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View Diary: ARIS 2008 shows Numbers of U.S. Atheists and "No Religion"-ists Booming (91 comments)

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  •  Who asked him? (0+ / 0-)

    yes, part of being Catholic is listening to a certain guy who lives in Rome.

    Says who? The guy in Rome? His lackeys elsewhere?

    I know plenty of self-declared Catholics who deny the Pope's authority, and indeed think he's full of shit, on any number of topics, including (allegedly) centrally important theological ones. By your standards, they're not Catholics. By their standards, they are too.

    Exactly why are the Pope's standards more legitimate than theirs?

    you've done something that the Catholic church says is grounds for kicking you out.

    But you're presuming that a particular group of people has the definitive say as to who is Catholic and who isn't. That contention is roundly denied by lots of people who are adamant that they are Catholics.

    Why should we atheists bother to take sides in a dispute like that?

    You can self ID as a Catholic all you want. But I can self ID as a bird, too.

    Hell, no, I'm not a Catholic; I never have been. As for birds, if some social scientist decided to study the question "Which part of the animal kingdom do Americans think they belong to?", I would indeed record the answers of people who said they were birds.

    Now, if we're studying ornithology, those survey respondents would indeed not meet the technical definition of "bird." But religious demography is a very different thing than ornithology--among other things, the definitions of terms like "Catholic" are vastly less objective than anything in biology.

    Declaring Person X Catholic and Person Y not-Catholic requires accepting, a priori, that a particular entity has the authority to set standards for who's in and who's out. I don't see any objective basis to do that; and it certainly isn't something that I think demographers ought to be doing.

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