reading comprehension

The passage given below is followed by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

As I said before, I do not think that the real reason why people accept religion has anything to do with argumentation. They accept religion on emotional grounds. One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it. You know, of course, the parody of that argument in Samuel Butler’s book, Erewhon Revisited. You will remember that in Erewhon there is a certain Higgs who arrives in a remote country, and after spending some time there he escapes from that country in a balloon. Twenty years later he comes back to that country and finds a new religion in which he is worshiped under the name of the “Sun Child,” and it is said that he ascended to heaven. He finds that the Feast of the Ascension is about to be celebrated, and he hears Professors Heroditus and Panopticon say to each other that they never set eyes on the man Higgs, and they hope they never will; but they are the high priests of the religion of the Sun Child. He is very indignant, and he comes up to them, and he says, “I am going to expose all this humbug and tell the people of Erewhon that it was only I, the man Higgs, and I went up in a balloon.” He was told, “You must not do that, because all the morals of this country are bound round this myth, and if they once know that you did not ascend into Heaven they will all become wicked”; and so he is persuaded of that and he goes quietly away.

That is the idea — that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to religion. It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked. You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.

You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things. In this world we can now begin a little to understand things, and a little to master them by help of science, which has forced its way step by step against religion, against its edifices, and against the opposition of all the old precepts. Science can help us to get over this craven fear in which mankind has lived for so many generations. Science can teach us no longer to look around for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this world a better place to live in, instead of the sort of place that the religion in all these centuries have made it.

1. The main purpose of the passage is to
A. show how adherence to the Christian religion has made people lead craven lives.
B. demonstrate how argumentation has little to do with why people accept religion.
C. inform the religious populace that its blind faith has led to unwarranted atrocities.
D. exhort people to reconsider their faith and practice a belief system that is in sync with science.

2. Which of the following is true about Samuel Butler’s book, Erewhon Revisited?
I. It was not well received by the section of public that had a religious bent of mind.
II. Its message does not end with Higgs being persuaded that religion makes men virtuous.
III. It makes the point that people bound to a myth are prone to shun the path of the wicked.

A. I only.
B. II only.
C. I and III.
D. II and III.

3. The predominant rhetorical device in the third para is
A. anaphora.
B. alliteration.
C. onomatopoeia.
D. personification.

4. The author of the passage is most likely to agree with which of the following?
I. It is possible to accept certain things on grounds that are not entirely emotional.
II. There would have been no cruelty in the world had there not been organized religion.
III. The preponderance of the Christian church can be viewed as the preponderance of dogma.

A. I only.
B. I and II.
C. I and III.
D. All of the above.


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