Pew Research quiz at https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/quiz/religious-typology
By Norris Burkes Feb 26 2022
Perhaps you remember the famous Veg-O-Matic® commercial from the mid-1960s in which Ron Popeil, the self-titled “Salesman of the Century,” promoted a kitchen appliance better known as, “It slices, it dices, and so much more!”
Well, today I introduce you to the Belief-O-Matic®. Like the Veg-O-Matic, once you use it, “you’ll wonder how you ever did without it!”
No, I’m not kidding you. The Belief-O-Matic® is real.
However, it’s not a countertop appliance. It’s actually an online survey at Beliefnet.com. that asks, “Are you sure your faith is the best choice for you? Take our religion quiz to find out!”
The religious personality test promises that “…if you’ll answer 20 questions about your concept of God, the afterlife, human nature, abortion, homosexuality, divorce and so on, the Belief-O-Matic® will tell you what religion or spiritual path (if any) best suits your beliefs.”
If you take the time to seriously answer the questions, the site will rank your answers and match you with a world religion. Think of it as a dating app for God. Kinda like, swipe left if you’re liberal. Right if you’re fundamentalist.
In a world full of “isms,” you could potentially be matched with conservative Protestantism. Or maybe you’ll identify as a blend of, say, 75 percent Eastern Orthodox and 25 percent Seventh Day Adventism.
Your answers may even spin you off into the unexplored and you’ll be inspired to learn about a new religion.
This Baptist took Belief-O-Matic® test and found myself kin to “The Religious Society of Friends.”
The Society is better known as Quakers because early observers witnessed their “spiritual energy” and mocked them for their “quaking.”
The church website promotes two major beliefs. 1. “All people are capable of directly experiencing the divine nature of the universe.” 2. “God’s revelations have never stopped….God might reach out to any one of us at any time.”
To paraphrase, God isn’t locked into Bible stories. God lives in our personal stories and is still at work in today’s world.
I wouldn’t call my test results foolproof, but I’ll admit that it does sound a bit like a chaplain/columnist recently returned to pastoring a Baptist church.
While site editors say they hope to inspire people to examine their relationship with God, they admit the test has its shortcomings. Belief-O-Matic® isn’t intended to be a religious litmus test.
Too bad, really. A working litmus test could help resolve the differences of religious factions.
But wait, there’s more!
Maybe a litmus test does exist, and dare I suggest that it is multifaith?
Jesus said the real test was for us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart… [and] Love your neighbor as yourself.”
His analysis suggests that it’s not how much Bible, Buddha, Brahma, or Bhagavad-Gita you can recite, it’s how you live your faith that matters.
Or more precisely, it’s how your faith lives in you. Galatians 5:22 says it best:
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” When you see these things acted out in people, you know faith has passed the test.
In the meantime, I encourage you to take the Belief-O-Matic® test this week and let me know how you placed. For those with a serious religious interest, check out the Religious Typology Quiz by the Pew Research Center.
I’ve posted both tests on my website at www.thechaplain.net.
Finally, my new parishioners shouldn’t worry. I’m still Baptist. But in fault-lined California, I have more reasons to call myself a Quakin’ Baptist.
While you’re at my website, sign up to get this column by email each week https://thechaplain.net/newsletter/ Send comments to [email protected] or 10556 Combie Rd Suite 6643 Auburn CA 95602 or voicemail at (843) 608-9715.