How Do You Reconcile Belief and Rationality - A Survey

Yesterday I wrote about how different atheists got their stripes, how we all came to the top of the religious mountain by our own path, and how we still all think differently and rationalize in our own ways. I created a survey of 6 questions to start a conversation about this topic. You can take the survey here, or over where I made it at Quibblo. It shouldn't take too long. I really value your input. Comments are also welcome, of course! :)

I tried to add a question about superstition but I ran out of time. So feel free to comment on if you're superstitious or not, and/or atheist/religious! Thanks muchly!

Click more for the results:

How Do You Reconcile Belief and Rationality?

1. What is your current religious view?
2. Regarding religion, how were you raised?
religious, casual
religious, strict
3. Has your religious belief system changed since childhood?
Drastically different - lost religious beliefs
4. If you are an atheist, which category best describes you?
Dissonant 2- grew up a believer and was torn over the incompatibility between faith and rationality. Struggled with it.
5. What do you feel about other non-religious spiritual concepts?
I require scientific evidence. No evidence means it's not real, or at least needs more testing.
6. What do you think about alternative healing modalities?
They are pseudoscience. No evidence means more testing needs to be done, or it is not real. I'm skeptical.
Fun quizzes, surveys & blog quizzes by Quibblo


  1. Interesting survey.
    It was fascinating to me that when I came out as an atheist I erroneously thought that people who had broken the chains of religious non-think would also be liberal, pro-choice and Not true.

    While there does seem to be a correlation between higher education and less religious beliefs, this obviously, can not be extrapolated into more liberal views over-all.

    It's just that, terms like 'conservative atheist' seem like such an oxymoron to But I suppose, my politics seem strange to them too.

  2. I'm not too sure Aliens/extraterrestrial life should be clumped into the same thing as reincarnation/karma/ghosts. I believe the existence of intelligent life from another planet is statistically probable though I doubt it'd be experienced in my lifetime or even the lifetime of humanity.

    Other than that, great survey. I liked the last post too. Before I got involved in the atheist community, it never occurred to me that some atheists were raised naturally or had it any easier than being indoctrined into a religion and having to struggle it like I did.

    Always good to have another point of view though!

  3. Thanks Guanoloca. Yeah, you'd think certain types of thinking would go together somehow. But as we've both discovered, it's pretty individual.

    I'm pretty sure I'm not a liberal. I'm a pragmatic moderate. Don't forget the moderates! So there are options besides extreme left or extreme right.

  4. Hi Ann. Thanks for your feedback. I agree with you that extraterrestrial life in some form could be found.

    In the survey I was mainly asking about little green or grey men who like to use anal probes. :P I wasn't really clear though. But it was my first survey. Hopefully future polls and surveys will benefit from this first crude attempt.

    I agree, it's always good to have another point of view. :)

  5. Like most surveys, this gives a very limited framework to present one's views. Here are the problems I had:

    3) I lost my religious beliefs through reason, then came full circle over a period of over 20 years to embrace religion as I hadn't originally. Though I permanently lost faith, I'm now comfortable with seeing reality as a subjective experience that isn't compatible with objective measures. I'm an atheist, but a relativist; I don't believe in string-pulling gods, but if others want to I won't complain.

    5) This is to me a matter of subjective experience, not objective validity. People have meaningful experiences through spiritual practices, so what does it matter whether it is 'real'? It's funny to me how people take offense at others' beliefs: the religious object to what god you worship, or how you worship them; the skeptical object to what evidence you have, or how you obtained it. Both groups think there is an ultimate truth to protect.

    6) The placebo effect is real. What does it matter whether a cure comes from a sugar pill or chemical compound? We should be more concerned with healing people than how that healing is accomplished.