POLL ALERT! Is The Catholic Church “a force for good in the world”?

A reader told me about a POLL.

The proposition is:

Can you imagine such a question?


At the time of this writing… AGAINST is winning!

Can WDTPRSers stand by?


UPDATE 19 Oct 1818 GMT

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Rouxfus says:

    God’s plan made a hopeful beginning,
    But man spoiled his chances by sinning,
    We trust that the story,
    Will end in God’s glory,
    But at present, the other side’s winning,

    [Oliver Wendell Holmes]

  2. Phil_NL says:

    BTW, it looks like you can vote multiple times. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has written some code to skew the poll (nor would I be overly surprised if someone on our side did that, to be honest).

    Also, it looks like this poll is related to an actual debate organised by the site owners, see http://www.intelligencesquared.com/events.php?event=EVT0195

    I find it rather poor form that the poll closes before Archbishop Onaiyekan and Ann Widdecombe get a chance to defend the motion. I hope they at least have the courtesy to ask again after (with a transcript on the site or similar), but I guess I won’t hold my breath…

  3. Sacristymaiden says:

    Rouxfus, great quote!

    When I voted, the “Fors” were at 18%…

  4. Louis says:

    For real? Vote against?

  5. Dr. K says:

    It’s now up to 30.1%

    It’s going to take around 5,000 votes to swing this thing. But, with God, all is possible.

    ~Dr. K

  6. Obviously the people who voted “against”, have never needed the benefit of education, medicine, music, architecture, law, art, etc. etc.

  7. mikel says:

    Ironically (or perhaps justly) the numbers are pretty much reversed in this other poll they have


    (are atheists as blinkered and dogmatic as they claim religious believers to be?)

  8. Phil_NL says:

    The vote has now shifted, there’s a majority for the motion.

    What that means, also given the fast turnaround, is in itself open for debate… We should bear in mind that the majority is not always right; while political decisions should be based on a vote, what is moral and what isn’t rises above the opinion of the group with the largest amount of votes.

  9. cuaguy says:

    After I just took it, the “for” vote now has 50.1%

  10. Rouxfus says:

    51% for!

  11. Seraphic Spouse says:

    Why stop at a great world religion? Why not a poll on Belgium? “Belgium is a force for good in the world.” Or why not a poll on Grand Rapids? “Grand Rapids is a force for good in the world.” Nevery mind that the majority of voters might never have been to Belgium or Grand Rapids. This is merely a barometer of the brainless anti-Catholic prejudice of that blog’s readership.

  12. Girgadis says:

    Seeing that Christopher Hitchens is on the panel against the motion tells me all I need to know of that blog.

  13. Agnes says:

    Force for good? I’d say *very good*.

  14. FrancisJoseph says:

    Those who voted against need to watch the “Catholic Church: Builder of Civilization” series a few times

  15. Jack Hughes says:

    God moves Fr Z, Fr Z moves polls

  16. Jordanes says:

    It’s now tied at 49.8% for and against.

  17. mike cliffson says:

    How trivial, one way or another!
    Even just interms of this world, It’s probably true , say, that in 38- 39 a majority of Brits supported apeasement, or engagament as we now say and would have thus polled even in as unscientific and selfselecting a poll as this. Real ity is another matter.
    Sad to say, the devil is NOT a gentleman, so people DO take piffle such as this, or Davinci codes, etc, quite seriously.
    Just hafter keep on evngelizing and praying and suffering minimartrydoms.For which: Lord, make me your servant, I can manage the useless part on my own.

  18. archambt says:

    It looks like the poll has been posted on a couple atheist blogs. That might explain the shift downward.

    It should pick up once the rest of the Catholic blog-o-sphere posts the link.

  19. Rouxfus says:

    An atheist who asserts the Church has not been a force for good in the world thereby disowns any claim to rational thought as the basis for their disbelief.

  20. Hans says:

    Obviously the people who voted “against”, have never needed the benefit of education, medicine, music, architecture, law, art, etc. etc.

    I don’t know. A good number of my students don’t seem all that positive about actual education.

    In whose time zone does it end on the 19th?

  21. Hans says:

    ‘Against’ is moving up again. It was down to 43.6% and is now up to 44.0%.

  22. isabella says:

    OK, I voted just in time (in my time zone anyway). Why do people do things like this?

    But polls like this make me glad that, even with all our problems, the founding fathers of the US founded a republic, not a democracy driven purely by majority rule. At least in a republic, if we could get decent people into public office, there is a chance to escape the tyranny of an immoral and/or apathetic majority.

  23. Roland de Chanson says:

    Rogationi septiens septiens modo suffragatus sum. Fer suffragia mature et persaepe. Vox populi vox Dei.

    (I just voted for the motion seven times seven times. Vote early and vote often. The voice of the people is the voice of God.)

  24. David SJ says:

    Even if the pollsters aren’t from North America, it seems appropriate that the last day of the poll is the Feast of the North American Martyrs.

  25. Cantuale says:

    For 54,2 against 45,4

  26. Scott W. says:

    Seeing that Christopher Hitchens is on the panel against the motion tells me all I need to know of that blog.

    Aye. A better poll might be, Can Christopher Hitchens and his ilk give us a reason why anything should be a force for good without a). being arbitrary b). being subjectivist to the point of absurdity or c). relying on unprovable axioms that require as much faith as believing in God? Yes or no.

  27. Magpie says:

    The poll appears to be still accepting votes. Early and often folks!

  28. Doc Angelicus says:

    56% in favor when I voted.

  29. Tina in Ashburn says:

    The poll just accepted my vote. Perhaps the poll closes at the end of today?

  30. lucy says:

    57 to 42 !

  31. ejcmartin says:

    Final Vote 58.4% to 41.8%. Now the real work begins…

  32. cgdouglas says:

    It seems – I think – that they only took consideration to the audience at the gathering, than the worldwide view:

    Intelligence² audience confirms 1862 to 268 votes against the motion.


    The Catholic church is a force for good in the world

    This poll closed on October 19, 2009

    Votes Online Poll Before Debate After Debate

    For 58.7% 31.9% 12.4%
    Against 40.9% 51.8% 86.0%
    Don’t Know 0.4% 16.3% 1.6%

    This can be obtained on the vote result in the link above.

    God Bless.

  33. Salsta says:

    Undemocratic block voting on this site did not save the motion.

    The debate is to be broadcast around the world on 7 November to an audience of millions.

    An indication of how it may be received can be seen by reading the comments (105 so far) on the following site (yes, I know it’s the enemy):


    Be prepared…

  34. Salsta says:

    I have just realised that some people on this site may have thought that the poll was all there was, rather than an incidental precursor to a proper debate.

    From the Telegraph Newspaper’s report of the event:

    “I have just witnessed a rout – tonight’s Intelligence Squared debate.
    It considered the motion “The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world”. Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry, opposing the motion, comprehensively trounced Archbishop Onaiyekan (of Abuja, Nigeria) and Ann Widdecombe, who spoke for it.
    The archbishop in particular was hopeless.

    The voting gives a good idea of how it went.
    Before the debate, for the motion: 678. Against: 1102. Don’t know: 346.
    This is how it changed after the debate.
    For: 268. Against: 1876. Don’t know: 34.
    In other words, after hearing the speakers, the number of people in the audience who opposed the motion increased by 774.
    My friend Simon, who’s a season ticket holder, said it was the most decisive swing against a motion that he could remember.”

  35. Salsta says:

    No one has commented here since the debate was so disasterously lost. In 2 weeks time it will be broadcast to a worldwide audience of about 70 million people. Were these two speakers really the best that the church could put forward? There is going to be a tremendous fuss about this very soon.

  36. Salsta says:

    You can now watch the debate. Everyone should, because it’s been broadcast to an audience of 70 million.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvZz_pxZ2lw (Part 1)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFTj9n40rNo (Part 2)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-q8US0QRs4 (Part 3)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQRkfZzyfcU (Part 4)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i391gBoEo58 (Part 5)

  37. Salsta says:

    Any reactions? Who should have spoken for the Church instead of these two, who did such an appallingly bad job? They came across as smug, self-satisfied, patronising and pompous. I think that they were not only defeated, they actually were active in causing the loss of the votes of people prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  38. Salsta says:

    A briefer, playlist link. You need to see this!

  39. Salsta says:

    Eyes & ears tight shut? Don’t you see how important this is?
    Come on – someone please give a considered adult reply to this.
    What should be the response?

Comments are closed.