his program was unconstitutional…) I’m an American and my beliefs are mostly christian.

    The one comment that occurs to me to make here is that by our nature, we appear to not care how much a person knows until we know how much they care. I paraphrased that from something I heard years ago.

    If a person goes off on a tirade about how a religion is superstitious without regard for the devotee’s personhood, the devotee will likely be angry before being reasonable.

    Same is true if I go off on a tirade about reason exceeding its reach without regard for the proponent’s personhood.

    The biggest arguments I see here are from the point of tolerance vs. intolerance. Atheists and theists can be equally emotionally intolerant of others. I condemn violence done as a result of intolerance.

    I think we need to continue to pursue reason AND good manners (and good manners are not the same as political correctness).

    Regards,

    Wayne

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    I got a score of 31/33. I am also an American.

    Some of the economics questions were confusing. I do believe that people need to be familiar with those concepts, but I’m not sure whether they actually fall under the umbrella of civics knowledge.

  • http://thewarfareismental.typepad.com cl

    I missed too many political questions, and like Alex said, some of them were subjective. When I saw the Sagan quote I got excited because I thought I was getting a science pop-quiz. History is important, but ignorance in the sciences, especially critical thinking and logic, more directly enables anti-intellectualism IMO. Economic realities also affect the national IQ. Being book-smart or traditionally educated is a great luxury, but for many, being street-smart and developing an everyday common-sensical shrewdness is far more key to survival. People can and should pursue intelligence regardless of environment or social status, but working folk in industrialized San Pedro tend to become John Fante’s, not Isaac Newton’s or John Adams’.

    What we need more is a return to the attitude that being intelligent and educated is a good thing which people should aspire to.

    I agree. Speaking of established superstitions, along with mindless consumerism and religio-political puppeteering, Hollywood fantasism is one of the biggest threats to intellectualism going. Unfortunately, the same Constitution that defends your right to disseminate valuable, intellectual property like DA also defends Joe BananaHead’s right to disseminate worthless, anti-intellectual property like (fill in the blank). For charlatans of any sort a dumbed-down populace is an expedient benefit, and I don’t think it should be legal to deceive and dumb-down the public in order to procure personal gain. Some level of intellectual integrity can and should be reasonably demanded from advertisers, educators, capitalists, politicians, producers, publishers, the religious, etc.

  • http://thewarfareismental.typepad.com cl

    Wayne,

    I’ll agree we appear to not care how much a person knows until we know how much they care, but that doesn’t justify this:

    If a person goes off on a tirade about how a religion is superstitious without regard for the devotee’s personhood, the devotee will likely be angry before being reasonable.

    You may be correct, but such only reveals the devotee’s relative immaturity. Reasonable believers are often well-equipped with their particular faith’s tenets on the foolishness of rushing into anger. I can think of many in the Bible, and the argument exists that the proper response to an anti-religious tirade is genuine empathetic compassion. I know full well why people hate religion, and I don’t spite them for it one bit. It is notable Jesus reserved anger for the religious.

  • Polly

    30/33 but I really should have known 2 of the ones I missed. #33, I should have read the answers more closely.

    I can’t believe so many non-Americans did so well. If this were reversed, I’d probably get <40% on a similar quiz about any other major nation. Pathetic. I blame my crappy HS. :)

    The widespread ignorance is no accident. Educating sheep makes them harder to sheer and slaughter. This is by design.

    We are a nation of burger flippers and techno-geeks. Neither of those gives one a foundation to question authority. Science frees people from superstition, but doesn’t make people free from political manipulation. You need the “soft” subjects for that: philosophy, history, political science, psychology, sociology.

  • Alex Weaver

    If a person goes off on a tirade about how a religion is superstitious without regard for the devotee’s personhood, the devotee will likely be angry before being reasonable.

    Same is true if I go off on a tirade about reason exceeding its reach without regard for the proponent’s personhood.

    Define “regard for the proponent’s personhood.”

    The biggest arguments I see here are from the point of tolerance vs. intolerance. Atheists and theists can be equally emotionally intolerant of others. I condemn violence done as a result of intolerance.

    Examples of violence committed by atheists in support of freethought beliefs (as opposed to “the state/Great Leader isn’t TECHNICALLY a god but you’d never know it from listening to us” Communism, say)?

  • http://trishwilson.typepad.com/the_count/ The Count

    Pulling a Deanna Troy (and stating the obvious), it’s a simple matter of catering to and enabling a segment of the electorate for your own ends. All political parties do it in some fashion. Since it is far easier to react emotionally rather than use one’s intellect, it is also fair to assume that this segment won’t go away anytime soon. Now, if we look at American extreme right-wing politics, what one finds is that this segment has now grown up enough to stand on their own and has become the tail that’s shaking the dog. One has to assume that their enablers should have expected this to happen eventually, but I wonder when they expected it to happen and what their mitigation plan was to regain control?

    I suppose that in retrospect, Sen. McCain will bear the responsibility of being the one who lost control of the right-wing base, and the “moderate” Republican revolt we saw right before election day was a reaction to, at the very least, not empower them any more than they already were. I’d like to think it was guilt on these people’s part for playing with fire and getting burnt, but I’m not that naive.

    So, it appears that Gov. Palin is the leading intellectual light for these folks. Can they survive as a group with the intellect she demonstrated in 2008? How many otherwise intelligent Rovian opportunists will grab that tiger by the tail and try to ride it? Do we really believe they will cause the Republican party to become a rump political party? How long will corporations be able to tolerate an uneducated and/or illiterate workforce?

    I suppose it could be argued that on paper a theocracy with an uneducated base, makes for far easier governance. After all, it worked for a thousand years in the past. If you import technology or the people to create the technology you can also have a malleable consumer base to exploit. I’m not looking at this as a conspiracy, but as the evolution of a political/economic meme.

    However, dear reader, to restore sanity to my post, I don’t think a Theocracy is possible because, as we have already witnessed over the last few years, each act of intolerance has repelled the rational, not attracted it… though it will be close for a while. By the way, I’m normally a happy-go-lucky optimist.

  • The Vicar

    I’m an American and got something like 88% on the test (I took it a while ago after seeing it on another blog, and I forget what the exact score was).

    The thing is, though: I’m not sure that all the questions really measure anything important; some of them are clearly on important subjects, but others are effectively trivia.

    Let’s take a few examples (and although I missed one of these questions, I am complaining about two that I got right, so don’t accuse me of just being motivated by spite):

    Question 7 asks where the phrase “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” comes from. While the language of America’s founding documents is often beautiful, this question is actually irrelevant to the functioning of government. You can rewrite the document in question (no spoilers here!) to leave out this phrase entirely, and it would have precisely no effect. The inclusion of this question is effectively saying “your citizenship is directly proportional to your memory for detail”, and I don’t think that’s a good way of measuring things.

    Question 10 asks, in effect, what is the first amendment. The contents of the Bill of Rights are important, but does it really matter which one out of the ten is which? (Except for taking the fifth — you can’t avoid giving evidence through, say, your right not to quarter troops.) You could go back in time and swap any two amendments in the Bill of Rights, and American history would have been more or less the same. I can remember all the rights in the Bill of Rights, but I had to answer this one by process of elimination because I don’t bother to remember the numbers.

    Question 15 asks for the origin not of the concept of separation of church and state, but of the source of the specific phrase “wall of separation”. Before this quiz, I don’t think I have heard anyone even mention that particular phrase in discussion, ever. And I’m an atheist, to whom the concept is actually important! The concept is not discussed as a result of who said it, but because of the merit of the idea. If the idea is to measure your understanding of how the government works, they might as well have asked “how many congressional pages were employed by this Congress?”

    There are a number of less significant quibbles I could point out, but those were the most egregious ones. (And don’t get me started on the “rah rah Capitalism” question.)

  • http://www.theinfinityprogram.com Kevin

    Ebonmuse–

    Regarding the study you linked to, I was wondering what your thoughts are on the commentary posted by Pollster.com’s Mark Blumenthal about it. It was posted sorta like an addendum to an article titled “Zogby ‘Knowledge Test’ Update“:

    Finally, on the issue of testing “knowledge,” ABC’s Gary Langer critiques the annual survey on “American Civic Literacy” from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute that claims “the majority of Americans – including elected officials – failed a test of basic knowledge about American history and economics.” See Langer’s post for the specifics, but he makes a point that could also apply to the Zogby/Ziegler controversy:

    The reality is that the ISI itself has failed a test of basic knowledge about the definition and measurement of just what knowledge is. I’ve blogged about this before – see it here – but the key point is that these folks are confusing knowledge (the ability to draw on information to make considered judgments) with recall (the ability to recite disassociated facts); and then doubling down by using an inappropriate method of measurement.

  • http://www.cs.aau.dk/~sk/ Simon Kongshøj

    I got 88% — and I’m also not American (which the astute reader will probably have inferred from my name).

    I wonder how the scores (US citizens vs. US elected officials) would fall if it had been a quiz on science-related topics, though. I am sevriously worried about the scientific literacy of the public, both in the US and in my own country.

  • http://www.cs.aau.dk/~sk/ Simon Kongshøj

    Argh. Editing “severely” to “seriously” apparently yielded “sevriously”. You get to decide whether to read it as “severely” or “seriously”.

  • velkyn

    “If a person goes off on a tirade about how a religion is superstitious without regard for the devotee’s personhood, the devotee will likely be angry before being reasonable.

    Same is true if I go off on a tirade about reason exceeding its reach without regard for the proponent’s personhood.” – by Wayne E.

    I can show religion to be superstitious. I would be curious if you could come up with an argument on how reason even *can* exceed its reach. I don’t find that ignoring the facts in either case respects anyone’s “personhood”.

  • Wayne Essel

    cl,

    I agree with you. I am speaking from a pragmatic or probabilistic point of view. I think we need a certain amount of compassion for those who are not yet in position to be perfectly reasonable, otherwise, they won’t listen.

    Regards,

    Wayne

  • corsair the pirate

    I humbly submit my 33/33 100% (hey, i was as surprised as y’all) with only 2 guesses that turned out correct (Lincoln and Douglas debate and whatever no. 33 was about).

    And I know about our host’s openly “progressive” views, but statements like “the incorrect answers can likely be blamed on the influence of a right-wing movement that’s actively hostile to the ideas of judicial review and separation of powers.” while talking about who can declare war sort of flies in the face of Democratic President Harry Truman declaring a “police action” in Korea without Congressional approval. And then there was Democratic Presidents Kennedy and Johnson who both managed to get us into an undeclared war in Vietnam without any Congressional war declaration.

    Only recently has Bush the Elder and Bush the Younger done the same thing (Kuwait and Iraq and Afghanistan). So blaming the right-wing for abusing the war powers act should realy be a toss-up. Whatever president is in power at the time will use the military as he sees fit despite what Congress may want.

  • Wayne Essel

    Alex,

    What I meant by regard for personhood was to be aware that they are a person with feelings, history, ability or lack thereof etc. Avoiding flammable subjects that do not bear directly on the discussion at hand. Avoiding the tendency to stereotype and project. Avoiding condescension. Asking questions instead of delivering answers. Treating people as graciously as possible given the circumstances, possibly even better than we might feel they deserve.

    Regarding examples, none of the examples I had im mind would be atheists, particularly freethinkers. I probably should have put that line in a separate paragraph.

    I think all persons are capable of emotional violence such as condescension and ridicule. We excuse it because it is not physically violent. It still hurts and wins no adherents.

    Regards,

    Wayne

  • Wayne Essel

    velkyn,

    I think that there is a point in many discussions where the only intellectually honest answer to a question is simply “I (or we) don’t know”. There is a way, it seams to me that we humans want to fill that space with conjecture and call it fact.

    Two examples come to mind. One is the Christian view of the Bible as inerrant special revelation. Please don’t take that out of context. Even though I disagree with the idea that the entire Bible is inerrant special revelation and that I believe that it is the product of it’s time, I do value the Bible greatly. But Christians have built an elaborate system of apologetics on top of that premise.

    Another is the view of evolution that says that the precursors for the earliest forms of matter either always existed or simply appeared out of nowhere. To me that doesn’t make any more sense than the Christian apologetics. I can understand the statement that we don’t really know where the material came from or how it came to be.

    When the answer to a question is “I don’t know”, it doesn’t make sense to me to build entire elaborate logical structures or arguments on top of that premise. In this case I would say that we have over-reached reason if we state the entire structure is fact.

    I would also say that there are ways to approach theism that are not superstitious. They are more inquisitive and rational. Two authors that I can think of, who are highly intellectual and rational are Greg Boyd and N. T. Wright.

    Regards,

    Wayne

  • http://thewarfareismental.typepad.com cl

    corsair the pirate,

    Good point.

    velkyn,

    I can show religion to be superstitious.

    Then by all means, please send me your treatises on Russell’s teapot, and the dragon in Carl Sagan’s garage.

    I would be curious if you could come up with an argument on how reason even *can* exceed its reach.

    Good point.

    Wayne,

    I agree with your sentiments concerning I don’t know. I think you hit the nail on the head. Reason can’t exceed its reach, but it certainly appears to have a scope.

    ..be aware that they are a person with feelings, history, ability or lack thereof etc. Avoiding flammable subjects that do not bear directly on the discussion at hand. Avoiding the tendency to stereotype and project. Avoiding condescension. Asking questions instead of delivering answers. Treating people as graciously as possible given the circumstances, possibly even better than we might feel they deserve.

    Ever been to Pharyngula??

  • valhar2000

    93.94%, from reading “Dispatches from the Culture Wars”.

    I have the american nationality, but I have never lived in the USA, nor have I studied its history specifically in school. The fact is that the test was very easy, and the average score that is quoted for it is therefore absolutely abysmal.

  • Ingersoll’s Revenge

    …but the key point is that these folks are confusing knowledge (the ability to draw on information to make considered judgments) with recall (the ability to recite disassociated facts); and then doubling down by using an inappropriate method of measurement.

    I strongly disagree with Mr. Langer on that one; these things are essential information if one wishes to make considered judgments regarding the United States. Without them, any demagogue is free to rewrite history and tradition as he pleases.

    One of the questions on the survey related to the Anti-Federalists and how they were instrumental in the creation of the Bill of Rights. As anyone with an adequate knowledge of U.S. history knows, the Anti-Federalists were willing to toss out the ineffective Articles of Confederation and replace it with a constitution that favored strong central government only if there existed a provision for protecting individual liberties. The Federalist/Anti-Federalist camps were the genesis of the “strict constructionist/loose constructionist” debate that has been raging ever since the Constitution was ratified, and the question of exactly how much power the federal government has was the salient issue in the early republic – one that was characterized by the Framers’ diverse viewpoints regarding taxation, trade, expansionism, and the military.

    All of these things went through my head when I chose my answer, as they do when all of the aforementioned issues come up in modern politics because they’ve been burned into the back of my mind from school. When I think about the country, I always think about the big picture. But I’m willing to bet that all of those 49%-ers looked at that question and said, “Who the hell are the Anti-Federalists?”

    How can we expect people to make judgments regarding the government when they don’t even understand the fundamentals? That’s like handing a chemistry set to a young child and saying, “Ok, have it it!”

    Even worse, however, are that most of those people probably don’t give a damn about any of that, which is why the average score is so low. To suggest that politicians had a lower score than the general populace implies that the road to success in American politics lies not in understanding your government, but rather exploiting the public conscience for personal gain.

    That’s why I really liked this part of Ebon’s post:

    This is part of the reason why atheists must take a greater role in public discourse. Religious liberals and moderates can and often do join with us on specific social issues – but even they, for the most part, take the position that faith is an acceptable way of making policy decisions. We have an altogether different message, and one that’s far more vital: decisions that affect the common good must be made on the basis of reason.

    There’s a good chance that, within a few generations, religion will eventually be associated only with intolerance, delusion and quackery, especially considering some of the idiotic roads that religious extremists are taking in the USA. It may be necessary for the moderates to wallow in ignorance and depravity before they realize that our prosperity is only possible through the application of reason, but eventually it will hit them like the proverbial sack of bricks. If atheists can speed up that process by wedging our way into political discourse, I think that we ought to give it a shot.

    The survival of the republic – indeed, of the people – may very well depend on it.

  • Kaltrosomos

    “There’s a good chance that, within a few generations, religion will eventually be associated only with intolerance, delusion and quackery, especially considering some of the idiotic roads that religious extremists are taking in the USA.”

    I doubt it. Religion of some sort always becomes popular again no matter how skeptical and enlightened the age that came before. Even if it’s something like Buddhism, I expect religion to get widespread again. Though it’s also possible that in Europe their next trip with faith will be with Islam. To use Ebon’s image, the soil is always fertile. The human condition provokes it, no matter how far technology and science advances.

    “It may be necessary for the moderates to wallow in ignorance and depravity before they realize that our prosperity is only possible through the application of reason, but eventually it will hit them like the proverbial sack of bricks.”

    The moderates have no problem using reason scientifically, cf. Kenneth Miller. They just like going to church and continuing to believe in God too. Science and reason take care of their material needs, while going to church and believing in God addresses their psychological and emotional needs.

  • Kitecraft

    I am also not an american, yet I scored:
    You answered 24 out of 33 correctly — 72.73 %
    :)

  • http://trishwilson.typepad.com/the_count/ The Count

    The big deal with this

    The moderates have no problem using reason scientifically, cf. Kenneth Miller. They just like going to church and continuing to believe in God too. Science and reason take care of their material needs, while going to church and believing in God addresses their psychological and emotional needs.

    is that I’m quite willing to live with a god worshipping, church going person if they’re also willing not to condemn us if we choose not to be true believers and not force us to march to the tune of their invisible friend.

  • Chet

    I’m quite willing to live with a god worshipping, church going person if they’re also willing not to condemn us if we choose not to be true believers and not force us to march to the tune of their invisible friend.

    Now, now. As atheists we shouldn’t go around believing in beasts that don’t exist, Count. The truth is – scratch a religious moderate, and what bleeds is someone who hasn’t done enough research into his own religion to know that only two positions are truly tenable: a complete fundamentalist faith in the scriptures or a rational rejection of them.

    I get into this a lot with my father-in-law, who is a moderate, and our debate often centers around how, in his view, fundamentalism is disease of those of a weak faith. But I look at someone like my mom, whose faith leads her to reject even the evidence of her own eyes, and how can something like that be considered weak? The truth is – moderates become fundamentalists because only in the fundamentalist churches are there people who truly live their faith, who truly believe something so strongly that they have no need to rewrite their religious beliefs to account for changing scientific knowledge of the world.

    The truth is, I don’t think we’ll be free of religion until we’re a species that can tolerate a lot more ambiguity and uncertainty, for certainty is the sole product that fundamentalists can offer and rationalists cannot.

  • Wayne Essel

    Chet,

    You said: “The truth is – scratch a religious moderate, and what bleeds is someone who hasn’t done enough research into his own religion to know that only two positions are truly tenable: a complete fundamentalist faith in the scriptures or a rational rejection of them.”

    I disagree. What you propose may sometimes be true. But I know many moderates who remain moderate and do not become fundamentalists. For me, neither complete fundamentalist faith nor complete rejection of scripture are possible based upon my experience and thinking.

    I personally believe that many persons take the fundamentalist point of view because they believe that to do otherwise is wrong and they stay with that position because they have not had experiences that create the kind of cognitive dissonance required to force them to re-evaluate their beliefs. They should come here…

    I attend a local evangelical Christian church. I often am making comments that place me at odds with my fellow congregants. This is my town and these are my friends. If the minister (also a friend) preaches something that leans intolerant, I give him some gas. And I can tell when I’ve had a positive effect. If I leave, who will be a voice for moderation and tolerance? I don’t expect to change the church a great deal, I’m not particularly charismatic. But every bit helps.

    Even being a moderate, and having no leanings toward fundamentalist Christianity, I can still agree with the most important tenets of the faith.

    Nature appears to abhor a discontinuity. Do you really believe that there can be only two tenable positions that are polar opposites with no continuum between?

    Regards,

    Wayne

  • Leum

    I agree with The Vicar. Many of these questions measure trivia, rather than foundational concepts. In addition to those already mentioned:

    4) What was the main issue in the debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas in 1858?

    13) Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas would concur that:

    14) [Who were t]he Puritans:

    16) In his “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

    Among others. None of these questions measure anything related to the nature of our government except abstractly. The worrying ones are those about separation of powers and what rights people do and don’t have. The problem with these tests is that by including trivial questions they diminish the significance of a poor result. That said, that any elected official would get a low score is pretty horrific.

    Also, I agree that the economic questions are loaded.

  • Wayne Essel

    cl,

    I have been to Pharygula. The first time was during the communion wafer episode. I watched it unfold with a bit of sadness. It felt overly provocative and unnecessary on PZ’s part. I also thought much of the reaction from the other side was tit-for-tat and did nothing to help (both before and after PZ’s actions).

    It was a perfect example of the sentiment I had in mind for my earlier post. To me it represents emotional violence on both sides. Neither side wins, both sides retrench and declare a victory of sorts.

    Regards,

    Wayne

  • Virginia

    To velkyn : well I accept that idiots, stupid ones and wilfully ignorant ones as “equals” in the sense they enjoy the same basic rights as I am. I treat people who are less smart and intellectual as long as they acknowledge their limits in that faculty — for those wilfully ignorant and idiots — I will call them as they are — idiots and wackos.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    I concur that some of the questions on this test were merely trivia, and a few were ideologically loaded. (I also take issue with the “correct” answer for question #33, which is either false or a tautology, depending on how you read it. That was the only one I got wrong, so maybe I’m biased.)

    However, knowing trivia can be important as a yardstick for measuring knowledge of larger issues that couldn’t easily be distilled into a multiple-choice question. For instance, people who know that the “wall of separation” phrase originally comes from Thomas Jefferson’s letters are far more likely to be informed about how, when, and why separation of church and state became part of the framework of American law.

    Nor do I think it unimportant to know the historical circumstances of some of America’s defining rhetorical moments, even if the origins of those famous phrases aren’t strictly relevant to issues of national law or policy. I think it’s reasonable to expect an informed American to know who wrote Common Sense, the Gettysburg Address, or the Declaration of Independence.

  • ctygesen

    To me it represents emotional violence on both sides.

    I was reminded of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the ’68 Olympics.

  • Chet

    Do you really believe that there can be only two tenable positions that are polar opposites with no continuum between?

    I believe in “yes or no questions”, yes. I don’t believe that every question is such a question, but yes, I believe that some things are bivalent propositions.

    Even being a moderate, and having no leanings toward fundamentalist Christianity, I can still agree with the most important tenets of the faith.

    Well, obviously “the most important tenets” is a phrase with significant wiggle-room, but my guess is that you would rather quickly find that a substantial portion of what your church has determined are the important tenets are things that, in fact, you do not believe. If your church is evangelical, as you say.

    Things like the divinity of Jesus, the perfect historicity and inerrancy of the Bible. The Bible, after all, does claim to be inerrant. If it’s wrong about that, what else could it be wrong about? Couldn’t it have misrepresented the philosophy of Jesus? And how can you claim to be a Christian following Christ if you can’t actually be sure that what you’re following was the actual message of Christ?

    Certainly the gross contradictions and historical errors of the Bible are a major obstacle to accepting the Bible as an accurate guide to the philosophy of Jesus. There’s really only two ways to reconcile that – realize that you’re in all likelihood following in the footsteps of a fictional character (or a legendary one, at least); or perceive the contradictions and unresolvable conflicts as evidence of a lack of faith on your own part, and resolve to believe even stronger.

    I don’t see how the middle path is supportable. Where’s the Biblical justification for pick-and-choose Christianity?

  • Eric

    I got 97%. I think anyone applying good multiple choice skills could get at least 40% Did elected officials really get fewer than half right? How could anyone who is supposed to represent American values know so little about Amreican Law?

    Maybe these low scorers just don’t care? Maybe they don’t care about our history and values. Maybe they want to owerthrow what we have created throughout or (admittedly flawed) history and institute a new regime that ignores our historic rights and values and which will be based on their personal whims.

  • Brad

    Kaltrosomos:

    The human condition provokes it, no matter how far technology and science advances.

    How can one establish this proposition without an analogous precedent for the World Wide Web and other globalizing/interconnecting technologies?

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Chet,

    The Bible, after all, does claim to be inerrant.

    Not to get too off tangent, but would you mind citing some quick support for this claim?

  • Chet

    Cl,

    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)

    I think that’s pretty affirmative. An interpretation that the writer of this passage meant that you could teach, instruct, and determine doctrine from a flawed or errant manuscript is, to my mind, completely untenable. Certainly not without a lot of caveats that do not appear either before or after this passage.

  • Leum

    Or you could ask how Paul* defined scripture. The context of the passage seems to mean it refers specifically to scripture about Jesus, with an emphasis on scripture about how to be a Christian.

    *Assuming Paul wrote 2 Timothy. I can’t remember which epistles it’s believed he wrote.

  • Christopher

    I scored a 93% on that quiz – I guess that makes me more qualified for office than the monkeys currently fucking up this country are, which doesn’t really surprise me…

  • Kaltrosomos

    “How can one establish this proposition without an analogous precedent for the World Wide Web and other globalizing/interconnecting technologies?”

    Brad, what are you asking exactly?

    Are you asking me if the Internet and other modern communication technologies make it harder for religion to survive?

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Chet,

    And so then do you say this verse in 2 Timothy can be taken to mean that every book in the Bible is without historical or factual error?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Wayne Essel,

    I have been to Pharygula. The first time was during the communion wafer episode. I watched it unfold with a bit of sadness. It felt overly provocative and unnecessary on PZ’s part. I also thought much of the reaction from the other side was tit-for-tat and did nothing to help (both before and after PZ’s actions).

    Not trying to go off topic here, but do you really want to compare the actions of desecrating a communion wafer to making death threats against someone?

    As to number 33, I also felt the answer was inaccurate. It fails to take into account taxes collected from corporations, sales taxes, progressive tax structure, etc.

  • Chet

    And so then do you say this verse in 2 Timothy can be taken to mean that every book in the Bible is without historical or factual error?

    It does say “all.”

  • Brian

    Ingersoll’s Revenge,

    The point isn’t whether or not the questions accurately measure important historical events, but HOW they propose to measure them. I would never argue with you that the federalist/anti-federalist debate was unimportant, but if you are measuring basic historical knowledge, then perhaps a question on who the federalists were, and what they did would be more appropriate.

    This is why we have statistics (in this case, an item analysis). To draw the conclusion that Americans know nothing about history based on this test is not warrented. We use statistics as a way to measure the reliablity and validity of questions; such that, we can make those types of conclusions more easily. I’m not disagreeing that Americans know less about history than they should, but I do disagree with the idea that this test is somehow an accurate and reliable portrayal of American historical knowledge.

    It may be that a 50% on this test IS grounds for saying Americans know enough about history, and it may not be. The only way we’ll know is if some researchers do this more scientifically. As atheists we abide by reason; thus, we should also make reasonable conclusions based on reasonable evidence.

    I’m not proposing that this test doesn’t measure anything, but what I am saying is not to get too carried away by the data. Look at the data as a means to promote the need for more scientifically and statistically sound questions, so we can make evidence-based conclusions and act on them accordingly.

  • paradoctor

    For a human to be anti-intellectual is like a cat being anti-teeth, or a bird being anti-wings, or a fish being anti-gills.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Chet,

    I realize it’s thread drift, but I’m always curious to here people justify their particular inerrancy arguments.

    An interpretation that the writer of this passage meant that you could teach, instruct, and determine doctrine from a flawed or errant manuscript is, to my mind, completely untenable.

    Why?

    If we grant as scholars typically do, that Paul wrote 2 Timothy during his second Roman imprisonment (AD 64-68), does the verse you cite also apply to Revelation, which was written later, or any of the other epistles that were written later? How about the Apocrypha?

    Also, what in theopneustos demands ‘factual or historical inerrancy’ IYO?

    What in ‘profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction’ demands ‘factual or historical inerrancy’?

  • Brad

    @Kaltro

    Not quite. I was wondering how one can be sure of your statement I quoted, with the uncertainty shrouding the potential of the internet & globalization.

  • Kaltrosomos

    “Not quite. I was wondering how one can be sure of your statement I quoted, with the uncertainty shrouding the potential of the internet & globalization.”

    Well, I look at it this way. Modern technology and everything else associated with rationality are relatively recent in our evolution.

    Much more prominent, and much older, are the irrational impulses that helped us to get to this point. These older impulses have been entrenched in our makeup for many thousands more years than rationality has. When push comes to shove, I think emotion overpowers reason. It is only by keeping emotion dampened that reason can stay in control.

    Thus, I think it is short-sighted to believe that a few thousand years of modern civilization can erase our much longer pre-historic past. It took us tens of thousands of years to get to this point. I think it will take many more tens of thousands of years for our species, as a whole, to mature.

    We’ve made some progress, but let’s not fool ourselves. We have hardly even begun.

    Of course, perhaps I underestimate the power of the modern world to accelerate change. With more people on the planet, perhaps cultural evolution works faster than historically. I’m not sure.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Also, what in theopneustos demands ‘factual or historical inerrancy’ IYO?

    You might ask your fellow Christians that:

    If inspiration does in fact mean ‘God-breathed’, as we found Paul to believe in 2 Timothy 3, then it must necessarily follow that these words that ‘God breathed’ are without error. It cannot be any other way. God cannot lie. Either he did inspire the whole Bible, as Paul asserts that he did, “All Scripture is breathed out by God…”, he says, therefore we must recognize it as such, regarding it to be “…profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) It doesn’t get any clearer than that, folks. (source)

    We read in scripture that truth is an attribute of God (Jeremiah 10:10; John 1:14; 14:6; 17:3), and that God speaks truthfully – that is, He does not lie (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Titus 1:2; Romans 3:3-4).

    We also are told that scripture is “breathed out” by God (2 Timothy 3:16).

    The Word of God, then, is true (John 17:14,17; cf. Psalm 119:142; 151; 160; Revelation 21:5; 22:6). (source)

    Remember that all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16). God does not breathe falsehood or error, so if we find a book of the Bible to be compromised, it can no longer be referred to as Scripture. (source)

    also:

    One small error would mar the integrity and trustworthiness of the whole. God Himself stated that if men violate one point of the law, they are guilty of all. See James 2:10. He also stated that a little leaven (sin) leavens (makes sinful) the whole lump. See I Corinthians 5:6. How much more a single error in what He says would call into question His very character! John Wesley stated, “If there be one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth” (Boice, 37). (source)

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Ebonmuse,

    your fellow Christians..

    (cl chuckles).

    Well, I’m at least as familiar with the Bible as I am with all this dogma you cited, so I don’t really know how to respond to your comment. None of it relates to the post, and in this thread I have not made an argument either way about theopneustos. I was simply wondering to what extent Chet’s claim rested on Chet’s knowledge of the Bible.

    But since you responded, I’ll assume that tangential arguments with Chet are tolerable in this thread. What do you think? What does “all scripture” mean as used in 2 Timothy 3:16?

  • Chet

    Why?

    Imagine you were handing out textbooks to schoolteachers. You know that they contain a substantial amount of factual inaccuracies. Which of the two following statements do you feel you could deliver in good conscience?

    “These textbooks are accurate, authoritative, and appropriate for instruction of students in grades K-12.”

    “These textbooks are accurate, authoritative, and appropriate for instruction of students in grades K-12, provided the following corrections are made…” etc.

    If we grant as scholars typically do, that Paul wrote 2 Timothy during his second Roman imprisonment (AD 64-68), does the verse you cite also apply to Revelation, which was written later, or any of the other epistles that were written later? How about the Apocrypha?

    All of it. It does say “all.”

    Also, what in theopneustos demands ‘factual or historical inerrancy’ IYO?

    How does the God of Truth inspire lies?

    What in ‘profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction’ demands ‘factual or historical inerrancy’?

    Plain fuckin’ sense? Except as a negative example, how could a faulty work be “profitable for correction”? How useful for correcting spelling would a dictionary with a bunch of typos be? How useful for reproof in a court of law would a lawbook full of made-up laws be? How useful for instruction would a textbook full of errors of fact be?

    Use some sense, cl.

  • Leum
    If we grant as scholars typically do, that Paul wrote 2 Timothy during his second Roman imprisonment (AD 64-68), does the verse you cite also apply to Revelation, which was written later, or any of the other epistles that were written later? How about the Apocrypha?

    All of it. It does say “all.”

    Chet, as much as I hate to defend Christianity, that’s an absurd position to take. Plenty of Paul’s writings are about rejecting what he considered false teachings, many of which were supported by other scriptures. The only sensible interpretation is that it referred to the scriptures he considered inspired.

    However, I do agree that the passage clearly indicates that he considered all inspired scriptures flawless.

  • Brad

    I just happened to notice the interesting coincidence that manure is used to fertilize soil.

    @Kaltro

    I’m also uncertain of the future, I just don’t think history counts as a valid precedent at this point.

    First, although emotional impulses are deep-seated, I don’t think they’re any deeper only for staying around a long time. Second, the tendency for superstition and dogma need not be repressed by reason alone in a culture, it could also be complemented with an emotionally charged view of irrational thinking.

    Personally, I think that religions and cults are bubble phenomena. If the world and all its subparts become more interconnected, then everyone is more aware of each other’s voices, and this may roughly result in a different playing field for religion to survive in. The soil, to mix metaphors here, would grow its own nervous and immune systems.

  • Virginia

    @paradoctor:
    >For a human to be anti-intellectual is like a cat being anti-teeth, or a bird
    > being anti-wings, or a fish being anti-gills.

    Anti-intellectualism looks more like “mass denial of unpleasent knowledge” — the knowledge, thinking and stuff are just too threatening to them

  • Alex Weaver

    Second, the tendency for superstition and dogma need not be repressed by reason alone in a culture, it could also be complemented with an emotionally charged view of irrational thinking.

    This generally works for me. O.o

  • Chet

    Chet, as much as I hate to defend Christianity, that’s an absurd position to take.

    “All” means all, Leum. I don’t see the absurdity. Paul might very well have believed that the Holy Spirit would not have allowed God’s word to be perverted or adulterated by ensuring that Scripture that was not suitable for doctrine and reproof would not have made it into the canon.

    I don’t see anything unreasonable at all about expecting Paul to write checks he expected God to cash. He was a believer, wasn’t he? Are you saying that the author of a bunch of the New Testament didn’t actually believe in God?

    That’s what’s absurd.

  • Wayne Essel

    It’s really hard to keep up with this, especially if you can’t get here on a daily basis. I give Ebonmuse a tremendous amount of credit for managing the site and keeping up with it all.

    Chet,

    Earlier you said “I don’t see how the middle path is supportable. Where’s the Biblical justification for pick-and-choose Christianity?”

    My take is that there is no biblical justification for the middle path. There’s no support for Atheism in the bible, either.

    I read the bible and things either resonate or cause a dissonance. Where a dissonance is caused, I need to do a lot more research.

    When someone asked Jesus about what was the most important commandment in the Law, He answered “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” Matt 22: 37-39

    Do that, and you would be an above-average Christian.

    I try to do that. I also fail to do that sometimes. I think Atheists can do similarly. Replace the words “Lord your God” with “Truth”. What if Christians did their version, and love is not violent, and if Atheists did their version? I think we would agree on much and the world would be better for it.

    And we would discuss the differences until the cows came home.

    Regarding the comment earlier as to whether or not I compared the communion wafer incident with killing by terrorists. Of course not. This, though, is like the story about teaching a pig to sing. On the one hand, the teacher will fail. On the other, he will greatly annoy the pig.

    There was nothing to gain and much to lose in the communion wafer exchange. Moderates probably looked at it while saying “That was rude…” and the extremists now have more to be angry about. So who gained?

    Regarding the last exchange, I don’t think there is much question as to whether or not Paul believed in God. Paul was also human, and as such read and interpreted scripture according to his perceptual filters. I personally don’t have a sense that God overrides these filters, hence my support for the middle path.

    Regards,

    Wayne

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Regarding the comment earlier as to whether or not I compared the communion wafer incident with killing by terrorists. Of course not.

    That’s not what I asked. You seemed to compare the actions of PZ to the actions of his detractors as simply tit for tat, yet this seems grossly inaccurate.

    One side in this thing argued for the suppression of free speech. One side issued death threats and physically accosted someone. One side tried to get someone fired from their job. One side tried to claim a hate crime was going on. Etc. etc. etc.

    The other side? The other side simply desecrated a cracker. That’s it. Oh, and he pointed out how unreasonable the Catholics were being.

    You call that tit for tat? Do you really wish to put the two sides on equal moral footing? I sure as heck don’t.

  • Chet

    There’s no support for Atheism in the bible, either.

    Well, I wouldn’t expect there to be. But that’s the logical response to the Bible – either you have to accept it as completely reliable about divinity, or else no more reliable than any other human source, and therefore completely unreliable about divinity.

    Fundamentalism and atheism are the only two responses to the Bible. Half-measures – half-acceptance – is an untenable, incoherent response.

  • Kaltrosomos

    “I’m also uncertain of the future, I just don’t think history counts as a valid precedent at this point.”

    Why don’t you think history counts at this point?

    “The soil, to mix metaphors here, would grow its own nervous and immune systems.”

    Sure the soil would. The question, though, is who would control those nervous and immune systems? Religion is just as capable of developing them as reason is. One of religion’s greatest tricks is to become the master of reason. Reason becomes the gift of God, and thus also becomes subordinate to him.

    Finally, I don’t think all religions can be classified as bubble phenomena. A number of faiths, such as Catholicism and Hinduism, have been adept at absorbing conflicting voices in the past. I see no reason why they couldn’t learn to do so again.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Chet,

    “All” means all, Leum. I don’t see the absurdity.

    “Thou shalt not skateboard in traffic.” I say this is a scripture. Per 2 Timothy 3:16, is my scripture God-breathed IYO? Why or why not?

    Fundamentalism and atheism are the only two responses to the Bible.

    Are things really that black-and-white in your outlook? Honestly, I can’t think of a clearer example of the false dichotomy than this.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    “Thou shalt not skateboard in traffic.” I say this is a scripture. Per 2 Timothy 3:16, is my scripture God-breathed IYO? Why or why not?

    That’s an absurd argument and you know it, cl. “Scripture” consists of the biblical books that are believed to be canonical by Christians. That’s what it has always meant.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    I’m about out of gas on this one, but I’ll take these:

    That’s an absurd argument and you know it, cl.

    Well sure, but then again, I’m not taking a position on 2 Timothy 3:16, but merely positing questions to better understand Chet’s POV.

    “Scripture” consists of the biblical books that are believed to be canonical by Christians. That’s what it has always meant.

    Well sure, but didn’t the NT get approved over 300 years after Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy? Do you posit that 2 Timothy 3:16 is prophecy then?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    As I’m sure you’re well aware, that is exactly what many Christians would say. An alternative interpretation is that the churchmen who assembled the biblical canon chose this book because it expressed views that they found agreeable in relation to the collection as a whole. Yet another possible interpretation starts with the one I just mentioned, but adds the proviso that this book was written (or edited) specifically to contain this verse, in order to bolster the credibility of the whole process.

  • MS Quixote

    What does “all scripture” mean as used in 2 Timothy 3:16?

    In immediate context, it means the Old Testament. The preceding verse indicates the OT without much wiggle room: “and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”. The word scripture (graphe) refers to the OT in every one of its 51 appearances in the NT.

    Nevertheless, Chet is correct. 2 Tim 3:16 applies to the whole canon of scripture. His arguments are sufficient, but let me add a very brief technicality, knowing full well that many here may deny Pauline authorship of the pastoral epistles.

    In 2 Pet 3:16, Peter elevates Paul’s epistles to the level of the other scritpures. If Paul’s letters are considered equal in authority with the OT, and they are considering 2 Pet 3:16, then Paul’s statement in 2 Tim 3:16 holds as Chet argues. Moreover, in 1 Tim 5:18, Paul does the same thing for the Gospel of Luke.

    It follows, then, that any book that is elevated to this category of scripture must fall under the 2 Tim 3:16. My two cents.

  • Wayne Essel

    Chet said “either you have to accept it as completely reliable about divinity, or else no more reliable than any other human source, and therefore completely unreliable about divinity.”

    This is what I believe is the primary reason that religion will never become extinct. So far as I can tell, a small to moderate percentage of persons fall into two extremes in interpreting the Bible (or other scriptures, so defined by their adherents). One extreme is “If any of it is false it is all unreliable”. The other extreme is “If any of it is true or says it is true, it is all true”.

    Particular care and attention goes into the compilation of scripture, so I believe most scripture is valuable and may have a higher content of quality text than most human works. I therefore choose to give it benefit of doubt (and also because it deals with subject matter that may be untestable by design).

    I’m OK with the acceptance of scripture for the most part and not knowing for sure that it is reliable. I use the middle path, adhering to those things that resonate and leaving the dissonances for research or on the back burner. Often, what causes the dissonance is what I believe I know about science and history.

    I believe that there is tremendous value and beauty in just those parts of the scriptures that resonate and for me this is 90% or more of the scriptures, including some that are non-christian, controversial or not yet declared to be scripture(like the Course in Miracles). The parts that produce dissonance I regard for what I believe they are, which is a human story about events with outcomes that were attributed to divinity or the relationship between man and divinity, written by human authors with perceptual filters. These attributions and inferences were possibly and in some cases probably erroneous. However, even if the story was erroneously attributed to divinity, there may still be valuable archetypal principles that can be extracted for use in the modern world.

    I believe the majority of persons fall into similar places along the continuum between the two extremes. I (and probably they) do not accept the notion that we need to fall into either of the extremes.

    Regards,

    Wayne

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    It must be nice to be able to paint bulls-eyes around your targets.

  • mikespeir

    Wayne,

    As a Pentecostal Christian all of the Bible “resonated” with me. Since before I knew how to think for myself others had molded my worldview such that it would.

  • Katie M

    I just took this-I got 88%. I messed up just on the tax questions.


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