Atheists are ‘at war with all mankind’
Mark Shea, above, who writes for the National Catholic Register, believes he knows precisely why atheists notch up higher scores than Christians in religious knowledge quizzes. Here’s his theory:
Atheists … being at war with all mankind about the thing that matters to it most, oppose all theists and are wary of the whole broad spectrum of religious belief (though with a particular focus on Christ, to be sure).
Christians, in contrast, can hold up their end when talking about Christianity, but have never boned up on Jewish, Mormon, Islamic, or Hindu teachings since, well, they’re Christian.
Shea based his piece on a survey carried out five years ago by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
It put out a quiz that revealed that atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons were among the highest-scoring groups, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.
Shea – “not to be outdone by our atheist cross-town rivals” – thought it a good idea:
To offer our own quiz and see if we can’t increase our batting average with a second try.
However, since the National Catholic Register’s readers are largely Catholic, I thought we should focus on our knowledge of the Catholic Faith and not spend time on Mormonism, Shinto, ancestor worship, Zoroastrianism, or the Seventh Seed in the Spirit Peculiar Baptists. Best to have one’s own house in order before minding others.
Here’s a sample from Shea’s quiz:
The Incarnation refers to:
A) when Jesus was ‘born again’ at Bethlehem after a previous life in another body
B) when an ordinary man named Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan and God chose to adopt him and turn him into the Son of God because of his good character
C) the moment when God the Father turned into God the Son in the womb of Mary
D) the Word of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son taking on human flesh in the womb of the Virgin and being born at Bethlehem.
The answer? D. Naturally!
A, B, and C refer, respectively to Reincarnation, Adoptionism, and Sabellianism – all heresies the Church has long rejected. God the Son became incarnate only once. Jesus is not an ordinary man who was ‘adopted’ and made into the Son of God. And the Son, not the Father, became incarnate.
I am not particularly smug over the fact that I answered all eight of Shea’s questions correctly. Had I got any wrong, I would have been left grimly wondering whether decades spent wallowing this sort of baloney in order to properly fulfill my duties as Freethinker editor had been a woeful waste of time.
By the way, the best comment posted to date under the quiz came from an atheist who also got all the answers right:
Atheists are not ‘at war’ with all mankind about anything. We just happen to have a different position on the existence of God that in previous centuries had us burned at the stake, but now merely has us blamed for all sorts of societal problems.
As an educated ex-Catholic on numerous occasions I have had to correct Catholics online and in person about what the Catholic Church’s teachings are. It’s amazing how little some Catholics know about their faith.