Quiz: How religious are you?

Sun, 20 May 2012 | wilfred

Although this quiz has a Christian slant, it can test how religious you are regardless of your religion if you replace the word "Bible" with "Quran", "Torah", etc. and "Yahweh" with your applicable name.

This is a series of questions to help you gather your thoughts on where your beliefs lie on the spectrum of your religion (or lack of religion). After each question is a series of suggested answers, but it might be better to consider each question to be an essay question, because your answers may not be as simplistic or clearly defined as the suggestions.

1. First off, is your religious book (the Bible, Quran, Torah, etc.) true in its entirety?

A. Yes, it is all the word of God, and it is all literally true. B. Yes, it is all the word of God. Parts are literally true, and other parts are allegorically, figuratively or symbolically true. God reveals its truth to His believers. C. The original text is the word of God. Its truth is diluted in translation, but study can reveal God's intended meaning. D. It is a work of literature conceived by humans. Most of it is fictitious, but some of its stories do reveal figurative and symbolical truths, as is the case with any literature.

2. How did the universe come about?

A. God created it in six days. This occurred between eight and ten thousand years ago. B. God created it in six phases, each phase lasting many, many years. This started billions of years ago. C. God determined the laws of nature, and initiated the process of creation. He determined the laws as they are in order for us to exist. We are a product of his design. He conceived all this before time began, billions of years ago. D. The universe does not have a supernatural cause. The big bang happened between 13 and 14 billion years ago, but there may be other universes. The laws of nature have resulted in at least one life-supporting planet, although there are probably many more. Our existence was not predetermined, nor was the universe designed.

3. Who is God?

A. God is the creator. He created us in His image, and so we know that He is like us. He has feelings like love, (righteous) anger, and (righteous) jealousy. He has a personality, because we can establish a relationship with Him. His personality can be described as similar to that of an adult male human being. But He is all-powerful, and all-knowing, and, of course, immortal. And He loves every one of us. B. God is the creator. But God cannot be described as human-like in any way. It is a positive force, analogous to light, or love. It does not have a personality, nor feel emotions, like a human, because for those one needs a physical brain, and God is not a physical entity. C. "God" is an abstract concept not an entity, but still meaningful and valuable. D. What is known in the West and Middle-East as God is a deity originally known as Yahweh, and much later to Muslims as Allah, initially a bronze-age god conceived in the ancient region of Canaan, in the Middle East. He was one of the first monotheistic gods, along with Ahura Mazda of Zoroastrianism, after the idea of monotheism evolved from gods like Aten in Egypt and Marduk in Babylon. He is by far the most successful monotheistic god as a result of aggressive proselytization and the political success of his believers. His nature has changed as human understanding has improved. Originally his believers thought he lived in the sky. Now believers either think he exists in a spiritual dimension, or that he created the spiritual dimension along with the physical dimension, and that he exists separate from both.

4. Is God the only supernatural being?

A. No. There are also angels. B. No. There are also angels and djinn. C. No. There are angels. Also, saints can affect things that happen. And we can communicate with those who have passed over, and the things they tell us, through our dreams or through mediums, can affect us. D. No. There are also angels and fairies and leprechauns and the tokoloshe / angels and vampires and werewolves and fairy godmothers. E. No. There are the ancestors. F. Yes, God is the only supernatural being. Angels are superstitious remnants of ancient polytheism. G. There are no supernatural entities, including any gods.

5. Does God know you?

A. Of course. I have a personal relationship with Him. B. Insofar as He is all-knowing, yes, but we don't "talk", if that's what you mean. C. No. God is the name we give to the First Cause. It is not a personal god. It is not aware in the sense that humans are aware. D. God is fictitious. The question is not applicable.

6. Does God take a personal interest in what you do?

A. Of course. He rejoices when I do what He commands, and He is disappointed when I sin. One day he will judge us all, reward us with eternal life or punish us with eternal damnation. B. No. He is simply a positive force. He loves us, but He is accepting of everything we do. It is our own sin which separates us from Him. After we die it is our nature that we have discovered and developed during our lives that will either result in us being close to Him, in a state of heaven, or far from Him, in a state of hell. C. God is fictitious. The question is not applicable.

7. Was Jesus' mother, Mary, a virgin when Jesus was born?

A. Of course. The Bible says so. B. Actually, the story of this particular miracle is a result of some early Christians trying to find more evidence that Jesus was the messiah. They needed prophesies for him to fulfil and they chose (among others) Isaiah 7:14. The text used by these early Christians was the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the original Hebrew where the word "'almah" is translated as "virgin". While "virgin" is a possible meaning of the word, an "'almah" is not necessarily a virgin, and can also be translated as "young woman". Isaiah was alive in the eighth century B.C. and the prophesy was made in the context of a political problem of King Ahaz of Judah, to provide him a sign from God regarding a political decision he had to make then, not regarding events that would take place 700 years after his death. C. Of course she wasn't a virgin. Divine spirits do not fertilise ova. Sperm does.

8. Did the prophet Mohammed split the moon?

A. Of course. The Quran says so. B. Of course not. If the moon was split into two satelites just over 1000 years ago and reassembled soon afterwards there would be an enormous amount of evidence, both on the moon and in tidal anomalies around the world. There is no such evidence.

9. Did the corpse of the Buddhist martyr Ichadon bleed milk instead of blood, and did his decapitated head fly to the sacred Geumgang mountains, and did the earth shake and flowers fall from the sky, proving that the heavens approved of Buddhism?

A. Of course. It is a well-known part of Korean history. B. Of course not.

10. What will happen after you die?

A. I will go to live with God in heaven. B. I will cease to exist, my body awaiting resurrection, when I will live with Jesus in the New Jerusalem, or in an Eden-like garden on the New Earth, where there is no sadness and everyone lives forever. C. I and my wife/wives will become the gods of a new planet, which we will seed with human children, just as God seeded Earth with Adam and Eve. D. I will cease to exist.

11. What will happen at the end of the universe?

A. Jesus said He will return to establish the kingdom of God before the last of those with him would die. There is, somewhere in the world, a Wandering Jew, a man who has been alive for two thousand years and cannot die until Jesus has returned. When Jesus returns He will build a massive city, and all who believe in Him will live in it. They will live forever, and there will be no sadness and no disease. B. The world will be destroyed, and we will live forever in heaven, or hell. C. The saviour, Saoshyant, will be born to a virgin. There will be a great battle between the forces of good and evil. Good will triumph. Saoshyant will bring back the dead from heaven and hell for final judgement. Everyone will wade through a river of molten metal and the righteous will not burn; they will become immortal. The river will flow down into hell, and destroy the last evil in the universe. Mountains will flatten and valleys will rise. Heaven will descend to the moon, and the earth will rise to meet it. D. In several billion years, the expansion of the universe will have reached such an extent that molecules will no longer be able to form, and energy will be so widely dispersed that the universe will be extremely cold. But life will not have been supportable long before this, so we will not be there to witness the universe's cold demise.

Your answers and your thoughts ought to let you know where you are on the spectrum with the first choice usually being the more fundamentalist, and the last being the more rational.

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