Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The Philosopher's Magazine has created a pretty nifty little game that tests the logical consistency of your beliefs about religion and God.
Can your beliefs about religion make it across our intellectual battleground?
In this activity you’ll be asked a series of 17 questions about God and religion. In each case, apart from Question 1, you need to answer True or False. The aim of the activity is not to judge whether these answers are correct or not. Our battleground is that of rational consistency. This means to get across without taking any hits, you’ll need to answer in a way which is rationally consistent. What this means is you need to avoid choosing answers which contradict each other. If you answer in a way which is rationally consistent but which has strange or unpalatable implications, you’ll be forced to bite a bullet.
Rules of the game
The aim of the game is to get across the intellectual battleground unscathed. There are two types of injury you can suffer.
A direct hit occurs when you answer in a way which implies a logical contradiction. We have been very careful to make sure that only strict contradictions result in a direct hit. However, we do make two caveats.
First, because you only have choices between pre-selected and carefully worded statements, you might find that you have taken a direct hit because the statement closest to your own conviction leads into a contradiction. However, had you phrased the statement yourself, you may have been able to avoid the contradiction while expressing a very similar belief.
Such possibilities are unavoidable given the constraints on the game. We merely ask that you do not take it personally if you suffer a direct hit and don't get too frustrated if the choices we offer you sometimes seem to force you into a choice you'd rather not make.
You have to bite a bullet if your choices have an implication that most would find strange, incredible or unpalatable. There is more room for disagreement here, since what strikes many people as extraordinary or bizarre can strike others as normal. So, again, please do not get too upset if we judge you have bitten a bullet. Maybe it is our world-view which is warped!
Of course, you may go along with thinkers such as Kierkegaard and believe that religious belief does not need to be rationally consistent. But that takes us beyond the scope of this activity, which is about the extent to which your beliefs are rationally consistent, not whether this is a good or a bad thing.
What happens when you don't agree with the analyses!?
Have a look at our FAQ. It'll give you some idea of our thinking, even if we have got things wrong. I'm afraid that we can't reply to email about this activity - we just get way too much and the issues are frequently quite involved. Sorry! This is purely a question of time, nothing else. [Don't look at the FAQ before you play, that'll spoil the game.]
We can't stop you resubmitting your answers, but if you do the game will know - and your scores will not be counted. If you're intrigued by the possibility of different answers, just finish the game and then play it through again.
Access game here