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.
Is the Pope a Catholic?
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!
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?