One of the
most painful circumstances of recent advances
in science is that each one of them makes us know less than we thought we did.
Bertrand Russell
After Atheism

By Mark Vernon
Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN 9780230013421
Published in paperback in 2007

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Chapter 1 pdf

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Take the spirituality intelligence - or SQ - test!

The SQ questionnaire assesses your ideas about spirituality and compares them with those of the great thinkers on the 'big' questions. The 20 questions are loosely grouped into 5 sections.

Be warned: calling a test like this 'spiritual intelligence' and not say 'scientific intelligence' already suggests a certain bias in the approach. Spirituality is always a subjective issue, even when people deny that there is a spiritual side to life at all! However, what the test does do is try accurately to reflect the thoughts of the greatest spiritual philosophers. And it is (mostly) for fun.

Complete the online test and hit "Finished the Test!" for a full discussion of your ideas - and your SQ score!

1.Whether you think God exists or not, would you say you hold your position:
  • (a) as a matter of personal belief;
  • (b) because it is the most likely;
  • (c) as a matter of scientific fact?

2.Again, whether or not you believe in God, what image do you have of the divine?
  • (a) An omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent being.
  • (b) No image.
  • (c) A father-like figure in my mind.

3.Do you think people believe in God:
  • (a) because they fear eternal damnation;
  • (b) because belief in God is a way of trying to explain otherwise inexplicable things;
  • (c) as an expression of the human condition?

4. Why do you think people do not believe in God? Is it:
  • (a) because of churches and people in religious authority;
  • (b) because science has disproved God;
  • (c) because of the way they were brought up?

Thank you. We now move onto round 2, what you think about science
5. Which statement do you think is most true of science (part 1)?
  • (a) Science is mechanistic.
  • (b) Science is circular.
  • (c) Science is reductive.

6. Thinking about the origin of things, which theory of origins do you think science supports the best?
  • (a) The origin of life by evolution;
  • (b) the origin of everything out of nothing;
  • (c) the origin of the universe out of the big bang?

7.Which statement do you think is most true of science (part 2)?
  • (a) Science will completely understanding everything in time.
  • (b) Science will never completely understanding anything even with time.
  • (c) Science will understand more and more in time.

8. Do you think science is amazing:
  • (a) because of what technology can do;
  • (b) because of the mysteries it opens up;
  • (c) no! - I do not think it is amazing at all.

Thank you. We now move onto round 3, what you think about religion.
9. Which of the following type of people do you think are the most religious (you have to pick one!)?
  • (a) Scientists.
  • (b) Church-goers.
  • (c) Theologians.

10. Which of the following virtues would you say is the most religious?
  • (a) Submission.
  • (b) Search.
  • (c) Surety.

11. Do you agree with the statement that all religions seek to convert people?
  • (a) Yes.
  • (b) Don't know.
  • (c) No.

12. Is science a religion?
  • (a) No.
  • (b) Yes.
  • (c) Possibly.
Thank you. We now move onto round 4, what you make of spirituality.
13. Do you think you can be spiritual without being religious?
  • (a) Yes.
  • (b) No.
  • (c) Possible.

14. What would you say is the most spiritual of the following religious experiences?
  • (a) Ecstasy
  • (b) Miracles.
  • (c) Silence.

15. Which of these vices is the most debilitating in spiritual practice?
  • (a) Boredom.
  • (b) Distraction.
  • (c) Ill-discipline.

16. It is often observed that spiritual traditions venerate what is called the Golden Rule. Is this:
  • (a) The worship of golden idols?
  • (b) Calling nothing god but God?
  • (c) Never doing to others what you would not have them do to you?

Thank you. We now come to the final round, a brief round of trivia on science and religion.
17. Marx famously wrote that religion is the opium of the people. But what did he say just before that. Was it that:
  • (a) Religion is the heart of the heartless world?
  • (b) Religion is anthropology masquerading as theology?
  • (c) Religion will be to the truth as shadows are to the sun?

18. Who said: 'I am very conscious that I am not wise at all?' Was it:
  • (a) Socrates.
  • (b) Albert Einstein.
  • (c) Richard Dawkins.

19. Woody Allen said: I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through...' What?
  • (a) Going to temple.
  • (b) Having kids.
  • (c) Not dying.

20. Who invented the word 'agnostic'?
  • (a) The Victorian Darwinist, Thomas Henry Huxley.
  • (b) The doubting apostle, Saint Thomas.
  • (c) The cofounder of the Union of Oil of California (UNOCAL), Lyman Stewart.