The Turing Test, of sci-fi notoriety, was developed by Alan Turing as way to determine if a machine could exhibit intelligence indistinguishable from a human. He thought that a computer successfully simulating a human would be milestone in artificial intelligence and maybe robots taking over the world. Pretty wacky stuff.
Much more recently, the economist Bryan Caplan thought he could take that idea and give it a more immediate importance in the Ideological Turing Test. Caplan developed his version in response to Paul Krugman’s claim that liberals understand conservatives better than conservatives understand liberals. He put the idea to the test on this now defunct site—which you should visit if it ever comes back. This concept, testing how well one group understand the beliefs of another, was the catalyst for our new project: the Religious Turing Test.
For the last several weeks, my brothers and I have been developing a test designed to gauge how well Christians understand the beliefs and the ways of thinking of other Christians. We’ve done this by setting up a series of quizzes you can find here. The tests require you to choose what answer (from some similar options) a Christian group would officially give as well as the answer most of its members would give. We hope our findings will not only be of academic interest but will also act as a catalyst for greater inter-denominational conversation.
We’ve already profited much knowledge as hundreds have taken “Step 1” of our study allowing us to catalog members’ beliefs on ten different issues. However, we hope that the findings of our study will expand, and we invite you to participate to help us achieve that. Go to our site and take the test—tell others about it—and hopefully all of this will help us get to know each other a little better.