Heaven help us
Gene Weingarten is on vacation. This column originally appeared in 2010.
WASHINGTON -- A Pew Research Center poll has found that atheists and agnostics are more knowledgeable about religion than are people of faith. Many of my fellow atheists are smug about this, which is a shame. Gloating is arrogant. We should instead use our superior knowledge to patiently educate the rest of you nincompoops. I shall now take your questions about religion.
Q: Is the pope Catholic?
A: Serious questions, please. This is science.
Q: How is religion different from superstition?
A: Superstition is silly. Religion is not.
Q: But how can you tell the difference between them?
A: If it's what you believe, it's religion. If it's what the other guys believe, it's superstition.
Q: That's too glib.
A: OK, let me give you an example. Hindus and Jains worship Ganesha, an elephant-headed god who rides a mouse. Christians and Jews consider this quaint and adorable, and they are, of course, respectful of other faiths, but they know, deep down, that it is poppycock.