A Flowchart to Determine What Religion You Should Follow

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Flowcharts are a great way to make sense out of confusing scenarios, and there's no scenario that's more confusing than trying to figure out what religion you should follow. This helpful flowchart was created to guide you through this complex process:

Can you all spot the error in this diagram?

[Some perspective: If every one of you wonderful people who has been flooding in to my blog these past 18 hours had donated ONLY ONE DOLLAR EACH to my DonorsChoose "Challenge" classrooms, they would have $40,000+ to spend on teaching materials to help impoverished American kids! Just sayin'!]

Image: Holy Taco.

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There's no path to Pastafarianism here!

(Nor any distinction among the many, many other types of ordinary-underwear xianism enjoyed by those non-JW naturally annoying christians - but isn't that fad almost over with anyway?)

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 25 Oct 2009 #permalink

Hmm, errors:
* No path from "love bacon" to Scalzi-ism? (whoops, wrong blog. :-) )
* Jews like hummous too...
* No paths to Discordianism, The Church Of the Sub-Genius, or Pastafarianism ("Are you a total wise-ass?")
* "Chinese take-out" should lead to Confucianism (or Taoism)
* Oh, this is too much fun to play with!

By David Harmon (not verified) on 25 Oct 2009 #permalink

Ever been to an Israeli restaurant? They LOVE hummus. That can't be a discriminator between Jews and Muslims. Maybe "Would you like to visit Mecca?"

when you all are done with your flowcharts, be sure to let me know; i'd love to share with my readers too!

Yeah, the problem is that atheism is lumped under the heading "religion" - this is a fundamental misconception which religions have been trying very hard to push for over 100 years. As the christian religions in particular were rapidly losing power over the past ~150 years and as the fuzzy thing we know as science was emerging as an abstraction distinct from philosophy and the liberal arts, religious folks started parroting the "science is just another religion".

By MadScientist (not verified) on 25 Oct 2009 #permalink

Oh, the humanity! Nerds vivisecting a perfectly good joke!

Well, there are zero gods in Buddhism...

Technically Christians, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses aren't allowed to eat bacon either. They're just less likely to adhere to that particular rule. On a related note, if I ever meet the pope, I'm going to ask him why he doesn't have a beard.

Mormonism teaches that there are a vast number of gods and that every person on Earth has the possibility of becoming a god. They call this 'The Doctrine of Eternal Progression'.

The god of this planet was one a mortal human 'like us' and by following the rules that his god gave him, that guy turned into our god.

BTW, our god has a whole bunch of wives and all those wives give birth to all of us. Yup, that's right, we are all literally brothers and sisters (or half-brothers and half-sisters).

This system is how it's been for all the other gods.

Mormonism, the church of universal incest.

By fact.checker (not verified) on 25 Oct 2009 #permalink

I spot two significant errors in your still very funny flowchart.

First, Buddhism doesn't espouse belief in many gods (or any gods). It's not strictly atheist, but Buddhism taught that belief in god was unimportant, so nontheist would be a better description. Second, the historical man who has since become known as the Buddha lived in Nepal and India, not China.

By Sirnoobsauce (not verified) on 25 Oct 2009 #permalink

Buddhist beat me (#9) to it: there are no gods in Buddhism. Buddha was a spiritual leader, not a god-like messiah like Christ is believed to be by Christians. Buddhists don't believe in creator gods, though they do believe in supernatural creatures which would qualify as ghosts or demons in others religions, not gods.

By Not Buddhist (not verified) on 25 Oct 2009 #permalink

Maybe you could add in a flowchart for Catholics - something about "do you mind worshiping through intermediaries". And for Evangelicals: "Do you love to tell other people what to do", or something. Also, for the multiple god worshipers, you have Mayan, Hindu, Wiccan, ...Buddhist? I didn't think Buddhists had multiples of gods? I didn't even think Buddhism was technically a religion.

IMHO (which isn't really all that humble) I really think you need some variety on the multiples side, too; something to balance out the slight weight towards single-god religions. You could add in something for the Egyptians, Greeks, Norse, etc.

Or you could leave it as is - it's pretty fantastic right now.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster has been mistakenly omitted from this chart.

I usually go with Buddhism not believing in any Creator "God" but some sects can believe in a veritable fuck-ton of deities. However, the one nice thing with Buddhism is that it is a spiritual (or religious or philosophy) path that does not require belief in god.

So Buddhism is sorta what you bring into it.

That said, this flow chart cracks me up but is there no place for the western Buddhist that loves bacon?


Ever been to a Jewish deli in NYC or St Louis? Hummus being meh is a stroke of genius, as is this chart.

This is not accurate. Buddhists don't worship gods.

For the person who said that people toting science as a religion is only toted by Christians, I"m sorry, you're wrong. I'm agnostic but I don't believe there is a God (I just also don't think there is any way to prove existance or non existance or even if there are multiple Gods. I just suspect there isn't one).

But, I will argue science is a religion. After all, the only way you can prove anything is by your senses when you get down to it. And really all your senses are is what your brain interprets nerve signals. So how do you know that you aren't just hallucinating this whole world? That solid table that your sense of touch says is solid.. how do you know your brain is interpreting those nerve signals from your hand saying that it is hitting a solid object correctly?

Everything is a belief when you come down to it. The only thing you can really prove as a fact is your own existance :P

Yeah, but assuming that green light will always mean go doesn't make it a religion, does it? Just saying. ^_^

Bacon and Hummus sandwiches are delicious... I'm so confused...

This is hilarious in the perspective of an agnostic such as myself.

The error is that every religion is annoying??

What the hummus IS hummus?

Some questions to add:

Do you like hedging your bets? (Yes: Agnostic, No: Aethist)
Do you find pirates to be awesome? (Yes: Pastafarian, No: Continue)
Do you ever have a plan? (Yes: Sub-Genius, No: Discordianism)

Otherwise cool, except for what was already commented on.

If you believe that the bodies of the dear departed should be left at high places to have their bones picked clean by carrion birds, then you need to be a Zoroastrian (See Parsee).

actually Hinduism and Buddhism teach that the highest level of spirit is NOT reincarnated

reincarnation happens when the soul has base desire

You're a practicing Gnosticist, aren't you (oooh, another omission from the flowchart!)?

My point is you really can't prove what science says is fact either (in fact it is proven in history that what science strongly believed is truth was found to be wrong even if you just take for granted what you see and touch is real and your brain is functioning properly. Are you really sure what we know now in science is really the truth?). And it has a whole system and set of beliefs. Therefore one could argue it is a religion *shrug*.

In the end, I will say the reason I point it out is I'm sick of seeing athiests have the same intolerant attitude of the religious people they accuse. Maybe it's easier for me cause I don't have a strong belief in anything (or rather I'm athiest but my strongest belief is that I could be wrong and who knows what the truth is regarding what god/gods is or isn't out there).

Uh, I'm not a practicing anything. I'm pretty agnostic with a belief in science and athiesm.

alice: actually, science does not pursue truth because science recognizes that there is NO ultimate truth. if science did pursue an ultimate truth, then there would be no use of statistics to analyze data to determine how repeatable the research findings are, all things being equal. science instead seeks to minimize doubt and adopts those hypotheses that are the least unlikely to be accurate.

additionally, science does differ from religion because it relies on repeatable, observable phenomenon, rather than ancient and often fragmentary texts. unlike religion, science is always revising and growing as it attempts to more closely describe reality. unlike religion, science does evolve over time as our instruments and data collecting abilities improve, and as our thinking advances, based on previous discoveries. religions remain essentially unchanged for thousands of years, regardless of how much evidence there is to show that one or another religious belief or practice is based on inaccurate data or that it is now unnecessary. i dunno about you, but i prefer to rely on the latest scientific data rather than ancient mythologies repeated for thousands of years.

and to respond to your other comment, i actually don't see atheists being intolerant. i do see -- nearly every day -- religious people being intolerant, usually towards other religions, but also towards atheists. further, i never see atheists proselytizing, while i find religious people knocking on my door DAILY to proselytize to me, unasked, uninvited. this is rather offensive and even a bit threatening (especially for a single woman living alone when two men are at her door, wanting to come inside), don't you agree?

Wow. And they say we Christians have no sense of humor. We're as much fun as a Bob Hope and Bing Crosby movie compared to the Angry Internet Nerd.

Hilarious. I'm a Jehovah's Witness and I laughed about the "annoying" question. :) I assume the naturally annoying question was due to the preaching work we do. But then that question really isn't applicable to all Mormons and/or converts to Mormonism. Only males of a certain age do their preaching whereas every Witness is involved. So...maybe some refinement is needed. :-p

Oh and bacon ROCKS! Can I get bacon with that? Someone earlier said that Mormons, Witnesses, and other Christians shouldn't eat it but probably ignore that rule. What rule? Are you referring to the Mosaic Law? If so, in that case, read Galatians chapters 3 and 4. We aren't under the Law any more. :-p Especially 3:24,25.

BACON!!! (Oh, and chocolate milk rocks, too. This is why breakfast is awesome: chocolate milk AND bacon!)

You left out Frisbetarian. We believe when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and it's hard to get down.

"Unlike religion, science is always revising and growing as it attempts to more closely describe reality."

A real scientist should know that superlative statements are almost always incorrect. Plenty of religions have grown, changed and adapted over time. One can see a progression from Judaism through Christianity to Islam, certainly, or from the Hindus to the Buddhists, as well.

More closely describe whose reality? Mystics have been describing a "hidden" world of vibrating spheres for thousands of years; whereas quantum physics has only been describing a "subatomic" world of vibrating spheres for decades.

"Unlike religion, science does evolve over time as our instruments and data collecting abilities improve, and as our thinking advances, based on previous discoveries. religions remain essentially unchanged for thousands of years, regardless of how much evidence there is to show that one or another religious belief or practice is based on inaccurate data or that it is now unnecessary."

Whose religion? Just because some religions as practiced are staid and stagnant doesn't mean all religion is so. I would hardly call the history of Christianity "unchanged for thousands of years". Plenty of religious figures, such as Ghandi or MLK, upset the status quo and moved their societies forward. Sometimes science is employed by the rigid and unchanging (ie Monsanto and Goldman Sachs).

While science is not a religion, it does have its dogma and its belief systems. Science also requires a certain amount of faith. While it's excellent with repeatable phenomena, it has distortions, biases and blind spots. What of occurrences that repeat infrequently, or not at all? There is no experiment that is not influenced by the experiment itself; the eye of the beholder casts weight.

"I dunno about you, but i prefer to rely on the latest scientific data rather than ancient mythologies repeated for thousands of years."

For cell phones and combustion engines, yes; but for culture and community and life and death I pay rapt attention to the human traditions which have managed to remain intact for hundreds and thousands of years. I assume a solid number of our ancestors were excellent observers of nature, with a bit of sympathy I believe much of their wisdom remains available to us, through the stories they have passed down.

For all the power of science we still can't manufacture meaning via the laboratory or through pharmaceuticals. No, the subjective remains the realm of the wise.

Science is a nice little candle, for sure, but we live in a dark and mysterious universe.

Nice chart though...

< = >

By Mano de Nada (not verified) on 25 Oct 2009 #permalink

Cute! But now I'm hungry!

By DD McChirpy (not verified) on 25 Oct 2009 #permalink

I could be wrong but I thought Hindu's belived in one God with many aspects?

@@ Alice #20

You know, I guess I can't really even prove my own existance, given your criteria. I REALLY can't prove yours either! So....

If neither one of us is really here, how did I post this? And, to whom am I talking? Am I insane and talking to myself??

Nah. If I were insane, I'd be a Democrat.

And therein lies the missing link on the flowchart: Humanism.

By A Simple Man T… (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

It's unfortunate that a true flowchart of religion would be so big, no work in the office would be done for the entire day while reading (and laughing) at it.

By Richard Eis (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

GrrlScientist - first off, thanks for a major laugh. I was raised protestant, and I consider myself agnostic now. The reason being that I have come to value science over religion, and since the existence or non-existence of god(s) cannot be proven or disproven, it's a matter on which there can be no scientific consensus.
This firstly means, I respect anybody's right to form his or her own opinion, practice a religion etc. because it's not a matter-of-fact, the things that lead people to faith are not science's domain, but for me, personally. It's simple: the only "religion" that is compatible with the scientific method (or to put otherwise, the only statement about God that could be acceptable in a research paper) is to be agnostic.

Atheism is most certainly a religion. It disbelieves the existence of god(s) without any evidence to support their disbelief, as religion believes in the existence with the same lack of evidence.

But as Karl Sagan reminded us: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

To me, critical thinking can only support being agnostic - because you cannot prove either position, if you believe in the value of proof, then you cannot take either position.

Okay, I got a little side-tracked, but I actually wanted to support your other positions about the difference between science and religion, and note that you missed out on what is probably the single most important one.
No scientist has ever tried to prove a theory. Only bad science reporters say that. Scientists spend their time (because this the very heart of the scientific method) trying to DISPROVE their own and everybody else's theories.
What scientists find (some) consensus on is not theory with the most proof (you can use the same data to prove many theories) - but the theory that nobody could prove is FALSE yet.
When somebody does, you look at HOW it was proven false, and then refine or rewrite it do deal with this new data.

What religion is actively encouraging it's members to prove any of it's statements to be false ? Will give prizes and recognition to you if you can prove one of the most cherished and fundamental rules are wrong (e.g. as Einstein did to Newton).
Budhism comes closest, but still doesn't quite get there.

If science was a religion, it would be one where the priest walked up to the pulpit for service and told everyone "This is the precepts in the holy book, these are the laws, I beg you, please, any of you - find me some prove that any or all of it is false, so we can write a better holy book".

That is science - critical thinking to the last, never accepting anything as true and proven, always trying to prove it isn't so - especially your own ideas. Never bowing to authority, the greater an authority somebody is in a field, the more wondrous the feeling of proving his theory wrong.

In short, the real difference is this: religion offers answers. Science only offers better and better questions.

You left out Narcissism, which seems to be what you really follow.

By Ivan Durakov (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

@Ivan, sorry ? Narcisism elevated to the level of religion is fairly rare - most cases were probably more tools of political expediency than actual faith (I doubt Augustus Ceaser started OUT thinking of himself as a go), of course, tell people you're a god long enough - and make them believe you by the relatively simple method of chopping of the heads of anybody who doesn't and you probably will end up convincing yourself too...

But I don't think grrlscientist has shown even the slightest bit of narcisism (at least in this post). Some narcisism is fundamental part of mental health, people who don't have a it tend to end up committing suicide, nothing in this blog or her comments have suggested any more than this "normal" level, nor even a particular focus on that... so what exactly are you basing your claim on ?

The most fundamentally narcisistic act in this world is masturbation, and it's one practiced by every mammal (I've seen baboons do it, and what do you think it is when your dog humps the pillows or the postman's leg ?) and which every sex therapist will tell you is a crucial part of a healthy sex-life.

I hardly think auto-erotic pleasure counts as an act of worship though.

In short... you make a fairly outrageous claim, which you make no effort to back up... and quite frankly, you don't even seem to understand what your own claim actually MEANS.

Oh right, you must be an American Conservative...

Others have commented that Jews like hummus. I suggest swapping hummus for cheeseburgers and reversing the logic. Jews aren't allowed cheeseburgers.

"To me, critical thinking can only support being agnostic - because you cannot prove either position, if you believe in the value of proof, then you cannot take either position."

So you are agnostic about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, leprechauns, and pixies?

@Alice, actually you are just a brain in box sitting on my desk. This is all an elaborate experiment I've been running on you.

By Dr Horroble (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

Buddhism is an atheistic religion. So no gods only personal responsibility.

By Bob Smith (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

as a nice jewish boy I was going to answer #10's Q? about Christians and bacon- but Jehovah's witness #35 gave a much more specific answer than I could - oh, and of course the chummus..

amusing, thanks*

Mighty Thor is unimpressed that he and the other Aesir aren't on this flowchart.

Perhaps "Do you want to die gloriously in battle?" or "Are you suicidally gloomy with intermittant bouts of homicidal rage?" or "Do you like mead?"

But I'm rich and insane, don't want to be reincarnated and want to make human sacrifices!
How do I make it, from the top-right corner, to the bottom-left corner?
And don't say, get funding from the King of Spain and invade Central America, dagnabit.
I already did that.
That's why I don't want to be reincarnated again!

Thanks to all you (apparently) young people for your thoughts. As a species we are sleepwalking toward the abyss of our own extinction mostly because of religion. The answer is not found in the Koran or the bible. It's found in the dictionary. "Delusion." Look it up. Oh, o.k.
I'll do it for you.
Delusion: : a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary; also : the abnormal state marked by such beliefs

By twinbeech (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

Firstly, great flow chart. Many lols.

There should be a link under Athiest that says "Do you like Bacon, Yes, you are a happy happy athiest who believes in a magical wonderful animal".

Just wanted to say to people you are either a theist or an atheist. There is no middle ground. They are the only two options on that particular scale.

You either believe in what religions say, or you do not.

Agnosticism is unrelated to religion. It is simply your belief that we do not currently know, or perhaps your belief that perhaps we can never know...

It's akin to someone asking "Do you have male or female reproductive organs?" and you answer "I am asexual, I have no need for reproductive organs" .. you are not answering the question asked.

So you can believe in God, but admit you do not know for certain. Or you can disbelieve in god and admit you do not know for certain. Everyone should be agnostic. Those who claim absolute knowledge should seek therapy. Those who claim to have absolute knowledge without proof are in my opinion simply idiots or sick in the head.

EG. Is there Santa? I believe not. But I cannot be absolutely certain either way without proof. Therefore, whilst it is overwhelmingly obvious to me there isn't one, I still wouldn't be so stupid to claim I can be absolutely certain.

We may just be a brain in a box and there may very well be a Santa running the experiment, or a fairy, or a leprechaun.
Sure, my atheist belief is the same. I am perhaps less than 1 part in 999 googleplexs doubtful, but this infinitesimal doubt means I cannot claim certainty on the matter.

Until I meet God, this will not change.

Oops,make that googolplex.. My lack of religious beliefs are in no way related to Google's headquaters.


Actually there is/are God(s) in Buddhism (little known fact). When Buddha was asked by a student about whether there was a God, he smiled and said yes but it is irrelevant.

Or more concretely, there is something so awesome out there that your brain can't handle it. It is perfectly arguable to say that that awesome thing is actually an eleven dimensional multiverse where every possibllity is played out infinitely, but there is something nontheless by the Buddha's own admission..

What the hummus IS hummus?

blended chick peas and ground-up sesame seeds, spice to taste. it's a middle-eastern-derived sandwich spread that can be quite delicious, depending on the cook's taste in spices.

By Nomen Nescio (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

Everyone likes hummus.

It should start with: Do you like hummus? Yes: How many gods do you want to worship? I want to, but I'm allergic: Same. No: What's wrong with you?

#17 Is "fuck-ton" the weight equivalent of "shitload?"

Adding a box asking "Do you practice cannibalism?" could lead to Catholic?

Doh!!! I cam THIS close (holding fingers very close) to blogging this.

Fark is good. Enjoy the extra, you'll need it for the big move!

Very funny. Obviously this is a game that any number can play--and everybody wins !

You left out Jedi.

By Mace WinJew (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

What about Cthulhu? (as in 'Do you want to see all of humanity consumed by a Great Laughing Madness?')

For all the power of science we still can't manufacture meaning via the laboratory or through pharmaceuticals.

Perhaps a manufactured meaning if meaningless. Religion manufactures meaning.

no, religion doesn't manufacture meaning. but does one need a manufactured meaning to find real meaning in life? i say "no!"

Jews aren't allowed cheeseburgers.

Ah, so Leviticus isn't totally nuts!

Oh, and anyone who hasn't had hummus should definitely try it this week.

Alice is a complete idiot. Science is not a religion.

By Aliceisatool (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

I thought the chart was funny, but as a Mormon, let me clear up a few things. We eat bacon. It is great with breakfast or in broccoli salad. We are supposed to eat meat sparingly (an animal has to die for you to have meat, so don't waste it!). Next, not just males do missionary work. Women and couples serve missions as well, and we are told "every member a missionary," we just don't have the formal 2 year missions. And another thing, we LOVE science, and free will, or "agency," as we generally refer to it.

Just dropping in from Pharyngula to make up for the traffic PZ stole.

By Ferrous Patella (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

No, Alice is a rare breed. A humble atheist. It's refreshing to find one, as I have never seen one before. I would like to think I am a humble Catholic. I follow a set of rules and guidelines in my own imperfect way, aware that the path could be the wrong one; sometimes disagreeing with the rules and guidelines, but also aware that I could be the one who is mistaken. I figure if you're going to be a "Christian", you might as well go with the one denomination that can traces its' history directly to the "Peter-Rock" moment. You can look it up, it's in all the encyclopedias. But they could all be wrong.

Re Stan at #55

You are correct that, according to traditional Buddhist thought, there are such things as gods (Skt. devi). However, they (a) are born and die, and (b) have nothing to do with the creation or destruction of the universe, and (c) don't meddle in human affairs (as their heavenly abodes are far, far to pleasant for them to turn their minds away from).

However, you are mistaken when you say that someone asked the Buddha whether there is a god, and that the Buddha said yes, but it's irrelevant.

I think what you may have in mind is the Aggivaccagotta Sutta, wherein the Buddha declines to answer metaphysical questions such as whether or not the body and "soul" are the same or different, whether a Buddha exists after death or not, etc. You can see for yourself here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.072.than.html

A good explanation for why the Buddha refused to answer those questions may be found here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.intro.than.html



Tom at #71

Your're talking about Greek Orthodox?

In with Ferrous Patella. Seems like another fine online publication!

Pantheists are missed once again. We believe EVERYTHING is god and nobody takes us seriously, I resent that.
Also, what happened to the devil-worshippers? We are not Wiccans, we serve the dark lord, we deserve our own box.
Finally, what about the biggest religion of them all, i.e. autotheists? Is this a coverup?

Organised Atheism certainly is a religion, every bit as smug & annoying as the Goddish ones.
I was going to say something realy clever about science & faith but its gone, too much tea.....
Grrrrl S might like to know that London has wild parrakeets, only south of the river tho
loved the show

Organised Atheism

oh, that's a funny one! i'll have to remember it for the next oxymoron one-upmanship contest to come along.

By Nomen Nescio (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

Grrl - so, did any of us spot "the" error yet?

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

Well, I'm sure there are lots of organised atheists out there, many of them a lot more organised than this atheist ever seems to manage, but other than that, Pb just seems to be yanking chains, looking to outrage someone.

Sorry Pb, if you're a theist, you don't get to define me, except in that one sense where I am not what you are. If you are an atheist, then you've contradicted yourself. I wouldn't join with any organisation that would have the likes of me or you.

Even when we Pharyngulate polls, we don't all vote the same. So much for organisation.

By JohnnieCanuck (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

the error i was thinking of was spotted by several people: the "atheism is (not!) a religion" portion of this flowchart. 'cuz atheism ain't a religion! but there are more errors than that in this flowchart, as we all have been learning about.

Atheism is most certainly a religion. It disbelieves the existence of god(s) without any evidence to support their disbelief, as religion believes in the existence with the same lack of evidence.

I completely disagree. Atheism is not a religion nor is it a positive assertion. I was born an Atheist and knew nothing of any gods until it was asserted to me by Theists. This is a positive claim that Theists have made to me continually all of my life. Atheism is merely a response to the positive claim that god(s) exists. The burden of proof is upon those making the positive assertion (s(t(he)y) exist(s) let alone it is the god they claim it is. I see no more reason to believe in any of the various described gods than I do leprechauns or fairies. I do not need any evidence to disbelieve them, rather I can see no reason to believe in any of the above without credible evidence from the "believers" who are making the assertion. Your definition more closely fits Antitheism which is the positive assertion that no gods exist.

As an Atheist I am skeptical but open to believing in god(s) if I found any evidence that they in fact exist. To date, only having heard nothing but "personal experience", choked on some of the most awful apologetics, and sacred texts that completely fail to demonstrate any claims of an omnipotent, all-knowing, or made-of-love-god(s), I remain unconvinced.

Instead, taking the JudeoâChristian god for example, I find the sacred texts offered as proofs actually show their god to be a mistake prone, immature, jealous, petty, and murderous deity who really should have just poofed his creation straight into heaven thereby receiving that eternity of praise and worship (some claim) he demands right from the get-go. We'll leave jesus out of the picture for now except to say that if gods idea was to show up in some sandy corner of the world, do a few (what I was characterize as) modern day party tricks in front of a few small groups of people, and believe that he had some great plan to save man from being man, it was a failure on scale with the 1% survival rate Noah's animal rescue mission had.

Even if god(s) exist IMHO there is no text on Earth describing any god character that lives up to any claim of all-knowing or all-powerful let alone all-loving. IMHO these characters are poor fabrication.


On a side note, I wonder from time to time about the Students of the Seven Seals. There are still a few of them around. They are also still teaching indoctrinating their children with the claims of Koresh's divinity. I wonder what that "religion" will be like, the claims that will be made, in a couple of hundred years ... or even a few thousand.

By darvolution pr… (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

I believe Taoism also strives to disprove itself. Whoever knows does not speak, whoever speaks does not know, for instance. But it really can't be considered a religion.

But Dr. Venter is certainly correct. Scientists strive to do exactly what religions cannot do at all. They can't even disprove those religions they disagree with. All they can do is take ancient writings out of context and twist the meanings of words to fit their agenda. Each and every one, pretending to be selfless, seeks first to save their own soul.

And though religion may offer answers and many of the answers they offer are absolutely right, (don't kill, steal, covet, enslave, etc.) many more are wrong or just irrelevant (use "God" in a derogatory sentence, entertain other "Gods", make sacrifices, eat certain foods on certain days, trade your daughters to a crazy mob for some old man they are threatening).

And then Jesus said not to judge (well, except maybe moneylenders) but there is a lot of judgement going on in the responses above and it seems to be coming from his followers (please correct me if I'm wrong).

I do believe in the Golden Rule, though; an ye harm none, do what ye will. But my answers are None and No, so I should be an atheist. The chart works perfectly for me.

By Sam (the Grrl) (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

Religious scholars generally agree that writing a single definition that applies to all religions is difficult or even impossible, because all people examine religion with some kind of critical eye, and the term is therefore fraught with ideological consequences for anyone who might want to construct a universal definition. Talal Asad writes that "there cannot be a universal definition of religion ... because that definition is itself the historical product of discursive processes"[5]; Thomas A. Tweed, while defending the idea of religion in general, writes that "it would be foolish to set up an abstract definition of religion's essence, and then proceed to defend that definition from all comers."[6]

The earliest definition of religion is from Johnson's Dictionary, which simply calls it "a system of faith and worship". Friedrich Schleiermacher in the late 18th century defined religion as das schlechthinnige Abhängigkeitsgefühl, commonly translated as "a feeling of absolute dependence".[7] His contemporary Hegel disagreed thoroughly, defining religion as "the Divine Spirit becoming conscious of Himself through the finite spirit."[8] Clifford Geertz's definition of religion as a "cultural system" was dominant for most of the 20th century and continues to be widely accepted today.


The Flaw is Christians are just as annoying as the others.... Muslims also dont eat bacon/pork and jews are more likley to...

By Rayna Ramsay (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

Religious scholars generally agree that writing a single definition that applies to all religions is difficult or even impossible


you're most welcome. no, no, i don't charge for such a simple service.

By Nomen Nescio (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

Umm, it's a joke, not a thesis on religions.

And an excellent joke it is! Flawless!

True or false: Jehovah's Witnesses will read YOUR books.

Another category for the chart: if you believe destiny comes with an operator's manual, you should chuck religion and become an engineer.

By biosparite (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

I am amused by the number of people who think that the Buddha being born in India is relevant to the Buddhist/Hindu distinction. Jesus was born in the Middle East. Does that mean that only Middle Easterners can be Christian? The fact is that while the Buddha was born in India, the religion that he founded is far more popular in China than it is in India. And anyone who'd encountered Chinese (Mahayana) Buddhism would not take issue with it being characterized as having a "ton of" gods. It does. But, as some have said, Buddhism's deities are irrelevant to nirvana/escaping samsara.

Speaking as a Unitarian Universalist (and former biologist), the flaw in this flowchart is that it starts by asking how many gods one wants to worship. No one who actually is religious approaches religion that way. Only non-believers looking at it from the outside think it can be dissected that way. For me, religion is about reverence, community, and service.

By shaktinah (not verified) on 26 Oct 2009 #permalink

That's chart is great! Giving up magic underwear and abrasiveness to leave Mormonism was hard. But now, finally, the way is clear. To complete my Path to scientology, all I need is loads of mercury-covered cash!

Hey, what's up? Why didn't my comment get through moderation?

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 27 Oct 2009 #permalink

"... since the existence or non-existence of god(s) cannot be proven or disproven,"

Isn't it relatively simple to prove the exisitence of a supernatural power? Show me a creature or a part of a creature that cannot have been produced by evolution or statistical evidence that prayer works or proof of any other divine intervention and I, for one, will be convinced.

Of course, the obvious mistake (as noted by multiple people), is that atheism is not a religion. That stated, I would like to point out that post #10 (Andy) is incorrect. Jews were not allowed to eat bacon, but this was part of the 'Mosaic Law.' The technical truth is that (assuming new testament biblical veracity), the 'Mosaic Law' was culminated with the Christ personality. Thus, cloven-hoof animals ceased to be forbidden. I was raised in the Jehova's Witness faith (which is a huge portion of why I am now agnostic). Further, Catholicism was obviously left out. This could easily be discriminated with, "Do you like little boys?" Another separator would be, "Do you accept whatever the clergy ("Holy" See) states, without thinking about it?" Christianity is the only branch of 'faith' that purports that science is a religion... Scientologists are not 'crazy.' They are malicious, virulent, and manipulative; there is a difference. To poster #25 (Hazel): No, religion being annoying is NOT an error; it is fact. The fundamental fact of the matter is that EVERYTHING that we accept as 'fact' requires that certain foundational 'truths' be taken as postulate (something accepted without question). No religion can survive the scrutiny of rational thought. No theistic school of 'thought' fails to insist upon some form of sacrifice, force, or bloodshed. I believe Robert Heinlein said it best when he stated that (paraphrasing, here...) 'Man has never invented a god that did not have the attitude and disposition of a spoiled child.' The two most glarin examples of this are chrisianity (Judeo-Christian) and Muslimism. As evidence, I offer the following: What happens when you put two self-absorbed, absolutely spoiled children in the same room? More often than not, the children end up bickering, as they both assume they are the privileged. I give you the Christian-Muslim animosity...

I wonder what Chuck Norris would choose?

in the end we all be..our sons and daughters will be muslims...

im xtian right now.

hummus at first taste like mud...

then give it sometime...it took me even days! to discover

it is really nutty and buttery yum!!!

@Alice: If I rap my knuckles on the table, ouch, it sure feels solid. But you're right, just because it feels solid to me, doesn't mean it is solid. Perhaps my senses deceive me, and there is one person out there that will try to rap their knuckles and their hand will go right thru the table, thereby proving I am wrong. So, I will ask everyone else who walks by to rap their knuckles on the table in order to determine if it is solid.

By the way, that street you drive along to get to your house may be just a figment of your imagination. Wait...how did that stranger driving thru your neighborhood happen to acquire the SAME imagination as you? A miracle! lmao

But I gave at the office! (Well - Cosmic Variance, but still.)

I'm a bit surprised PeeZed hasn't flogged the challenge this year, though.

Sorry about the trip to Antarctica by the way.

Now look what you've done. You've gone and upset all them barrow pushers; and all over an innocent joke. Humans are such an over-sensitive lot. I liked it, but.

The intellectual and practical activity encompassing
the systematic study of the structure and behavior of
the physical and natural world through observation and

By the definition of Science, it can't prove or disprove the existence of God/god(s). I'm not into religion myself and I will admit my general lack of knowledge on the topic, but if God/god(s) come from someplace other than this world (Christian God), then Science can't prove or disprove.

I think this was a great joke, but some people took it too serious. If you're offended by it, welcome to America. It happens. If you're not from America, welcome to the Internet.

You forgot Obamanism! There's plenty of lost souls huddled around that alter. I'm gonna go make toast, k thx bye!!!!111

By the definition of Science, it can't prove or disprove the existence of God/god(s).

We've all learned one cannot disprove the existence of gods, but for some reason very few of us have learned to ask the right question: What is the best explanation for god beliefs?

Science can lead one to the best conclusion based on the overwhelming evidence that people invented god beliefs (otherwise known as beliefs about mythical beings) and there is not one shred of evidence for any god that is not a mythical being.

And if the discussion was about anything else other than gods, we wouldn't even be having this exchange, we'd be having one about the difference between the uncertainty language of scientific theories and facts vs the certainty language of mathematical proofs.

Who cares that one cannot disprove gods exist? Why would anyone need such proof?

By Skeptigirl (not verified) on 30 Oct 2009 #permalink

Further, Catholicism was obviously left out. This could easily be discriminated with, "Do you like little boys?" Another separator would be, "Do you accept whatever the clergy ("Holy" See) states, without thinking about it?"

Very few Catholics believe even half of dogma â in fact, few even know half of it. They just think that doesn't matter.

BTW, concerning comment 91, was it too long or something? I'd like to know.

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 31 Oct 2009 #permalink

I came out as a Wiccan which some will say really fits. Actually a belief system is really a hope. We all need that.