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Religion Flowchart

October 25, 2009

I found this at lol god. It’s kind of funny, but it reproduces a number of stereotypes, which I explain below.



  • all Hindus are Indian, or all Indians are Hindus
  • all Hindus believe in reincarnation
  • all Buddhists are Chinese, or all Chinese are Buddhists
  • all Buddhists believe in reincarnation
  • all Muslims are hummus-eating Arabs
  • all Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are annoying
  • all Mormons are “backwards” idiots who think underwear is “magic”
  • Christianity is the plain, standard, “generic” religion
  • all Scientologists are rich

Apart from the last, all of these are false and potentially dangerous stereotypes. (And maybe the last one is false too—I just don’t know.) The idea that Christianity is the plain, bread-and-butter, normal religion is to pass it off as universal and to deny its particularity—that one bothers me the most.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2009 4:27 pm

    I was bothered by the fact that all Christians are lumped under “non-annoying.”

  2. October 25, 2009 6:17 pm

    Wow. Who’d’ve thought reducing the world’s religions down to a 3 x 6 inch flowchart would result in stereotyping? Seriously, though, big mistake with the hummus. Zionists claim it, along with falafel, as iconically Israeli. It’s a bit like the ‘From Time Immemorial Book’ popular in some Zionist circles that insists that Palestinian Arabs just migrated to the region after European Jews did so they could reap the benefits of the white man making the desert bloom. Benefits like hummus. And falafel.

  3. October 26, 2009 7:44 am

    If you were born in the USA surely Christian *is* the generic.
    Just like if you were born in the UK agnostic (either unaffiliated or CoE) is the generic.

  4. Tamara permalink
    October 26, 2009 1:39 pm

    This comment turned much longer than expected. Please forgive me for the clutter, and thank you for the interesting blog, which i’ve been reading for a bit but have never found cause to comment on before.

    Anyway –

    Not going to get too deep into the gooey political pit, with all its nuances of texture, flavour and toppings, that is hummus. (Israeli company markets hummus = all zionists claim Palestinians don’t exist. Yeah. Good logic there. But seriously, i’m not going to get into it.)

    er, I started off with intent of just casually posting that I think its a fair bet that you’re actually statistically likelier to be Jewish than Muslim if you like (or, rather, are a frequent consumer of) hummus, and then thought, well, lets just check to make sure, and, um, may have gotten carried away with the research. Its appended at the bottom.

    This is also what bothers me most about the chart – not that it reproduces crude sterotypes – its humor. Whether that makes it ok or not is a different debate, but “making its way around the interned in a joke” its certainly not the place i’m most annoyed and offended to find those stereotypes.

    What bothers me is that they’re *incorrect* stereotypes, clearly showing a narrow, western bias. Not only is it wrong – its not funny. The pork part works – becuase it is correct. Jews and Muslims don’t eat pork while Christians do. The point of the joke, which is to reduce the complexity of religion to the point of amusing absurdity, is maintained. But anyone who can recognize something wrong (like the hummus, or the Chinese=Buddhist,) is just not going to find that funny, becuase the point of the joke isn’t in inaccuracy.

    And that is dissapointing. The joke could have worked for people not woefully uninformed about religeons outside the US (I really don’t know about Scientology and Mormonist to either get or disget that part.) with just a tiny bit more research, which someone who *chose* to write about *the whole world* (and failed, but whatever.) did not think was worth doing. Fail!

    My hummus proof: (ie, more than you ever wanted to know about hummus.)

    – to wit: hummus is not only popular but a basic staple in Israel, which has something over a third of the world jewish population (5+ of 13-15 million). This vs the combined population of muslims in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Syria, Lebanon, and even tossing in Turkey, (where i’m certain hummus can be found, but I don’t get the impression its the staple it is in the Levant. A reputabelish source that says its not that popular in Egypt) and just to be on the safe side, population wise, i’m adding 2o million people. (maybe Hummus is eaten widely in Iraq. Surely some can be found among Palestinians in the Gulf. Not to mention muslims in the west, etc. I just don’t know for sure. This is clearly someone’s thesis, begging to be written. Perhaps novelized.) Which gets me to about 127 million people. Which is somewhat under a tenth of the total muslim world population. (1.57 billion, via Wikipedia) 1/3>1/10.

    Also, falafel was probably invented by Egyptian Copts, but may originate in India, Israelis consume an avarage of 10kg of hummus per year, and one source claims the idea of sticking falafel *inside* pita is Israeli, which is not impossible, since the familiar envelope pita is only about a century old, the sesame seeds used for tehini, a crucial humus ingredient, mostly come from Ethiopia.

  5. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    October 29, 2009 7:54 am

    Tamara, I think you’re right. Thanks for the reply! And you’re definitely NOT cluttering my blog. :)


  1. Flow to your faith – Romantic Robot

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