The United States, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia share an idea about teen-agers held by no other nations. What idea?
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Note: Because of demands from a meddlesome attorney general, we were obliged to spend Thursday retrofitting Slate's coal furnaces to burn pandas. News Quiz will resume in a special pollution-free Friday edition.
Monday's Question (No. 330)--"One Down, 94 To Go":
On Sunday in Berlin, Lutheran and Roman Catholic officials signed a joint declaration, resolving a conflict that began exactly 482 years ago. It turns out that, on this point, both churches believe the same thing. What?
"Sunday morning is still the perfect time for church because there's nothing good to watch on television."--Merrill Markoe
"Jews, and more specifically David Geffen and Alicia Silverstone, are the devil's henchmen."--Jon Hotchkiss
"That whole thing about it being easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven? The rich guy could buy his own giant needle."--Tom Reynolds
"Harry Potter Meets Charles Darwin should be banned from public schools."--David Shulman
"The Episcopalians are all going to hell."--Francis Heaney
Click for more answers.
It is so delightfully dark ages to see this kind of mumbo jumbo reported right next to the real news. But of course we live in a country where religious belief is not merely tolerated, it is required of anyone seeking high office. Where do they get this stuff? They learn it in school; that's what social scientists Ray Eve and Dana Dunn say. In a national survey of high-school life-science teachers (reported in the terrific book How To Think About Weird Things), they found:
- 43 percent thought the story of Noah's Ark was definitely or probably true
- 20 percent believed in communication with the dead
- 19 percent felt dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time
- 22 percent believed in ghosts
Should you wish a more passionate embrace of the irrational, the December 1996 issue of George reported that 77 percent of all Americans believe in a literal hell, 60 percent believe the world was created in six days, and 78 percent believe in angels. It's amazing our rockets get off the ground. Well, maybe not so amazing: We've got Della Reese holding them aloft.
Good Deeds Are for Suckers Answer
Both churches agreed on the doctrine of justification, declaring that salvation could be achieved by faith alone; no good works required. This assertion, one of the 95 theses Martin Luther posted on the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral on Oct. 31, 1517, contrary to church teachings of that time, helped kick off the Reformation.
No consensus has been reached concerning the buying and selling of indulgences online at eBay.
Touting Scouting Extra
It's not all gay-bashing and religious mania; today's scouting encourages kids to learn many useful skills through its system of merit badges. Which of the following are actual Boy Scout merit badges?
2. American Business
3. Atomic Energy
4. Consumer Buying
6. Family Life
10 Personal Management
All are actual merit badges that can be earned by any member of Troop Willie Loman, should such a troop actually exist. Note: Safety and Sports have been dropped from the list of merit badges required to become an Eagle Scout. They have been replaced by Free Marketeering and Learjet Leasing, but only in my feverish khaki-clad imagination.
Christians: bad for the Jews.