Updated -- 9 January 2009
Updated -- 21 February 2009
Updated (again) -- 11 November 2010
What people know and don't know about religions, other than their own (and oft times, even their own), is shocking... if not seriously sad. As Stephen Prothero, writing in USA Today, has noted , "Americans are religiously illiterate." In many other countries, the situation is often astoundingly worse.
In a Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, on a test to demonstrate one's knowledge of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, et al -- where the questions were as basic as naming the first book in the Bible (*) -- the average score was 50 percent correct.
As Mr. Prothero notes, "'Even if a religion doesn't make any sense to you, you can't make sense of the world without knowing something about the world's religions.' Faith plays a major role in the lives, politics, and decisions of billions of people, and has helped shape nations and history." Somewhere along, we really need to get educated.
And to make the point, consider Melanie Phillips writing in The Daily Mail (UK)... notably under the self-indicting title: "A religion of 'barking mumbo jumbo'"... decries the how the "bedrock creed of [her] country is being undermined" by... the official recognition of Druidry as a religion. Her take on Druids were a "'bunch of eccentrics' who dress up in robes and prance about at Stonehenge, chanting at the sun." This, apparently, as opposed to a bunch of priests who dress up in robes and prance about at the local cathedral. And given the astounding difference in architecture of its time, it would appear that Stonehenge comes off way ahead of any cathedral. [Currently, there are more visitors to Stonehenge in any given year than there were humans on the planet at the time of its construction. Not exactly something one could say about any cathedral.]
But Ms. Phillips just can't let well enough alone. She also answers the question of why it bothers her. Her answer? "Because what is really being embraced is 'the fanatical religious creed of the Left -- the worship of equality."
Wow! The Druids actually think that equality is a good thing? Interesting.
Ms. Phillips then notes that "Druidry is simply not a religion. It recognizes no supreme being or code of practice." And on this basis, she is incensed that Druidry in given any status in British society, when from her view point it has not more relevance than "the fictional religion of the Jedi".
What? The Jedi are fictional!? Heaven help us... and/or Metaphors Be With You.
Finally, Ms. Phillips -- showing she can really stuff a huge number of absurdities in a single article -- says that "If all creeds, however absurd, have equal meaning, then every belief is equally meaningless."
Sad to say, one suspects that Ms. Phillips never considered the very real possibility that her own beliefs are not only equally, but far more meaningless than any others. For our purposes, we will assume precisely that.
*****(It gets better.)*****
Meanwhile, on a more... if possible... ludicrous -- and yet important -- note, we might note the recent, very, very strange report on, Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence [See SCOTUS], wherein Mrs. Thomas called Anita Hill (her husband's long term nemesis) to ask for an apology. While this may have been a bit strange... asking for an apology NINETEEN YEARS after the insult... Ginni's questionable actions fade in comparison with Armstrong Williams of The Washington Times. In a vain attempt to defend Mrs. Thomas, Williams said that, "instead of scorning her, we should be looking to her example." "Thomas, like her husband, is an extremely devout Christian, and is required by the 'mandates of her faith' to forgive those she feels have wronged her. She asked Hill to apologize 'because she wanted to forgive' and put this incident behind her." 
Mr. Williams is thus arguing... contrary to anything remotely Christian... that an apology is required before anyone can forgive one... even after almost twenty years.
And these journalists are writing for major news organizations? Pity the media.
On a more serious note, Christine O'Donnell, a (failed... yea) candidate for the US Senate asked, "Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?" While more than one journalist retreated to semantics to note that the so-called "separation of church and state" was an artifact of the Jeffersonian presidency (and probably not even applicable to its normal usage), these knee jerk reactionaries failed to mention the First Amendment which prohibits "the establishment of religion"... and thus the effective separation of church and state. Another journalist, John R. Guardiano (writing in The American Spectator) was concerned, in fact, that the legal system in the United States was "protecting people from religion." 
Well... Duh! Of course. That's precisely the point, J. R.! If there is anything absolutely vital to the preservation of the Republic (aka the United States), then it is the absolutely essential requirement to protect the people from religion... and in fact from all religions. It's one thing to espouse a set of principles and morals, but inasmuch as such a set of principles and morals are so routinely ignored by the religions in defending their faiths, that it's not the religions that need supporting... it's the morals, ethics, and principles of civilized people living in a common society.
The amazing thing is that one isn't required to make up all of this insanity; journalists are so good at making the most irrational, illogical, mind-bogglingly ignorant quotes imaginable.
Another approach to Comparative Religions is to laugh about it. For example:
Religion One Way of Looking at It
Taoism Shit Happens.
Confucianism Confucius say, "Shit Happens"
Buddhism If shit happens, it isn't really shit.
Moonies Only happy shit really happens.
Zen Buddhism What is the sound of shit happening?
Hinduism This shit has happened before.
Mormonism This shit will happen again.
Islam If shit happens, it is the will of Allah.
Shiite Islam Shiite happens.
Judaism Why does shit always happen to us?
Catholicism If shit happens, you deserved it.
Calvinism Shit happens because you didn't work hard enough
Protestantism Let shit happen to someone else.
Fundamentalism We will no longer allow shit to happen
Jehovah Witness Let us come in and we'll tell why shit happens.
Scientologist Feces occur.
Darwinism Shit evolves.
Materialism The more shit the better.
Stoicism This shit is good for me.
Hedonism There's nothing like good shit happening.
Zoroastrianism Shit happens half the time.
Paganism Shit happens to make the flowers grow.
Rastafarianism Let's smoke this shit.
Agnosticism Shit might or might not happen.
Existentialism What is this shit, anyway?
Atheism I don't believe this shit!
 Stephen Prothero, "Getting an 'F' in religion," (and in grammar for not capitalizing 'religion' in the title of the article), as reported in The Week, News, October 15, 2010, page 18.
 Melanie Phillips, "A religion of 'barking mumbo jumbo", as reported in The Week, October 15, 2010, page 19.
 "Ginni Thomas: Why did she call Anita Hill?", The Week, November 5, 2010, page 24.
 "Church and state: Must they be separate," The Week, November 5, 2010, page 25.
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