A Quiz To Test Your Resistance

When we were children, most of us were pestered by some kind of religious instructor who tried to buy our loyalty to religion by using the promise of “Heaven”, or some such abode, after death. Of course, we grew up and became immune to that kind of bribery…or did we?

Many otherwise rational adults maintain adherence to a religion. Some openly say they do this because they want to go to heaven, paradise or whatever they choose to call it. They have responded to the peculiar premise that things will improve for them dramatically, but only after they are dead.

Since you are prepared to visit an atheist website, you may be one of those who is not impressed at all by such a premise. However, susceptibility is a matter of degree and it might not do for any of us to be complacent. If you are curious about this, or if you simply enjoy the amusement of doing a quiz, then read the disclaimer and take the plunge.


The following quiz is the product of a chance remark over a bottle of strong home brew, combined with the personal opinions and naive assumptions of the author. Its development involved absolutely no academic research or controlled experimentation of any kind. Anyone who reads or participates in this quiz does so on the understanding that it is purely for fun. If you are highly suggestible or easily offended; if you are concerned that doing this quiz may affect your life or interfere with your fantasies in any way, then read no further.


The author exercises the option to leave the making of outrageous claims to the promoters of religious dogma.

© Karen Joyce 2003

The Test of Resistance…

Below are six groups of statements. Each statement has a score which appears in brackets on the right. Choose only one statement from each group and write down your score. If none of the statements in a given group adequately reflect your point of view, use the score for the one that you find least objectionable. Have fun…

Group 1

A. Life is absurd and effort is often futile. [1]
B. Life is unpredictable but it is worth making an effort to improve things. [3]
C. Life was not designed as a welfare institution for the benefit of intelligent species, but if you are careful you can enjoy the experience. [2]
D. Life is unjust and only the ruthless prosper. [0]
E. Life should be kind to people who are good. [4]

Group 2

A. The universe is an ugly, germy place full of danger and menace. [0]
B. The universe is simply the way it has evolved; it is interesting to observe what happens. [2]
C. The universe is a drab and ordinary place and this will not change. [1]
D. The universe has undiscovered potential and if we work along with nature, many things will improve for us. [3]
E. The universe is a wonderful place and I want to visit every single galaxy. [4]

Group 3

A. Society is probably just another human mistake, something we have to live with because it is inescapable. [1]
B. A society is only as good as the people who live in it and it is our responsibility to make it work better. [3]
C. Society is a rat race and unless you are King Rat, you are nobody. [0]
D. Societies, past and present, are necessary human experiments and I hope this species lasts long enough to find out what works. [2]
E. Our society offers people many opportunities and nowadays any person can achieve greatness. [4]

Group 4

A. People always think they are intelligent but they make some incredibly stupid decisions. [1]
B. There is a lot of good in people and we are even better when we show consideration for other species. [3]
C. People should appreciate themselves more. There is no limit to what we can do if we try. [4]
D. People are the most highly evolved predators. This shows in the crime statistics. [0]
E. People are fascinating in all their personal and cultural differences; always full of surprises. [2]

Group 5

A. We get the government we deserve and this government conclusively proves what fools we are. [1]
B. If we want a government to lift its game, we have to get actively involved. [3]
C. Governments come and go. It’s fun to watch people getting heated when they talk politics. [2]
D. We pay our taxes to get good government and they should be doing a lot more for us. [4]
E. The government is full of cynical politicians feathering their own nests. [0]

Group 6

A. The imagination can be a useful tool of invention provided we recognise its limitations. [3]
B. The human imagination breeds up a million dark horrors, then inflicts them upon reality. [0]
C. Imagination should be allowed to soar without inhibition, because this will liberate the potential of our minds. [4]
D. Imagination and fantasy are a load of rubbish. [1]
E. Imagination can provide an entertaining means of passing the time when nothing of real interest is happening. [2]


If you scored…

0 to 5

Perhaps your general pessimism will protect you from temptation to grasp at the straw of life hereafter. If you see the world from this viewpoint consistently, such expectations would place any supposed heaven under a pall as well. All the same, if you decide to relax and actually enjoy life while you are still alive, don’t let me stop you.

6 to 10

If your hopes and aspirations have been disappointed somewhere along the way, you coped bravely and got on with life. Though wary and watchful, you are capable of enjoying those experiences that do prove to be good. When you step outside of your philosophical safety zone, you go fully armed. Take care those cunning theologians do not turn your defences against you.

11 to 14

You are a natural explorer with a lively curiosity and a delight in discovery. You can see the other person’s point of view without having to commit, because you prefer to watch for the facts to emerge. There is sufficient pleasure in your real life that I would place you low on the “heaven” susceptibility list, unless greed gets the better of you.

15 to 19

With some exceptions, most ways of arriving at these scores indicate a balance of realism and optimism that enables you to get the best from life here and now, whilst leaving the world a better place than you found it. Where something is not to your liking, you are ready to create a remedy in this world rather than pass the time complaining whilst you wait for the next.

20 to 24

The corollary of super-optimism is disillusionment. The danger of temptation is greater than you may realise because your expectations are so high and your sense of entitlement is so strong that disappointment can be painful indeed. Most ways of achieving your score indicate that you do a lot of good things that benefit others, so your sense of entitlement to reward has some justification. So long as you can settle for what is realistic in this life, the temptation of otherworldly delusions will not overwhelm you.