Please read this entire page carefully before using, reproducing, or creating derivative works based on the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire, and before beginning to compose a reply to it.
I am currently soliciting input on the structure and wording of this questionnaire. I am not soliciting answers to the questions in the Questionnaire itself. If this confuses you, please read on, and you will find your curiosity satisfied.
The Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire is a series of offensively phrased questions that explain my problems with and objections to the various Christian churches. I originally wrote it in 1997 as a tool that I handed out to the too-numerous proselytes who were crowding at my door, explaining that I would consider entering into a dialogue with them if and only if they could answer each and every question to my satisfaction. (You can read The Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire: A Brief History if you want more information about its composition and my motives for composing it.) Though I have received numerous responses to the Questionnaire since I wrote it, none has satisfied me enough to tempt me back to Christianity.
The Questionnaire is not posted here in order to confront Christians. Rather, I intend it to be a resource for other unbelievers. (Personally, I've found that it works like a charm.) I will, however, consider reading responses to it, provided that those responses meet certain criteria. Those of you who are considering writing responses to the Questionnaire should carefully read the documents Before You Write to Me About the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire, A Guide for Writers of Responses to The Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire, and Frequently Asked Questions about the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire. This is true because (a) by e-mailing me a response, you implicitly give up certain intellectual property rights to your response, as detailed in those documents, and (b) these documents explain how you can write a response that is likely to get my attention, rather than get thrown into the trash. Knowledge of both of those is a good thing for you.
You may not:
the Heirophantor as
Patrick Mooney) if redistributing this document or derivative works thereof;
I encourage you to:
I politely request that you do not
I am not a lawyer, but as I understand the situation, no one can prevent you from linking to my site (provided that there are not other factors involved that are in themselves objectionable, such as an implied or express claim of authorship or other special relationship with the site, or unauthorized republication of material) because a link to a site is simply a reference to something that is already
out there. Linking is not itself republication, but simply a type of reference that your browser interprets and follows when you manipulate a visual indicator on your screen. (I base my analysis on several acticles available on the net, which you can read here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
I do politely request, however, that you link to the topmost page dealing with the HPQ and not to deeper-level pages so that those following your links arrive at the top-level page that most accurately represents the site's contents.
You are granted a limited, non-exclusive right to use and reproduce this document. The author reserves all rights not explicitly given away herein. The Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire is not in the public domain. I'd like to say it one more time for the sake of completeness—for-profit reproduction of The Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire requires prior written permission.
I used to make a genuine effort to keep a table of links to all of the copies, discussions, and commentary about the HPQ on the Internet, but it's reached a point where there are just too many. (A Google search for
heirophant's proselytizer questionnaire on 29 July 2011 resulted in
about 970 hits, and these are fluctating constantly as the HPQ is reposted, removed, discussed on discussion boards that are short-lived as a whole and/or volatile in their archiving policies. For all of these reasons, I only present a sample of the relevant documents here—particularly those that are unusually good or bad, or interesting for some other reason.)
However, I do make an effort to check up on the HPQ's vicissitudes from time to time, and try to keep this list more or less current. Please e-mail me hpq dot pmooney78 at neverbox dot com if you're aware of something that you think should be listed here.
Thoughtful, well-researched response by
Sam at SNOG.
I'm not sure what this is. It may be commentary.
Well-informed answers by someone whose name isn't on his website; I'll call him
sandsh, the username on his e-mail account.
Answers in an all-caps, poorly spelled, pseudo-hip-hop style from
GodheadSatori on god180.com. Contains a full daily FDA-recommended serving of contempt for non-believers, plus a lot of interesting things about what GodheadSatori chooses to believe and not belive from the bible! (Even other members of the discussion board claim he's
not a real Christian for this reason.)
Answers to ten questions at Nature's Inner Circle.
Answers to some of the questions and some others.
Apparently the exact same document at
Answers About God, which seems to be yet another nutty apocalyptic site impressed by random numerology.
Snide answers by
J.P. Holding used to be available here at tektonics.org, but they've disappeared. Holding has also prevented his webpages from being archived by such sites as the Internet Archive, and now claims that his answers are available
at my other site, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of this page. Sadly, I can't find them anywhere in the free content—but there are lots of semi-skilled cartoons all over the page!
Rather thoughtful answers to many of the questions and a discussion on those answers, available at kuro5hin. Sadly, the belief structure described is not actually Christianity, but the answers might be worth looking at.
former arrogant atheist answers one question here, with a lot of irrelevant rambling that mashes bad Hollywood movies up with the Bible. (Yeah, it's an old trick those wiley Christians play: sucker 'em in with something that you think might be fun, and then smack 'em with your thick, dull book once they're reading.)
This forum on the MysticWicks online pagan community has a copy and discusson of the HPQ.
This copy of the HPQ includes a particularly lively discussion.
This copy of the HPQ on Yahoo! groups includes links to a discussion thread at the bottom of the Questionnaire.
Anwyl's comments on Yahoo!'s CelticWitch discussion board.
Discussion at ezboard.com.
Copy and discussion at a MySpace blog.
This forum at Starcraft includes a definition of a
heirophant as a suicidal member of a strange satanic cult.
Archived discussion at gamefaqs.com.
Copy and discussion at god180.com, in which good Christians give each other the verbal equivalent of hand jobs for making fun of the original poster. No questions are ever actually engaged, although people are occasionally incredulous about individual questions. As a special bonus, there are plenty of poorly spelled freestyle pseudo-hip hop lyrics about Jesus in all caps throughout the site! Overall, it's an interesting case study in the ways in which the machinations of
faith cause immediate dismissal of any material that differs from their own beliefs.
There is an amusing discussion on debatingchristianity.com in which a group of Christians assert repeatedly that the questions have already been answered in various theological credos, then come to the conclusion that I
must be dishonest.
Faithful copy at ThinkAtheist, with a nice note about how helpful the Questionnaire has been. I'm very glad to have been helpful, Doug.
The Original Version of the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire on the now-defunct Why Christians Suck site, made possible by the magic of the Internet Wayback Machine!
Text-only copy, posted by someone called
Discussion board republication, posted by Tala Hotyk,
Voice of the Wolves.
This page, called
Jesus Christ is a False Messiah, contains some text based on the Questionnaire.
Copy on Yahoo! groups, with links to a discussion thread at the bottom.
Mostly intact copy at scaredpoet.com.
So You Want Me To Become A Christian? A version of the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire that has been slightly expanded, with additional reading suggestions, by Alf the Poet. A PDF version of this document is available here.
Beautifully designed copy of the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire at Questing Spirit.
Clean text copy at the Atheist Free Speech Zone.
Very slightly edited copy of the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire at Cygnus' Study.
Edited copy of the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire at Wonderful Web of Wishcraft. (This seems to be identical to the one edited by Crystal Moon et al., except for the formatting.)
Nicely formatted text edition of the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire for at the online syllabus for Walter Jensen's Comparative Religion 100 course at Western Michigan University.
Reformatted edition of the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire, broken up into several pages, with additional questions at NOVO's Library.
Apparent duplicate of NOVO's copy.
Bastardized, incomplete, poorly formated text edition of the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire (entitled
Why Religion Is False, supposedly by
Zensthoth), at (sigh) collegetermpapers.com. A better-formatted apparent descendant is here, and
An descendant of Cygnus's
Convert Me document (from the now defunct Cygnus' Study) at another Muslim site.
Severely edited copy at some page called
Here's My Religious Questionnaire. (Amusingly, for years the page title was
the My Auctions Main Page.) This fellow seems to think that Judaism developed as
a form or derivative of Christianity. As a special added bonus, there is ASCII art of a guy sticking out his tongue and flipping me off with both hands. Go check it out!
A set of questions incorporating many of those from the HPQ at a page called
Frames Version. Strange name.
Pared-down version at kaj's page.
Nicely formatted edition of the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire at the Freethought Zone.
Edition of the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire unsuitable for printing at Chief Mojo Rising's Pad.
Eighty-four of the questions on a discussion board at kuro5hin.
Another copy of the (now-defunct) Cygnus' version at a Muslim discussion site.
A white-text-on-black-background copy with an acknowledgement that warms my cold, ephiphenomenalistic little heart.
Copy posted by Aaron at no-god.com.
Brittany V.'s copy, rather nicely formatted, on Scribd.
Wanna Convert Me? descendant, this one appearing on a site called Squirrel's Island. I've written to his ISP about his explicit violation of the redistribution requirements (he places the document in a directory called
articles by me, which an explicitly not OK—it makes a claim that he is the original author of the document). We'll see how that goes.[status]
Copy with additional questions at ex-christian.net.
There is a discussion on this LiveJournal page that refers to the HPQ.
Solowolf_93 refers positively to the HPQ on this page.
This list should be especially helpful for—and should be examined especially closely by—those considering writing a response to the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire.
Pagels, Elaine. The Origin of Satan. This and the following two books by Pagels describe the historical development of various aspects of Christian belief. This one concentrates on—believe it or not—the evolution of Jewish and Christian beliefs about the character Satan and his shifting role in their mytho-theologies.
Pagels, Elaine. Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. This book by Pagels is on the shifting belief about the story of the Fall in Genesis. Recommended reading for those who are convinced that their way of viewing the story of the fall is the only possible way to do so.
Pagels, Elaine. The Gnostic Gospels. Yet another one for those who are convinced that all facets of their ideology—in this case, the canonicity of the bible—dropped out of the skies, untouched by history, twenty centuries ago and persisted untouched to this day.
Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontents. Freud is surprisingly readable by the layman. This one has great material on the origin of religious sentiment.
Freud, Sigmund. Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. Very little is obfuscated by Christianity as much as sex and sexuality are. Sure, Freud is controversial, and modern psychologists often regard his theories as just plain wrong (especially regarding feminine sexuality), but this is the starting point for just about any discussion on the subject.
Nietzsche, Friederich. Beyond Good and Evil. Trans. Walter Kaufmann. Quite simply, this is probably the best introduction to a methodology for critiquing the Christian claims to transcendental truth. The style is light and enjoyable, although some previous background in philosophy is needed.
Nietzsche, Friederich. On the Genealogy of Morals. Trans. Walter Kaufmann. Nietzsche's history of the moral sentiments is another must-read for anyone who is interested in the development of ideas about religion.
Nietzsche, Friederich. The Antichrist. Trans. H.L. Mencken. Nietzsche's plausible and careful alternate reading of the gospels and history of the early church is insightful and unbelievably funny.
Kaufmann, Walter. Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist. Kaufmann's philosophical biography of Nietzsche presents the essentials of his thought and the major events of his life in a systematic, readable way, although he sometimes stretches his apologetics too far. Still, quite a good explanation for those who have read some Nietzsche before.
Armstrong, Karen. A History of God. Another good historical study of the development of an aspect of Christian belief. Armstrong is clear, concise, and enjoyable to read.
Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, The Use of Pleasure, and The Care of the Self. Foucault's brilliant work is another absolute essential must-read for those interested in the historical development of the construction of sexuality. It's the jumping-off point for postmodern treatments of sexuality in such fields as gender studies, too.
Campbell, Joseph. The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology, Oriental Mythology, Occidental Mythology, and Creative Mythology. Campbell's four-volume set provides a great introduction to the mythologies of various cultures and to the academic study of mythology.
Frazer, Sir James. The Golden Bough. Armchair anthropology that's come under harsh scrutiny since its publication, but of great historical importance, and an excellent introduction to the myth of the dying god-king in various cultures throughout time—the Christ legend, as Christians call it.