Atheists who Believe in Heaven

Look Who’s Irrational Now

I’ll have to look into this, of course, being somewhat of a skeptic when it comes to sociological studies and a hair skeptical, I’ll admit, of the Wall Street Journal.  All the same, some of the correlations just beg to be contemplated:

The Gallup Organization, under contract to Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, asked American adults a series of questions to gauge credulity. Do dreams foretell the future? Did ancient advanced civilizations such as Atlantis exist? Can places be haunted? Is it possible to communicate with the dead? Will creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster someday be discovered by science?

The answers were added up to create an index of belief in occult and the paranormal. While 31% of people who never worship expressed strong belief in these things, only 8% of people who attend a house of worship more than once a week did.

In addition to those, apparently 21% of self-proclaimed atheists believe in some kind of god (???), and the odds of a college student’s believing in communication from the dead to the living goes from less than 25% of freshmen to 31% of seniors and climbing to 34% of graduate students.  Now I admit that I dig a good Toni Morrison novel as much as the next feller, and I know very educated people who claim that they’ve performed dozens of exorcisms, but I assumed that such things were common mainly to “my people,” not to the rational/skeptical/evolutionist folks with whom I work.

I do wonder what kind of samples these folks used, what their methodology was, and all that.  I suppose that’s how they get you to buy their books, no?



Filed under Interesting in General

3 responses to “Atheists who Believe in Heaven

  1. Sounds like a problem of categories/nomenclature to me, more than an issue of inconsistency. (Although, I still hold that humans are irrational creatures, and the pressure and pursuit of an existence based on reason only makes them more so.)

    And it makes sense to me that people would become less skeptical as they get older; as one ages, one realizes how much there is out there that completely beyond one’s understanding and only just within one’s imagination. At 18 years old, it’s all clear: your parents are clueless, formal education is pitiless indoctrination, and the only person who can really “teach” you anything is that hobo in the alley. He’s got “real” wisdom.

    Then you age a little, maybe read some, probably f**k up a few times, realize that you don’t know a thing about everything that previously seemed so clear. You get humbled, and fairies become not so far-fetched.

  2. I suppose that’s true, and I figured it might be a case of using “atheist” as a synonym for “not-Christian,” a rather imprecise use, but common nonetheless. (After all, the Roman Empire’s main charge against early Christians was atheism.)

  3. Robert

    Definitely questionable. The bit on self-proclaimed rationalists is believable (and likely would have been higher with the inclusion of things like the Illuminati, government mind control, etc.). But if only some part of 8% of us Christians believe in prophetic dreams and/or necromancy, then 92%+ of us have been slacking in our Bible reading. Either that or the headline should have been about the disparity between claims to inerrancy and actual belief. I’d be curious to see their survey. I suspect it would explain a lot.

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