Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Dr. No

P.Z. Myers encounters a quiz on religious belief in which he is forced to play the refusenik on every single question; Andre Gromyko would have been proud.

More interesting is the set of assumptions revealed by the questions asked in the quiz: it seems simply not to occur to whoever designed it that one could be anything other than religious in inclination. I bet that sort of unquestioning assumption of religiosity (token or otherwise) is likely the norm amongst Americans rather than the exception, one of the few respects* in which Europeans win out on the likeability column. Someone ought to remind all American politicians who love to flaunt their religious faith about the contents of Matthew 6, verses 5 and 6:

"5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
*Their relative lack of deeply ingrained stereotypes about supposedly universal "black" cultural and socioeconomic traits being another.