back to article Anti-religious campaigners smack down census Jedis

First signs that the purity of census results may be swayed by internet campaigning emerged this week, as the Twittersphere declared itself opposed to Jediism. Elsewhere, Jewish organisations were urging people to put themselves down as Jewish, in order to increase pressure for more Jewish faith schools. Earlier this week, as …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jedi is too cliche anyway

    I was trying to think of something stupid to put in the 'other' box, Cargo Cultist was the best I came up with at the time...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Humph..

    Save us from evangelist atheists.. (in fact, evangelists of any flavour).

  3. NB
    Welcome

    I, for one...

    will be proudly ticking the 'No Religion' box when the census form arrives at my door. I still find it hard to fathom why we give any public money to faith schools at all and religious organisations at all. Let their congregations pony up the money if they're so bloody faithful. I certainly don't want my taxes paying for idiots to indoctrinate innocent children with mindless bronze age mythology.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Make that two!

      I simply can not understand why the question is even asked. Why not a question on how many fairies you have at the bottom of the garden? Or how many singing apples you have in your fruit basket? Makes just as much sense.

      I actually resent even being asked this question - I will answer "none" or whatever it is, but the act of answering, in my mind, gives credence to a subject that has no place whatsoever in a modern society.

      Maybe if the question was "Do you believe in a mythical made-up and wholly fictitious deity, and if so, which one?" then the results may be more accurate. The next question should be "If you answered yes to the above, then have you sought psychiatric help for your condition?"

      1. irish donkey
        Happy

        Thank God

        All these tolerant well educated people from the Reg recognise my right to a belief which does not align to their own. They would never persecute me because of my beliefs or how I align my moral compass.

        Why that would make them just as bad as people that kill others because they don't share the same religion.

        Thanks for playing everyone.

        1. Cpt Blue Bear
          FAIL

          Well deflected

          They're not having a go at your ignorance not your belief, sport.

          Nice try at playing the intolerance card after getting caught basically accusing anyone who doesn't believe in god of either lying or murdering children.

    2. irish donkey
      Happy

      Religion is the cornerstone on which every society in the world is built.

      'Thought shall not kill' is religious law which under pins our Society. Our sense of what is right and wrong can be directly traced back religious teachings.

      If we all believed in pure Darwinism/Evolution then it would be perfectly acceptable to run small children over on the way to work. Going for a new job? Gun down your rivals as they arrived for their interviews. Selfish Gene and all that, survival of the fittest. Perfectly justifiable

      Religion has been blamed for many of the wrongs in Society but lack of religion is doing just as much damage. If a few more bankers believed in 'thou shall not steal' our economy would be in much better shape than it is right now.

      So for all the corruptions religion (of which there is many) has introduced, the world is mostly a better place for it.

      Religion was a very good idea but once nutters and true believers got involved its all headed down hill.

      Personally I consider myself to be a humanitarian.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Church schools

        do actualy get quight a large chunk of money from the local congrigation... To many athist zelots around in my opinion. Most people are agnostic, not athist.

        1. Shakje

          Re: Church schools

          "do actualy get quight a large chunk of money from the local congrigation... To many athist zelots around in my opinion. Most people are agnostic, not athist"

          I won't pick up on the spelling because that would just be mean, however:

          Atheist - person without belief

          Theist - person with belief

          Agnostic - without knowledge

          Gnostic - with knowledge

          So, an atheist is either agnostic or gnostic, just as a theist can be agnostic or gnostic, the difference is that a gnostic atheist is essentially someone who believes that they know there isn't a god, an agnostic atheist is someone who doesn't believe in any god but can't be sure that there isn't one. Pretty much all atheists who are so for rational reasons are agnostics because to be gnostic requires belief, something they've shunned as irrational (myself included).

          An agnostic theist would be someone who doesn't believe that they have absolute knowledge that a god exists, but they do believe in a god, whereas a gnostic theist (probably more common I'd guess) believes that a god exists and that they have absolute knowledge that one does.

          So let's just be clear here, either you're an atheist or a theist, and you're either a gnostic or agnostic one of those, but it's dead simple really, if you don't believe in any particular god then you're an atheist, no matter how much you might "still be looking". Agnostic or gnostic describes how strong your belief essentially is, not what it is.

          If you believe that there's something out there which isn't described by any of the major religions but which is all powerful then you're probably a Deist or a believer in Spinoza's god.

          Personally I'm about 6.5ish on the Dawkins' Scale.

        2. Chris Parsons

          Why do I need a title to reply to a post?

          As a devout atheist, one of the things I have done in the time I could have spent being indoctrinated is to learn to spell. Maybe you could, if you wanted to get your ideas across better?

        3. No, I will not fix your computer
          Thumb Down

          Re: Church schools

          >>do actualy get quight a large chunk of money from the local congrigation... To many athist zelots around in my opinion. Most people are agnostic, not athist.

          [quight,congrigation,To,athist,zelots]

          Shame that you don't appear to have attended any school.

      2. Jolyon

        Half a point

        Yes, a lot of perfectly sensible guidelines have passed through one or other religion at some stage but there's nothing in that to suggest that without religion we wouldn't have them.

        If you want to bring evolution into this (and there really isn't any reason to do so) you should probably consider how behaving in contravention of these laws would affect the chances of becoming an ancestor even if the laws themselves had never been formulated.

      3. prefect42
        Badgers

        Religion gets all the credit

        We probably kill and hurt each other as much as the average pack animal.

      4. Miek

        Ahem!

        "

        Plato -

        - Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

        "

        1. The Indomitable Gall

          Re Ahem!

          "

          Plato -

          - Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

          "

          Plato lived in an era when many "good people" treated other human beings as a type of livestock, to buy and sell at will.

          All morality is relative, and the law codifies any given society's morality, giving the "good people" a benchmark of that morality.

          "Corruption" is usually thought to apply to bad people, but in truth you can only corrupt what is good to begin with. Good people will make concessions to themselves on the grounds of being good people and therefore deserving.

          I often find myself tempted to skip a red light on my bike, or ride up on the pavement for a bit, and it's OK because I normally don't do it, so I'm only rewarding myself for being a good person, and wasn't that convenient, and it didn't harm anyone, so I'll just do it this one more time, and again, and... and very quickly I was habitually breaking the law.

          This is how society's morals decay. Everyone treats themselves as deserving to bend the rules. If the rules aren't codified (either by legislative means, or through a religious scripture), the bent rule becomes the new norm. And everyone treats themselves as deserving a bit of leeway from that norm.

          This gives us the paradox of the Greek civilisation -- ruled by democracy, but maintained by slavery.

        2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
          Grenade

          Re: Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly...

          Point.

          The question now lies in how good people come to be in the first place, and how bad people come to be.

          Nature or nurture?

          If mainly nurture.. (which I suspect plays *NO* small role)... then it begs the next question....

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        @irish donkey

        "If we all believed in pure Darwinism/Evolution then it would be perfectly acceptable to run small children over on the way to work"

        How on earth do you come to that idiotic conclusion? What a load of rubbish! I do not have a religious bone in my body but have never felt the compulsion to run down small children (well, almost never). and I'm sure quite a few of the thieving bankers go to church on a regular basis.

        You are confusing (rather strongly) religion with morals and general decency. You don't need one to follow the other (in either direction, as has been shown recently with various "religious" priests and their involvement with small children).

        Morals have NOTHING to do with religion. It's just the people that believe in this religious nonsense that try and suggest it does.

      6. Steve Brooks

        oh noes, a believer!

        "If we all believed in pure Darwinism/Evolution then it would be perfectly acceptable to run small children over on the way to work. Going for a new job? Gun down your rivals as they arrived for their interviews. Selfish Gene and all that, survival of the fittest. Perfectly justifiable."

        How droll, a believer commenting on evolution and darwinism, at least you have clearly demonstrated that you have no idea what either are or how they work.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh for.....

        "If we all believed in pure Darwinism/Evolution....."

        Yeah and if we all believed in pure Gravity we'd go around killing all the birds, bats and insects. How exactly do you "believe" in a natural process?

      8. lpopman
        WTF?

        titular wtf?

        Firstly, moral codes don't come from religion, they come from us. We are social animals, and as such, developed our moral codes as to be able to live and work together as a social group.

        Secondly, re-read The Selfish Gene (or have you just been listening to the soundbites?). It refers to the selfish gene not as a gene that makes you selfish, but as a gene that survives because it is in it's best interest. Like I say, re-read it.

        Personally I'm an Atheist.

      9. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Correction

        In most religions the rule is 'though shalt not kill - unless the person is of a different faith than you and is therefore a heretic and therefore your God demands you kill them in as horrific a way as possible'

      10. Joefish
        Flame

        This is typical of the indoctrination of religion.

        This is the typical argument of the blindly indoctrinated; to wilfully misunderstand and misrepresent both Darwin and a century's worth of scholars that have followed.

        If you follow your most basic few common religious laws back to their origins, they are the laws of a society that preserves the family unit, cares for its offspring and doesn't kill its own kind. These are the laws of genetic preservation and evolution.

        Once you warp these bases of our society in religious terms, you start handing over authority to a few power-hungry individuals to make up their own rules and distort the whole picture.

        Most people do not actually need the thread of an all-seeing vengeful eye to scare them into being decent human beings. Some people manage it all by themselves. I'm very sorry that you don't seem to think you can.

      11. Chad H.
        FAIL

        Nonsense

        Posted Wednesday 9th March 2011 13:49 GMT

        'Thought shall not kill' is religious law which under pins our Society. Our sense of what is right and wrong can be directly traced back religious teachings.

        ---

        Nonsense. You're tying to tell me people only stopped killing each other and stopped stealing because some guy said the bogey-god told them to?

        I'm confident communities austracised and punished murders and theives long before Moses became a well know character.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Bull

          "If we all believed in pure Darwinism/Evolution then it would be perfectly acceptable to run small children over on the way to work. Going for a new job? Gun down your rivals as they arrived for their interviews. Selfish Gene and all that, survival of the fittest. Perfectly justifiable."

          This is pure bull!

          We are social animals. We have "known", since long before religion, that in order for the species to continue we must work together. We must support and defend our offspring, our family, our social group.

          Morals did not grow from religion, they were incorporate into religion. Religion grew from a desire to understand the universe (from science, you could say). Instead of saying "we don't know", we formulated theories, for example an all-powerful being. Religion grew because, firstly, it gave easy explanations to what seemed unexplainable, and secondly, people realised it was a great tool by which to control people.

      12. Mike Richards Silver badge

        Erm - oh no it doesn't

        ''Thought shall not kill' is religious law which under pins our Society. Our sense of what is right and wrong can be directly traced back religious teachings.'

        'Thou shalt not kill' is a nice soundbite, but it is quite surprising how much of the books of Exodus, Deuteronomy and Leviticus are given over to finding exceptions to what appears to be a fairly simple rule.

        Working on the Sabbath - death. Planting two crops in the same field - that'd be a killing. Weaving two threads in the same garment - stone him! Then of course it is perfectly acceptable to kill people who live in the place your imaginary sky fairy tells you actually belongs to you, or those who worship a different imaginary friend, worship the same imaginary friend in a different way, or just don't look enthusiastic enough. The whole set of rules you think are a great way to live are full of viciousness and thuggery; they demean classes of people, demote the role of women to little more than that of property, encourage slavery, crush individualism and encourage fanaticism. They belong back in the bronze age along with the illiterate goat herders who dreamt them up.

        Our sense of right and wrong have nothing to do with religion, they have developed independently because we are social animals. Just because some societies have formalised them along with bells and smells, doesn't give religion the right to claim that it is the only way to live life as a good person.

      13. DT

        so without god, we'd all run over children in cars?

        Red in tooth and claw is simplistic view of evolution; even Darwin suggested that the ability to empathise confers a clear evolutionary advantage; In animal society, there's a clear notion of unacceptable behaviour; with chastisement and even exclusion for offenders.

        There's community structure; animals don't randomly kill each other, but exhibit behaviour which has group benefit. There's plenty of books and research on the subject- it's a clear, observable survival strategy which in no way conflicts with evolutionary pressure.

        Law is derived from divinity? The earliest known codified laws from summaria pre-date the old testament by millennia. It's simple reciprocal altruism for higher mammals to find murderers within the group undesirable. If it's a self evident truth which requires no higher source for animals, why would it for humans!

        I hope those who think God is the only thing which prevents humans from acting like murdering savages, never loose their faith!

        There are plenty of pro-wealth evangelists who considers taxes and state provision of welfare to be unholy and religious bankers who consider themselves worthy. From the premise "religion is a good thing", you've come to the conclusion that any associated problems are due to nutters and false interpretation; and bankers behaving immorally must therefore be irreligious (The "no true scotsman" argument). An assumption that avoids addressing your premise as suspect. Recently the countries with the least crime and most humanitarian values have tended to be the least religious; as many religions conflict directly with humanitarian views on equality of the sexes, sexual choice, self-determination, slavery and racism to name a few.

      14. Anonymous Coward
        Megaphone

        @Irish Donkey

        'If we all believed in pure Darwinism/Evolution then it would be perfectly acceptable to run small children over on the way to work. Going for a new job? Gun down your rivals as they arrived for their interviews. Selfish Gene and all that, survival of the fittest. Perfectly justifiable'

        /me takes deep breath.

        SURVIVAL OF THE *FITTEST* IS NOT THE SAME AS SURVIVAL OF THE *STRONGEST* YOU FUCKING IDIOT.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Happy

          SURVIVAL OF THE *FITTEST* IS NOT THE SAME AS SURVIVAL OF THE *STRONGEST* YOU FUCKING IDIOT.

          I would love to hear you explanation of how this works....

          From a Evolutionary point of view if you are dead how can you evolve. DoH!

          Well done Donkey... Never have I seen so many down votes

      15. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If we ran over children...

        ... Darwinism states that our species would have been superseded by a smarter one. Because killing the young randomly is not usually considered a strong survival trait.

      16. HP Cynic

        Rubbish

        Morals are human morals not religious ones, religion was just a tool to enforce societies rules at the time (and a massive power grab for the religious organisation themselves).

        Without made-up gods there would have simply been other structures and mechanics in place to codify behaviour.

        Religion serves no purpose at all now and should be eliminated - heck it only survives via the indoctrination of children as it is.

        PS: Evolution is not something you "believe in": it's an observable and provable fact. Morals and such evolved too.

      17. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        run small children over

        Done and Done.

      18. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        If a few more bankers believed

        Religious believers are the worst hypocrites.

      19. OrsonX

        irish donkey

        Your moniker says it all.

        Please go read The God Delusion and have your conciousness raised.

      20. >Geoff
        Happy

        Re: Religion is the conrnerstone...

        Irish Donkey, your extrapolation from belief in evolution to amoral behaviour is a common fallacy that has been widely discredited.

        See Chapter 6 of Dawkin's the God Delusion for a criticism of that argument.

        For a broader look at possible codes of ethics including those that do not depend on religious belief you could do worse than reading Rachel's The Elements of Moral Philosophy.

        You're welcome :)

      21. AndrewG

        I think your confusing religion and morality

        Then again, its possible your religion is your morality and you just don't know any better

        Isn't that how the crusades got started?

      22. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Typical bull from religious types

        "Our sense of what is right and wrong can be directly traced back religious teachings."

        Thats bullshit mate. I haven't had any religious teaching and I know that its wrong to kill.

        Look at the comment made in the first/second paragraph of the article which clearly states that the Jewish community want people to LIE to get more jewish faith schools.

        Without religious teaching, I know that to deliberately lie through your front teeth for your own ill gotten gains is WRONG!

        Well done to the jewish community for giving us a practicle demonstration of just how corrupt religion and religious types actually are! (applause)

      23. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Coat

        Wow, two major misunderstandings...

        Firstly, the point of talking about the "selfish gene" is the emphasis on the survival of the gene, regardless of which organism it happens to be in, so selfish genes can build an altruistic organism.

        Secondly, you confuse an observation - that animals can be successful by eliminating the opposition - with a moral - that we SHOULD behave the same. Why?

        Our sense of right and wrong on many issues can probably be traced far further back than religious teachings, which have taught a wide variety of things, many at odds with today's observable facts.

        You're a humanitarian? Is that like a vegetarian? - Mine's the one with the Discworld book in the pocket.

      24. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @irish donkey

        "'Thought shall not kill' is religious law which under pins our Society. Our sense of what is right and wrong can be directly traced back religious teachings."

        Thought very seldom does kill, in and of itself. It takes somebody acting upon a thought to kill.

        But being serious for a moment and assuming you meant "though shallt not kill" I would say that you really don't understand what religion was orignally used for when it came to making laws. There are those who claim religion was originally created to control the population, but I will be charitable and say that religion was probably created as a matter or necessity by people who were affraid of a lot of natural phenomena. Clever people later used the population's reliance on religion to control them and create rules.

        "Why should I do what you tell me to, tribal elder?"

        "Because it's not me that's telling you, it's your god and he will strike you down with that lightning stuff you're so scared of if you don't follow his commandments."

        The very fact that there are so many religions and so many gods and indeed so many versions of the same god would seem to suggest that religion is bunk. While all those conflicting religions do not necessarilly demonstrate that there is no god it does point pretty clearly to the fact that who or what we worship has no effect in this life.

        My biggest question is why the religion question gets more debate and news coverage than any other question on the form. I really don't understand why it's included in the form at all these days.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Irish Donkey

          "'Thought shall not kill'

          Absolutely first class Freudian clit there. Er, I mean Freudian slip, sorry. Forgivest thou me.

      25. Sam Therapy
        Thumb Down

        Wrong on several counts, mate.

        Nobody needs religion to teach a moral framework; even amoebae can learn co-operative behaviour under some circumstances. The basis for human morality - moral absolutism - is deep rooted in self interest and self preservation without the need for an invisible magic man in the sky.

        Simply put, those who behave like complete arseholes often find themselves without friends and assistance real fast. Unless they're good at covering it up for specific periods. Then they find a bunch of like minded people and become police officers or politicians.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      stupid

      May I suggest "The Prince Philip Movement" a cargo cult of the Yaohnanen tribe.

      It's pretty stupid and fortunately it won't be around forever!

    4. BoldMan

      Pardon be boy, is this the lair of Great Cthulhu

      It must be Cthulhu Worshipper !

      Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fhtagn!

    5. A. Coatsworth
      Dead Vulture

      Jedi is too cliché

      The religion of choice in this case should be, of course, Cthulhu Cultist!

      Tombstone as, in strange eons, even El Reg may die...

      1. Matt D

        My "religion"

        Aggressive empiricism.

    6. nsld
      FAIL

      You find it hard to fathom

      Because, to put it bluntly your not the sharpest tool in the shed.

      My kids go to the local "faith" based primary for no other reason than it is streets ahead of all the other schools in the town.

      We arent a religious family but we are clever enough to realise that the school is good, the general social values it teaches are excellent and the kids love it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You find it hard to fathom

        Ah, yes that "general social value" of hypocrisy.

        I'm assuming your faith school has no requirement for you to be a believer, nor does not attempt to indoctrinate your children in a mythology you reject? Oh, it does? So you're a lying hypocrite?

        1. nsld
          FAIL

          if your going to pass judgement

          at least have the decency to put your name to it rathern than being an AC.

          Our faith school has no requirement for us to be believers, if it did we wouldnt be using it, there is no requirement to attend church or sunday school and my kids dont.

          Fortunately the school isnt as prejudiced or stupid as you clearly are in terms of the pupil intake.

          Whether you like it or not religion is part of life, ignoring it wont make it go away, far better to be educated and informed than to be an idiot, its an approach you might want to try.

        2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
          Stop

          I can't speak for nlsd

          but I am also an atheist whose children go to religious schools because they are the best schools we could get them in to. I have not claimed to believe that religion, the schools do some mild indoctrination but I also consider it important for them to have some understanding of religion, and I think they are intelligent enough to make up their own minds in time.

          This isn't to say I would accept any religious school, just because it had a "good" reputation... I suspect that a Taliban school would have too high a level of indoctrination, not to mention personal safety concerns at Parent's Days. Anyway, there aren't any in this area.

          Now, how am I lying or hypocritical?

      2. Brian Morrison
        Grenade

        It is particularly excellent.....

        ....when your children attend the local religious school because they are within its catchment because then they are allowed to opt out of all the religious nonsense. This seems to particularly annoy the Catholic schools' teachers and governors, and is thus very good sport.

        I feel particularly sorry for those that pretended that they are Catholic so that they got a place even though they are are not in catchment, their children are held to much higher standards because of this and so it leads to them hating Catholocism which is counter-productive from the point of view of the church.

        Let's hope that the census accurately reflects the true level of religious faith in this country, and that this fact leads to the government removing all support for these outdated practices.

    7. HP Cynic

      Damn

      This pretty much takes the words out of my mouth.

      Personally I was going to tick "No Religion" unless there's a box marked "Anti-Religious" that I can tick instead.

    8. OrsonX
      Thumb Up

      80 Up-votes for NB... a new Reg record?

      +1 for you Sir.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I for I

      I'd rather what public money was doshed out went to wet, liberal religious rather than those who kill apostates, homosexuals and adulterers. So, although I'm not religious, I'll be Christian on the 27th.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: I for I

        Short sighted attempts at gaming the system don't help you or anyone.

  4. sandman

    Just wondering

    Can you be a fundamentalist atheist? Is there a definable quantity of disbelief?

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Just wondering

      No.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        LOL

        SB is right, but you can get PITA ones, they are as iritating as the god bothers.

      2. Rosco

        Fundamentalist atheists

        There may be no shades of grey between belief and disbelief but there is certainly a fundamentalist atheist camp who angrily insist that everyone must share their disbelief. But I think most atheists don't really care what others believe and don't let it spoil their day.

        1. Oliver 7
          Go

          Theological non-cognitivist

          Atheism is a loaded term as it suggests that you actually recognise a coherent notion of 'God' in which you disbelieve. For example the statement 'I believe in God', of itself, has as much meaning to me as 'Purple kicks badgers kindly'.

          If someone describes something along the lines of the infantile anthropomorphic concept of an old Anglo-Saxon guy with a big white beard who lives in the sky, then 'no' I don't believe it. However within the context of the census question, ticking the atheist box is like defining yourself against a bunch of unverifiable propositions.

          Theological non-cognitivist it is then!

          1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: Theological non-cognitivist

            It doesn't suggest that at all. It's neutral, not anti.

            1. Oliver 7

              Etymologically you are strictly correct...

              ...however there is a common interpretation that anyone declaring themselves an atheist (the 'a' simply meaning without) accepts the existence of an understandable concept of 'God' in which they do not believe. Some who call themselves atheists will even happily argue with religious people along these lines.

              Consistent theological noncognitivists require a discussable definition of God before they can even being to argue for or against the existence of such a metaphysical being.

      3. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Beg to differ...

        Although I hate to disagree with our all-powerful Moderatrix, I would say yes, you can be a fundamentalist Atheist.

        Your problem here appears to be that you define Atheism as a lack of belief, which is not the case. Atheism is a belief that there is no god. It would be all too possible for a group of Atheists to say, for example, "Anyone who follows a religion is stupid and must be killed", and launch a war on religion.

        I am Agnostic. I would say a person without beliefs would be Agnostic, but I don't believe that.

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Beg to differ...

          Everything in that comment is wrong, but I'll leave it to someone else to explain why. Or you could just read the other comments which have already pointed it out.

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        2. Dagg
          Grenade

          Re: Beg to differ - Atheism is a belief that there is no god

          Nope, atheism is a lack of belief. This is an old crutch pulled out of theists all the time. To an atheist god is no different to the easter bunny, father christmas, the monster under your bed or some being from Betelgeuse 5.

          As far as atheists starting a war of theists it is extremely likely that the theists start the war, as they have done so many times in the past.

          From an atheist point of view I have no problems with all the theists killing each other, I just don't want to end up as collateral damage.

          I have always found it extremely amusing that the christians have a rule that says "Thou shall not kill" and then they go off and kill people anyway. Just look at one of the most christian countries in the world, the good old US of A with the death penalty and the people they kill using it. Pure Hypocrisy !

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          And I beg to differ with that.

          > Although I hate to disagree with our all-powerful Moderatrix, I would say yes, you can be a fundamentalist Atheist.

          Fundamentalism consists of strict adherence to a set of theological doctrines. If you don't adhere to theological doctrines then you cannot be a fundamentalist.

          > Your problem here appears to be that you define Atheism as a lack of belief, which is not the case. Atheism is a belief that there is no god.

          Au contraire! A statement of belief may mean the same as a statement of lack of belief. If there are no apples in the fruitbowl, for example, your beliefs concerning the apple-content of the fruitbowl may be "I don't believe there are any apples in the bowl" or "I believe the fruit bowl is empty" or any number of similar statements amounting to the same thing. In much the same way atheism is a lack of belief in God *and* a belief that there is no God. No matter how you cut the belief-cake the atheist believes that the term 'God' has an empty referent.

          > It would be all too possible for a group of Atheists to say, for example, "Anyone who follows a religion is stupid and must be killed", and launch a war on religion.

          Whether or not it's possible to do that doesn't determine the meaning of the words 'fundamentalism' nor 'atheist'.

      4. OrsonX
        Headmaster

        Believer Scale

        Actually Sarah if your read The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins defines just such a scale, ranging from fundamental believer all the way to fundamental atheist.... I highly recommend you have a read of this truly superb book.

        Personally I think everybody should be compelled to read it*

        *this is because I am 6.99999999999 on the scale!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Pint

          NO, no no no no no

          NO!

          What, I need to read your "bible"?

          Fk off, I've not read the bible, and not reading this crap either!

          I hardly need to be told about my beliefs from a book which is basically bashing another book.

          Stop wasting my time, i'm busy with my pint.

    2. peyton?
      Troll

      re: just wondering

      For more information, you may wish to confer, well.... just about every comment section for every Reg article touching on religion ever.

      You will probably make the corollary finding that nothing in today's comments will be enlightening, interesting, or even new.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes.

      They believe Richard Dawkins is the saviour.

    4. Some Beggar

      Not really.

      Atheism is typically (almost overwhelmingly) an absence of belief in the supernatural in general rather than a positive disbelief in any specific branch of the supernatural. The vast majority of people with a positive disbelief are those with a different religious faith, so somebody with strong Christian faith will positively disbelieve in Brahman, for example.

      I'm not sure it makes any sense to talk about a "fundamentalist" absence of faith.

    5. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      @Sandman

      I believe the phrase you might be looking for is "Anti-Theist".

      I recommend a documentary called "The God who Wasn't There" as a good descriptive source, but in short an Anti-Theist is someone who actively works against religion in an effort to reduce or eliminate its presence in society. Generally they characterise religion as a mental deficiency, a virul meme or a social control method. Dr. Dawkins is a prominent Anti-Theist.

      Sorry Ms. Bee, but I think there are quantifiable degrees of 'atheism' and fundamentalism/extremism can certainly be present in such philosophies, as with any form of belief, be it scientific, nationalistic or religious. Fundamentalism is dangerous no matter where it originates or what its core cause may be.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, unless you're misusing fundamentalist

      If you mean rabidly evangelical, then yes.

      No offence to anyone with rabies.

    7. Chad H.

      Yes

      One could conce of fundamental atheism. Burning anything that hints at religion, bombing churches, etc.

      But athiests don't tend to do organisation - they don't have to appear in q building once every week for fear of upsetting a bogey-god.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just wondering

      Yes. If you take atheistic conceits to a purely selfish extent you get nihilism.

      Not that I think either atheism or nihilism are necessarily selfish.

  5. Rich 30

    a1b2

    Question 17!?

    1. Old Tom
      Boffin

      The Welsh have a Q17

      It's about their language.

      They left it blank for England so that the question numbers stayed in step.

  6. The BigYin
    Flame

    The state should not be funding...

    ...faith-based schooling. If parents want to stunt their children's ability to critically assess evidence by forcing them to believe in some mythical sky-fairy, then they can do it at their own expense; not mine.

  7. Naich

    This is a title

    "In any case, the British people are quite capable of judging for themselves what box they should tick."

    Except that the question "What religion are you" will often be casually interpreted as "what religion were you born into?", rather than "do you follow a religion now?". People might not know that policies are made based on the latter interpretation of the question, rather than the former, so that is the one to use.

    1. Test Man
      WTF?

      Do you think that is so...

      ... when the census form specifically states as answering the questions as it would be on March 27th 2011? I mean in other words, if you aren't (or not come March 27th) practising religion, why would anyone think that they would put down one for when they were born?

      1. Cameron Colley

        @Test Man

        How long can you go without setting foot in a Church, Temple, Kingdom Hall or other place of worship before you're officially classed as "No longer practising."?

        A practising member of the C of E can (in most cases) pretty much be defined as "Was once baptised; goes to Christenings, Weddings and Funerals; may believe in God.".

        I also think you may also be classed as a practising Catholic if you were baptised, may go to church in the next couple of decades and feel guilty all the time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Look up

      Where faith schools get funding from... Not just from the govenment, and frankly, look at the results they get.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Stop

        The results they get...

        ...are largely due to parental support, encouragement and expectation - in other words, the individual children involved would do well no matter which school they were in, at least in part because the parents take an interest in their education. It then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      2. Jolyon

        Results

        Of course if there was funding for an explicitly atheist school with similar selection privileges to faith schools (which as far as I am aware there isn't and couldn't legally be) you might find similarly superior results.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    It's 2011

    So why should we be making any special allowances for Jews, Muslims, Christians, or any other group of gullible numpties.

    We have science, we have reason, we have logic. Imaginary friends are redundant. Religious wars and sectarian bigotry have no place in the modern world.

    Go away and stop trying to suck money out of the system for your special needs.

  9. Ants 2

    Baffled

    The willingness of religious and non-religious people to bang on about their affiliation (or lack thereof) never fails to bore me.

  10. David Webb

    Religion

    I for one, and probably two or three depending on my current personality suggest quite heartily that we enact a law whereby any person who notes their religion as "Cullenism" (based on that rather trash series of teen angst, necrophillia, beastiality novels - Twilight) should hitherto be struck down and proclaimed as "Witches" or something, anything which allows us, the general public who believe vampires (if they existed) should infact be killed as evil blood suckers (see Vampire in what is, without a shadow of doubt, the best British show of a generation - Being Human), so yes, we deserve the right, nay, the honour of being allowed to destroy and person who lists their religion based on trash novels like Twilight! (Unless the Moderatrix is a closet Jacob fan, in which case, I didn't write this, the guy who posted below me did).

  11. stu 4
    Stop

    no religion != athiest

    agnostic

    athiest

    antitheist

    these all say far more than 'no religion'.

    As an antitheist, I'm pretty fecked off that all I can do is check 'no religion'.

    If there was an antitheist and an athiest checkbox we might find that rather than settling for religion NOT having as much influence, we could get to a point were it is actively discouraged through funding... IF that is what the unwashed declared themselves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is SB a closet sparkles fan ?

      That is a question for an entire thread I think.

      You do owe me a new keyboard though as you actually made me laugh out loud.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your options as an atheist

      According to a PDF I found on www.ons.gov.uk, the question is:

      What is your religion?

      -> This question is voluntary

      [] No religion

      [] Christian (...)

      [] Buddhist

      [] Hindu

      [] Jewish

      [] Muslim

      [] Sikh

      [] Any other religion, write in

      _________________

      (The "..." bit is different between England and Wales.)

      So you can write in "atheist" is you want, if you really feel that's your religion, but personally I wouldn't want to characterise myself as someone who doesn't believe in a god any more than I'd want to characterise myself as someone who doesn't believe in fairies.

      Obviously I have various beliefs and opinions, but I don't think I can summarise them in 17 characters.

      So I think I'll just not answer the voluntary question.

      A harder one is the "ethnic group" question, which isn't voluntary. I'll probably put down "human".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Linux

        Atheist Options

        You're right of course, no religion is the 'correct answer' - but bunging in something like Jedi, Penguin Worshipper or whatever is a better way of showing contempt for the question.

        ...and its nice to think of it raising a smile in a couple of hundred years if/when your almost certainly atheist descendants are researching their geneology.

      2. Super Fast Jellyfish
        Thumb Up

        No religion

        As an atheist I'll be ticking the "No Religion" box. Putting Jedi or anything else in the "Any other religion" field means, as others have pointed out, you will be counted as being religious rather than secular.

        Discussions as to whether I'd happier for my position to be labelled as strong or weak atheism, antitheism, non-theism can be left to a later date as its as irrelivant here as to a Christian wanting to say they were Catholic over Christian.

      3. Rattus Rattus

        @AC 13:47 - "ethnic group" question

        Why not put "hominid" or even "mammal"?

      4. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Pint

        How about

        "Mammal"?

    3. Martin Owens
      Heart

      But what about

      What about me, I'm an Apatheist, how many of us are bloody likely to care to tick any box in that question?

    4. John Robson Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      My complaint exactly.

      Although I come at from a different angle (evangelical Christian) I agree that there is a world of difference between:

      - No religion

      - Atheist

      An Athiest has a FAITH - albeit a faith that there is nothing.

      Not spoken to many antitheists, but wikipedia (all hail) suggests that this is also a faith position.

      The honest answer for most people who don't KNOW that their answer is different is "agnostic" or "don't know"

      1. Chris Harrison
        Thumb Down

        Linguistic gymnastics - nothing to see here.

        "An Athiest has a FAITH - albeit a faith that there is nothing"

        Sorry, but thats just bollox. A lack of faith is not a faith in itself.

        There are an infinate number of things that you or I don't believe in.

        The fact that you don't believe that purple turnips orbit the moon doesn't mean you have a faith does it?

        1. lpopman
          Thumb Up

          titular agreement

          Nice one Chris, at least he didn't try the old "Atheists are just rebellious of God" line, which I see with an increasing frequency.

          Also with faith there comes an absence of evidence. There is more than enough evidence around to disprove religion, but a more thorough refutation would probably put Sarah through living hell moderating us as the flames fly here.

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Faith

        Is not equal to 'Dont Care- You're just being silly."

      3. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: My complaint exactly.

        Define 'faith'. I'm an atheist and I don't consider that this makes me a follower of a faith. I don't really get the need of people to apply religious structure to atheism and treat it like some sort of inverted religion. It is what you make it. It might be nothing for a lot of people, just a default position once you've ruled out all the possible religions.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I think the idea of organised atheism such as humanism

          Is to replace the role religion has played in coming of age rituals and organising charitable efforts in a secular way.

          I have never had a problem joining up with which ever religious organisation is participating with something I want to get involved with and most active religious people are grateful if atheists help them since most people do not act on the beliefs they claim to hold.

          Not all atheists are completely apathetic to the needs of others, and rituals and ceremonies have always played a part in human society.

          I don't participate in organised atheism, but that's the reason why people do.

        2. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Disproof of "Atheism is not a faith"

          An Atheist believes there is no god.

          There is no solid evidence that there is no god (just as there is no solid evidence that there is a god).

          Faith is a belief in something for which there is no solid evidence.

          Therefore, an Atheist has Faith that there is no god.

          QED

          1. Richard Wharram
            Stop

            @Dr. Mouse

            "An Atheist believes there is no god."

            OK - you've already b***sed up on the first premise of your argument. It goes downhill from there.

            1. Steven Knox
              WTF?

              @Richard Wharram

              Hang on. What DOES an atheist believe?

              We can all agree that believing in one or more gods makes one a theist. (I hope -- if you don't, you're probably just being contrary for the fun of it.) -- definitely not atheism.

              Agnosticism is the belief that one cannot know whether there is a god or not, so that's not atheism. It's also used (i.e, lazy agnosticism) as apathy towards the question of the existence of god.

              So, if atheism is a position on the (non)-existence of a god or gods, the only one left is that there is no god. How is that different from the premise "An Atheist believes there is no god"? Failing that, where is the flaw in my logic/Dr. Mouse's premise?

              The only out I can see is that atheism is not a position on the (non)-existence of a god, which contradicts the terms etymology. Define atheism in a way which is consistent with its roots which would mean that an atheist would not believe that there is no god.

              1. Richard Wharram
                FAIL

                @Steven Knox

                "An Atheist believes there is no god."

                That statement is ok an a normal piece of English that isn't going to be analysed too deeply but if someone is going to get prissy enough about its meaning to use it in two syllogisms then I'll have to cry foul. It's a 'common-sense' phrase but the meaning taken from it is different to what it says on the surface, like so much of natural language.

                Closer to the truth would be something along the lines of:

                "An atheist does not believe in God A"

                "An atheist does not believe in God B"

                "An atheist does not believe in God C"

                "An atheist does not believe in God D"

                ad infinitum.

                To then say that any of those requires 'faith' because they are, by definition, not provable is obviously twisting the meaning of the word 'faith' outside that where it serves a useful purpose in the language.

                Write your argument in formal logic and I'll consider it. Otherwise I'll just treat it as sophistry exploiting the multiple meanings that English words and phrases can have in the service of a bullshit argument.

                1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

                  Maybe I've been misinformed.

                  But I don't get it.

                  There seems to be a lot of argument (here and elsewhere in this thread) about that phrase.

                  "An Atheist believes there is no god."

                  As far as I have always been aware, that is the definition of an Atheist. Not someone who doesn't believe in any of the religions, not one who neither believes nor disbelieves in a god. The whole premise is the belief that there is no god.

                  Of course we can go into definitions of god, but apart from that I fail to see the flaw. Is my definition of Atheism that wrong?

                  As to faith... I was brought up in a religious household. Faith, in a religious context, is accepting an idea as fact without proof. There may be much evidence to support the idea, but not enough to stand up to a full logical argument. This is where faith comes in.

                  So, by all the information I have at hand, my argument was logical. I am not "exploiting the multiple meanings that English words and phrases can have in the service of a bullshit argument".

                  1. Richard Wharram

                    @Dr. Mouse

                    A servicable definition of God that would be amenable to all parties is indeed a major problem. Let's try looking at your argument from another angle.

                    You are suggesting that any conceivable proposition which can't be proved by someone must require faith. There are an infinite number of such propositions which any of us would immediately dismiss as nonsense without being able to actually prove it. To say that all of these require 'faith' is to trivialise the concept of faith to a meaningless truism.

                  2. Dagg
                    Alien

                    "An Atheist believes there is no god."

                    Wrong, an atheist has no belief in any gods or similar invisible friends is correct.

                    "Has no belief" is totally different to "believes". Consider the example, A christian believes there is no alien from Betelgeuse 5 or a christian has no belief in an alien from Betelgeuse 5.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Happy

          I have faith

          In the one, true Moderatrix!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        (A)-theist

        "An Athiest has a FAITH - albeit a faith that there is nothing"

        Incorrect. The word a-theist literally means 'without-god' or 'no-god' if you want to be literal about it.

        The connotation being that without god there can be no faith in said god.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        You are incorrect

        Athiests KNOW there is nothing. It's not about a belief in something which cannot be proven.

        There is a substantial difference between knowledge and belief.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          @AC

          "Athiests KNOW there is nothing. It's not about a belief in something which cannot be proven."

          Do you wish to prove that there is no god?

    5. hplasm Silver badge
      Alien

      Astral-B Heretic

      Down with the Divine Order!!

    6. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    7. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Perhaps some research might be in order?

      Money for faith schools comes from congregations as well as the government, and all faith schools which receive state funding must teach according to the national curriculum. Also, faith schools tend to get better results than secular schools. So, overall, the taxpayer pay less for better educated kids... Sorry, what was your point?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        What was my point?

        My point was one that you must have missed. I'm not talking about results, alternative sources of funding or anything else you mentioned. I'm talking about govt funds being used to finance propaganda centres for the terminally deluded. Schools are supposed to be places that kids go to learn facts not to be brainwashed.

        Forcing religion down the throats of children too young to understand is nothing less than abuse.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        @"faith schools tend to get better results than secular schools"

        They tend to get better pupil intakes by being in middle class areas, rather than being compelled to take all the kids from the local sink estate.

        The results are nothing to do with religion.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Troll

      Re: Baffled.

      The willingness of people to read comments they find boring just so they can whine about it never fails to amaze me.

      Why don't you just you fuck off and do something else?

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: Baffled.

        It's a fair point.

  12. jake Silver badge

    Why the fuck does it matter?

    I can claim any religion I wish to claim. So can you.

    More importantly, you can't prove me wrong, nor can I prove you wrong. It's called "faith", and is irrational and not empirical, nor is it up for scientific examination.

    So why, exactly, does the government think that they need to know my faith (if any?) ... It can only be for control purposes, because there is certainly no other rational reason. I rather suspect that it'd make a lot more sense, for everybody, if we all politely declined to state.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      you can't prove me wrong, nor can I prove you wrong

      I think you mean science cannot prove religion is wrong (and is quite happy to say so), but it can prove that lots and lots of science is right* and also that there is no actual need to invoke religious propositions for the universe to work as expected. This implies that religion has an uphill struggle trying to gain recognition in the real world outside of it's core believers who are happy without any kind of evidence.

      Religion on the other hand cannot prove if it is right OR wrong. As religion is the one coming up with the amazing propositions (gods, miracles etc), then I think the onus is on religion to show some evidence for it or put up with being ignored.

      *For a very high threshold of rightness or until something even righter comes along.

      1. Gorbachov
        Thumb Up

        right on

        Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence

        true for science, true for religion.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          or even

          All Claims Require Evidence

          true for science, true for religion.

      2. jake Silver badge

        @AC13:48 ... you miss the point.

        Proving a negative is a fallacy ... argument from ignorance never works.

    2. Gorbachov
      Go

      because they say it matters

      If you are silent then you have no voice in the shaping of your country. And it does shape it through the laws already in the books and the ones yet to be made. So, by not giving an answer you potentially weaken a side you sympathize with or at best remain irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. I like that I have at least a small say in the matter and exercise it whenever I can.

      The loud minorities have proven that it can reshape our world.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    No more Jedi

    Good, i'm sure many people in here are a fan of that idiotic movie franchise. But not all of us are.

    As a protest it was a pathetic attempt, influence nothing and just showed there were hundreds of thousands of sad acts in the country. We all knew that anyway, we've all see them in HMV getting all excited about the latest peice of corporate tat which they thought made them edgy.

    Guess what folks - it didn't - it made you into a strereotype, a cliche, a jerk!

    As for how it would be viewed if the Archbishop of Canterbury asked for people to say they were Christian, thats a nonsense. An argument which does not fit within the context of the situation.

  14. Dangermouse

    Bugger the title...

    My religion is going down as "Smoker".

  15. Cazzo Enorme

    Err

    "The battle for the nation's soul is definitely hotting up with the Board of Deputies of British Jews advising that "British Jews could miss out on funding and facilities in the coming years if community members fail to indicate their religion in next month's census"."

    Why should anyone get funding and facilities based on religious affiliation? Faith based schools are a disaster, fostering divisions in society. And I say that from experience as I went to a Catholic school for two years before my parents thankfully moved me to the local comprehensive.

  16. Steven Davison
    Troll

    Why the fuck does it matter? #

    Maybe so there is some kind of record of how many people (claim) to belong to a specific religion and when, so the demographic can be charted as changing over time?

    my default question always is... If you aren't willing to tell, what are you wanting to hide?

  17. LuMan
    Headmaster

    Jedi?? Religion??

    Well, perhaps. If enough people say so. But they're wrong. Jedi was never a religion. It was an order, like the Samurai - the actual inspiration for the Jedi Knights - who's faith system is actually Buddhist or Zen (predominantly).

    Having said that, Christianity (and other faiths) seems to be based on fictitious characters performing all manner of bizarre actions and taking advice from talking bushes of fire, so believing in a faith that allows you to choke people at a distance or raise downed X-Wing Fighters from swamps isn't too far off the mark!

    Right, as taken from Roger's Profanisaurus, I'm off for a Jedi right now!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Aaargh!

    There is only one God and I have been touched by his noodly apendage.

    Mines a pint from the beer volcano

  19. Thomas 4

    I, for one

    Am looking forward to the introduction of our Jedi faith schools. Until Anakin drops by and murders all the students, along with the franchise.

  20. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    Misconceived indeed

    > Theos criticised the BHA’s campaign as "misconceived" and "unnecessary"

    I hope the BHA pointed out that was god in a nutshell.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Since I believe in science,

    should I put myself down as a "scientist"?

  22. fixit_f
    Thumb Up

    As Doug Stanhope says

    "Ninety percent of every war that's ever been fought is because of some made-up, mind control, completely fictional religion. You never hear in the news, "200 killed today when Atheist rebels took heavy shelling from the Agnostic stronghold in the north". No, it's because you got a silly, placebo religion cuz you don't want to admit that you don't fucking know."

    1. jake Silver badge

      Defaults.

      "my default question always is... If you aren't willing to tell, what are you wanting to hide?"

      Why do you have curtains on your windows, and a door to your bathroom/toilet? Hiding anything?

    2. david 63
      Thumb Up

      Patafarianism rules

      just that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        But

        They would probably see it as a spelling mistake and include you with the Rastas

    3. Miek

      It matters...

      "my default question always is... If you aren't willing to tell, what are you wanting to hide?"

      We have a right to privacy and can exercise this whenever we feel it necessary. The "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" mantra is idiotic.

      Many posters on these forums claim they dislike Google due to it's broad data collection and retention practises and they choose not to use Google as a result. These people may not have anything to hide; they simply don't like being watched or tracked.

    4. Cameron Colley

      RE: Why the fuck does it matter?

      It matters for a few reasons:

      As has been pointed out, and is part of the reason for the article itself, if people tick that they are religious it may result in faith-based schools receiving more funding. I suppose that if a lot more people suddenly put down "Hindu", for example, then projects benefiting this religion may receive more funding or encouragement.

      If the census is filled with "Jedi" then people in the future won't have an accurate record of which religions were present during this period in this country.

      On the other hand, there are worries:

      If the data leaks in some way (even just a family member seeing you put down that you are not religious) then it could cause embarrassment or harassment.

      If the Bigoted-Fuckwit Party, oops I mean BNP, get into power in the next few years then they'll have a nice list of people to deport or refuse to extend government help to.

      Personally though I don't think it should matter or be recorded -- since no money or exceptions should be given to schools because they are based on faith, regardless of how good the school is. Also, no government money should go to build any places of worship for anyone -- including Jedii.

      Religion is a matter of personal belief and should never, ever, have any bearing on anything done by a government.

    5. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Thumb Up

      re: Since I believe in science

      ^ This.

    6. Rattus Rattus

      Touched by his noodly appendage?

      I hear that happens in a lot of religions.

  23. Natalie Gritpants

    I really am a Jedi

    No, really I am but what can I do? I get lumped in with hundreds of pasty wimps that don't represent my views at all. I think I'll tick Jew since it contains some similar letters and circumcision hurts like having a mishap with a light sabre.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fix the questions

    Just ask when was the last time attended [place of religion] or worshipped.

    Simples.

  25. /\/\j17

    I'm twice as athiest as you!

    Well I've already had TWO census forms through my letterbox - and could fill in a third as they have sent one to Flat 7..and there have only ever been 6 flats in my building.

  26. Raggs

    The reason it matters is...

    If there's lots of religious folk (regardless of jedi or not) then high ranking religious folks will be invited, and leave a large bill for the taxi payer. They just lump together all the religious folk.

    Thankfully, things seem to be going in a good direction, the last large poll ran suggests less than 60% of the country is religious. 54% christian, of those christians, 36% said religion wasn't important to them :D.

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/3220.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Badgers

    What no Pastafarians?

    Where do I put this down.. its on my car badge so I suppose it should go on the form...

    all hail his noodley apendages.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Cazzo Enorme

        Re: Circumcision

        "Jewish boys are circumcised as babies."

        As was my Dad, who isn't Jewish. He was born at a hospital in a largely Jewish part of London, and when the Rabbi came round to do circumcisions my Nan thought it was something all the boys had done. My Mum let slip this bit of info one Christmas after one too many dry sherrys.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Alien

      Thats what you think

      Maw ha ha ha.........

    3. Mike Richards Silver badge

      You might be on to a winner

      If you fill out all the forms with the same religion you - YES YOU - might be the lucky winner of a brand new faith school.

  28. Alien8n Silver badge
    Alien

    religious donations

    We all donate to the largest religion in the UK anyway when we pay taxes. Or does everyone forget that part of our taxes go to the monarchy, and as such to the head of the Church of England?

    Tempted to put Church of Discordia down this year...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re; British people thinking and acting for themselves...

    Yes, 'cos it's not like some organisations have a big old rule book, a big old set of rules and regulations, pillars, tenents or commandments if you will, that they're foisting upon people, is it?

  30. Benny
    Thumb Up

    I just went with

    "self worshiper"

    (I know, supposed to wait till the 27th, but I'll have more interesting things to do then and I was bored last night)

  31. s. pam
    Alert

    2 best choices are....<drum roll please>

    Church of the Subgenius

    ******OR*******

    Fucking Psycho

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Well I've decided...

    The only thing that I find more tiresome than loudmouth god botherers banging on about their stupid beliefs are loudmouth "there is no god" botherers banging on about their lack of any.

    Accordingly I'll be voting C of E, as they appear to be the only ones with the good grace to shut up for 15 seconds.

    Anyone who has a problem with that...has a problem. Like I care...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ooo...decisions

        Fair point. Funnily enough there were some Quakers on my Dad's side of the family...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Well I've decided...

      I guess you don't have a telly. Also I hope you get fined for lying on the census.

  33. DirkGently
    Boffin

    Just add another Yes/No question:

    Practising?

  34. DrXym Silver badge

    No religion

    Tick the box, write it or whatever. The funny part is people who fill in Jedi are just informing their great, great grandchildren what complete pillocks their ancestors were when the census goes public 100 years hence.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nuns

    I bet a lot of nuns will " tick 'Christian' out of habit".

    1. Chris Harrison
      Joke

      Naked Nuns?

      Now there's a thought.

    2. Neil Hoskins
      Boffin

      Duh...

      It's a protest vote, dummy, because we object to the very fact the question is being asked: why do you find that so hard to grasp?

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Duh...

        Well, it's not going to work, is it?

        1. Neil Hoskins
          WTF?

          Great attitude

          So I should stay in bed on election days? Because whatever I do won't make any difference? Maybe Emmeline Pankhurst shouldn't have bothered doing what she did. Gandhi should maybe have just carried on being a lawyer.

          1. Cameron Colley

            I can't stop laughing....

            To equate having your religion recorded as "Other", when the fact that having a religion or not is likely what is being counted, on a voluntary question on a census to chaining yourself to a railing and risking a prison sentence is just too funny.

            Refuse to fill in the form until they remove that question and then you may be in the same league...

  36. Beelzeebub
    Unhappy

    Wot!

    No box for me?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 14.07 - Voting?

    Have I misunderstood what the census is going to be used for?

  38. Haral Heisto
    Stop

    "Other religion" is a vote for more faith schools

    The massive increase in funding for faith schools in this country over the last decade has been justified entirely by the high proportion of people who picked a religion on the census. There are a lot of posts on here suggesting putting in "Scientist", "Atheist", "Pastafarian" or even "Smoker" in the other field, but bear in mind you'll be counted as a minority religion, and thus a vote for faith schools.

    That's the reason for the BHAs campaign, and why it's important that atheists, agnostics, jedi and devout smokers all pick "No religion".

  39. Richard Porter

    Atheism = No god

    To say you're agnostic is a cop out. Everyone must be agnostic because you cannot possibly know whether a 'god' (whatever that may mean) exists or not. You either believe this stuff or you don't. Jedi is so last decade, so it's got to be 'no religion' this time. Atheism is not a religion - it's the absence of any religion.

    1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      Not really

      Atheists believe that a god does not exist.

      Those who are Agnostic do not believe that a god exists.

      There is a difference. Atheism is a postitive belief. Agnosticism(?) is a lack of belief.

      1. Rattus Rattus

        Please, Dr. Mouse,

        read the comments that point out, over and over, that the definition of atheism you are using IS NOT CORRECT. Atheism is a lack of belief, not a belief in it's own right.

  40. Richard Porter

    Re: Fix the questions

    AC wrote: "Just ask when was the last time attended [place of religion] or worshipped."

    No, that doesn't work. I've recently been to two church funerals out of compassion and respect for the surviving partners/relatives. That doesn't mean that I took part in the services to any greater extent than standing up and sitting down at the appropriate times. It is of course an emotional experience but not a spiritual one.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Re: Fix the questions

      You can be or feel spiritual without being religious, though...

    2. Teddy the Bear
      Joke

      Alas...

      Many of the congregation of the church I attend do no more, and havn't for the last sixty years... Though now I think about it, your participation may have been greater because you actually stood sometimes; some of our older congregants don't even do that any more...

  41. Beanzy

    Definitely rigged questions.

    Surely the question should be along the lines of " do you consider yourself relifgious?"

    "If yes please indicate which version you suffer from"

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Scientologists

    Do the scientologists get a box?

    Or are they bundled in with various others in the 'miscellaneous cult' category?

    Was that a knock at the door?

    Better get my coat ...

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What happened to the church of the flying spaghetti monster

    Everyone knows the true atheist response is the church of the flying spaghetti monster.... I wish there was a box for that!

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I TICK THE " E=MC2 " BOX

    WHAT MORE, DO YOU WANT FROM ME, MONEY ?

    1. Chad H.
      Alert

      Err

      Are you trying to imply then that the Theory of Relativity is just something you have to take on faith?

  45. Richard Porter

    Thought shall not kill

    Irish donkey wrote: "'Thought shall not kill' is religious law which under pins our Society"

    Unfortunately having the wrong thoughts does kill in some religious societies.

  46. Neil Hoskins
    Thumb Down

    Disagree

    If you put "No Religion", all that will happen is that there will be an equivalent proportion of secular schools. Far better, surely, to spoil their silly game by putting "Jedi" or, in my case, "Pastafarian". If enough of us do so, the game is disrupted because they'll have to provide Jedi faith schools. I think the BHA have got it wrong on this occasion.

    More's the point, I'm torn as to whether to put "indigenous mzungu" for my ethnicity.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      incidentally I cannot BELIEVE

      that none of you has piped up

      "I find your lack of faith disturbing."

      It's not like you haven't had the opportunity. For shame.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Go

        I find the lack of faith-

        encouraging!

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      or

      Hutt...

  47. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Another census thing

    I'm very impressed by the range of languages on offer.

    One that caught my eye was 'Swedish' - partly because I wasn't aware of large Swedish ghettos in the UK, but also because is there any Swede who doesn't speak better English than the average Briton?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Bank holy day of obligation.

      "I wasn't aware of large Swedish ghettos in the UK".

      You mean to say you've never worshipped in the aisles of Ikea?

  48. Scott Broukell

    Shurley ...

    it (religion) should be an entirely personal matter and that is all. Not a matter that gets shoved in my / your / our faces all the bloody time. Not a matter that involves the brain washing of young minds (tantamount to abuse imho). Why should any child be stamped with the mark of its parents beliefs the second its born. Give the poor things a chance to live and learn about all the faiths and spiritualism there is in the world, then maybe ask them if they want to choose one in particular at say 14 or 16 years of age. Of course they would probably choose the same one as their mates, but at least they would have a choice, even if they changed it the next year cos they got different mates by then. They could even share and discuss it over the interwebs and get a broader sense of the way folk live and worship all over the world. Or, given the same choice, they could drop the whole idea. I really don't believe you need religion to teach a person right from wrong.

    Trouble is humin beans is still tribal and love the herd instinct - maybe it gives them a place to run away to, instead of facing up to the fact that we,as a species, are very, very insignificant.

    And what if (some of it) is true, would the deity in charge be particularly happy with what some of us do in his / her / its name !!! - I don't think so.

    The continued intolerance towards each other on the basis of religious beliefs, contrary to what they each say, is what holds us back. Believe in what you want, but don't cry if I contradict you and allow me the right to contradict you, for I tolerate your beliefs so long as you don't push them in my face all the bleeding time and shape the society in which I am also living, GOT IT!

    I conclude therefore, that it no place whatsoever on a census form.

  49. Bram

    Chill

    A belief is a blief. Science like religion doesnt have all the answers so neither side should be trying to get one up on each other. What is interesting about this is that some people are extremely rude and nasty just because someone believes in something they cannot prove or have any evidence for.

    Would you berate a child for believing in father christmas? no. Yet you still go out and buy presents for them at christmas time and say its from santa.

    We are humans first so lets treat others like we would like to be treated and lets remember that Maths and engineering are much better platforms for a society.

    How science works:

    Someone makes a statement and finds some proof to back it up. This stands as truth until someone who has used agreed international standards to disprove this.

    Maths however you cannot claim anthing until it is solidly proved by numbers otherwise its just philosophy.

    Religion has a place in society to help guide people to aspire and to control people in times when we did not have the advanced technology we have now.

    Maths is what will unravel the universe as Einstein said "God does not play dice"

    1. Super Fast Jellyfish

      achill

      You are correct that science doesn't have all the answers (and has acknowledged it never will - see Godel). However, unlike religion, it does have facts; I don't have to believe in the law of gravity for to affect me, I can see that an apple falls.

      And I think you meant "Unfortunately religion had a place ... to control people" although non-religious morals are not the same as technology.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Science is not a belief

      Science has never claimed to have all the answers, in fact it revels in the knowledge that there is so much more to discover.

      Religion says it has all the answers and doesn't allow any kind of debate to question it

      Science is merely an explanation of observable evidence. Gravity for example doesn't care if you 'believe' in it or not it just carries on doing what it has always done.

      Religion crumbles into nothingness without belief - who worships the ancient Egyptian or Roman Gods any more but the world didn't end, the Gods didn't get angry and destroy everything when people stopped believing and the world just moved on.

  50. Mark .

    "Jedi" isn't the problem

    I think the claims about problems with the Jedi response are overblown - for 2001, it was a good protest in itself, being a criticism with the question in itself (you can't do that if you answer No religion), as well as parodying the idea that beliefs should be respected simply if enough people believe in them.

    Having said that, in 2001 there wasn't AFAIK a campaign push for "No religion". Now that there is, it's good to get everyone putting that one response.

    But I still think the problem isn't a few people putting down Jedi. The problem is millions putting down that they are Christians simply because they were baptised, or identify as that culturally, even if they don't believe in it.

    "In any case, the British people are quite capable of judging for themselves what box they should tick. They don't need to be told."

    Sadly there's plenty of evidence that shows poll responses can depend heavily on the wording.

    "If the Archbishop of Canterbury were to launch a campaign pleading for people to tick the Christian box, it would be rightly ridiculed as a sign of desperation."

    Er, the Church of England still has plenty of power; has a privileged position as part of the Monarchy, and having seats in the House of Lords. Christian worship is still a legal requirement in all state schools.

    If his point is to say that secular people are still in a more deperate situation than Christianity - er yes, that's the point.

  51. damocles

    To those ticking "Other"

    During the previous census, the staff, employed to step-in when the OCR process (often) failed, were trained with the mantra, "If in doubt space it out". If they struggled to read your answer, it was discounted. In this instance you'd end up classified as "Religion - Other (Not specified)".

    If Jesus came back he'd probably tick the "No religion" box too*.

    * Based on the reasoning presented in Dogma.

    1. Chad H.

      I disagree

      As he was born into a Jewish Family, and undoubtedly grew up jewish, surely he'd tick the Jewish box?

  52. Apocalypse Later

    Atheism IS a religion

    Me and my fellow believers spend our Saturdays knocking on people's doors and trying to talk them into cancelling their subscriptions to The Watchtower.

  53. Ian Stephenson Silver badge

    Militant Agnostic* here.

    *I don't know if there is a god AND NOR DO YOU!

  54. nicdafis
    Pint

    Is there any beer in the fridge?

    > Your problem here appears to be that you define Atheism as a lack of belief, which is not the case.

    Yes, it is, literally. A theist is someone who believes in a god or gods, and an atheist is someone who lacks such belief.

    > Atheism is a belief that there is no god.

    Well, no, it's not. Lack of belief in the existence of X is not the same as a belief in the non-existence of X.

    I don't believe there is beer in the fridge, since I see no evidence to support such a belief. That isn't the same as believing there is definitely no beer in the fridge. I may be mistaken, or the beer may be hiding behind the cheese. Maybe somebody hid it. People can be cruel. Nevertheless, the last time I looked, the fridge was completely devoid of beer, and I see no reason to believe that beer has magically appeared there, much as I would love to live in a universe where such things happened.

    If you believe that the fridge contains beer, all you have to do to convince me is go and get me a beer. You're the one who believes in magic beer, not me.

    > It would be all too possible for a group of Atheists to say, for example, "Anyone who follows a religion is stupid and must be killed", and launch a war on religion.

    You're right, that is possible, though I'm not sure about the "all too possible". Are you trying to suggest that it's probable, or even likely? Again, I see no evidence that any such atheist conspiracy exists. If you have a reason to believe that is the case, I'd love to hear about it. Or you could just get me a beer.

  55. tom 24
    Grenade

    Trivialized

    It's not right to trivialize someone's firmly held beliefs like that. If a person says he's a member of the Jedi religion, he is. That's how religion works. It doesn't matter what others think about it.

  56. AndyG_IOM
    Alien

    Religion....

    get ready for this.... :-)

    I always thought an agnostic has about a strong a conviction as they can humanly have that they are sure that there is no deity they feel they can justify convincingly to themselves.

    ( did you like the avoidance of the word... belief there )

    Its a stretch but if that point follows then i will accept that this is different to the 'belief' that there is no god, because therefore belief in either the existance or non existance of said deity defines a religious view of sorts. Therefore, isnt a belief either for or against a religious type view in itself and therefore constitute a THEISM ?? ( either one )

    And does it then not follow that a person who has no opinion due to lack of evidence form a personal POV to the individual concerned define agnostism ??

    my head hurts.... !

    M'eh.... wheres the church of the flying spagetti monster then you need it !!

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    And not a single person

    Has mentioned that the census is to be processed by an American military company, and that all data held by American companies can be collected and used by the American government immediately and NOT anonymously. So if you are going to refer to yourself as Jedi remember the religion is correctly spelt jihad-est.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Something has always bugged me about religion

    and that is the idea of Heaven. The idea being that if you follow whatever arbitrary set of rules the priests tell you then you will achieve eternal life. Now just think about that in context:

    Eternity by definition never ends which would give you the time to do absolutely everything that it is possible to do, learn everything it is possible to learn, meet everyone you ever wanted to meet and explore the whole of space and time from beginning to end. As you no longer have a physical body the options are truly staggering - swimming in a supernova anyone?

    But then what?

    After you have done everything for the Nth time and you already know everything what is left? You still have no end to your eternal life. I would imagine that the attraction of living forever would wear off once you have been doing the same things over and over again for a few hundred millennia. Even the most exciting of pastimes becomes normal, even boring if you do them often enough how bored will you get when there is literally nothing left that you haven't done and you know it will never end? No wonder that people used to think the Gods played games with the lives of men; it was to stave off the boredom for a little while.

    As I'm here, this whole 'God loves you' bit bothers me as well. As a parent, if my child disobeys my rules my thoughts have never once turned to casting them into a pit of flames to suffer indescribable pain and torment for all eternity to teach them a lesson. Bit harsh isn't it? Even in the old Gods stories, those who banished their children for whatever reason would relent after a while and invite them back to Olympus or Valhalla or wherever and embrace them as a parent.

    Maybe you religious types should really have a long hard think about what you want to happen after you die. Which is better? A never ending existence worshipping God and telling him how great he is or accepting that there should be a time where you have to end. Before you blindly just think heaven actually try to understand the concept of eternity, really think about all that time stretching out before you with no possibility of an end.

    Before you think I am a pessimist just looking forward to death, I love life. I live it to the full and plan on clinging to it for as long as possible. I feel grateful that a random sequence of events managed to put me here to enjoy everything and the Earth is truly an amazing place. However, wanting to live an incredibly long time and wanting eternity are entirely two different things. Eternity just sounds like Hell.

    1. Scott Broukell

      Rather Ironically ...

      I thought that science predicted the distinct possibility of eternity as well. Not eternity in the manner of a human souls continuity as outlined above. But rather that entropy would finally result in all the matter in the universe one day turning into an absolutely uniform particle soup, with no obvious beginning or end and consisting of only one uniform particle type. Of course the matter / energy that constitutes our physical presence in the here and now would form part of that soup. So, in a sense, you have an eternity.

  59. John F***ing Stepp

    Linux vs Microsoft vs Macintosh.

    Oh God, not this bullsh*t again.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    It's all just....

    ...people arguing over who has the better imaginary friend.

  61. Clive Galway
    Stop

    I can't believe with over 100 posts no-one has said this...

    But surely putting down "Jedi" or even "Non Religeous" is not describing many people's views.

    As someone who is not only atheist but also has a major problem with the indoctrination of our children in faith schools and other such issues with our allegedly "Secular" society, then the correct answer is "Secular Humanist".

    If you don't know what that is, I suggest you visit http://www.secularhumanism.org/, or the site of one of it's most vocal proponents, http://richarddawkins.net/

    1. No, I will not fix your computer
      Stop

      Re: I can't believe with over 100 posts no-one has said this...

      Because it's missing the point? Because people read the article?

      If you put "Secular Humanist" in answer to the question "what is your religion?", then this distorts the figures in the same way as puting "Jedi", it will look as if people have a religion, when they do not, if the question was "What is your belief system?" then you might have a point, the question is not asking a view, it's asking what religion, and if you artificially over-inflate the numbers by claiming that secular humanism is a religion then you are just telling the government that it's OK to continue to fund religions, because most people are religious.

      So, tick the 'no religion' box [like me] and have a voice, don't throw it away.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Religion is still missing the point...

        Asking the question "what is your religion?" is not the right question. I know an awful lot of people who would answer with one particular religion. The problem there being that those people don't really practice that religion (other than occasionally calling on their deity when stub their toe) they were just vaguely brought up with reference to that religion. Having sung religous songs and said prayers in school assemblies forty years ago does not make you a practicing member of a religion. And while I know that you don't have to visit a place of worship to practice most religions it's a good starting point.

        So it might be better to ask the question: "Do you visit a place of worship to practice a religion or do you otherwise regularly practice a religion. If so what is your religion? (If you do not regularly practice a religion please tick the box marked NO RELIGION". If they were to ask that question I think the answers would be a bit different. The problem is that the question is pretty much based on the assumption that most people practice a religion.

  62. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Coat

    I would like to propose....

    That in these trying economic times the Brit Census should add a box titled "no possessions and no religion too". John Lennon would have wanted it that way....

    Mine's the Nehru jacket hanging on the peg over there.

  63. tumbleworld
    FAIL

    Oh, come _on_, all ye faithful.

    Despite the righteously indignant frothing of all our devout Atheist chums here, claiming Jedi-hood absolutely does _not_ bolster the ranks of the religious.

    This is directly from the notes of the 2001 census's Religious Populations analysis, posted back in 2004:

    "No religion includes people who ticked 'None' at the religion question plus those who wrote in Jedi Knight, Agnostic, Atheist and Heathen and those who ticked 'Other' but did not write in any religion."

    So to be absolutely clear: atheists, agnostics, Jedis and unreadable Others are all in exactly the same category. So please, stop the damned ranting, and if people want to play Jedi Knights with the gubmint, let them be childish in peace.

    The details of the census data also note that: "... many people chose to write in their own religion. _Some_ of these religions were reassigned to one of the main religions offered" (my emphasis). Also, "151,000 people belonged to religious groups which did not fall into any of the main religions. The largest of these were Spiritualists (32,000) and Pagans (31,000), followed by Jain (15,000), Wicca (7,000), Rastafarian (5,000), Bahà'ì (5,000) and Zoroastrian (4,000)."

    I'm a bit depressed to see Voudessaints, Cthulhu Cultists and Discordians so poorly represented, but hey, you can't have everything.

    The data can be studied here:

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=954

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fun da mental atheism

    fundamental atheists are as preachy as any fundamental religious believer. Why berate someone for having faith in something you don't believe in? every fundamentalist believes their ideals are the best, and have no time for anyone who says otherwise. why can't we all just get along?

    I don't believe in a god, but I would never think to say people that do are ignorant or backwards as a large amount of 'fundamental' atheists choose to do.

    1. No, I will not fix your computer
      Grenade

      Atheism is a response

      Not an end in it's own right, "fundamental atheists are as preachy as any fundamental religious believer", not really, or at least not at the moment, nobody stands up and says "I don't believe in X" unless someone else is already saying "X is the truth, and the only truth".

      Creationists are having a damaging effect on science, it's OK to respond, religions that enforce various social exclusion, physical mutilation, sexism, abuse shoul dbe spoken up against.

      Once Atheists are found picketing the local church with banners and bull horns on a sunday when all people want to do is have a nice sing song, a pray, tea and cakes, then you have a point, but until then, either stand up against the injustice, or shut up, just don't try and stop people responding to something wrong.

  65. T J
    FAIL

    Jedi = No Religion here in Oz

    I was reading that the Beaureu of Stats here in Oz - who are absolute little hitler a-holes by the way - treat 'Jedi' as 'No religion'.

    Yes, their reckoning will come, and it will come HARD, and it wont be a Rain Of Frogs, it will be Budget Reviews.

    I just keep putting 'Jedi', its a matter of slamming them over the head enough times.

  66. mike_anderson25
    Happy

    Religious by own right?

    I think it's important to differentiate spiritual from religious as a few have already pointed out. Until there is a definitive understanding of atheism and the term's literal definition (that everyone can agree on) I'm reluctant to label myself anything whether it be atheist, gnostic atheist, agnostic or otherwise. My beliefs are my own, are of no concern to anyone else because I don't make it their concern.

    Atheism isn't (I believe) a religion or belief. But some sure do treat as one.

    Eg. "YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!"

    A phrase used by atheists and chrisians alike.

    1. OrsonX
      WTF?

      YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK

      Yes, but...

      Believer: here's a ficticious book about fairies in the sky, I want you to believe in the fairies, no questions asked, mkay?

      Atheist: here's a copy of On the Origin of Species, it's based on observations backed up with evidence, if you disagree with the observations made then feel free to make your own observations backed up with evidence and let us know, we'd be really excited to hear what you have to say!

      Spot the difference!

  67. Whitefort
    Unhappy

    Help! Help! I'm being repressed!!!

    Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi! The nasty anthiest peoples shouted at me!!

  68. david 63

    @Irish Donkey

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1364629/Millions-closet-Spanish-nuns-tax-dodge-probe-THEY-report-robbery-1-3m-cash-cupboard-convent.html

    Deceit is the cornerstone of religeon...

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More likely to be agnostic than atheist

    it may be the case, but I don't know

  70. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    The Church of Adams

    I far prefer the Church of Adams.

    I believe that the mice ordered the Magratheans to build the Earth to find the Question to the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything.

    His holy tomes explain so much. They validate the Intelligent Designer argument (see, the great State of Kansas is correct). It explains where we come from (I'm from a long line of proud telephone sanitisers) and it explains the apocalypse (damn psychiatrists).

  71. Winkypop Silver badge
    Joke

    So how do you become God?

    I didn't vote for him...

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    May the Farce be with you

    Jed for me again

  73. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

    Thou Shalt Not Kill

    So, a though experiment for you.....

    Imagine, if you will, that you are a believer in god. You attend the church of your choice regularly and you believe the written word of your religion is an excellent guide to moral questions and you apply them in your every day life. You accept that all things were made by God and are in His purpose and plan.

    You are also homosexual and a surgeon. (both of these things are ordained by the same god that you worship, as all things are within his creation etc. despite homosexuality being against the tenants of your chosen religion, lets say.) You've clearly struggled with your own desires and the morality of your faith, but so far you have maintained abstinence and you are a good <insert religious noun>.

    Then, one day, you meet the partner of your dreams and in a drunken moment your morality slips and you partake in your desires. Oh Dear.

    Next day in work, you are presented with conjoined twins and a decision...

    If you do not seperate them, they will both die. If you do seperate them then one will die and one will live. Your religion states thou shalt not kill, yet either way you will be resonsible for death, through either action or inaction.

    Now, Choose. Whats it to be?

    Thou Shalt Not Kill is NOT a valid rule for any moral system. Sometimes killing is neccessary in order to save others. What if you could kill one person to save millions? Would you NOT do it?

    Oh...why the homosexuality? Because clearly the fact that the following day you had to make this decision is a punishment from God for your waywardness the night before. No? Oh, well that must mean that NOT everything is within his power and plan.

    On another note, a good scientist would never say, absolutely, that there is no god, only that there is no evidence for the existence of god. They may even be willing, time and motivation permitting, to help look for such evidence. After all, looking for something that we can't be sure is or isn't there is what cutting edge science does, isn't it? Higgs Bosun particle anyone?

    Oh, and for the record, I renounce the holy spirit and all his works. (This is the only unforgiveable sin, according to the Gospel according to Matthew. - See "The God who Wasn't There".)

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Troll

    going to the dark side

    This is what the sith want you to do and denounce the relgion of JEDI. You've seen the films the damn dark side is winning!!! The Jedi's will feel this after teh census is complete. Personally my religion is Alcholism. i worship the pint daily. Long live the beer and crisp flavoured burps.

  75. Sil_W
    IT Angle

    Single Standards Only, Please

    I'm not going to bother reading through over 200 comments on yet another religion item on this here IT site - I'll take all the fairytale, Santa Claus/Easter Bunny, pink unicorn, spaghetti monster sniping as read.

    I'll just point out that according to neo-atheist doctrine, it's *religious* people who're supposed to interfere in other people's private lives. That's why we're evil. Might be a good idea, as suggested, if the Humanist Association credit their fellow atheists with enough sense to fill in a form without being nursed through the process.

    Besides, there's a nice clear "no religion" box. If people judge it more important to joke than represent themselves honestly there's not much to be done.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Census

    The census form and the completely unnecessary TV ads for it tell me that the results will be used to help government to make decisions. So the very presence of a religion section is a little disturbing.

    The form also states that it will be declassified in just 100 years, so the very presence of any section is a little disturbing.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jedi?

    I'm an atheist or a humanist or whatever you want to call me so I think that all religion is fiction. However it really disturbs me that there are people out there who really think that they are Jedi. While all religion is based on a fiction, Jedi-ism is a fictional religion.

    Believing yourself to be a Jedi is no different than believing the characters from a soap are real people. Religion is a delusion and to claim to be a Jedi is to pile one delusion on top of another.

    And to those who claimed that they only answered Jedi because they thought it was a bit of fun getting it recognised as a real religion. The story that getting so many people to answer Jedi would get it recognised as a real religion wasn't even true. All it would mean is that with enough answers it would crop up in the statistics output from the census, but that would not make it an officially recognised religion as far as the government were concerned.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Agnostic

    Is there a box for agnostics to tick or do they put a faint mark in all the boxes they're undecided about?

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The state shouldn't be concerned with religion

    Cory Doctorow is still wrong, even after his correction.

    It's not a matter of ticking the "no religion" box: it's a matter of striking out the entire set of questions in that section: the state should not be involved with or asking about religion in the first place.

    It's well past time to disestablish ALL religion in this country.

    1. No, I will not fix your computer
      Jobs Horns

      Re: The state shouldn't be concerned with religion

      That may be true, but government and its people are like steering a tanker, it's a slow process, and historically, the UK (or England, depending on your viewpoint) is officially a Christian country, while we have an innefectual monarchy, we still have one, and the same is true for religious influence, once we have voiced our opinion then the government should listen, but they can't just scrap religion because they think we should, we have to scrap religion because we think we should.

      It will be impossible to justify funding faith schools once the country has no faith, but at the moment lots of people have faith.

  80. theregister@mariegriffiths.co.uk
    Pirate

    deCSS

    I can't find a field long enough to put the deCSS algorithm into the Census form.

  81. Colin Bain

    Most people don't need.....

    Actually most people do need, at the very least, to be reminded of laws in order to behave decently. And it doesn't equate with intelligence/knowledge either. Law breakers of all types, as well as those who deliberately break moral boundaries need all kinds of reminders. To look outside your door and simply empirically observe society is proof of this. And perhaps, if we were honest, we wouldn't need to to look out side of our own doors (mine included) to find such evidence.

    It seems to me that (having once been inclined to the evolutionary side of things, but having found things that don't quite add up) either side of this debates requires a particular lens or glass to look through. My conclusion is that this lens or glass is very dark indeed and reflects the condition of our souls.

    And to the one who commented and implied that religion had the corner on child abuse, might just want to wonder if there are other power structures, nonreligious in nature, that have been overlooked so far. Human nature being what it is from either side, would easily generate a conclusion that there is more to come from both extremes.

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