Guest post: Is the Pope a Catholic?

The redoubtable commenter (and occasional guest poster) Sigmund has returned after a long hiatus. I’m glad he’s returned to grace us with his wry commentary. This week he’s found some LOLz in the Vatican.

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Is the Pope a Catholic?

by Sigmund

The website http://www.atheistcensus.com/, run by Atheist Alliance International, is currently collecting demographic data about atheists from around the world (religious background, educational levels, age, gender, etc.). It is all self-reported, so you need to take that into account when judging the results, but the survey does, at least, try to verify the data via validation of your email address.

The website, usefully, has a search feature that allows one to see the report for any country you choose.

A few common features are seen among atheists in almost every country. These include a high level of education, with generally over 50% of atheist respondents being university educated (e.g., USA, 59.7%; Australia, 50.5%). Curiously, there also seems to be a strong gender bias: most of the countries I’ve checked show over 65% of respondents being male (e.g., USA, 67.2%; UK, 79.7%; Sweden, 85.6%).

The number of respondents, naturally, varies between countries. Some nations, particularly those in the developing world, have no atheist respondents at all, while others, mainly English-speaking Western nations, show the greatest participation.

But you’ll find one amusing result when you generate the report for Vatican City.

Apparently there’s a single atheist there!

popecatholic

He’s male, university educated, and over 65 years of age. And he had a Catholic background!

It couldn’t be. . . could it? Is the Pope really a Catholic?

What are the chances that this is Benedict? According to Wikipedia, in July this year the Vatican City had a population of 836—so the chances of it being the Pope are 1/836.

Also, the Pope has started tweeting, a known gateway drug to the online atheist community. If he’s changed his mind about this whole religion thing, it should be no surprise that he’s moved onto the next stage: filling in online surveys about atheists. Let’s just hope he never finds out about the atheist messageboard scene—can you imagine the carnage if he turned up and Godwinned a thread?

27 Comments

  1. Posted December 27, 2012 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    Hahaha, interesting. I thought all residents of Vatican city were catholic. Maybe they are closet atheists and the pope is the one brave enough to say so.

    • Posted December 27, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Do you think there will now be an Inquisition to discover him? Dust off those old torture chairs? Grease up the old Rack?

      • Posted December 27, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        Luckily for the pope, we have become better and we know there the gods don’t care whether we believe or not and we have no time to kill except if you live in Pakistan then you may be killed for saying Allah does not exist and Mohammed is not his prophet

    • Posted December 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      I can understand the pope if he does not come out of his closet – Vatican is a very luxurious closet.

  2. Posted December 27, 2012 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    “Curiously, there also seems to be a strong gender bias”

    It’s a guy thing. :-o

    /@

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 27, 2012 at 5:31 am | Permalink

      LOL Gird your loins Ant & do a bit of “privilege Checking” before it’s too late

      I’m sure “they” are hunting for Yorkshiremen to to add to the ever-lengthening white, cisgender, straight, middle-aged, graduate shit list :)

  3. Posted December 27, 2012 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    in July this year the Vatican City had a population of 836—so the chances of it being the Pope are 1/836

    Much better than that, surely? How many males aged 65+ are there in Vatican City?

    • gbjames
      Posted December 27, 2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      Probably depends on whether the College of Cardinals is meeting or not.

      • Kevin Alexander
        Posted December 27, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        How come it’s called the College of Cardinals when they haven’t learned anything in a thousand years?

        Either they’re there on athletic scholarship or it’s some kind of fraternity.

        • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
          Posted December 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          Fraternity – they have cheap wine & bread.

  4. Posted December 27, 2012 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Incidentally, the Vatican City report has now disappeared.

    • Posted December 27, 2012 at 5:31 am | Permalink

      Oops, no, it’s there — but under Holy See rather than Vatican City.

      One puzzle: Why is Catholicism indicated by the brick-red colour here but by a blue on the other pages?

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted December 28, 2012 at 3:38 am | Permalink

        It’s always been under ‘Holy See (Vatican City State)’, which is what is shown in the graphic accompanying this post.

        The software always assigns that colour to the largest subcategory and places it on the pie starting at 12 o’clock. Non-Catholic Christians beat out the Catholics for top Religious Background reported overall. Check out Brazil as a case where they didn’t.

  5. MNb
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    “Some nations, particularly those in the developing world, have no atheist respondents at all.”
    Lack of internet connections obviously have a lot to do with it. Suriname has only about 8000 with its population of half a million. Neighbouring country Guyana does better though, both absolutely and relatively.

  6. Matt G
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    If the pope were an atheist he wouldn’t be saying the dumbass stuff we’ve heard coming out of the Vatican in the past week.

    • gbjames
      Posted December 27, 2012 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      Maybe it is his new butler?

    • Posted December 27, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      If he said he was an atheist, what would happen to the business the church runs of begging for alms?

      • gbjames
        Posted December 27, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        They could hold one hell of a rummage sale.

  7. tfkreference
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    “can you imagine the carnage if he turned up and Godwinned a thread?”

    Does Godwin’s Law apply when the commenter was a Hitler Youth?

    (which I assume was the unstated premise of your closing snark–brilliant)

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted December 28, 2012 at 4:56 am | Permalink

      I truly laughed out loud when I read that remark :-).

  8. Posted December 27, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Analysis neglects the Baeysian prior of the entry having incorrect information, either due to a data entry error or willful practical joker. More subjectively, I’d also suspect the head of the Jesuits would make a more plausible candidate.

    But still, an amusing notion.

  9. Vidar
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Is the Pope a Catholic?

    I hope not. It would give atheism a bad name!

  10. logicophilosophicus
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    “Is the Pope a Catholic.”

    I would have thought a more appropriate question for WEIT would involve bears in woods.

    Sorry to be obvios.

  11. logicophilosophicus
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Obvious

  12. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Seems we have a premier case of lies, damned statistics, and religion.

    [I still haven't seen a reasonably assembled statistics over religion from the Pew or more closely religious groups.

    Or accommodationist sociologists, for that matter. :-/]

  13. Posted December 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Uh oh. Damn atheists – we’ll have to do a better job at hiding the arboreal bear-litter boxes.

  14. Posted November 26, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Ever read his stuff? This guy is not an atheist.


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