Testing Agency ‘Stiftung Waren­test’: Majority of Religions Unsatis­factory

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Recently, the German testing organisation ‘Stiftung Warentest’ examined several religions and denominations. The result was rather disenchanting: Especially the major world religions, which after all have several billions of members, scored generally unsatisfactory. Less popular religions did pretty bad, too. Only the Pastafarianism, a movement which has around 10 million adherents, received a somewhat satisfying grade of 2,3!

Starting with the first criterion of ‘Time Exposure’ most religions came off rather badly. The test report says: ‘Leisure time being a scarce resource we consider it problematic that quite some time has to be spent for religious rituals and prayers of very limited variety.’ Except for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, all participating test candidates failed this criterion miserably.

Several religions got negative attention because of being real killjoys and due to excessive restrictions of personal freedom. For instance, the ban of alcohol, the refusal of particular types of meat or endless periods of fasting cost these candidates precious points. Likewise, serious restrictions in who can be taken to bed resulted in a major loss of points. Eastern religions and once again the Pastafarianism were laudable exceptions at this criterion.

When it comes to gender equity, virtually all religions and denominations scored disastrously low: Male gods, male prophets, male priests! The test winner Pastafarianism is no exception to this since the movement is based on the ideas of its prophet Bobby Henderson. The testing agency explicitly praised Hinduism at this assessment point since this religion comes with a ‘pleasing number of godesses’!

Christianity excelled at the criterion ‘Number of holidays’. However, since these days usually entail going to church and extended masses, adherents do not really profit much from the increased number of Christian holidays. Further assessment points were: Posthumous fun factor, atrocities and victims in the name of God, tolerance towards members of different faith, explanations of suffering and evil, punishment of sins, as well as plausibility and consistency of teachings.

The final summary of Stiftung Warentest states: ‘Practically none of the examined religions was convincing. We are convinced that some of the religions actually present a risk to mankind! Even the test winner Pastafarianism which received a grade of 2,3 exhibits several defects. We therefore recommend to obstain from any religion until further notice. Apparently, the divinity which is totally impressive has yet to be born!’

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