OK, I’ll share my scores from Belief-O-Matic, the online test that asks you a bunch of questions and tries to guess your religion.
1. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (100%)
2. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (87%)
3. Eastern Orthodox (87%)
4. Roman Catholic (87%)
5. Seventh Day Adventist (84%)
6. Orthodox Quaker (79%)
7. Jehovah’s Witness (78%)
8. Orthodox Judaism (72%)
9. Baha’i Faith (69%)
10. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (67%)
11. Islam (63%)
It got me right. I think I know which questions cranked up the Mormon score. One of the questions asks if works are required. It’s an incomplete question. Are works required for salvation? The answer is no. Are works expected of us? Yes–faith without works is dead. I’m guessing that’s what cranked up the Seventh-Day Adventist score as well. I’m much closer to them than I am to the Mormons, but I know I’m closer to being an Orthodox Quaker than I am to either of those religious bodies. I know the reason I didn’t score higher there was that I didn’t take a strong stance on nonviolence, and I did take a strong stance on the sacraments.
Obviously, in cases of a tie, Beliefnet returns the results in alphabetical order. I have no qualms about going to a Roman Catholic service, and the idea of going to an Eastern Orthodox service doesn’t bother me (I’ve just never had reason to). But I would not go to a Mormon service, under any circumstances. Its teachings on the origin and nature of God are wrong, its teachings on the divinity of Christ are wrong, its teachings on heaven and hell are wrong, and caffeine is God’s gift to help people like me get through the morning.
I found that I didn’t like some of the questions. They were good enough to distinguish between polytheistic and monotheistic religions, and from there, between eastern and western polytheism. In my case, they were able to distinguish between Judeo-Christian monotheism and Islam. I think the reason Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox ranked high is because of my Lutheran background. I find fewer fundamental differences between Lutherans and Roman Catholics than I do between Lutherans and Baptists. I’m more at home at a Baptist church service than I am at a Catholic mass, but I’m much less likely to get into an argument while talking theology with a Roman Catholic than I am a Baptist.
The 63% score on Islam bothers me, but I suspect it’s the result of my monotheism, belief in heaven, certain stances on social issues, and my grudging acknowledgment that works are required (but I disagree with Islam on why the works are required and what they get you after you die).
What am I really? I’m a conservative Lutheran with strong evangelical tendencies and an intense regret that there are multiple Christian denominations. In conservative Lutheran circles that makes me a flaming liberal, but that’s OK. I believe that mainline Christian denominations are more or less equally wrong, in that none of us gets all the details right, but there aren’t any teachings in mainline Christianity that’ll keep you out of heaven. I believe that a Lutheran interpretation of scripture will get the majority of people to heaven with fewer scars than other Christian interpretations, but if you believe that Jesus Christ died to save you from your sins and that’s the only reason God could/would/should let you into heaven, then you can believe just about anything else you want and still go to heaven. You might adversely affect your life here in the process, but our life on earth isn’t God’s highest priority.
So, what would be an accurate ranking for me? Something more like this:
1. Conservative Christian Protestant
2. Roman Catholic
2. Orthodox Quaker (There are elements I love about both of them, but both would say I have serious disagreements with them)
4. Eastern Orthodox
5. Mainline Christian Protestant
6. Seventh Day Adventist
7. Orthodox Judaism
8. Liberal Christian Protestant
9. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormoms)
9. Jehovah’s Witnesses (I have similar problems with both of them. They’re cults.)
11. Baha’i Faith (essentially monotheistic universalism–it’s a big stretch)
12. Islam (don’t get me started.)
I remember doing this awhile back. Didn’t keep the exact results, but they were pretty accurate. I rated highest as a mainline to liberal Christian protestant. They incl. mainline Anglicans/Episcopalians there, which is what I am (tho’ many of us don’t consider ourselves protestant in the same way that others of that category do – we think of ourselves as catholic, just not Roman Catholic 😉 Also scored fairly high on Quakerism, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic.
The odd one for me was a sorta high score on Unitarian Universalism. While I’ve met many fine Unitarians, the denomination doesn’t appeal to me. Too vague and full of politically-correct “Liberalism” as far as I can tell…
Here’s a question that I admit I do not know enough about –
Roman Catholic – Reading the various pamphlets given out at some Catholic churches and schools about Mary and different saints has led me to a queasy feeling that some Catholics ascribe certain more than human “powers” to different saints and to Mary. In the case of the saints and the variety of powers that some Catholics truly believe the Saints can influence (or intercede with God for the supplicant, who essentially worships an image of the saint and is praying to the saint, not to God)- Is this not essentially the same as a pantheon of gods and demi-gods? If so, how can this be Christianity and how is this truly different from many aspects of ancient Greek and Roman belief?
If someone knows about this, I’d like their thoughts.
I’ve seen a traveling shrine to Mary in
a local Catholic school as well the the children’s reaction to it (and statments about the powers of Mary) that sure make me think of “heathen” belief, not of Christianity.
Well, Dave, I had very similiar results as you, although I differ 1% more as a liberal christian protestant overall, but still as 100% conservative. Ironically we both know, I’m a tad more conservative due to my background exposure and the type of churches where we go.
Now the mistake the quiz has is the description. Of christian religions, there are basically three belief groups: catholic, lutheran, and protestant. Of course, each will break down into their own range of denominations, from liberal to conservative.
Back in college some 20 years ago, our sociology class gave a quiz and I fell into the lutheran category. Despite what we hear about some other denominations, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was considered the far right of the scale in beliefs. Surprisingly now, I also compare with several orthodox views. Just leave the icons on my desktop. :-}
Bruce, yes, some Catholics do ascribe too much to Mary. A Catholic priest once explained to me that “prayer to saints” is asking dead saints to pray for us. To which I say the Bible is pretty clear that Son and Holy Spirit already do that for us, and there are plenty of still-living saints right around us. At my church they run around before and after the service with red badges on and they’ll pray with anyone.
But painting with a broad brush that says all Roman Catholics worship Mary and other saints as near-gods is incorrect. That’s not what the church body as a whole teaches, and it’s not what most of the Roman Catholics I know believe and practice.
And Murel, don’t forget Eastern Orthodox, which isn’t Protestant but definitely isn’t Roman Catholic. The Episcopals are like Lutherans in that they don’t fit neatly into the Protestant mold either.
And, yes, both the Lutheran Missouri and Wisconsin synods fall to the far right on any scale. I’m a flaming liberal in either of those camps, but put me in an Evangelical Lutheran Church of America setting, and I’m a flaming conservative.
And David, you’re right, Unitarian Universalism is very liberal and vague, which is what happens when you start with a notion that any belief system is true.
Well, Dave, calling Baha’i “Monotheistic universalism” indicates you know little about the Baha’i Faith, but then, neither did the beliefnet folks, so that’s ok.
Since Baha’i is (by Islamic terminology) a radical heretical sect of 12ver Islam (which isn’t all that bad a description,) basically, any brush you paint Islam with, you catch us too.
Someday, if we had a chance, I would love to hear you discuss salvation and grace. I suspect we would have interesting overlaps and digressions.
The Anglican church considers itself a catholic and apostolic church. Catholic meaning that we proclaim the whole Faith to all people, to the end of time. We also take catholic to mean Universal in a sense. Apostolic because it continues in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles and is sent to carry out Christ’s mission to all people. The basic stmts of our faith can be found in the words of the Nicene and Apostle’s Creeds.
We are also a liturgical church, since we have a std set of rituals/prayers/etc… for public worship. See the Book of Common Prayer for details.
More info on the Anglican Church can be found at Anglicans Online.
I got pegged as a Neo-Pagan 100%. I can’t remember what the rest were – I took the quiz yesterday.
I clocked in at:
Unitarian Universalism (100%)
Mailine To Liberal Christian Protestant (93%)
Secular Humanism (92%)
Although I tend to be more consevative in my politics than what the above scores show.
I don’t think there’s a meaningful way to gauge someone’s religious beliefs solely from their political beliefs, or vice-versa. I’ve known some very conservative Southern Baptists who are very liberal Democrats.
It’s not uncommon for a fiscal conservative to come out liberal in religion, especially people who swing closer to libertarianism. The same things that swing someone towards conservatism or libertarianism in politics have the tendency to swing you towards liberalism in religion.
If you don’t trust government as a big authority figure and your view of God is mostly as an authority figure, you’ll be a political conservative and a religious liberal.