Online survey author alleges atheists have better sex lives

Online survey author alleges atheists have better sex lives

Psychologist Darrel Ray, who was raised in a conservative Christian household, conducted an online survey to determine the impact of religion on sexual satisfaction.

Ray set out to confirm whether his own experience- that his sex life vastly improved when he ditched religion- bore out among others. Ray, who authored the book The God Virus: How God Infects Our Lives and Culture, sought out 14,500 people who had once been religious or raised in a religious environment before becoming atheist or agnostic. What Ray discovered is that guilt seems to heavily influence sexual satisfaction in many specific subsets of Christianity.

The survey did not adhere to social science study guidelines, but Ray reported the results as follows:

Those who had been raised Mormon with their strict views about sex, showed the highest rating among those who had sexual guilt with an average score of 8.19 out of 10. Others with similar responses were Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist and Baptist.

Catholics, on the other hand, rated their guilt at 6.34 and Lutherans came in at 5.88. Atheists and agnostics were the lowest in guilt at 4.71 and 4.81.

University of Texas at Austin associate professor Mark Regnerus dismissed the survey as biased and said Ray’s methods were “unscientific,” adding:

“It appears that it was a ‘fill it out if you want to’ kind of survey that is not random, not nationally representative, and relies entirely on self-selection,” he said. “In other words, they have data from people who felt like filling out a survey on atheism and sex. As a result, I am not surprised at their findings.”

Regnerus said the results were based on “hearsay or guesswork,” and opined:

“I don’t fault the author for running the survey he did, but it does display research methods which do not meet the standards of most published social science.”

Indeed, the results would have been a bit more interesting even just stacked against responses from religious folk who consider themselves sexually satisfied. Do you agree with Ray’s findings? Does religion or lack thereof significantly affect your view on sex?

Seattle Atheists collect for “Rapture Relief Fund’

Seattle Atheists collect for “Rapture Relief Fund’

A fringe Christian group has been busy lately warning the world about the coming Rapture, which it claims will be here on May 21.

California-based Family Radio is spearheading the cause and has purchased billboards around the country asking commuters to mark May 21 on their calendars. They say that’s the day when Jesus will return and true Christians will be spirited off to heaven, leaving the rest of the population to suffer through the last five months of their lives until God destroys the Earth on October 21.

If the prognosticators are right, then some of us are in big trouble.

With that thought in mind, a local group called Seattle Atheists is now taking donations for a “Rapture Relief Fund” to help those who are left behind.

“To help us help you, we’ve created ‘Rapture Relief,’ an aid fund for the unfortunate people left behind,” said John Keiser of Seattle Atheists. “When you give to this fund, Seattle Atheists will use the money to help survivors of any Armageddon-sized disaster in the Puget Sound area.”

Keiser and the 280 other members of Seattle Atheists have already raised $800 for the fund, and they hope to have $5,000 by May 21.

If Family Radio is wrong and the world survives, Seattle Atheists will donate all the money from the relief fund to Camp Quest, which teaches children about science and critical thinking.

“It just dawned on us that this is really dumb stuff and these people are really showing a complete lack of critical thinking,” Keiser said. “We wanted to highlight that and highlight the need for critical thinking, which is why we decided to make it a fundraiser for Camp Quest.”

Seattle Atheists will be out raising money for the fund at several upcoming events, including an end-of-the-world party scheduled for May 21 at Dorky’s Arcade in Tacoma at 8 p.m. Members will also be present in the University District for StreetFair on May 21-22 and they’ll be at Westlake Park on May 23-27.

Stephen Hawking: ‘Heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark’

Stephen Hawking: ‘Heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark’

Heaven is a ‘fairy story  for people afraid of the dark’, Professor Stephen Hawking suggestd yesterday.

As well as saying there is no heaven or afterlife, the renowned scientist said that our brains switch off like ‘broken down computers’ when we die.

His comments upset some religious groups, already angry at his statement last year that the universe was not created by God.

Professor Hawking’s latest remarks came in an interview in which the theoretical physicist told how he had learnt to live in the shadow of death since being diagnosed with motor neurone disease aged 21.

The disease, which is incurable, was expected to kill him within  a few years. Instead, he said, it  ultimately led him to enjoy  life more.

The 69-year-old Cambridge University academic said: ‘I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years.

‘I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.

‘I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail.

‘There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.’

His remarks are more radical than those laid out in his 2010 book, The Grand Design, where he asserts that the universe is governed by the laws of science and did not need a ‘creator’ to bring it into being.

In the interview Professor Hawking – who will today give a lecture entitled ‘Why are we here?’ at the Google Zeitgeist meeting in London – was asked: ‘Is our existence all down to luck?’

He replied: ‘Science predicts that many different kinds of universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing. It is a matter of chance which we are in.’

In answer to another question, he said people should use their time on Earth to fulfil their potential, saying: ‘We should seek the greatest value of our action.’

His lecture today will focus on M-theory, a broad mathematical framework in which 11 dimensions of the universe are identified  and which many physicists say is the best hope yet of developing a ‘theory of everything’.

Last night Professor Hawking, whose 1988  science book A Brief History  Of Time has sold nine million copies, was criticised by Stephen Green, director of lobby group Christian Voice.

‘The comparisons to a computer switching off shows a man who is only able to think of things in a materialistic way,’ he said.

‘It is a dim viewpoint of a man who is trying to understand  something he is spiritually unable to do.

‘People who believe in the afterlife don’t do so because they are afraid of death, that’s a misunderstanding of religious thinking.

‘Belief in God dispels a fear of the dark, of death. I don’t see why Hawking finds it such a struggle to comprehend the spiritual dimension.

‘Hawking is happy to discuss the M-theory, in which the universe is said to have 11 dimensions. Why then could the universe not have a 12th spiritual dimension?’

Earlier this month Professor Hawking explained how motor neurone disease had ultimately allowed him to be much happier.

He said: ‘I don’t have much positive to say about motor neurone disease.

‘But it taught me not to pity myself because others were worse off, and to get on with what I could still do.

‘I’m happier now than before I developed the condition.’