Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sikh or be found

Theorizing Religion '16 began today - a nice group, good discussion. But preparing for it this morning I encountered what looked to be a big problem: the Belief-O-Matic online religion quiz I've used the last few years to break the ice wasn't working! But sometimes when God closes a door he opens a window. I found someone had copied the whole thing into a website of their own! So the twenty questions, with their rangy answers and the bar for indicating how important a given issue was to you, were all there - and the algorithm, too, which offered a breakdown of religious affinities supposedly disclosed (sample at right, from a student who'd never heard of Sikhism). So we were able to have the playful discussion I wanted after all. But the website doesn't just reproduce the (un-named) Belief-O-Matic. It bundles it with two other quizzes, to which you are directed, as appropriate, by your answer to a very loaded question posed before you even get to
Belief-O-Matic's: Are you already certain that you don't believe in a god or gods? If you answer Yes, you're directed to the Godless-O-Meter. 22 questions tell you your affinities with a passel of pantheists, atheists, agnostics, iconoclasts, deists, ignostics (?) but also Theravada Buddhists, Taoists, UU (shared with the Belief-O-Matic), and even Confucians. Another link takes you to an Ethical Philosophy Selector.

Now I don't actually know which of these quizzes came first. At least when I first discovered it, Belief-O-Matic was clearly described as "Powered by SelectSmart," the website where the Spiritual Belief System Selector and its buddies now reside. Does it matter?

Are you already certain that you don't believe in a religion or religions?

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