THE VARIETIES OF IRRELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE

 

A SURVEY

 

As part of the “The Varieties of Irreligious Experience” study, we would like you to take a few moments to respond to these questions.  Some questions require you to fill in a brief response, while most others simply require you to mark (X) the response that best describes your opinion.  Please answer as honestly as you can because we truly do want to know what you think and there are no “correct” answers we are looking for.  Note that your responses to this survey will also be kept strictly confidential.  Thank you for taking time to fill out this questionnaire; we value your opinion very highly.

 

 

What is your sex?         a.  Male ____                                b.  Female ____

 

What is your age?  ____

 

In what state do you live?  ____________________________

 

To what extent are you currently employed?          What is your occupation?  ______________________

a.     Employed full time ____                                        b.   Employed part time (not primarily a student) ____

c.   Unemployed ____                              d.   Retired ____

e.   Full-time student ____

 

What is your marital status?          How many children do you have? ____

a.     Never Married ____ b.   Married ____

c.     Partnered ____ d.   Divorced ____

e.   Widowed ____                                            f.   Separated ____

 

What is your race?

a.     African American ____                                b.   Asian / Pacific Islander ____

c.   Hispanic ____                                        d.   White ____

e.   Other ____

 

What was the last grade or class you completed in school?

a.     Some High School or Less ____                

b.     High School Graduate ____

c.     Some College or Vocational School ____

d.     College Graduate ____

e.     Some Graduate or Professional School ____

f.      Graduate or Professional Degree ____

 

By your best estimate, what was your total household income last year, before taxes?

a.     $20,000 or less _____                                                b.   $20,001-$50,000 _____

c.   $50,001-$100,000 _____                                d.   $100,001-$150,000 _____

e.   $150,001 or more _____

 

Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements.

 

                                                                                                                                           Strongly        Agree                   Disagree        Strongly              

                                                                                                                                              Agree                                                     Disagree

a.     I do not believe there is any ultimate meaning in life.               ____        ____            ____        ____

b.     Material well-being is essential to find fulfillment in life      ____        ____            ____        ____

c.     Finding answers to the mysteries of life is not relevant to     ____        ____            ____        ____

my life’s goal                                                                                                                       ____        ____            ____        ____

d.     My life has a real purpose                                                                              ____        ____            ____            ____

e.     I am in control of my own fate and fortune                                             ____            ____        ____            ____

f.      My family members and I disagree about religious matters   ____            ____        ____            ____

g.     Science and religion are incompatible                                              ____        ____            ____        ____

h.     Humans evolved from other primates over millions of years  ____        ____            ____        ____                                              

i.      Science will eventually provide the solutions to most of

our problems                                                                                                                    ____            ____        ____            ____

j.      Most of my friends are not religious                                                                  ____            ____        ____            ____

k.     Most of my friends know that I am not religious                                  ____            ____        ____            ____

l.      People who aren’t religious are discriminated against in

our society                                                                                                                    ____            ____        ____            ____

m.   Our society is gradually becoming more ethical                                   ____            ____        ____            ____

n.     I tend to dislike religious people                                                                   ____            ____        ____        ____

o.     I have little respect for religious institutions                                                  ____            ____        ____            ____

p.    I think it would be a good thing if religion were to

disappear from our society                                                                                   ____            ____        ____            ____

q.     There are clear and absolute standards for what is right

and wrong                                                                                                                  ____            ____        ____            ____

r.      Religion has contributed a lot of good to our society                   ____            ____        ____            ____

s.     I share my views about God and religion with religious

people on occasion                                                                                                  ____            ____        ____            ____

t.      I’m happy to attend religious services on occasion                                   ____            ____        ____            ____

u.     I pray on occasion                                                                                                  ____            ____        ____            ____

v.     I meditate on occasion                                                                                  ____            ____        ____            ____

w.   I enjoy reading scriptures (Bible, Koran, etc.)                                  ____            ____        ____            ____

x.     I enjoy reading books about religion                                                                  ____            ____        ____            ____

y.    I enjoy reading books about atheism                                                                  ____            ____        ____            ____

 

Which one statement comes closest to your personal beliefs about God? (Please mark only one box.)

a.     I have no doubts that God exists ____

b.     I believe in God, but with some doubts ____

c.     I sometimes believe in God ____

d.     I believe in a higher power or cosmic force ____

e.     I don’t know and there is no way to find out ____

f.      I am an atheist ____

g.     I have no opinion ____

 

Which one statement comes closest to your personal beliefs about the Bible? (Please mark only one box.)

a.     The Bible means exactly what it says.  It should be taken literally, word-for-word on all

subjects ____

b.     The Bible is perfectly true, but it should not be taken literally, word-for-word.  We must interpret

its meaning ____

c.     The Bible contains some human error ____

d.     The Bible is an ancient book of history and legends ____

e.     I don’t know ____

 

Which one statement comes closest to your personal beliefs about Jesus? (Please mark only one box.)

a.     Jesus is a fictional character ____

b.     Jesus probably existed, but he was not special ____

c.     Jesus was an extraordinary person, but he was not a messenger of God ____

d.     Jesus was one of many messengers or prophets of God ____

e.     Jesus is the son of God ____

f.      I have no opinion ____

 

People give various reasons for why they are not religious.  Among the frequently cited ones below, please indicate how significant each was for shaping your current views on God and religion.

 

                                                                                                                                              Very          Somewhat          Not at All

                                                                                                                              Significant    Significant             Significant

a.     Lack of religious upbringing                                                                         _____            _____                 _____

b.     New insights I acquired from my formal education                         _____            _____                 _____

c.     The amount of evil and suffering in the world                    _____            _____                 _____

d.     The fact that there are so many different religions              _____            _____                 _____

e.     The positive examples of other people who are not

religious                                                                                                                    _____            _____                 _____

f.      The negative examples of people who are religious            _____            _____                 _____

g.     The political influence of religious people and groups            _____            _____                 _____

h.     Religious teachings on sex and sexuality                             _____            _____                 _____

i.      Religious teachings on Hell and damnation                         _____                _____                 _____

j.      Religious teachings about the role of women                       _____            _____                 _____

k.     Advances in science                                                              _____            _____                     _____

l.      Inconsistencies and other problems concerning scriptures   _____            _____                 _____

m.   Distressing events in the history of religion                          _____            _____                 _____

 

Please indicate the religious affiliation of your father.

a.     Conservative or Evangelical Protestant (Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc.) _____

b.     Liberal or Mainline Protestant (Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc.) _____

c.     Roman Catholic _____

d.     Jewish _____

e.     Other _____, if possible, please be specific (Buddhist, Muslim, etc.) ______________________

f.      Not religious _____

g.     I don’t know _____

 

Please indicate the religious affiliation of your mother.

a.     Conservative or Evangelical Protestant (Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc.) _____

b.     Liberal or Mainline Protestant (Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc.) _____

c.     Roman Catholic _____

d.     Jewish _____

e.     Other _____, if possible, please be specific (Buddhist, Muslim, etc.) ______________________

f.      Not religious _____

g.     I don’t know _____

 

Please indicate the religious affiliation of your partner (spouse, boy/girlfriend, etc.)

a.     Conservative or Evangelical Protestant (Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc.) _____

b.     Liberal or Mainline Protestant (Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc.) _____

c.     Roman Catholic _____

d.     Jewish _____

e.     Other _____, if possible, please be specific (Buddhist, Muslim, etc.) ______________________

f.      Not religious _____

g.     I don’t know _____

 

How well do the following terms describe you?

                                                                                                                                  Very             Somewhat         Not            Not

                                                                                                                                   Well            Well             Very Well          at All

a.     Atheist                                                                                                                   ____               ____                 ____               ____

b.     Agnostic                                                                                                   ____               ____             ____               ____

c.     Freethinker                                                                                                   ____               ____                 ____               ____

d.     Seeker                                                                                                                   ____               ____                 ____               ____

e.     Spiritual                                                                                                    ____               ____                 ____               ____

f.      Intellectual                                                                                                    ____               ____                 ____               ____

g.     Happy                                                                                                                   ____               ____                 ____               ____

h.     Optimistic                                                                                                     ____               ____                 ____               ____

i.      Politically liberal                                                                                    ____               ____                 ____               ____

j.      Humanist                                                                                                    ____               ____                 ____               ____

 

In your opinion, do the following exist?

                                                                                                                           Absolutely   Probably   Probably   Absolutely

                                                                                                                                        Not             Not

a.     God                                                                                                                   ____               ____              ____              ____

b.     Satan                                                                                                                   ____               ____              ____              ____

c.     Heaven                                                                                                    ____               ____              ____              ____

d.     Hell                                                                                                                    ____               ____              ____          ____

e.     Angels                                                                                                                   ____               ____              ____              ____

f.      Ghosts                                                                                                    ____               ____              ____              ____

g.     Extraterrestrials                                                                                    ____               ____              ____              ____

h.     Psychic phenomena, such as ESP                                                   ____               ____              ____              ____

i.      Miracles                                                                                                   ____               ____              ____              ____

j.      Reincarnation                                                                                                    ____           ____              ____              ____

 

People sometimes say that it can be difficult to be an atheist in light of the high levels of religiosity in the United States.  Thus, they often refer to certain sources of information and motivation that help them to think through and live out their atheist worldviews.  Among the frequently mentioned sources listed below, please indicate how influential each has been in your own life.

 

                                                                                                                                                       Very           Somewhat         Not at All

                                                                                                                                 Influential      Influential             Influential

a.     My formal education                                                                                         _____            _____                 _____

b.     Recently published popular books on atheism                         _____            _____                 _____

c.     My own critical thinking                                                                         _____            _____                 _____

d.     My own intuitions and/or feelings                                                         _____            _____                 _____

e.     My admiration for one or more atheists from the past        _____            _____                 _____

f.      My admiration for one or more contemporary atheists

about whom I am knowledgeable                                                          _____            _____                 _____

g.     My admiration for one or more atheists with whom I

am personally acquainted                                                                         _____            _____                 _____

h.     One or more close friends who are atheists                                         _____            _____                 _____

i.      One or more family members who are atheists                         _____            _____                 _____

j.      Atheist websites                                                                                         _____            _____                 _____

k.     Online atheist groups                                                                                _____            _____                 _____

l.      In-person atheist groups                                                                         _____            _____                 _____

m.   Conferences, lectures, etc. on atheism I’ve attended                         _____            _____                 _____

 

Thanks again.  Your perspective is very important to us.