Dennett Explains Pew Forum’s Religion Results

Philosopher Daniel C Dennett wrote this interesting piece about the confusing results of the Pew Forum’s religious knowledge survey. Why are Americans so uninformed about their own faiths? Because the knowledge that the modern world has prevents churches from informing their congregation the literal word of the the Bible. So they keep it all shrouded in mystery:

After Copernicus and the collapse of the idea that the Sun goes around the Earth, the idea that Heaven was Up There and Hell was Down Below had to be turned into metaphor. It is still potent imagery after several centuries, but it is treated as literally true by, well, hardly anybody.

Explore posts in the same categories: Ancient Superstition, Sketicism

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4 Comments on “Dennett Explains Pew Forum’s Religion Results”


  1. “… but it is treated as literally true by, well, hardly anybody.”

    If that sentence is meant to imply “hardly anybody” believes literal heaven up/ hell down, well I reject that. Millions and millions believe it. Google “screams of the damned from Hell’ and you’ll find sites that talk about the entrance ways to hell, and hearing screams from the tortured. These are devout evangelicals. Virtually everyone who believes the bible is literal also believes the locale of heaven and hell as traditionally dispensed.

    If religionists wanted to learn, to educate themselves about their religion they could read the bible. They wouldn’t need to depend on the smoke and mirrors of their shaman’s interpretation and cleansing of verse. But they don’t do that because they are lazy; because educating themselves on what their bible tells them, and about church history and about the myth they devote much of their lives mentally masturbating over is just too much trouble.

  2. Victor Says:

    They are lazy, that’s for sure. I do sense that there is also a feeling that they believe they’re not supposed to learn on their own. It probably depends on the denominations, but I’ve had someone say to me that I shouldn’t have read Dostoevsky on my own. That I should have sought out guidance, because it was too much to read without someone telling me what it means. I assume that mentality comes from a fearful religious upbringing. I dunno. I’ve tried to understand religious people, I really have. They’re just so damn weird.

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  4. Victor Says:

    Shit, you’re long winded. Just kill me now.


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