What Religion Are You, Really?

What religion are you, really? Just for fun, why don't we find out?

Seeing as they're mostly “user-created”, these quizzes shouldn't be taken too seriously. I have a religion I'm very happy with, which is not the one some quizzes have assigned to me. I just find it fun to see how well the answers match the truth. I feel the same way about horoscopes.

I'll admit to being biased toward Beliefnet.com because I've been moderating forums for them for ten years, but they do manage to get some of the smaller details of the different beliefs right. I like how you can indicate exactly how important a point is to you, because that can make a huge difference. Some might find it off-putting that most of the results represented Christianity, but there are at least two reasons for that-
  1. Beliefnet is based in the US, a country where a good 78% (give or take) identify themselves as Christians of some form. They might not all be practicing, but this is how they answered the latest Pew* Forum on Religion and Public Life, and
  2. At the time this quiz was written, Christianity was the largest religion in the world. I say 'was' because, depending on which websites you read, Islam has surpassed Christianity's 2.1-billion population.

They do seem to be partial to Quakers, which I found a bit odd. There were also a couple of questions-specifically, what someone has to do to be 'saved' and what happens after death-that were a bit confusing in that none of the answers really stated what I believed, but there was not a 'none of the above' option. It's an interesting place to start looking, though.

Beliefnet has some good newsletters from different spiritual perspectives, if they're spiritual at all.Some other great sites-

Here's another quiz that is actually pretty accurate.

I like how it was formatted-a range between “agree” and “disagree” rather than a solid yes/no. The results are true except for one thing-I'm not even close to being a Satanist!

And, well, this site is just silly.

It said I was “spiritual, not religious”. This isn't true, but I don't see a site with quizzes like “What will you write on the chalkboard?” to be all that serious.

What do you think? Are any of these quizzes accurate?

Urban legends debunked-Food

Like I said in a previous post, most people I know get a kick out of reading urban legends. These are essentially rumors that are generally harmless but seem to get passed back and forth over and over again despite efforts to disprove them. Sometimes they make sense-like the one about finding things in Halloween candy-, but others are just plain silly. Here are a few of the more believable urban legends I've found and the truth behind them.

UL-Coke used to contain cocaine.
This is true to a point. The drink we now call "Coca-Cola" did have trace amounts of cocaine, but that was because it was marketed at a time when many medicines (which was Coke's initial purpose) contained cocaine. This was in 1885, long before any harmful effects of the drug were discovered. The company changed the syrup's formula several times before they were able to completely remove the cocaine, but even the trace amounts that were in there before weren't strong enough to do any harm.

UL-Apple seeds are harmful because they contain cyanide.
Again, this is true to a point. There is a small amount of a cyanide compound in the pits of some kinds of fruit, but it doesn't pose any danger. Not only would you have to break through the extremely-hard shells of the seeds to get to the poison, you would have to eat a *lot* of them to have any harmful effects. It's similar to the sugar-in-the-gas-tank rumor-it's *possible* to cause harm, but you'd have to use completely unrealistic amounts for anything to happen.
Peach pits, on the other hand, do contain a potentially-harmful amount of poison, but it's highly unlikely anyone is going to accidentally swallow one.

UL-When it comes to dietary supplements and weight loss products, “natural” and "herbal" mean "safe".
Not necessarily. Perhaps they might not be as bad about this as "artificial" pills, they can still interact negatively with other medicines you're taking. For example, my husband can't have anything with grapefruit because of the interaction with his heart medicine. Grapefruit is natural. Also, some people are sensitive to caffeine, which is something a lot of supplements have. You would need to read the back of the bottle and do your homework for an herbal medicine just as you would an “artificial” one.
Plus, herbal supplements aren't evaluated by the FDA for safety *or* effectiveness. That alone should give you pause.

UL-Coke is so acidic it can eat corrosion off of a car battery,
I've had to do this several times, albeit only on a small amount of corrosion. Soda can be effective in *loosening* corrosion so you can knock it off piece by piece, but it does not "eat through it".  The loosening happens because of the *carbonation*, not the acidic content. Perrier or any other “sparkling” beverage will do the same thing,

What sorts of “urban legends” have you heard? Are they scary, funny or just plain odd?

Who Says Animals Don't Feel For Their Humans?

There's no doubt that animals can hold a special place in our lives. A lot of people, however don't understand the profound connection that can form between animals and “their humans”. They might say they love their pets, but they don't see how much animals can truly feel for their owners. A Facebook wall post led me to a website that describes these connections to a tee.

You cannot look at this and tell me that animals don't feel the loss of their humans. Some people think animals aren't intelligent or emotional enough, for this, but I think this video would prove them wrong.

It's nothing like this, but I remember coming home after having spent a month in the hospital and having to sleep downstairs on a makeshift bed because I couldn't climb the stairs. Missy, my brown tabby, was at the end of the bed every day when I woke up, almost as though she were making sure I didn't leave again. Yes, I'm tearing up as I'm typing this.

This one is a bit long, but can you imagine how awesome it would be to be able hug a lion and hold it like a teddy bear as you slept? That's how it happens for this wildlife expert who calls himself “the lion whisperer”. The lions know him by sight and, while they appear to be attacking him, they are just playing with him the way a German Shepherd would with its owner. In contrast, my cats have scratched me so much that I still have scars. To get a good look at this amazing story, here's the video.

Most of the “cuddly stuff” is in the beginning, but it's really interesting to see how this man interacts with these wild and normally-dangerous creatures.

Note: I'm sure I don't have to tell you this, but do not try anything like this at home! In North Carolina there was a man a few years ago who kept a tiger as a pet from the time it was a cub. It was largely tamed, but it ended up attacking and killing a 10-year-old boy. “Tamed” and “domesticated” are not the same thing!

Speaking of which-

You may remember a story a few years ago about Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy being attacked by one of their tigers during a show. At first it wasn't clear whether or not Roy was going to make it, but he's recovered significantly in the ten years since the incident- a lot more than anyone thought he would. What I find most interesting is that, while most of us assumed it was an attack, Roy says it wasn't. Apparently he had passed out on stage and Montecore-the gorgeous white tiger who's been part of their show for years-grabbed him by the neck and tried to drag him offstage. Roy says he was acting on the feline instinct of grabbing a baby by the scruff of the neck and carrying it to safety, but, for obvious reasons, this only caused more damage. The recovery Roy made is nothing short of miraculous; the fact that he can walk, talk and even perform magic again is inspirational in and of itself! Ten years later, Roy and Montecore are still the best of friends. For more details, visit http://www.lasvegassun.com/vegasdeluxe/2013/sep/30/siegfried-roy-revelations-10th-anniversary-tiger-i/.

Urban Legends Debunked-Animals

The popularity of sites like Snopes and shows like Mythbusters can both attest to the fact that people like to hear about urban legends. These "facts" are usually harmless stories that go around and are fun to hear, even if they're proven false. In this series, I'm going to go over a category of urban legends I've heard and the truth behind them. This particular installment involves our four- or more-legged friends.

UL-Bulls are angered by the color red.
Fact-Bulls, like many other animals, are colorblind. Yes, bulls do get upset when the matador in a bullfight waves a red cape but it's the waving motion that bothers them, not the color.

UL-Turkeys are so stupid that they watch the rain for so long that they drown.
Fact-Not true. Sure, they might be as dumb as bricks, but they don't look up at the rain until they drown. Believe it or not, they actually *can't* look up like that because they don't have what is called "binocular vision"-that is, they can't focus both eyes on the same thing because their eyes are on the sides of their heads rather than the front. Even if they could focus, they really could care less if it rains. They'll just run from it, not watch it.

UL-A dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's.
Fact-There's no scientific proof for this, so it's up to you whether or not you want Fido to lick your kids. I didn't like having my roommate's dog lick me, but that's because he would eat out of the cat box.

UL-Milk and cream are really good for cats.
Fact- Cats are lactose-intolerant. They may love the taste of your yogurt and perhaps the occasional nip is fine, but dairy products are generally not good for cats.

UL-Female praying mantises always decapitate the males they mate with.
Fact: As much fun as it is to watch men wince when they hear this, it's not entirely true. They do sometimes eat the male for extra protein (?), but not always. Feel free to keep teasing your boyfriend, though; it helps keep them in line!

UL-Birds don't like the smell of humans and will reject eggs or baby birds who have it.
Fact- This isn't true. If you see a small bird on the ground, it's probably there because it is trying to learn to fly. She's won't starve because her parents are watching and feeding her. It's best to avoid handling birds unless you find one that is hurt or sick.

If a bird were to abandon her nest for a few days after human contact, it would be because she sees that the eggs have been moved and is afraid of an intruder, not because of the smell.

If you want to read more urban legends and “de-bunking”, visit http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/wild.asp.