Posts Tagged 'Believers'

On Coming Out as an Atheist

So last night I was sitting there at my computer looking at facebook, reading over the news feed from the past day, and kept seeing things like “praise the Lord my kids are asleep”, “thank God tomorrow’s Friday”, “So sad Church service was cancelled”, “pray for me”, and so on. It’s not like this was different than any other day, in fact, it might have been a slow day for God references on the part of my facebook friends, but I was suddenly overcome with the urge to proclaim my godlessness.

I clicked on the little box where you enter your status updates and I started typing.

And then I remembered that I just added my grandmother to facebook…and that my best friend’s grandfather had just passed away…and that my religious sister might feel disrespected that I didn’t tell her privately first…and…well, so many reasons popped into my head and I chickened out.

This is a familiar pattern with me. I work up the courage to out myself, and then I bombard myself with objections until the idea of declaring myself an atheist is beaten into submission. I can never find the right time to come out.

Why is it so hard? I’ve been without god-belief for well over a year now, and the only people that know are my non-religious friends and family members. I feel like if I tell a believer that I’m an atheist I’m basically saying “you’re an idiot”, or at least that’s what they’d think I’m saying.

But I’m excited about my skepticism, about everything I’ve learned about nature and the universe since shedding my thought-controlling beliefs. I want to scream it from the rooftops, I want to talk about how happy I am to be a freethinker on facebook, and I want to be honest about who I am to the people I care about. Why can’t I???

Are you an out atheist, and if so, how did you come out? Or, are you a believer, and if so, any suggestions on approaching the topic of atheism with believers?

Test the Nation Results

I just finished watching and taking the CBC’s Test the Nation IQ Test, which compared the IQs of 6 groups of Canadians, 2 of those groups being Atheists and Believers (I talked about this test in more detail in a previous post).

The results are in, and here are the standings by group:

1. Nerds
2. Politicians
3. Atheists
4. Tie: Believers & Contact Sport Athletes
5. Twins

The person in the in-studio groups that had the highest IQ was an atheist, who scored 140. Woo!

I scored 110, I squeezed into the above average category…that was a hard test! If you want to take it you still can for now if you click on the image below. I’m not sure how long they’ll leave it up there though so take it soon! If you’re not Canadian you can still take it, just select “Outside Canada” for Province.

iq test

I was hoping the Atheists would win, but lots of nerds are also atheists so I’ll call it a win haha…

There were some comments made by the believers that struck me as really nasty, to paraphrase: “the atheists need to remember there is a hell”, and “we sleep better at night [than the atheists]”…but there was a lot of friendly rivalry between all of the groups so it’s all good. The nerds seemed to take the brunt of the insults though, so I’m glad they won!

I think the part I enjoyed most was George Stroumboulopoulos really sticking it to the politicians, it was pretty hilarious.

Did you watch? How did you do? What did you think of the rankings? Did you think the test was well done?

They haven’t posted detailed results yet on the CBC website, but I’ll try to remember to link to it when they do. They didn’t just compare the results by the groups listed above, they also compared by province, gender, shoe size, and they even hypnotized a group of the in-studio participants to see if they did better. It should be interesting to see how everyone does.

Note: If you missed the chart at the end to find out your IQ, click on the image below to make it bigger:

The results are now up on CBC’s website, comparing the IQs of everyone who took the test (not just the in-studio groups). Almost all of them fall in Above Average, so I’m guessing that says something about they types of people who would spend 2 hours of their weekend taking an IQ test while they could also be watching the Saints/Vikings game!

Here are the national results by religion:

choice Total Respondents Lowest Score Highest Score Average Score Average IQ
Religious 6182 0.0 50.0 31.21 111.48
Agnostic 3955 0.0 50.0 33.4 115.37
Atheist 3584 0.0 50.0 33.41 114.26
Other 4544 0.0 50.0 30.62 109.87

There are also a lot of fun stats like if you seem to have the best IQ if you’ve had 3 concussions, NDP party members have the highest IQ, and Sci/Fi fans did better than fans of other forms of literature. You can see the full results here.

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Test the Nation – Comparing IQs of Atheists & Believers

[NOTE: The results are in, not yet up on the CBC website but they’re here for now.]

I always enjoy clobbering my husband in CBC’s Test the Nation quiz shows. It’s a TV series where you get to test your knowledge alongside different groups of people in the studio, as well as other participants at home. Previous show themes have been sports, trivia, or knowledge of Canada, and previous examples of in-studio groups have been bloggers, advertisers, tour guides, etc. It’s a fun time!

The upcoming show (next Sunday, January 24th) is an IQ test:

Our IQ test gives people across the country the chance to measure their intelligence against the rest of the population. Created by our team of intelligence-testing experts led by psychologists Dr. James Parker of Trent University and Dr. Don Saklofske of the University of Calgary, our test questions are closely modeled after those found in standardized IQ tests. The test aims to evaluate performance in what are considered key areas of intelligence, such as language comprehension, visual perception, memory, math and logical reasoning.

I can’t wait for this show to confirm my immense genius……. I’m also very interested this time in how the different groups will do. There are Politicians, Nerds, Twins, Contact Sport Athletes, but more interestingly (to me) Atheists and Believers.

I’m biased, I think the atheists will win…in my experience with atheists, they’re very good at figuring out the truth, and very thoughtful and intelligent people.

Here’s what representatives from the two in-studio teams have to say:

Believers: Reverend Katherine Brittain

4. Why will your team do well on the IQ test?
A large part of our job as clergy is listening, reading, analyzing and synthesizing information, reflecting on it critically and then presenting it in understandable ways for our congregations – challenging our folks to learn and grow, question and analyze – so we should have a group of folks who know how to use our brains! In addition, many faith traditions have educational requirements for the clergy that includes several years of post-secondary education, so we should do well in traditional IQ testing. If all that fails, well, we have a lot of prayers being offered by the contestants and our congregations who will (hopefully) be watching!
6. If you could have any specific person on your team, who would it be?
The Dalai Lama. Besides the fact I’ve always wanted to meet him, he’s brilliant, so it would bring our team’s score up and he’s got an aura of calm and serenity, so he could lull the opposition into relaxing.
Atheists: Justin Trottier, Executive Director, Center for Inquiry, Toronto
3. Why will your team do well on the test?
I think we will do well because Atheists tend to be questioned on their beliefs so much that they tend to be very well read and well-researched, and as a result are quite knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects. I think that will make our team a dynamic and successful one.
4. If you could have any specific person on your team, who would it be?
Maybe Leonardo Da Vinci – he knew so much and was involved in so many disciplines. There are obviously people who have made more contributions in a given field but he had such a broad range of insights. Also it would be very cool to meet him.
I’m excited that Justin Trottier is representing the atheists, I love CFI and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard him interviewed on Point of Inquiry.
If you’re in Canada and you want to participate in Test the Nation, make sure to sign up on the CBC website. You can sign up as a virtual member of one of the groups, and they’ll have stats afterwards of how each group did. So far the atheists are the largest group by far!
Who do you think will win? I’ll be sure to post the results after the test. Good luck!

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