"Homosexual couples should have the right to adopt children". This is a flawed statement. Nobody has the right to adopt children. Adopters are chosen with consideration given only to the rights of the child. I answered this question as if it were worded in such a way as to suggest homosexual people should be allowed to apply to adopt children in the same way that heterosexual people can. That is a statement I strongly agree with.
You also used the term "confirmed atheist". I don't know what that means. It seems to be a derisive/ironic term likening atheism to religiocity. Not sure why a term like that would exist in a survey.
You assume that atheism and agnosticism are mutually exclusive. They are not. Atheism is about belief. Agnosticism is about knowledge. I can accept that we can't know 100% whether a god exists, making me an agnostic, and also not believe that a god exists due to the lack of convincing evidence, making me an atheist.
Regarding the Samaritans, I agree totally.
Samaritans is a 100% secular organisation with no affiliation with any religious organisation or any kind of religious ethos. The name of the organisation is something originally attributed to them by a British newspaper and the name stuck.
But why would you think anyone would need to utilise the services of a counselling helpline as a result of completing that survey?
Hi there, firstly thank you very much for completing the survey, I really appreciate it. And thanks also for the feedback, I will bear it in mind when writing up my thesis.
With regard firstly to the need for a helpline, I felt it was better to offer the option than not at all, from an ethical standpoint, when asking people to explore their beliefs and values on these issues.
With regard to the statement, Homosexual couples should have the right to adopt children, your understanding of it to mean the same right as heterosexual couples do in the sense that they may apply to be assessed as potential adoptive parents is correct. I apologise that the wording was not clear, and I will be aware of this potential problem when I analyse the data.
With regard to the wording of atheism and agnosticism, I certainly did not mean "confirmed atheist" as a derogatory term. Quite the opposite, in fact. I meant it as someone who has examined the evidence and been convinced by it that there is no god. I am very much aware that definitions of agnosticism technically mean that it is impossible to know for absolute certain, and I actually have referred to Michael Nugent's article in the Irish Times and Richard Dawkins' 7 levels from absolute atheist to absolute believer in my draft thesis so far. However, many people use the term agnostic not in that sense, but in the sense that they don't know because they haven't thought about it, or people who believe in "something" but do not wish to identify with any organised religion, particularly given recent scandals in the church I find some former catholics doing so. As well as this, the census in particular does not differentiate between these different groups of people, just has a category for "no religion" which my experience suggests may include these various categories. I wanted to examine within this definition, and did so along the lines you saw in the questionnaire. I am aware that others may have defined them differently and I assure you I will refer to that difficulty in defining terms according to how they are used in everyday life when I write up my data.
Thanks again and best wishes
Joleen Kuyper, that sounds very Dutch!! Survey done!
Thanks very much! And yep, the name itself is Dutch