So there\’s this religious quiz, right?

And agnostics and atheists seem to get better results.

And on the short version you can take yourself, this agnostic/atheist got 100%, aided by two things.

One, a lucky guess on the last question and two, well, try this:

When does the Jewish Sabbath begin?

Possible answers are Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

The correct answer is \”by whose calendar\”?

For the Jewish Sabbath is indeed the Saturday: but in the Jewish calendar which day is which is not defined by when is midnight or noon (both quite difficult things to ascertain with accuracy without watches, although sundials will do for one of them). Rather, as would be logical in a pastoral/nomadic society (when many of these rules were first set), by nightfall or dawn, rather more easily observed phenomena.

As it happens, Jewish tradition chose nightfall.

So, the precise answer to the beginning of the Sabbath is the nightfall before Saturday using our standard western calendar, that is, Friday night.

But in the Jewish calendar the Sabbath starts at the beginning of the day after Friday: that\’s why they\’re celebrating it on what \”we\” call Friday night because to them it is already the Sabbath, Saturday.

So we\’ve a question that (OK, but only by being pedantic, I admit), in this quiz, changes answer dependent upon whether you are Jewish or not.

BTW, no, I\’ll not tell you what the quiz thinks is the right answer. Work it out for yourselves.

8 comments on “So there\’s this religious quiz, right?

  1. Apparently 83% of Abrahamic religionists answered b) or c) to the question Though Shalt Not… a) kill, b) lie with another man or c) avoid upbeat acoustic songs.

  2. Because darkness precedes light, ignorance precedes wisdom and this mortal coil precedes the kingdom of heaven. And that’s why we have “eve’s”, Christmas eve, all hallows eve, etc, so that our religious festivals can start at the right time, i.e. sunset the day before.

  3. why does it surprise you? if you are a good Cath0lic, Muslim etc why even question the roots of your religion and look at what other people believe? Therefore the agnostics and atheists, as long as they have more mental equipment than Dawkins, Hitchens and that guy who writes books for children, are bound to know more about the recherche details than the average believer.

  4. That strikes me as sounding similar to Daniel Hannan’s claim regarding the relative Pan-European cultural literacy of Europhiles and Eurosceptics, Diogenes.

  5. your problem/attitude being, Alan? remember…throughout the Middle Ages in Europe, believers were not even allowed to read the bible

  6. No problem; it just seemed an analogy worth flagging. Of course, it was Richard Dawkins himself who has identified harping on sterile analogies as a hallmark of a certain sort of “futile crankiness”, so perhaps I should adopt the handle “Futile and Cranky” :-)

  7. I did pretty well on that quiz too, and I am agnostic. But my answers drew quite heavily on my Catholic upbringing and early education. I suspect you would start to see something of a divide in the results, as a function of age group. I’m in my late fifties, from one of the last generations to receive any real formal education in religious matters.

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