Thursday, March 03, 2011

Religiosity and credulity

Among people, there runs a continuum with skepticism on one end and religiousness/credulity on the other, right?

A study is described in What Americans Really Believe by sociologist Rodney Stark that asked people if they agree with the following statements:

1. Dreams sometimes foretell the future or reveal hidden truths.
2. Ancient advanced civilizations, such as Atlantis, once existed.
3. Places can be haunted.
4. It is possible to influence the physical world through the mind alone.
5. Some UFOs are probably spaceships from other worlds.
6. It is possible to communicate with the dead.
7. Creatures such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster will one day be discovered by science.
8. Astrology impacts one's life and personality.
9. Astrologers, palm readers, tarot-card readers, fortune-tellers, and psychics can foresee the future.

An index was created from the answers. Thirty-one percent of people who never attend church scored high; only 8 percent who go to church more than once a week scored high on the index. The difference is statistically significant. So the continuum goes from a tendency to be skeptical about church to a tendency to be skeptical about the occult and the paranormal. The group that is skeptical across the board is a small minority.


  1. Not sure that dreams foretelling the future is in any way contrary to Christian religion.

    Jesus's father Joseph was guided to avoid certain cities based on dreams. So, there is not a conflict in this area. There are many other examples of dreams taking the form of prophesy or gaining messages from God in the bible.

  2. Anonymous12:47 AM

    good god man you got mandalay bay bath house the hotel coming up as an ad. i think the folks at google are trolling you. also the godforesaken thing kind of confirms my stereotype of the sodomites tending torwards pederasts

  3. Sure, some people believe in God, some people believe in New Age, and some people believe in science. Different belief systems, that's all.

  4. I guess what I'm saying is you can only believe in the authority of so many things at the same time. If you trust the church, you won't trust the scientists or the new age gurus, and vice versa.


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