Do thee knowest thy religion? I thinketh maybe not!

While I was a practicing Hindu, I came across a gaggle of priests who each had their own interpretation of the multitude of religious rituals we were required to perform, supposedly to ward off evil spirits and acquire the winning lottery ticket…or for the more holier-than-thou, acquiring the ticket to enter Nirvana.

I soon came to realize that each knew less than the last; each having been tutored by priests before them who knew very little themselves. They were in effect mere snake-oil salesmen who relied on a very useful human fallibility – faith – to ply their trade. I’ll bet that the priesthood is a trade, perhaps even older than prostitution; only the latter to my mind, is by far more honourable.

Some of the efforts to explain the religious beliefs and the rituals were quite hilarious, even absurd to my curious mind. Which is why I soon drifted away from organized religion to find out for myself.

Most people don’t bother to dig deep to find out what their religion is all about – they have faith in what they’re told sold. Researching one’s religion is just too much work, on top off having to attend regular religious services and perform the outlandish rituals demanded…by the priests/texts/superstitious mind of the believer.

It therefore comes as no surprise that a recent study conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, confirms that non-believers seem to know more about religion than the die-hard adherents themselves.

An article in the online NY Daily News attempts to make sense of the study thus:

Most people are afraid of what they might discover if they read the fine print too carefully, so they sign on the dotted line without a glance and then often feel the need to defend their lack of curiosity as an example of their holy trust in their own faith.

The article further attempts to explain why Atheists and Agnostics tend to know more about religion than believers:

Atheists tend to be those curious and truth-loving folks who do take a good hard look at religious professions of faith and hence they tend to know what they are walking away from. There have always been atheists, though not always very visible to the public. In fact, the perennial nagging doubts of the few atheists in the crowd have probably been the main force sustaining theology!

Catch the full article here.

Spirit Mediums and the believers…

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.