Friday, December 18, 2009

Religion 101: Final Exam (I'd love comments on this one!)

by Terrence Kaye

The author gratefully acknowledges the inspiration provided by E.T. Babinski, Dan Barker, George Carlin, Richard Dawkins,, Sam Harris, Judith Hayes, James Haught, Robert Ingersoll, Adam Lee, John Stuart Mill, Pablo Neruda, Blaise Pascal, Seneca, Julia Sweeney, Jethro Tull, Mark Twain, and Mark Vuletic.

  1. Which of the following is the most compelling evidence for the existence of an intelligent and loving Designer?

    1. The little girl born in Egypt with two functioning heads

    2. The screams of a baby seal as it is torn apart by a shark

    3. The superiority of the octopus eyeball to the human

    4. A Caribbean sunset

  2. A Christian couple has just returned from their fiftieth anniversary celebration, when suddenly the husband falls to the ground, clutching his chest. Assuming the morally proper action is to try to save his life, what is the most morally proper action the wife could take?

    1. Call 911

    2. Put him in the car and race to the hospital herself

    3. Administer CPR

    4. Fall on her knees and pray to the Lord to spare his life

  3. You are a product tester and frequently bring your work home. Yesterday, while dressed in a flame-resistant suit (up to 3,000 degrees) and carrying the latest model fire extinguisher, you discovered your neighbor's house on fire. As the flames quickly spread, you stood by and watched the family perish. Which of the following best describes your behavior?

    1. All-powerful

    2. All-knowing

    3. All-loving

    4. Mysterious

  4. One day while jogging in the park, you see a maniac with a butcher knife about to attack a six-year old girl. What should you do?

    1. Grab the nearest rock and club the attacker

    2. Call the police on your cell phone

    3. Yell "POLICE!" and run toward the attacker in a threatening manner

    4. Calmly walk away, because God works in mysterious ways, and what appears "evil" to our finite human mind, may in fact be part of a vaster plan in God's infinite mind, so it's best not to interfere

  5. You are a loving family man who volunteers as a Big Brother and also at the local hospice when not working as the director of the community food bank. You awaken this morning to discover the global news media ablaze with the first-ever, easily understood, irrefutable scientific proof that there is no God. What will you probably do?

    1. Quit your job and become a full-time rapist

    2. Abandon your family and go on a murder rampage

    3. Become a professional burglar

    4. Continue your life pretty much as usual

  6. Since we can never "know" whether or not a God exists - it is fundamentally a matter of "faith" - it's best to be a believer since you have nothing to lose, but everything to lose if your disbelief is incorrect. Keeping in mind that the fate of your soul depends on the right choice, in which God should you place your belief? For extra credit, include a brief essay justifying your choice, along with the reasons why you reject the other three.

    1. Zeus

    2. Odin

    3. Vishnu

    4. The Holy Trinity

  7. You are the Creator of the universe. Your chosen people are a tribe of nomadic herdsmen, presently in bondage on one of the millions of your planets. Their ruler is being quite obstinate. Keeping in mind that you possess not only infinite power but also infinite love, your best course of action would be to:

    1. Cause the ruler to drop dead of a heart attack

    2. Cause the ruler to fall off a cliff

    3. Visit the ruler in a dream and persuade him to let your people go

    4. Slaughter a great number of innocent babies who had nothing to do with the ruler's policies

  8. You are a Starfleet Federation explorer in the process of cataloging two newly discovered planets. The majority of the inhabitants of each planet believe in a deity, but they are two different deities. Deity "X" is said to be not only all-powerful, all-loving, and all-knowing, but the designer of a marvelously complex and ordered world. Deity "Y" is said to be indifferent, absent, unconcerned with the affairs of his planet, and some even say evil. Which god rules over which planet?

    Planet A: Has apparently achieved a state of advanced benign equilibrium in which there are no viruses or diseases, and only a very small number of natural disasters, which, when they do strike, always eliminate only the sinful and evil. The inhabitants, both plant and animal, have learned to maintain their existence through photosynthesis, and thus do not have to kill and eat each other in order to survive. There are no "birth defects"; every inhabitant comes into existence perfectly formed and equipped for a long and productive life.

    Deity X_____

    Deity Y_____

    Planet B: Adorned with many examples of beauty and order, it is also constantly beset by hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, volcanoes, lightning bolts, viruses, disfiguring diseases, parasites, leeches, flies, crop-destroying pests and many other phenomena which afflict both the innocent and the evil. Every life form on the planet can only sustain its existence through the destruction and consumption of other life forms. Some of the inhabitants are born with a crippling condition called a "birth defect" which condemns them to living extremely limited, short or painful lives.

    Deity X_____

    Deity Y_____

  9. What is the number of children born without arms or legs that have been miraculously restored by a visit to the shrine at Lourdes, France?

    1. Too many to count

    2. Over 1,000

    3. Several dozen

    4. Zero, but only because their faith was not strong enough

  10. As we all know, there is only one true religion. What is the one true religion in each of the following circumstances?

    1. You are born in Karnak in 3000 B.C.

    2. You are born in Bombay in 300 B.C.

    3. You are born in Baghdad in 900 A.D.

    4. You are born in Mexico City in 1956 A.D.

  11. Although you are new at golf, you have just hit a beautiful 200-yard drive and your ball has landed on a blade of grass near the cup at Hole 3. The green contains ten million blades of grass. The odds of your ball landing on that blade of grass are 9,999,999 to one against, too improbable to have happened by mere chance. What's the explanation?

    1. The wind guided it

    2. Your muscles guided it

    3. There is no need for an explanation

    4. You consciously designed your shot to land on that particular blade

  12. Which of the following is most likely to be true, and why?

    1. Romulus was the son of God, born to a mortal human virgin

    2. Dionysus turned water into wine

    3. Apollonius of Tyana raised a girl from the dead

    4. Jesus Christ was the son of God, born to a mortal virgin, turned water into wine, and raised a man from the dead

  13. Conceding that torture is permissible under certain conditions, which of the following would be the best justification?

    1. Your prisoner is the only one who knows the date and time of an assassination attempt on the Pope

    2. Your prisoner is the only one who knows where a nuclear device has been planted in Washington, D.C.

    3. Your prisoner is the only one who knows where a vial of nerve gas has been placed in the London water supply system

    4. Your prisoner has announced that the earth revolves around the sun

  14. We know that Christianity is true because the Gospel writers, inspired by God who can make no error, recorded the founding events. For example, on the first Easter morning, the visitors to the tomb were greeted by which of the following:

    1. A young man (Mark 16:5)

    2. No, no, it was no man, it was an angel (Matthew 28:2-5)

    3. You're both wrong, it was two men (Luke 24:4)

    4. Damn it, there was nobody there (John 20:1-2)

  15. Only human beings have souls, and thus only human beings can go to heaven. What is the cutoff point for entry into paradise?

    1. Homo habilis

    2. Homo erectus

    3. Homo Neanderthalensis

    4. Homo sapiens

  16. According to at least one sainted church father, one of the pleasures of the saved in paradise will be to behold the agony of the damned in hell. What would be the best time of day in heaven for a mother to behold the agony of her only son who didn't make it?

    1. Early in the morning before it gets too crowded

    2. Mid-day when she can compare notes and share the celebration with other mothers

    3. Late at night when she can enjoy the flames in starker contrast

  17. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, we always look to the Bible as a guide. In this example, your teenage son has returned home from the prom intoxicated. If you want to follow the Bible, you should:

    1. Sit him down for a heart to heart talk

    2. Enroll him in AA

    3. Take away his driving privilege for one month

    4. Smash his head in with rocks

  18. In this example, your son-in-law, returned from his honeymoon, has just told you he suspects your daughter was not a virgin on their wedding night. Wishing to abide by God's holy rules as laid out in the Bible, you should:

    1. Ask him if he was a virgin before you do anything

    2. Advise him to forgive her

    3. Talk to your daughter

    4. Go find those rocks

  19. You are eating lunch at a crowded fast food restaurant, occupied mostly by children, when suddenly a gunman bursts in, screams "Do not question or test me," and sprays the room with bullets. Ten people are killed instantly, many more grievously wounded, but somehow you escape unharmed. His ammunition expended, the gunman heads for the door. What should you do?

    1. Call the police and wait for them to arrive

    2. Call the police and leave

    3. Risk death by asking the gunman why he did it, even though he told you not to

    4. Fall on your knees and give thanks and praise to the gunman for sparing your life

  20. Why did God show his backside to Moses, as described in Holy Scripture, Ex.33:23?

    1. He invented everything, and this was simply the first mooning

    2. He was really ticked off when Moses dropped the tablets

    3. He was piqued, having just discovered His almighty powers were useless against chariots of iron (Judges 1:19)

    4. Moses was too serious and needed to lighten up a little

  21. Jesus was God, and God knows all things, including all the medical knowledge that will ever be known. Why did Jesus blame demons for the case of epilepsy he cured?

    1. He was suffering from a temporary case of "brain freeze"

    2. The Aramaic word for "demon" is the same as the word for "cranial malfunction"

    3. Neurology was not his specialty

    4. In first-century Palestine, demons really did cause epilepsy. This affliction only began to be caused by electrochemical brain activity after about 1850 A.D.

  22. Today's paper carries a story about a suburban father who became so enraged with his disobedient children that he carried all nine of them to the backyard pool where he drowned them, along with their puppies, their kittens, and their hamsters. How should this father be treated?

    1. He should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law

    2. He should be banished from the town

    3. He should be lynched to save the taxpayers' money

    4. The townspeople should gather together to sing hymns of praise to him

  23. This morning I started my day by insulting my mother in public, then punched out my father, my brother, and my sister. Then I gathered up all my clothes, sold them to a second-hand store, and with the proceeds bought a used assault rifle and 50 rounds of ammunition. Next, I went down to the animal shelter and injected all the dogs with a drug that caused them to go insane and dive into the nearby canal where they all drowned. By this time I was hungry, so I went over to my neighbor's apple orchard and burned it down, because I wanted an orange and there weren't any. On the way home, I stopped at the local steel mill to discuss my philosophy of life with some of the guys. They laughed at me and said to stow it, so I tossed them all into the blast furnace. That night I discovered my son looking at a copy of Playboy. Concerned for his future welfare, I cut off his right hand. What historical character did my activities today most resemble?

    1. Genghis Khan

    2. Charles Manson

    3. Adolph Hitler

    4. Jesus Christ

  24. Down through the ages, who has been most responsible for the medical discoveries that have relieved untold amounts of suffering and pain, and extended the length of that most sacred of creations, the only species made in the divine image, human life?

    1. Medical doctors

    2. Research biologists

    3. Chemists

    4. The Catholic Church

  25. A great sadness has come into your life which you feel you cannot bear. A friend informs you of a free counseling service which has never failed to aid and comfort many others. You call the counselor; the phone rings and rings with no answer; you finally hang up. What is the most likely explanation?

    1. The counselor is sitting by the phone but not answering in order to test your faith in him

    2. The counselor is fully qualified and able to help you, but just doesn't feel like it right now

    3. The counselor will not answer because he wants you to profit by the spiritual strength that only comes through suffering

    4. The counselor is not home


    While it is true that there have been and still are many different gods and many different religions, they are really just different names by which various cultures approach the same God. Explain how and why each of the following is the same God:

    • Quetzalcoatl, who wants you to skin a young virgin alive, then put on the skin and dance;

    • Shiva, who wants you to pray over his penis;

    • Allah, who wants you to fly airliners into buildings;

    • Catholic God, who speaks directly through the Pope;

    • Hebrew God, who most definitely does not;

    • Jesus, who wants you to castrate yourself to ensure arrival in heaven

    • Jehovah, who any day now, is going to kill everyone on the earth except for his Witnesses


JC said...

All of these questions seems to examine the existence of a tangible and anthropomorphized god.

I love the way hardline atheists miss the point in the very same way that most religious people do.

Anonymous said...

Jesus wept - now we can see why.

Peter Rost said...

Anon, so "God's son" would have liked us to just believe blindly any religion taught to us, like any dictator? Not use reason and common sense? Really?

How do you know what is in the Bible is not inspired by "Satan" rather than "God?"

Who should we kill according to the Bible?
* Homosexuals (Lev.20:13, Rom.1:26-32)
* Adulterers (Lev.20:10, Deut.22:22)
* Disobedient children (Deut.21:20-21, Lev.20:9, Exod.21:15)
* Women who are not virgins on their wedding night (Deut.22:13-21)
* All non-Christians (parable told by Christ - Luke.19:27)
* Those accused of wickedness by at least two people (Deut.17:2-7)
* Anyone who works on the Sabbath (Exod.35:2-3, Num.15:32-6) (not even to kindle a fire, and no exclusion for ambulance drivers)
* It is shameful for a woman to speak in church (1Cor.14:34-5)
* A man must OK his wife´s words if they are to have force (Num.30:8)
* A woman must not teach or hold authority over a man (1Tim.2:12)
* Lot saves the messengers from the men of Sodom by offering up his virgin daughters to ´do to them as you please´ (Gen.19:8) Kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourself every girl who has never slept with a man (Moses - Num.31:17-8)
* God supports slavery (Lev.25:44-6, Exod.21:2-8, Eph.6:5, Col.3:22)
* Instructions on how to sell your daughter as a slave (Exod.21:7-8)
* When to give your slaves severe or light beatings (Luke.12:42-8)
* OK to beat slaves only if they don´t die within 2 days (Exod.21:20-1)
* How to mark your slave: drive an awl through its ear (Deut.15:17)
* It´s best if all people remain unmarried. Marriage is a lesser-of-two-evils compromise for Christians too weak to resist their sexual urges, for it is better to marry than to burn. (Paul - 1Cor.7:1-2, 8-9, 25-6, 38)
* The rapist of an unwed woman must buy her and make her his wife (apparently a far more 'holy' union than a genuine, loving same-sex relationship) - Deut.22:28-9
* If a man suspects his wife of cheating he can serve her a cursed drink; if she becomes deformed, then that proves her guilt (Num.5:12-31)
* 42 children killed by bears for calling a prophet baldy (2King.2:23-4)
* OK to beat your children with a rod - it won't kill them (Prov.23:13-4)
* God commits, orders, or endorses every form of atrocity known to man (pretty much pick a page of the Old Testament at random)
Do the Old Testament laws still apply?
* Every jot and tittle (Christ Matt.5:17-9)

Anonymous said...

You fit the stereotype of a liberal, sir. If you don't like what someone writes here, you don't post it. The only opinions worth hearing are ones that agree with you.