The Prestige

Remember The Prestige?  That awesome movie?  Remember how the phrase “the prestige” refers to when they reveal the end of the trick and it’s awesome?  Well this is the answers to the quiz, so it’s kinda like that.  Now I’m burning up precious words here, so I’m going to cut right to the answers.

If you haven’t taken the quiz yet, don’t be a douche by reading this first.  

FAIR WARNING: This post is really fucking long.  Like almost 4000 words long.

1. Which Bible figure is most associated with leading the exodus from Egypt?
    Moses.  Duh.

2. What was Mother Teresa’s religion?
    Catholic.  Also duh.  Interestingly though, Mother Teresa was not the angel she’s made out to be.  As Christopher Hitchens put it, “Mother Teresa was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.”  Also, according to her own memoirs, she had entirely lost her faith for the last fifty years of her life, so maybe she’s not the greatest example of doing good through religion.  I know it won’t be popular to say this, but she was not a nice person.

Hitchens’ clever title aside, you would not believe the shit that comes up when you search for this.

3. Which of the following (rape, child abuse, genocide, slavery) is forbidden in the Ten Commandments?
    The answer’s none of them.  There’s a whole crap ton of stuff about how God is a jealous God, and how you can worship him and him only, and also how you can’t be jealous of anyone else’s stuff, and brief mentions of murder, adultery, and theft, but none of those other things are mentioned.  In fact, there are actually instructions for selling your daughters into slavery.  And rape is freaking everywhere in the Bible.  As is genocide.

4. Which of the following (building idols of natural objects, misusing the name of God, the Golden Rule, keeping the Sabbath holy) is NOT addressed in the Ten Commandments?
    Just the Golden Rule.  The only one that’s an actual moral imperative.  So when you hear people telling you that our laws are based on the Ten Commandments, punch them in the face.  Because hey, assault isn’t in there either.

5. The Jewish Sabbath begins on Friday at sunset and ends Saturday at sunset.

6. Ramadan is the Islamic holy month.

7. What does the Catholic Church teach about communion?

    The Catholic Church teaches that the wafer and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ.  It’s not when it goes in, and I don’t think it is when it comes out (though I’m not sure anyone’s checked), but somewhere along the line, it becomes the actual flesh of Christ.  There is no effort made to address whether one can eventually run out of Jesus pieces since a billion people eat a bite every week, or where they come from since the actual body of Christ was resurrected, or WHY IN THE HELL IT’S OK TO PHYSICALLY EAT YOUR GOD, but there you have it.
It’s funny because it’s true.  Though to be fair, the wafers are raw.
8. Vishnu and Shiva are from Hinduism.

9. Job is the one who stays faithful despite suffering.

10. Joseph Smith was a Mormon.

11. According to the Supreme Court, a public school teacher may NOT do which of these things?
    Lead a class in prayer.  People love to get all hyped up over separation of church and state, claiming that the government is trying to ban every appearance of the Bible in every public place and thus turn their children to a life of sorcery and debauchery.  This is not true.  A teacher can read from the Bible, teach it as literature, or teach about religions, you just can’t preach it as a religion.

12. Most people in Pakistan are Muslims.

13. Martin Luther inspired the Protestant Reformation.

14. The Bible frames the concept of “The Golden Rule” as follows: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Which of the following texts (Buddhist Mahabharata, Babylonian Talmud, Analects of Confucius, Tibetan Dhammapada, Muslim Hadith) also mentions such a creed?
    All of them.  Every single one.  The Golden Rule, what they may tell you, does not belong to the Christians.  Atheists such as myself would say that reciprocal altruism is a natural effect of evolution, but regardless, it shows up in the Talmud a thousand years before it shows up in the Bible.
Almost . . .
15. When was the phrase “under God” added to the Pledge of Allegiance?
    1954.  And it wasn’t because we were all so gosh darn happy about Jesus we couldn’t contain it anymore, it was because of those DAMN COMMIES and their state-enforced atheism (that they didn’t have, by the way) threatening our very existence with their commie-ness.  We were so overcome by national red-hating fervor that we added that to the pledge.  It’s younger then lots of people still alive, it’s not a fundamental part of our national identity, and it really shouldn’t be there.
16. The author of the quote “question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must greater approve of the homage to Reason that to that of blindfolded fear” was?
    Jefferson.  The founding fathers were mostly deists and were all ferociously dedicated to keeping religion out of government.  You can see the “Christian nation” concept cracking a little.
17. True or False: the phrase “The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” is in a legal treaty from 1797.
    True.  It’s in the Treaty of Tripoli, drafted and signed by George Washington and John Adams.  And there goes that whole “Christian nation” thing.
18. According to John Adams, “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there was no _______ in it.”
    Religion.  You know, for dedicated Christians, those founders were sure good at hiding it.
19. According to the Bible, is there any sin that cannot be forgiven?
    The answer’s yes.  Mark 3:29 pretty clearly lays out, “but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”  If Christians bug you about how it’s not too late and you can still be saved, remember that and then you can get rid of them.
20. According to the Bible, what are the consequences of a woman wearing a man’s clothes?
You know what, I can see how God wouldn’t want this kind of distraction around.
21. According to the Bible, may women speak in church?
    No.  They may not.  First Corinthians 14:34.  Also 1 Timothy 2:11-12 has some choice words about women.
22. According to the Bible, was man created before the animals or the other way around?
    Yes!  See, in Genesis 1, humans were the last things to be created, and then way way later in Genesis 2, it’s the other way around.  Those two are like a whole PAGE apart, you wouldn’t expect them to agree.
23. According to the Koran, can non-believers be good people?
    No.  They can’t.  And if you don’t believe me, here’s hundreds of examples.
24. According to the Koran, you can’t marry a non-believer.  Not allowed.
25. According to the Koran, Muslims killed Jesus and made the Jews think they did.  It’s verse 4:157.
26. Women are worth half of what men are worth.  2:282.
27. Well according to 16:67, booze is totally sweet and everyone should have some, but then in 2:219, it’s all sinful and stuff.  What’s up with that?
We’ve all been conflicted.
28. According to the Koran, is there anything Allah can’t do?
    Again, kind of a big one.  You’d think that this is one of the plot inconsistencies that should have been ironed out in the final edit, or in the first one since the Koran is supposed to be actually dictated directly from Allah, but again, 35:1 says “Allah is able to do all things” and 6:100-101 says he can’t possibly have a child.  Link.
29. Which of the following major religious texts (Old Testament, New Testament, Koran) condemns slavery?
    None of them.  We’ve come a long way since the Bronze Age, as evidenced in part by the fact that we no longer think it’s ok to own other people.  Hell, remember Lincoln?  The great emancipator?  He said this: 

“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races . . . there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality . . . there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

The point is that even in the last 150 years, things have changed.  We don’t (most of us) see homosexuality as a disease anymore.  We don’t think women should have their political rights stripped from them.  And we don’t beat kids in the classroom.  Usually.  So does it really make sense to take our moral lessons from a book written thousands of years ago by a bunch of Bronze Age goat-herders?  No.
30. According to official Catholic doctrine, ordaining a woman as a priest is . . .
   Oh this is a good one.  The answer’s D, which many of you may have thought was a joke answer, albeit one in poor taste, and which reads ” . . . on par with raping little boys.”  Yes.  Now, the actual text of the announcement, released July 15 of this year, lists the things that are now considered by the Church to be delicta graviora, the gravest crimes that a Catholic can commit.  It was revised to make the punishment for raping little boys more serious, but if you read down the list, you’ll find “attempted ordination of women” nestled in there nicely.  Why do more people not know about this?
More importantly, why the hell are any women still Catholic?
31. Galileo Galilei stood trial for heresy in 1633 for saying that the Earth orbited the Sun. The Catholic Church convicted him and forced him to redact his conclusions. When did the Church apologize for that treatment?
   1992.  I put the Windows 3.1 reference in there to throw you, since it had nothing to do with it, but seriously.  1992.  Three hundred and fifty nine years after the fact.  Score.

32.  For centuries, the Catholic Church collectively blamed the Jewish people for the death of Jesus Christ. When did that change?
    Again, the most recent one, 1965.  That means that all the way through the Holocaust, the Church was firmly behind Hitler’s motivations, and in fact one archbishop designated a national day of thanks when the precious Fuhrer escaped an assassination attempt.

33. Jesus said that lust is equivalent to adultery.  Not close, equal.  Having sexy thoughts in your head, something that (in my experience) is not actually voluntary, is just as bad as physically putting your penis in a married woman.  That seems reasonable.

34. Which of these statements is accredited to Jesus in the Bible?
    Your choices here were:

“I have come to bring peace, not a sword” 

“I have not come to bring peace, but a sword”

Very close, certainly, but easy because Jesus was all about peace and love and happiness, right?
HAHA no.  The correct answer is the second one, clarified in Matthew 10:34.  Jesus does not come to bring peace.  Ok, you say, fine.  But maybe it’s metaphorical, right?  Maybe he’s just talking about radical overhaul, change we can believe in, that kind of thing.  He doesn’t actually want us to hate each other, does he?
Which brings us to number 35.  

35. According to Jesus, can someone who loves his family be a disciple?
    I’m just going to take a play out of the Christian book and quote the Bible directly, specifically Luke 15:26, which says, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”  He seems like such a nice guy.
36-39.  All the quotes
    Every one of those is Hitler.  It’s a very common argument, when atheists talk about how much death and destruction has been caused by religion, for religious people to bring up Hitler.  The argument is that Hitler was an atheist and he caused lots of death, so atheism must be just as bad as religion.  I’m not sure why being “no worse than Hitler” is a good thing, or even “better than Hitler” since let’s face it, that’s not a high bar, but there you have it.  The problem here is twofold.  First, even if we accept that Hitler was an atheist, that doesn’t mean that atheism was the driving force behind his actions.  After all, he went after Jews but not Muslims.  He went after gays, and they don’t have a common religion.  Oh, and he actually outlawed atheist groups in 1933.  And besides, there is no logical path from atheism to genocide, but the logical path from religion to genocide is all too clear.  Your god is the only true god, people of all other religions are going to hell, and your holy book specifically tells you to kill them, so there you go.

Would you mind awfully if we hacked you to pieces?

The second and far more serious problem is that Hitler wasn’t an atheist.  He was a Catholic, and made no effort to hide or diminish it.  Here’s a full list of religious Hitler quotes, but if you’d like a sample, consider:

“I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.”

“This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious belief.”

“Any violence which does not spring from a spiritual base, will be wavering and uncertain. It lacks the stability which can only rest in a fanatical outlook.”

Those seem pretty damn clear, but wait!  There’s more!  In a letter to Gerhard Engel in 1941, Hitler wrote, “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.”  Done and done.  And besides, it’s irrelevant because Hitler didn’t personally kill that many people, and the Nazi soldiers who did were, for the most part, Catholic or Protestant.  So even if religion didn’t drive the Third Reich (it did), it certainly didn’t stop its participants from roasting human beings alive.

40. The Pope said that condoms make the spread of AIDS worse.  He’s wrong, and an idiot, but that’s what he said.  Specifically, he said, “You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms.  On the contrary, it increases the problem.”  Now, condoms obviously won’t stop the spread of AIDS all by themselves, but they sure as hell help and the Pope doesn’t.  UPDATE: The Pope has now said that condom use, even if it prevents a pregnancy, is better than transmitting AIDS to another person.  The words “seismic,” “game-changer,” and “groundbreaking” have been used.  Yeah.  The most powerful religious force in the world has now said that the act of not having a baby is preferable to infecting fellow humans with an incurable virus.  Let’s throw them a ticker-tape parade.  They said that “someone determined to do something wrong may be showing a glimmer of moral common sense by not doing that wrong thing in the worst possible way.”  Let’s burn their name on the surface of the fucking moon.  You know what?  Call me when they agree to pay taxes like everyone else.  Let me know when they start giving some of their mind-boggling wealth to people who need it, or letting women be seen as equals, or treating gays like human beings.  Send me a quick email when they agree to subject their members to civil courts like the rest of the world, or when they stop moving them around to cover up crimes, or when they stop RAPING PRE-ADOLESCENT CHILDREN.  You think this is groundbreaking?  This is fucking meaningless.

And now the science questions.  I put these in mostly to show that not only do people not know anything about religion, religious history, religious officials or the current state of all these things, people don’t know anything about science either.

41. The Earth goes around the Sun.  20% of American’s don’t know that.

42. 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water.

43. The tides are caused by both the moon and the Sun.  When they line up, it’s called a spring tide, and when they conflict, it’s a neap tide, but yes, both of them.  A lot of people don’t even know that the Moon causes tides, let alone both.

44. Lasers do not work by focusing sound waves.  They work by focusing light.  You may know that, seeing as how you’ve never heard a laser, and you (and cats) do see them, but 68% of women and 39% of men got that wrong.

45. Electrons are smaller than atoms because they’re part of atoms.  That’s pretty obvious if you know what either of those things is.  A lot of people apparently don’t.

46. Radioactivity is not man-made.  Some of it is, like plutonium and nuclear waste (and that’s debatable), but the vast majority is natural.

47. Humans and dinosaurs did not co-exist.  Ever.  Not even close, as a matter of fact, since the meteorite impact that killed the dinosaurs happened 65 million years ago and human beings didn’t come into being until, depending where you draw the line, about 100,000 years ago.  In fact, the leading theory is that there wasn’t a niche for mammals to get bigger than about rat size until a) the planet cooled down from the asteroid impact and b) all the huge toothy reptiles were dead.  After that slot opened up, evolution kicked in and mammals turned into what we are now.
    Unfortunately, some people can’t leave that there.  Some people are determined that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago, despite there being literally no evidence of that.  They also, rather than saying that the dinosaur fossils were put there by God to give the appearance of age to the Earth, say that the dinosaurs coexisted with humans.  And so you get this.

That is a photo of an exhibit from the Creation Museum that shows some kind of cave person hanging out with what is obviously a man-sized predator and totally not getting his throat ripped out.  The same museum has exhibits of small dinosaurs wearing saddles and—I swear I am not making this up—actual clothing.  They have a lot of money and moronic Kentuckian Baptists love the damn place.

48. The seasons are caused by the tilt of the Earth.  I’m not explaining it, look it up.  The reason I put this in is that most people think that it’s caused by the distance from the Earth to the Sun, and I will explain that.  The Earth’s orbit is pretty close to circular, but not quite.  When it’s closest to the Sun, it’s called perihelion, and that’s a distance of 91,402,505 miles.  Aphelion is when it’s farthest away, and that’s 94,509,130 miles.  That’s a fluctuation of roughly 1-2%, which is not enough to account for the seasons. In addition, seasons happen at different times in the northern and southern hemisphere, whereas if it was a distance thing it’d be at the same time.  And to put the nail in that, the closest we get to the sun is roughly January 4th.  When it’s cold.

49. And finally, shooting stars.  They are not stars.  That’s retarded.  The closest star to us is the Sun, and it’s about 93 million miles away.  The next closest star to that is Proxima Centauri, and it’s 25 million million miles away, and it just goes up from there.  I did some rough math and for a star as far away as Alpha Centauri to move across the sky as fast as it does, it would have to be moving at 55 million times the speed of light, which seems unlikely.
    What does happen is that little bits of rock get in the way of the Earth’s orbit and then pulled into Earth’s atmosphere by gravity.  A lot of people think that friction heats the rock and it glows, but that’s not right either.  What happens is that Earth’s atmosphere gets exponentially thicker as you get closer to the surface, and when you’re a tiny rock moving tens of thousands of miles an hour, it’s like hitting a wall.  The air can’t move out of the way, and so it gets massively compressed, and then heats up a lot.  That hot air, as it moves past the rock, heats it to glowing.  That’s what you see.  When the meteor goes out, it’s because the rock has burned down so far that it’s not moving fast enough to heat the air anymore.

Now this is where the atheist questions kick in, and I’m going to try to be quick with them.

50. Atheism is the disbelief in any God of any kind.  Anything beyond the natural world.  That generally leads to scientific skepticism in lots of areas, but that’s atheism.

51. Atheists do not have a shared set of beliefs, other than that there is no God.  We do not have an agenda, or any political beliefs that come as a necessary part of atheism.  We are not a guerilla movement trying to turn your children into hedonistic satan-worshippers.  Calm the fuck down.

52. Atheists believe that a) everything we need to know about how the world works was laid out by Charles Darwin, b) that everything we need to know about the world can be explained by science, or c) that Richard Dawkins is infallible.
    The answer here is none of the above.  These are all straw man arguments used to make atheists sound as irrational and dogmatic as the religious.  They are stupid.

53. Evolution addresses only the development from less complex life to more complex.  It does not have anything at all to do with the origin of the universe, or the origin of the Earth, or the origin of life from non-life, and as such any arguments pointing out how it doesn’t address any of those things and is thus a bad theory are moronic.  That’s like saying that you shouldn’t use the theory of gravity to send a satellite into space because it won’t tell you what color tie to wear.  That’s not what it’s for.

And I just realized that number 54 is pretty redundant, so never mind.  It’s the third one.

Now, I’m sure a lot of people have questions about the test questions and the answers, but that’s why I GAVE YOU MY EMAIL ADDRESS.  It’s in the contact tab at the top of the page.  Also, you can take it up in the comments.

Now you’re all smarter people.

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