Daily Archives: September 28, 2010
The LA Times feels the need to tell us that, on average, atheists know more of religion than the faithful. What is not clear is why this should be surprising.
Firstly, it is apparent that an atheist has had to inform himself about why he doesn’t believe (thank God, we still live in times where you can’t go around for long saying “I’m atheist” without someone reacting, a vague form of Christianity is still mainstream) whilst a believer is never checked about how deep is his knowledge. Or can you tell me when it was last time that someone has said “I am a Christian” and someone else has challenged this belief. I mean, I do it at times with some people (particularly with the “but people”; “I am a Christian, but…”), but you are not likely to meet me very often. Also note that other religions do not fare much better.
This is rather normal: few people – when left to themselves – spend time in deepening what they already believe. I can’t give you a scientific demonstration that the earth rotates around the sun; I believe it and that’s all I need to know, end of story. On the other hand, if I were of the opinion that the sun rotates around the earth I’d have all the Ptolemaic knowledge at my immediate disposal.
Secondly, this is not a survey about the militant Christians, or the informed Christians. This is a survey about the generic Christians, those with a lick of Christian varnish, often several decades old and sometimes never applied at all; those who think that Jesus was a chap who came on earth to bring peace, or to tell us that we “shouldn’t judge”, or who believe that Jesus wouldn’t have had any disagreement whatsoever with Gandhi or with the Dalai Lama. Therefore, the conclusion of the LA Times that it would be better to ask an atheist than a Christian if you want to “know more about God” is not really intelligent. If you want to know about God, you ask someone who knows the Truth, because the truth is nothing to do with statistics.
Thirdly and as far as we Catholics are concerned, this ignorance is nothing else than the product of fifty years of terrifying catechesis. Considering this, it is in my eyes encouraging that 60% of the surveyed Catholics still get the transubstantiation right. I can imagine many Catholic priests and bishops saddened at the fact that there are still so many. This is the situation on the ground and this problem has been denounced for decades now by conservative Catholics. This is also what is permanently shouted from Catholic blogs all over the planet, so nothing new here.
What therefore the LA times achieves is to show how right conservative Catholics are. This newspaper article should be pinned at the door of every parish disgraced by a trendy priest who has fed his sheep with convenient bollocks all these years, letting many of them go away and keeping the others in abysmal ignorance of even the basics.
A last point I’d like to highlight is the issue of the “education”. The LA Times seems to consider an acquired truth (and I would like to read more data about that anyway) that better educated people tend to be more atheists than less educated people. Even if this were true, though, it would certainly not show that religion is a fantasy for the less educated, but purely that the wrong type of education lets people become haughty and endangers their souls.
I would vastly prefer to be an uneducated peasant living and dying with a simple but solid faith than a faithless sophisticated urban professional living a life of privilege and dying without Christ, because The former has the knowledge that really counts whilst the latter has a fake knowledge that blinds him and leads him to perdition. As Father Corapi would say the peasant knows much more than the educated professional, because he knows the Truth.
This is one reason more to insist that one’s offspring is educated in the proper way.