This week presented some rather amusing events relating to the world of the believer.
For starters, I came across the results of the Religious Knowledge Survey of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life which predictably demonstrates that atheists generally have more religious knowledge than actual believers. The executive summary of their findings commences thus:
Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.
Some atheists have understandably commented that this survey result explains the reason why they are, well, atheists…
Earlier this week I read that Ed Milliband, leader of the Labour Party in England, had revealed that he is an atheist, just like his sibling, David. Remembering that Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard had also revealed her non-religious status earlier this year, I got to wondering how many other politicians were atheist or agnostic. Considering that a largely religious world generally takes a dim view of non-religious political leaders, I was quite surprised at how many there actually are. The United Kingdom seems to lead the pack with some quite famous former Prime Ministers among others Clement Attlee (1945 – 1951), James Callaghan (1976 – 1979), Nick Clegg (current Deputy Prime Minister) and Neil Kinnock (former leader of the Opposition). Other famous politicians who were atheist are Mikhail Gorbachev, Jawaharlal Nehru and Joseph Stalin.
However, what caught my eye while going through this list, were two atheist fathers of two famous politician sons who are known believers, one who annoyingly just converted to Roman Catholicism. Seems that Tony Blair’s father was an atheist and so was Barack Obama’s father, Barack Obama Sr. What was that about the sins of the father being visited upon the son?
Finally, it has come to light that the spirit medium who tricked Robert Mugabe’s cabinet into believing that she could coax Diesel fuel from solid rock, has been sentenced to prison for three years; presumably a medium security prison. This enterprising con-artist managed to convince Zimbabwe’s Minister’s of National Intelligence, Police and Defence to part with 1.7 million British pounds, a farm, armed guards and food.
Her sentencing is however a travesty of justice, as the gullible morons who believed her ridiculous claims are all still scott free, and presumably still in charge of delicate portfolios, National Intelligence among them.