Questions for secularists

New York Times editor Bill Keller came up with a series of questions about religion that he is asking presidential candidates, an inquisition necessary in order to ferret out, among other things, which ones doubt the doctrines of evolution, the equivalence of all religions, and that there is a higher law than religion, namely, secular law.  Anthony Sacramone discusses these questions and even answers them.  He then counters with “The Sacramone Questionnaire for Nontheists”:

1. Do you think that anyone who believes in the supernatural is delusional? If so, do you believe they should be treated medically? Do you believe they should be allowed to adopt children?

2. Do you think anyone who believes in six-day special creation should ipso facto be barred from holding public office?

3. Do you believe the religious beliefs of historical figures should be eradicated when discussing them in schools? For example, that Louis Pasteur was a devout Catholic who prayed the Rosary daily?

4. Do you believe that the religious faith of those responsible for the birth of modern science—Galileo, Copernicus, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, Gregor Mendel, George LeMaitre (father of the theory of the big bang), Jesuit priests too numerous to mention, et al.—should be eradicated when discussing them in schools?

5. Do you believe that it should be noted that the rise of modern science occurred in the context of a civilization that was still explicitly Christian when teaching either European history of the history of science?

6. Do you think homeschooling should be illegal, as it is in some European countries?

7. Do you believe vaccines are a factor in the rise of autism cases? Do you believe parents should be allowed to opt out of vaccine programs?

8. Do you believe that global warming/climate change demands we de-industrialize?

9. Do you believe churches and all religious institutions should be taxed?

10. Do you believe that there is such a thing as life unworthy of life? Explain.

11. Do you believe assisted suicide and euthanasia should be made legal either on a state-by-state basis or by federal fiat?

12. Do you believe infanticide should be made legal? If not, when is a baby a human being protected by the rights any other human being enjoys?

13. Is there any point when an adult human being loses the right to life? If so, under what circumstances?

14. Do you believe polygamous marriage should be legalized, either on a state-by-state basis or by federal fiat? Do you believe that “minor-attracted adults” should be protected by law as a perfectly valid expression of human sexuality that was much more common in ancient Europe and among non-Western cultures? Do you believe incest and/or bestiality should be protected by law as perfectly valid expressions of human sexuality?

15. Do you believe that individuals are ultimately responsible for their behavior, or do you believe they are subject to too many internal (biochemical, psychological) and external (social pressures, strange belief systems) factors to be held accountable, such that many of our criminal laws should be seriously reformed or eradicated?

via The NY Times/Bill Keller Irreligious Litmus Test | Strange Herring.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • John C

    I knew Louis was French but I didn’t know he was Catholic — that’s a revelation.
    Are numbers 10 and 13 questions about capital punishment? Surely modern societies, and that would include Texas, could do without capital punishment.

  • John C

    I knew Louis was French but I didn’t know he was Catholic — that’s a revelation.
    Are numbers 10 and 13 questions about capital punishment? Surely modern societies, and that would include Texas, could do without capital punishment.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Not bad, but #7 is a bad question. I am not an atheist/nontheist and I would answer no for the exact same reason. There is no evidence. To date no study has demonstrated a direct correlation between autism and vaccines. Anecdotal stories are not evidence just uneducated guesses. The autism spectrum is simply too large and too undefined at this time to even hazard a guess as too causes.

    That said the libertarian leaning side of me says yes parents should be able to opt out, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking they are stupid for doing so.

    p.s. Parents don’t have to follow the suggested vaccine schedule. We worked it out with our Dr. to spread them out so our kids weren’t getting hit with so much at one time.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Not bad, but #7 is a bad question. I am not an atheist/nontheist and I would answer no for the exact same reason. There is no evidence. To date no study has demonstrated a direct correlation between autism and vaccines. Anecdotal stories are not evidence just uneducated guesses. The autism spectrum is simply too large and too undefined at this time to even hazard a guess as too causes.

    That said the libertarian leaning side of me says yes parents should be able to opt out, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking they are stupid for doing so.

    p.s. Parents don’t have to follow the suggested vaccine schedule. We worked it out with our Dr. to spread them out so our kids weren’t getting hit with so much at one time.

  • Tom Hering

    Doc @ 2, same for pets. Spread them out. Just the other day, my youngest cat had to go back to the vet for emergency treatment after receiving two vaccines at once. It’s just too much for some pets and kids.

  • Tom Hering

    Doc @ 2, same for pets. Spread them out. Just the other day, my youngest cat had to go back to the vet for emergency treatment after receiving two vaccines at once. It’s just too much for some pets and kids.


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