Obvious study makes obvious claim

Here is a study that found smartĀ people typically are far less religious than their peers. Does anyone still doubt people who are more educated are simply less likely to believe in God? Perhaps there are still those who would deny this. I suppose it makes the religious feel as though it’s an attempt to call them stupid. I’m not quite sure. Either way, I consider the matter resolved.

The reason why educated people are more likely to be skeptical about God is simply to learn about the world, one has to develop critical thinking skills. It is impossible to be intelligent and to accept anything at face value. It is precisely this kind of skepticism that leads many to become an agnostic or atheist.

I want to stress the truth the existence or non-existence of God does not necessarily hinge on intelligence. Theists may in fact have it right. But I find it unlikely that they do, simply because there is no evidence to back up their claims. Ideas without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

Lastly, I believe it’s important to focus on the word ‘intelligent’. I don’t believe intellectual capacity is ultimately defined by a person’s genetics. Human beings are fairly ubiquitous. Train their minds and bodies long enough and with enough vigor, and anyone can excel. Intelligence is not unlike athleticism; there are some who are naturally more gifted, but it takes serious dedication to fully develop it. Not everyone has the time to train for a marathon, but I think it is a shame there are more gyms than libraries. If theists really want to prove atheists are not intellectually stronger, I suggest they encourage their flock to pursue higher education. They may find, however, ignorance is a far more ripe environment for the manipulation of minds. What does that tell you about a belief which only gets stronger the stupider you are?

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Comments (4)

  • avatar

    JohnFrost

    I would agree with you on the critical thinking skills, but I think there’s another aspect: the whole God of the gaps thing. A higher education fills in a lot of the gaps that God claims in most people’s lives. I know pretty much every acquaintence I have would probably cede points to an Intelligent Designist simply because they don’t understand evolution well enough, or would insist on the existence of a soul simply because they don’t understand the advances in neurology, not because of any deeply held religous belief.

    When I first came out of religous fundamentalism, I was quite happy to consider myself a deist. It wasn’t until I started reading books by Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins–more out of curiosity and a love of science than any seeking of deep answers–that I realized that there just really wasn’t any need for a God!

  • avatar

    Reverend Clint

    I couldn’t agree with you more. just look at the people Bill Maher interviewed in his film… most had no idea what he was talking about when it came to there own religion.

  • avatar

    Joe Botelho

    I always felt like an outcast within the athiest community because i am honestly not that smart. I went to community college for 2 years and was always a solid C student. My atheism came about because of my reflective nature, not higher IQ. Also i seem to have always had a good BS detecter built in, which is what all religons really are.

  • avatar

    Nick

    There are studies that IQ and religious belief have a strong negative correlation, but I feel we should be wary of extrapolating from that that “clever people don’t believe”. The IQ test only covers a specific area of intelligent – i.e. logical, reasoning and mathematical. Yes, these are important things and utilisation of them (or at least the first two) will usually lead to either an atheist or agnostic outlook, but some people do not think in this way. They have strengths in other intelligences. It is to them that I believe it is important to provide reasons and arguments (in the classic sense) of the validity of atheism but on their terms.
    I am not, of course, implying that any one type of intelligence is ‘higher’ than another, I am simply saying that different type of people need a different approach.
    And I still think that atheism should be absolutely welcoming to those who lose their faith and say that it is ok to be an atheist.

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