I never went to church and my parents never went to church, so I don't know much, but apparently God is this dude who sits on a cloud all day and gets mad at us for doing totally normal stuff that He invented for us to do. And there's no proof that He exists, but that's the catch—the "proof" that he exists is the fact that people are able to believe in him even though there is no proof that he exists. It's called "faith." And it's really, really important to a lot of people (not me), many of whom are lovely. And the lovely people who are able to enrich their lives through faith without letting it bleed into their attitudes toward other people—those people are all right with me. Go nuts. And the people who can't do that, the ones who think that their faith entitles them to judge and legislate the lives of millions of complete strangers (and sometimes murder them!)—well, fuck those dicks. Fuck them 100%. This concludes my feelings on God.
According to a recent survey of international data by sociologist Tom Smith, more than 60% of people in the United States disagree with me. When asked if they "know that God really exists and…have no doubt about it," 60.6% of Americans said (paraphrasing), "FUCK TO THE YES I DO" and then fist-bumped the sky. Internationally, that puts us at #5 (woooooo!) in terms of religiosity, after Poland (62.0%), Israel (65.5%), Chile (79.4%), and the Philippines (83.6%). The five least religious places are Japan (4.3%), East Germany (7.8%), Sweden (10.2%), Czech Republic (11.1%) and Denmark (13.0%). Only 3% of Americans identify as atheist.
Do you know what "no doubt" means? It means ZERO. Zero doubts. 100% certainty. 100% certainty that there is a dude in the sky frowning when you masturbate. (Or, you know, whatever shape and attitude you believe God takes when you masturbate.) And that's impressive—like, I'm not even 100% certain that I exist half the time (because what if this is all a dream—and it's not even our dream, it's a dog's dream?). But 60% of our nation has zero doubt. That's fascinating.
Lisa Wade at the Society Pages extrapolates:
As a post-9/11 American watching another election cycle, I can't help but notice how so much of our rhetoric revolves—sometimes overtly and sometimes not—around people who are the wrong religion. Notably, Muslims. And yet, the U.S. and many Muslim countries are alike in being strongly religious, at least in comparison to the many strongly secular countries.
This is odd because stands in contrast to recent data on American attitudes. Within the U.S., people express much less tolerance for atheists than they do Muslims (homosexuals, African Americans, and immigrants). Weirdly, we think we have more in common with more secular nations like Great Britain than we do with countries like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. In certain ways, the opposite might be true.
Hey, I have an idea: somebody should cross-reference this data with all other statistics on earth. For instance, how does religiosity correlate with test scores, graduation statistics, and advanced degrees? How about gender equality and reproductive rights? What's the relationship between religion and poverty—as in, how many people in the most religious nations depend on the church for survival?
Being a gadfly pop culture blogger, I have no idea how to figure any of that out. But if any of you out there are bored statisticians and/or sociologists, please send answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll be waiting. Thx.
Photo credit: mike_kiev / Stockfresh.