Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Judas you don't hear much about

While listening to a podcast on the history of the papacy (hosted by a guy who sounds like a cross between Clark Howard and Tyler Cowen--it's an acquired audible taste, but he's quite likable once you become accustomed to it), I wondered what the GSS could tell us about the clergy and their (a)theistic beliefs.

Turns out not a whole lot definitively, other than being able to point out the lack of evidence for much cynicism. From a sample size of 48, 47 say they "know God really exists and I have no doubts about it", while the 48th choose the response "while I have doubts, I feel that I do believe in God". Not many atheists or agnostics operating behind enemy lines.

GSS variables used: GOD, OCC80(176, 177)


Dan said...

When you raised this question I knew where to look because I had heard one bloviating on NPR, and...

Lo and behold, formally atheistic rabbis are a Thing. There is a whole branch of Judaism that is atheist, and it was founded more than 50 years ago!

Jewish anti-Israel groups have been a thing for quite some time, with J Street being a prominent example.

Audacious Epigone said...


You can only hide behind the truth for so long, hater!

Unfortunately the gss isn't fine-grained enough to assess Jewish religious leaders.

Anonymous said...

If I was looking for a priest, I wouldn't want one of the diehard "I am certain about god" types.

All you are going to get is more absolutism.

Look at the absolutist lovers of science, or even atheists, who are both incredibly annoying.

Skeptics = better people.

Audacious Epigone said...

Question everything (including the questioning of everything), then?

Anonymous said...

You're right that many American Jews are agnostics or atheists. However, Humanistic Judaism is a fringe phenomenon. Non-believing Jews who join synagogues usually choose among Reform, Conservative, or sometimes "Reconstructionist" because they are more common and more socially acceptable. Perfect theological adherence isn't expected, and almost no one will bother to notice if they show up for services only once or twice a year. Rather than join a Humanistic Jewish group, many non-believing Jews choose not to affiliate at all and wouldn't bother unless we had young children at home.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of God and proof:

A tiny majority, perhaps 1%, perhaps less, is certain God doesn't exist, and they are very angry and hateful towards those who are certain He does. The silliness and irony of the group's focus on and hatred of something they don't believe in completely escapes them.

Many atheists contend that an infinite number of universes all created themselves out of a "quantum vacuum." We happen to be in the "right one." "Who made God?" they chortle. As Professor John Lennox says, "If somebody made God, then He wouldn't be God, would He?"

Just so.