a poll concerning reader demographics.

This is an anonymous poll. If you choose to participate, nobody will be able to see which option you picked.

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37 thoughts on “a poll concerning reader demographics.

  1. Brian J. says:

    Agnostic differs significantly from atheist.

    Man, I hate getting lumped in with those guys.

    • Tam says:

      BrianJ,

      Not really, no.

      I, for instance, am Aunicornist.

      I really don’t give unicorns a lot of thought. I have no experiences in my life that require me to posit the existence of a unicorn. My life does not revolve around the lack of unicorns in this world. If a unicorn were to trot across my front yard now, I would say “Huh. Look! A unicorn.”

      Now, would we substitute “gnosis” or “theos” for “unicorn” if we wanted to keep the meaning and ssentence structure of what I just wrote above intact?

    • Marko Kloos says:

      The difference between “agnostic” and “atheist” is semantic hairsplitting. In my experience, the former term is almost exclusively used by people who want to avoid the societal stigma associated with the latter term.

      • Brian J. says:

        I am not omniscient; there are limits to my reason and my experience. There is a possibility that something lies outside that which might be a god.

        Think of it in terms of colorblindness. Just because one cannot see green does not mean that there is not green. A lot of people tell you green exists because of their perception and experience. To be an agnostic is to admit the possibility of green. To be a theist is to say green exists. To be an atheist is to be colorblind and to think people who experience green are delusional. Green is just the impact of a certain wavelength of light reflected and received by rods and cones. It’s not green at all.

        That metaphor breaks down because we who are not color blind have direct experience of green to some extent. Conceptually, though, I think it’s apt.

        Agnosticism is openness to the possibility that the sum of experience and reason are not complete. Maybe I’m using the term wrong, as I am admittedly using it without deep knowledge of historical agnostic thinkers.

        • Tam says:

          There is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be physically detected that everyone else tells me they see as “green”. This hypothetical color, which I cannot see, explains various physical effects which I can see at second hand and measure myself with actual instruments. Further, were I to insist that this thing you call “green” doesn’t exist, I would be proven conclusively and fatally wrong at the next intersection.

          And thus fails the analogy.

        • Al Terego says:

          “And thus fails the analogy.”

          Yes, and the rebuttal.

          Can’t use science to prove/disprove that which ain’t scientific. Unless of course you’re a “scientologist”…which is conspicuously absent from the list, by the way. Hmmm.

          AT

        • og says:

          Trust me, there are atheists, and there are agnostics. There are also anti-theists, a subset of atheism. I can point to the effects of atheism and agnosticism and antitheism, so by your analogy, they do indeed exist.

        • Brian J. says:

          You have quite shot through the admittedly fallible metaphor, but you missed its point.

          You’ve reached, by reason, the conclusion that God does not exist. That conclusion comes from experience and from arguments both by you and by others. Now, which source of that knowledge is infallible?

          In all of these cases, there might exist some blind spot, some datum not yet found or shared. That single datum could throw off the arguments and conclusions.

          I am not arguing for inductive reasoning here or for otherworldly revelation of the datum. I’m just saying I recognize that evidence towards the existence of a God or not is incomplete and I remain unconvinced either way.

          I’m standing at the table and watching people betting on Pascal’s wager, but I don’t feel the need to put my money down.

        • Tam says:

          Brian,

          You have quite shot through the admittedly fallible metaphor, but you missed its point.

          True, and I should have scrolled down a little more before typing my response. :)

          You’ve reached, by reason, the conclusion that God does not exist.

          No, that is incorrect.

          Allow me to return to my unicorn analogy.

          I have not seen any evidence of the existence of unicorns. Nor have I encountered any phenomena in my life that require me to posit the existence of a hypothetical unicorn to explain them.

          While I will grant that it is indeed possible that in some corner of this world there exists an undiscovered horse-like quadruped with a single horn, it’s not something I waste a lot of time or thought on. Further, I find it extremely unlikely that Europe was, in recent and historical times, overrun with magical monoceroid horses with an affinity for virgins. But again, it’s not like I’m organizing my life in any way that you could describe my “A-unicornism” as a “belief system” any more than you could my “A-quxzlplikism”.

          (What’s a quxzlplik, you ask? I dunno; lots of people seem to believe in them, but they all describe them differently. Do you believe in them, or are you an Aquxzlplikist, too? Haven’t devoted a lot of thought to it you say? Tough; it’s your belief! Not believing in a quxzlplik is qualitatively the same as believing in a quxzlplik!)

        • Brian J. says:

          So you’re an atheist in the mold that’s not the antitheist strain that has taken over the definition of the word?

        • Tam says:

          That depends; one man’s “agnostic” is another’s “antitheist”.

          For myself, it matters not to me whether my neighbor worships no gods or a dozen, so long as it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

        • Marko Kloos says:

          And that’s the single best dismantling of the “Atheism is a religion too” argument I’ve read in a very long time.

        • og says:

          “And that’s the single best dismantling of the “Atheism is a religion too” argument I’ve read in a very long time.”

          Wow, I got some people you need to meet. The pushiest Jehova’s witness I ever knew (And boy, have I known some) isn’t as full of self righteous proselytizing about the “Truth” of their “cause” as the average garden variety atheist.

        • LabRat says:

          Defining something as a religion based on the vociferousness of its proponents as opposed to an organized system of beliefs is surprisingly unflattering to the religious, coming from you.

        • Laughingdog says:

          That’s always been my opinion of the difference.

          Agnostics basic belief structure: “Maybe there is a God. Maybe not. Either way, It doesn’t really change how I plan to live.”

          Atheists basic belief structure: “There is no God! Why do you believe in God!?! If you don’t stop believing in God, you are an idiot.”

          Of those two, the latter has a lot more in common with the stereotypical fundamentalist.

        • Al Terego says:

          More subjective definition. Here’s some of Webster’s take:

          Religion: A personal set or system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Scrupulous conformity. A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.

          By all of those standards, aquxzlplik and especially antiquxzlplik seem to qualify. Whether not believing in a quxzlplik is a religion is simply a matter of what *you* believe religion is.

          And the time-worn MSM gambit of running (hardly random) “polls” to reinforce a presupposed result and to invite derisive comment and circle-nods from the kool kids, also does not seem to support the contention that atheism/anti-theism is quite the uninvolved third-party “hey I was just standin’ here mindin’ my own business” status being claimed.

          Proselytize? There’s another one for Mr. Webster.

          AT

        • Tam says:

          It takes an awful presumptuous sonofabitch to believe he can read another’s mind.

          Don’t bother fishin’ for a response, either, ’cause you’ve already got more of one than you deserve.

        • Al Terego says:

          Not reading minds, just a sometimes brilliant, sometimes predictable blog. Can’t argue the presumptuous sonofabitch thing though; rather I embrace it, and it has served me well.

          God save us all from getting what we actually “deserve”. And of course non-response is its own response. :)

          AT

    • BobG says:

      I consider myself an apathetic agnostic…don’t know, don’t care.

  2. karrde says:

    Interesting.

    [sarcasm]What, no sub-categories for the other branches of Orthodox? Nor for Eastern-rite Catholics? No sub-sub-categories for Mainline Protestant vs. not-denominationally-affiliated-Protestant? What about the distinction between Reformed/Conservative Jews? Sunni/Shi’a Muslim? Mahayana/Zen Buddhism?[/sarcasm]

    In all seriousness, the poll is pretty complete, with the possible exception of the distinction between agnosticism and atheism.

    And, if the poll had a dozen more categories, it would be much more likely to be ignored by viewers.

  3. BTW…you might want to change “Christian – Greek Orthodox” to “Christian – Eastern Orthodox” to allow it to include the Orthodox Christians of Russia and various other Slavic countries of Eastern Europe.

  4. Peter says:

    I don’t believe in organized religion, but I have faith.

  5. abnormalist says:

    Raised Catholic, mostly aggnostic/humanistic.

    Best summarized as “Perhaps there is a big powerful being out there doing something, and perhaps there is an afterlife, but if there is I wont know until I die. So in the meantime I’m not going to sweat it, I will treat my fellow humans with great respect until they show me they don’t deserve it, and I will live a life I am proud to call my own.”

  6. Charles says:

    To make it meaningful, please show us the ‘n’ if the poll makes t available.

  7. jbrock says:

    Nominally Roman Catholic, and getting more nominal every day. “Agnostic” wouldn’t be too much of a streatch; capital-A Atheist would, because (what I see as) “movement” Atheism’s left-authoritarian bent makes me really twitchy.

    I actually put in “Other: Crypto-humanist” because it’s the most accurate label I can think of for where I am right now.

  8. cybrus says:

    Proud, and practicing, member of the Church of Buffett, Orthodox.

  9. MarkHB says:

    I guess these days I’m an apatheist. The question is no longer interesting, and the answer no longer matters.

  10. Kaerius says:

    I consider myself a secular humanist. *shrug*

    I admit I sometimes find myself with an antitheist bent, especially when discussions like this pop up, and when the righteous do stupid/evil things. I don’t care what religion they subscribe to, I dislike the nutjobs with equal measure wether they’re christian, jewish, muslim, or hindu.

    You could say I dislike organized religion, for their history and potential to be abused, but as for the actual existance of any deities, I don’t give a fart, in much the same way as Tam’s Aunicornist “belief”.

    • Außenseiter says:

      Average where? Maybe the US midwest ones have a siege mentality.

      People I know, here in the EU, no one bothers to proselytize or argue with believers.

      There’s no point. All discussion with those possesed by faith eventually ends up with them asserting that pile of contradictions is in some manner ‘true’ or worthy of consideration.

      There’s lots of far better and more thoughtful philosophy. Said philosophy isn’t that heavy on comforting lies though.

  11. wrm says:

    Church of Saint John of Ogden?

  12. Lemuel says:

    I’m guessing worshipping our Dread Lord Cthulhu would fall under pagan?

  13. Matt in Portland says:

    Shocking… well not really considering the quantity of Libertarian ideas. I wasn’t expecting so many Athiest/Agnostics. Just because you don’t believe in God doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in you. (Run’s away quickly)

    I just don’t debate Christianity anymore, it’s too frustrating after all these years. I’m going to keep enjoying the writings, the adventures in parenthood, and the struggle with castle frostbite.

    Sincerely,
    Matt the very out of place hetero, white, married with two kids, going to church, conservative in an overly anti God, wacko-liberal town of Portland OR. :)

  14. RevolverRob says:

    I originally chose agnostic/atheist, but after further review, I have joined the Church of Steve the Intergalactic Fruit Bat. “Thou shall not be a douchebag.”

    -Rob

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