Imaginary Friend’s Approval Rating Up to 52% Since Invention

Seemingly taking a page out of the satirical newspaper “The Onion,” Public Policy Polling (PPP) asked 928 American voters: “If God exists, do you approve or disapprove of its performance?” 52% approve, 9% disapprove, and 40% are not sure. This poll is a bit old (conducted in 2011), but I just ran across it and feel compelled to give a few snarky and offer a few speculative comments and questions. The poll can be found here.

It is well-known that America is quit religious. PPP’s Michael Sadowsky thought of asking this question because he “felt an approval rating for God would be an interesting silly question as polls on God almost always ask what one’s beliefs are, not how good a job the deity in question is doing,” Sure, “belief” questions are asked routinely and inquiring into performance is actually quite interesting and potentially insightful. Given the particular nature of the question, I don’t know whether or not to be surprised at the majority response. Perhaps, we can be thankful that it does not fall in line with the much higher percentage of belief (well over 80%) After-all, the Christian God is the most celebrated villain in all of fiction. In perhaps the most famous passage from Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion (2006) the boogie man of Western Civilization is thusly described:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. (p. 31).

Here Dawkins was apparently having a bit of fun. The thing is, this description is completely accurate. By any standard these are the traits of that character. Well, given the other attributes ascribed to this monster like omniscience, omnipresence, and the whole all-powerful thing, it is not entirely surprising his “approval” rating would be so high. I would be surprised if Hitler’s (I think a Hitler analogy is adequately appropriate here) approval rating in Germany was anything below 50% even in 1944. And while Adolph was not omniscient, he did have the Gestapo. And didn’t Saddam Hussein get something like 90% of the “votes” his last go around? What do you think God’s approval rating would have been during the Inquisition? Point being, what percent of Godly thumbs-ups do you suppose is out of fear?

For secular statistics, check out the “Freethought Resource Guide.”

In a perfect world (one in which respondents were not afraid of the “Omniscient One” listening in on their thoughts and discovering their identity) I would love to ask this question again. I imagine the approval rating would be much lower. But we don’t live in that perfect world and this is one of the insidious things about religion that I so despise. Many individuals cannot honestly speak or even think because they believe that their thoughts are being monitored.

God Creating the World

“Don’t forget about the all the good things God has done and is doing!” is a typical response to pointing out the above charming traits of the God beast. Ok, I’ll give your imaginary friend credit for lollipops, rainbows, and creation… so what! We don’t give mass murderers credit because they were nice to their dog, or a pass to child rapists because they did some charity work, or even a mother of 10 the benefit of the doubt if she only kills 1 of her kids (hey, she still has nine left!) The point is that no matter how great your sky daddy is or anyone else, if they have committed a heinous enough crime they should be stopped. In the case of an all-powerful being he, she, it or whatever should at the very least be opposed. Where is our integrity and indeed our morality. If one does not oppose such awful immoral action than they are accomplices. I am appalled at the notion that so many people can, without apparent guilt, defend a character of such dubious nature, immorality, and history (according to that door-stop book). I could see a believer forgiving the old man, but approving of his being allowed to roam around after-all these years, with his criminal record, continuing to mess with our lives?

PPP also asked several other questions. “If God existed, do you approve or disapprove of its handling of natural disasters?” Knock of 2 percentage points on that one. “If God exists, do you approve or disapprove of its handling of animals?” At 56% approval, people must think the bearded fellow was a good organizer of species, what with the cramped conditions of the Ark and all. “If God exists, do you approve or disapprove of its handling of creating the universe?” He (it, I mean) got a whopping 71% of the applause! Maybe this is why deism was so popular with Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

For secular statistics, check out the “Freethought Resource Guide.”

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