Most Smartest and Sacred: Are Atheists Really Smarter than Us?

According to 63 studies conducted over the last 80-some years, Atheists are OFFICIALLY smarter than people of faith. Officially. I read that this week.

My first reaction was to take offense.  I mean… I’m a reasonably intelligent person. So are (most) Christians I know. So are the Jews, the Muslims, the Buddists… I mean, I’ve got no gripe with people who don’t align themselves with a belief system, but seriously; how does faith (or lack thereof) speak to smarts?

For my money, that just cannot be measured. Whatever the research may say, intelligence is not entirely quantifiable. After all, it takes a certain degree of intelligent imagination to believe in that which we cannot see; to place faith in a higher power, regardless of what we can touch, taste, and prove with our own systems and in our own limited functions. You can’t sum that up in a standardized test. So there’s that.

But then, we also have to admit this: When Christians ARE stupid–cause I can only speak for Christians here and, Lord help us, sometimes we are stupid–perhaps we tend, as a group, to be more vocal about it. Our stupid is louder, prouder and stretched over more of our history than our more subtle intelligence will ever be. Traditionally, we have valued being right over being just; and therefore, we have valued the correctness of our own doctrine over that which IS, in fact, evident in the world around us. Fair enough, brainy smarty-pants science guys. You’ve got us there.

Maybe it’s not that Atheists are smarter, categorically, than Christians; maybe it’s that certain tenets of the Christian message have been so repellent to thinking people, that we have effectively weeded some of the brainiest folks out of our communities. By not welcoming their questions, their doubts, their challenges to our certainty, believers have maybe self-selected a STATISTICALLY less intelligent demographic.

I am NOT saying that people of faith are less smart.  I’m just saying, maybe we sometimes reject uber-intelligent people without even realizing it.Every time a religious leader or person of faith does one of the following things, somewhere a physicist jumps ship, and our collective IQ drops a few points. Like when we:

-Insist, against all tangible, quantifiable research to the contrary, that the world is NO MORE THAN 5,000 years old;

-Doggedly argue that homosexuality is not only a sin, but a disorder–even when medicine, psychology, biology, and pretty much all the other smart things tell us otherwise;

-Embrace a prosperity gospel that treats prayer like a daggone Sear’s Catalogue, with God as head of the customer service department;

-Reject deeply spiritual teachings and practices of other world religions, because if they don’t include the words of Jesus, they must be of the devil. And we are super scared of the devil;

-Enforce rigid gender roles that not only keep women out of leadership–by virtue of, you know, them not having the superior man parts–and also bleed into what is expected of women in home and family life.

I’m not saying that all people who embrace a more conservative brand of faith are of lesser intelligence; but I will say that, over the past 100 years or so, the Church  has definitely lost some smart people to this short-sighted gospel.

And yet, for all the ways we push the Brainy-Mc-Smarty-Pants types right out the door…it goes both ways. I also see in this article a very limited understanding of what faith IS, and what it means in the life of people who practice it. Speaking of that which is not quantifiable; one of the authors of this study speculates that ‘intelligent people have less of a need for religion.’ They base this theory on an assumption that religion provides people with self-esteem, perceived control of troubling life situations…basically, the comfort of being told what to do and how to think. You know, we simple-minded types need that sort of structure. It comforts us.

Science is not God. Religion has its limitations, but so does research. I don’t entirely buy the conclusion that ‘atheists are smarter,’ even if smart people say they can prove it. But what I REALLY don’t buy is the assumption that faith is comfortable; that it provides easy answers to difficult questions and sets our minds at ease; that it somehow quantifies the unquantifiable, keeping us passive, happy and small. That is not what faith is. And if that’s what people outside of the Church think faith is, then shame on us for having marketed our gospel for the lowest common denominator.

Yes, faith gives us comfort. Yes, it invites us into a community of support and love that enriches, encourages, and strengthens us to deal with all the uncertainties and hardships of life. But it is so much more than that.  Faith inspires and challenges in a way that science alone cannot do. Faith encourages hard questions, even if it can’t promise easy answers; real faith invites doubt. The God that I know gave me the brains in my head, which maybe some people think they can measure.  But also, God gifted me with a sacred imagination; an artful way with language (some days); the gifts of instinct and logic (possibly not in equal measure); the capacity to care for others; a prophetic voice; and a sense of vision that reaches beyond the limits of what science and reason can prove to me.

Some of the most intelligent people in the world don’t possess these gifts. Some really simple ones do.

The good news is that God does not care how smart we are, as long as we seek to know Him/Her. Using faith as an excuse to turn off our brains is sinful. Using Science to reject faith? Well…maybe that just misunderstands the nature of faith. Ultimately, we all ‘need’ community; we all need a sacred story; we all need to know our Creator, while being fully present and awake to the world around us; and God is in every bit of it. Unquantifiably so, and beyond even our most smartest, sacred imaginations.

Maybe we’ve just all got a lot to learn.



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  • Worthless Beast

    I was reading this last night – I saw that same study pop up on Yahoo, misleading headline and all. What’s obnoxious about is that it’s going to lead (further) to people thinking they are automatically smart (and by our society’s definition, “superior”) *just* because of their non-belief – and trust me, that isn’t so. (If you’re an atheist arguing with people online, don’t tell me that you’re smart. Please, for the love of the Flying Spagetti Monster, actually *say* something intelligent! Also, spelling and grammar are our friends…)

    There are too many variables in the study – to the point where I think the headlines, at least, whiff of bias. As the articles (I’ve read) themselves actually state, there are factors such as financial and family stability involved. Furthermore… I want to ask, WHERE was this study done? Within what culture or cultures? I suspect that it was a North American study, or a North American / European study and didn’t bother to IQ-test and follow people in Africa, Saudi Arabia, India or even somewhere like Japan. If if was a North American / European study, it, by nature, would have examined a particular mindset and attitude about “religion,” which the rest of the world doesn’t always share. And some within Western culture do not share, for that matter.

    Even within the framework of Western thought, I suspect the study did a lot of narrowing. As in, whenever I see something like this come up (there’s an article series going on on Patheos’ own “Science on Religion” blog about religion and creativity / lack thereof that I think has some similar problems)… people always seem to be looking at the Ned Flanders-types of the world, the devout churchgoers. Not so much the SBNRs (or even Progressive churches). High analytical IQ-test-type intelligence is rare (and something people are born with), while faith is (presumably) gifted to everyone and can be in-flux for a person’s entire life. It’s easy to pick out the zebras from the horses (and in the case of intelligent believers, to ignore the okapis, because they’re just too weird and not-fitting-with-conceptions to even bother with).

    Even if this study is “iron clad,” the people who did it admitted they were only looking at a single kind of intelligence to the neglect (as is common) of emotional/intuitive and creative intelligences. I have no idea what my actual IQ is (I suspect it’s slightly above average, considering I was ambushed and ushered into honors programs during my school-career. Though I’m not successful – blame an interest in the arts and crippling bipolar disorder for that). I do know that my creativity is, if there were tests for it, probably “genius” level and I have an intuitive sense that has gotten me accused of “having ESP” by some in my life. None of this is considered valuable in our society in the same way as analytical intelligence is, so I have no “score” to flaunt. What I have found with a lot of very “logical” types I’ve talked to is that they have the empathy and imagination of a brick. Also, that they are outright *wrong* about some things – in regards to people and the emotional lives of people they’ve chosen to “type.” (I.E. I’ve tried to correct logical people who’ve made bizarre assumptions about my emotional life and intentions only to be dismissed with the “more logical than thou” attitude – and you know what? At the end of the day, they were still WRONG).

    People assume that when you talk of intuitive intelligence or imagination that it’s sparkly fairies and unicorns when the fact of the matter is, imagination is how we solve problems. Sure, I like writing fantasy novels, but I can also invent tools when a given tool for a job is not available to me, and do so all the time, because I don’t see a rock as just a rock, even though logically, it is just a rock.

    In other words, I think people who make studies like this need to think outside the box when it comes to what “belief and faith” or even “religion” means and they need to open themselves up to studying various “other kinds” of genius.

    __ Not that I am not a worthless beast, not to be listened to.

  • Pofarmer

    “After all, it takes a certain degree of intelligent imagination to believe in that which we cannot see; to place faith in a higher power, regardless of what we can touch, taste, and prove with our own systems and in our own limited functions. You can’t sum that up in a standardized test. So there’s that. – See more at:

    I don’t think you’re going to get being superstitous counted on an intelligence test.

    • Dorfl

      I wouldn’t put it exactly like that, but I basically agree. Ascribing intentions and agency to things without having much evidence for it is something the human mind does pretty much by default. It doesn’t take above-average intelligence to learn how to do. In many situations it’s something that has to be deliberately unlearned.

      That said, I’m not sure that the studies cited actually show as much as they are claimed to. PZ Myers, who is pretty much the most strident antitheist around, picks apart the methodology behind them here:

  • Quid

    Why are we assuming it’s scientifically proven that atheists are smarter than religious people? The link you posted was from the huffo post. I could wipe my a** with the contents of that “journal”. I’ve never actually seen any real empirical data without an obvious bias to make any such claim like that.

    • Msironen

      … because the very first line of the Huffington Post article has a link to the study itself?

      There’s a lot of things about the study that are up for criticism if you’re so inclined, but it’s existence isn’t one of those things.

      • Erik Griffiths

        and Quid proves the studies by not even bothering to see where the HuffPo got their information

        • Worthless Beast

          I don’t know about that. I think feeling dubious about where something is published or linked is perfectly valid. Huff picks articles out of anywhere and everywhere. My experience with the site tells me that it’s mostly a patchwork quilt of random news and that sometimes they latch onto stories that turn out needing correction. The site is also at least half-opinion-column (as in, half the site is made of blogs of various writers giving opinion-pieces).

          I first saw the article on Yahoo news – which is similar. I felt dubious reading a “science study” on a site where most of the news is celebrity dresses and cat videos.

          Does it necessarily invalidate the study? No… But one might feel less suspicious about it if one first came across it in say, Scientific American Frontiers, or Nature or Psychology Today or some other magazine that screens their news more strictly and isn’t proudly half-opinion.

          • Erik Griffiths

            And you missed the point. This guy just saw the source article and didn’t bother reading it to see where it got its source from. He just saw HuffPo and quit. That is why atheists test better, because atheists generally research further.

          • Worthless Beast

            Yes, but…

            If someone had linked to some study claiming some ridiculous/provocative headline such as “Scientific Study Shows Atheists to be less Generous” or some such bull and they were sourcing it from Fox News, how would you react? Tell, me, would you bother tracing the source or would you just complain about news outlets that make better toilet paper?

            What if you traced the source and found it to be legit despite the fact that you first encountered it on Fox? Maybe you’d give it a second glance then, but you’d probably still have a gut-reaction feeling. And don’t pretend that you have such an inquisitive, unbiased mind that you don’t have gut-reactions, we all do.

            For some, Huffpo is basically the liberal counterpart to Fox News. I, myself, actually enjoy Huffpo and like reading articles and blogs there, but, even so, I know that a lot of stuff on that site is opinion (the blogs) and that some of the headlines for the real/actual articles can be a bit tabloid-y. I didn’t encounter this study on Huff, myself, I first encountered it on a place even worse – and upon reading the study, I found the *headline* that someone had written for it (on Yahoo) to be somewhat misleading.

            What I think is inherent folly in trying to squish subjectives into objectives aside, the state of journalism today has a lot of us not trusting much in the ways of provocation when it comes to news… especially when a lot of our news is nestled between celebrity gossip and cats.

          • Erik Griffiths

            If the base source is good, then I have no problem accepting the study. Just because Fox News reported it doesn’t mean its false by default.

          • Worthless Beast

            But you probably wouldn’t immediately lob accusations at someone who was suspicious of a story that came out of Fox News, right?

            I used to like reading the Weekly World News (now defunct tabloid paper about aliens and Bigfoot, famous for Bat Boy). I enjoyed it for humor. I’m pretty sure I still have old copy laying around somewhere that had a story in it about a tradition of fancy, goofy-shaped art-coffins in Ghana. I remember reading the story and thinking “Hey, it could be true, being that it’s an unusual art-type thing and not the usual X-Files stuff, but pheh, this is the Weekly World News,” and didn’t think any more of it.

            Then, I saw some reputable source (some documentary program on Discovery or PBS), talking about art-coffins. I was surprised. The WWN actually reported something that was *true* rather than just “true from a certain perspective” when they did that one story.

            Am I dumb for not going out of my way to investigate a stray story I found in something I knew to be a rag?

            I actually suspect you’re annoyed (at Quid, maybe at me, too, though I’ve not gone into my spiritual-or-un-spiritiual affiliation) not because “people aren’t inquisitive” but because you see a study that’s come out that would seem to confirm the superiority of “your own” (intelligence = value in our society) and set in SCIENCE! that you’re surrounded by idiots… but not everyone is buying it or saying “This settles things” – all nice and neat.

            In other words the “idiots” aren’t laying down and saying “Yes, we are idiots.” (Some that are decidedly in your own camp aren’t exactly hopping-to, either). Instead, they “people of inherently lesser intelligence” actually being skeptical about something (for a change?)

            Pheh. I like it whenever I read studies on bipolar disorder that claim that we bipolars are linked to genius or “more creative” than the average bear. It feels great to think that maybe I’m less a minority and am merely surrounded by “idiots.” I suspect that this study – on the “spiritual” end of things – is doing that for a lot of people right now, to the point where they don’t want anyone to be skeptical of it, because they really want a “specialness despite minority” settled.

            But humans aren’t like that. You can’t essentially call people idiots and expect them to take it lying down, even if you throw “Science!” at them. Studies like this *will* be questioned and their sources as well as where they are distributed will be questioned, too.

          • Erik Griffiths

            I wasn’t lobbing accusations at them for any reason than simply not bothering to do further research. You can either continue to defend intentional intellectual laziness or your can agree that this kind of behavior is part of why the religious so frequently test so poorly.

          • Worthless Beast

            (Looks at Quid’s post again) – I don’t recall Quid saying what they were, atheist, Christian, Hindu, whatever. (Maybe they have elsewhere in comments to other things on this blog, but I don’t come here too often and do not know them). It’s interesting that you just assume that they’re “religious” because they mistrusted a particular news source.

          • Erik Griffiths

            I didn’t say that they were religious, but why would a non religious person make such an argument? Why would an atheist shoot down such an article without reading it? That doesn’t make any sense.

          • Worthless Beast

            Again, “assume” makes an ass of you and me.

            Quid did shoot the article down without reading it, and to tell you the truth, I thought their answer / post to be unwise. I typically hate it when people go “td;lr” or say “I read the headline but not the article!” (it actually happens in Huffpo’s comments a lot). However, something about your response filled me with a desire to play Devil’s Advocate. I would have left well enough alone if they’d only gotten Misronen’s helpful answer. I think it was what I perceived to be the assumptive nature of it, the “Look! This prooves the article!” on your part, the assumption that a person’s stoopid is “oh must be the sole fault of teh religionz!” Yeah, that’s enough to get me to play Devil’s Advocate for someone who does something that twerks me off.

            It’s been fun, but both of us are hanging onto this thread like grim death and I’d really rather stop hanging on. My jaws are getting tired. If you want to declare yourself the winner, go ahead and do so. I shouldn’t have responded, and I’m pretty sure that we’re the last two people in the room. I think I’ll go back to the Legend of Zelda fan forum I frequent where large numbers of people have stopped liking Zelda long ago, but continue to go there just to complain, anyway.

          • Worthless Beast

            I’m pretty sure I had a post here… seems to have gotten eaten.

            Anyway, I just explained that I didn’t think Quid’s post to be very wise, but your post made me feel like playing a game of Devil’s Advocate.

          • AugustineThomas

            Christianity takes in all poor spirits. Atheists only want to associate with other “smart people” and constantly dream of murdering everyone else in a vain attempt to create a higher man.

            The fact that all the great scientists who built modernity were Christians shows your point is a lie. Further, all modern atheistic scientists got most of their cultural beliefs directly from Christianity and just stopped acknowledging it because they wanted to pretend to be God.

          • Erik Griffiths

            The first thing I noticed when I was a Christian was how poorly you people treated people that didn’t fit in. If you dared look different, or think different you were outcast. As an atheist I’ve never dreamed of murdering everybody, however when I read the bible, I see time and again your god either committing genocide or ordering it, for his “chosen” people.

            Many of those great scientists made their discoveries not because of their religion, but despite it.

            Interesting, that you claim that atheists steal their beliefs from Christians after claiming that atheists want to kill everybody. Are you admitting that as a Christian you want to kill everybody?

            However with that said, the best parts of Christianity were stolen from Buddhism, an atheistic religion.

  • Erik Griffiths

    Atheists test higher on intelligence tests, because we are more quizzical. The faithful are far more social, and more likely to succumb to group think. It wasn’t until I got away from the church and actively questioned by beliefs that I stopped believing. This is why you see the church promoting so many community activities, and demonizing biblical characters like Thomas, who questioned. Stay part of the group, don’t ask questions. This is how they keep you coming for more and putting your money in the collection plate.

  • Steve O’Gorman

    “I mean, I’ve got no gripe with people who don’t align themselves with a belief system, but seriously; how does faith (or lack thereof) speak to smarts?”

    It doesn’t, the studies merely show that those who do not believe in gods are on average more intelligent than those who do. Any discussion on why this might be the case is speculation.

    “After all, it takes a certain degree of intelligent imagination to believe in that which we cannot see; to place faith in a higher power, regardless of what we can
    touch, taste, and prove with our own systems and in our own limited functions. You can’t sum that up in a standardized test. So there’s that.”

    Really? Children show an aptitude for this kind of imagination from as young an age as they are able to communicate their thoughts. It’s pretty basic human-level intelligence, hardly an indicator of some intellectual ability which the non-believers lack.

    • ChristenW_Per4_BoydBence

      Hey, watch it. That’s what he said, not what all of us said. By the way, science actually does prove that in many ways 5 year olds have a higher brain power, if not common sense, than older people, so there’s some science for you.

  • R Vogel

    I see this reported on in several places – following the links I can only get to abstract of the paper and in meta-studies like this you really have to look at the data and methodology to understand what they are measuring and how. Not only how did they measure intelligence, which is important, but how did they measure ‘religiosity’ as well. It was interesting to note that the correlation was in religious belief not religious behavior, so ‘religiosity’ was not measured by behavior.

  • Rebecca Trotter

    I think you are spot on here. The church is often a very hostile, unwelcoming place for highly intelligent people. There’s enormous diversity among people with high intelligence, but the most common characteristics are often not well tolerated in many churches. Highly intelligent people tend to be driven to question, to rethink things, to seek the new and novel and to exercise boundary pushing creativity. They also tend to be fiercely independent. The mismatch between such tendencies and many churches is pretty clear.

    I’m an odd duck who is both a Christian writer and a mensa member. When I have written on the intersection between Faith and high intelligence, I’ve been inundated with stories of highly intelligent people who were practically hounded out of the church. Add in the ridiculous hostility some very noisy churches have towards science and it’s really no wonder that a lot of highly intelligent people say feh to the whole religion thing.

  • Gary Calderone

    This so called research is obviously flawed. First of all, what *kind* of religiosity/spirituality are they talking about? Not everyone who believes in some sort of Transcendent Reality (God) is the same. There is a world of difference between fundamentalist-literalists and those of us who see the Scriptures (of whatever Faith) as a combination of history remembered combined with allegory, symbol and yes ‘myth’ in the true meaning of that word, not its inaccurate use as an all purpose term for bullshit. Then there are the masses of Spiritual but not religious folks (I was one for over 30 years).

    The vast majority of the greatest minds throughout history have been religious in some way, only recently has the predominate modern western ‘religion’ of mechanistic materialism and all of its assumptions become the measuring rod for everything else. I defy anyone to say that men like Robert Spitzer and John Polkinghorne, who are both astrophysicists as well as priests, and those of us for whom they speak, are not ‘smart’ or highly educated.

    *Albert Einstein* best summed it up for me:
    “Science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind”.

    • Dorfl

      As an atheist I agree completely with that quote – for Einstein’s idiosyncratic definition of the word ‘religion’. I think this quote summarises his attitude to people taking his sayings about ‘God’ and ‘religion’ out of context:

      “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

    • someone

      all holy books are the same book, just spoken in different languages! and science without religion is the opposite of lame, unless you think flying in space, speaking with new cultures is “lame”! shall I remind you the treatment atheists were to get back in the days of the people you speak of at sentence 2(the-vast-majority)? and shall I remind the education the “vast majority” of people had in those days? you can call the man who made fire a genius but that’s because no one else thought of it yet, and with it, we made light, heat, power, ECT., do we agree on that? I expect it, however fire was first made by lightning and lava, not humans

  • R Vogel

    The correlation was also strongest among college students. It would be interesting to see how the correlations change as people age. It sounds like they weaken. That is telling given that the college years are often a period of challenging or flat out rejecting many of the beliefs that we were taught when we were young. Age and experience tends to bring people back, albeit often with a new understanding.

    • BerksBound

      Do you have any statistics to support your assertion that “age and experience tends to bring people back”? I’ve had the exact opposite experience.

      • R Vogel

        The paper’s reference to the fact that correlations are stronger among college students is one statistic that could support that, although without being able to dig into the data it is no stronger than the other assertions made from it. My own experience as well – but that is always a tricky thing. It was very popular, at least when I was at uni, to assert you were an atheist or socialist or communists, at least among my circle, but how many of them still assert that 2 decades hence…not as many. Now I am not saying they changed their minds, but that they likely weren’t true atheists to begin with. I have yet to see a true long term study of atheism over time, but it would be interesting. Bara is the only one I am aware of but it only compares numbers over a 15 year period which doesn’t really show a full migration from one demographic to another ( It also lumps atheist and agnostic together which muddies the water.
        It is a great question, though, and one that I hope gets some attention.

      • R Vogel

        And thanks for keeping me honest, btw….

  • Hello Erin,

    I believe it is completely fallacious to compare atheism with non-atheism and draw the conclusion that atheism is more likely to be true.

    What would be really intersting would be a new study not comparing atheists with non-atheists but the numerous groups out there with one another.

    1) reductive materialists
    2) non-reductive materialists
    3) non materialist naturalists
    4) deists
    5) pantheists
    6) conservative Christians
    7) progressive Christians
    8) liberal Christians
    9) conservative muslims
    10) taoists

    and so on and so forth.

    To a large extent, I agree with what you said about religion.

    While I believe that materialism is false, I don’t really know if there is a God or not, but I hope on him.

    Lovely greetings from Germany
    Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    • someone

      the words theism/theist! not “non-atheism/atheist” and if you think god is real, I ask you to try to do some research for yourself! and don’t act like you think this stuff your saying never happened!

  • Grand1

    Kindly do not clump all Christians together. We are not monolithic in belief. Only the extremes espouse the nonsensical falderal outlined in the above article. If you are unable to actualize cognitive dissonance, perhaps you are not as intelligent as you think. I think that in order to understand another perspective, you must first know it and then apply your reasoning to it. To do otherwise is emotional rhetoric. I was never taught that the earth is 5,000 years old and I would have proven the nun who was my science teacher wrong if she has said it was so. My faith is based on true teachings of Jesus, not some dogma of a church. Yet, I consider myself a Christian, no better nor worse than the Evangelicals that put forth such silly propositions. And, I am well educated; well enough to be able to hold two contradictory positions as true at the same time. After all, we are human and humans invented both religion and science. Both are flawed for that reason.

    • Quark Spark

      “After all, we are human and humans invented both religion and science. Both are flawed for that reason.”
      I agree. The difference between religion and science, though, is that science is willing and humble enough to say that it was wrong when shown to be wrong and changes to comport with what is observed in reality. Religion, on the other hand, staunchly stands firm on their ages old doctrines in spite of evidence to the contrary. There are mountains of scientific evidence that have disproven biblical stories such as the flood, Adam and Eve, the creation story, etc., yet religion still holds firm that these things actually happened.

      This type of teaching, this type of thinking, impedes progress for everyone as a whole. If religion weren’t here, things like cures for diseases through stim cell research would be further along. If not for religion, the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, the Crusades, The Holocaust would have never happened. ISIS would not be a thing.

      Religion has been proven to be detrimental in a lot of ways. Science has only very few claims to such atrocities, such as the nuclear bombs and other weaponry, and those weapons were used by men of religion. :

      Science otherwise has done nothing but progress humanity as a whole with medicine and technology like computers and communication. We have begun to explore the cosmos because of science. We have looked inside the body without having to cut them open, because of science. We can see things on the atomic level, because of science. We have been able to feed the hungry, heal the wounded and sick, and travel great distances, because of science.

      Religion has no such claims.

    • MG

      Can you really call yourself Christian then? I mean, why pick and choose piece of an ancient religion created by people who thought the world was flat, that bats were birds, and that it was more moral to murder your children than to have them question your authority.

      Seriously, there is nothing about this heinous, crap filled turd that is the bible that is benevolent.

      Wake up and start thinking for yourself, if you can’t come up with morals better than some camel fornicators from the prehistoric era, then you’re a lost cause.

  • Sven2547

    Every time a religious leader or person of faith does one of the following things, somewhere a physicist jumps ship, and our collective IQ drops a few points. Like when we:

    This exactly. It’s not like all atheists are smarter than all Christians or anything like that. It’s that there are large segments within the religious population that drag the average down.

    I also think it’s worth repeating that any correlation in intelligence should not be construed as evidence for (or against) the factuality of a religious/non-religious claim.

  • someone

    I should inform you that atheists are proven to have more intellect, less crime, less stress, more success, less chance of obesity, ECT. the only reason religion is stall alive is because it’s a parasitic dinosaur that leaches on the brains of children to young to grasp logic! and its dying if not for the “god of the gaps”, this dinosaur would become extinct!

  • NoName

    I will come out and say that I’m a religious man. And before any people start attacking me with arguments, death mail & posts of the study, which has been mentioned in here, I’ll make things clear: I have problems with many of the things, that the church has done, I accept gay marriages and female priests. I don’t think, it’s a good analysis of the bible to end up causing pain and suffering. And I also believe, that evolution is a fact to be accepted. I don’t say, that I’m one of the smartest people in the world & that I do have my doubts. However, I want to give my two cents into this so called atheism-religion war, that Dawkins has been talking about.

    It’s stupid. It’s pointless, and it’s endless. It will never truly end, as long as people will agree. But I want to say to both groups, what they’re doing, that I think they should. And I don’t want any people come to complain. It’s just what I feel, and I feel, that I have to do it. Otherwise, I’ll never have peace in my mind. So let’s start with my fellow men, the religious group.

    Let’s move on. Society, science & ideals will change in time and we shouldn’t try to stop it from doing so. We can hang along, but let’s not try to ruin everything. That is the reason why we are hated so much. Atheists don’t like how persistent we are to force things, like evolution theory, to be questioned. It’s a smart theory & HELL, it does make sense. Gay people don’t like, that we are not allowing them to marry the people they love. And also, we should not try to force people to believe in God. It’s like trying to force a pacifist to kill a puppy or a vegetarian to eat meat. People make they’re own decisions about faith & they should stick to it. All of this kind of action just makes us look stupider & less adult. BUT, atheists, I have also a thing to say to you:

    Lighten up. And I don’t mean”Oh come to the light, & believe” no, just…. have a hug. Because some of you are very pessimistic, not all of you, some of you. Let me tell you, why I believe. It’s because I don’t think the world starts itself up & I don’t see it as logical, that “Oh, we are just here & you will die & eternal darkness” would be the way to go. It seems logical to me, that everything has an end & that there is peace & balance at the end of it. And no, I don’t mean, that you should completely accept every thing, that religions do, like start a war. But if you meet a religious person, and start thinking “So this person believes God. Therefore he/she is stupid. Therefore I will have a elitist attitude to him/her in my mind.” Just look, what kind of person he/she is in a basic standpoint. If he/she is kind, nurturing, & smart in certain level, who cares, if the person believes in God. Atleast he/she is not a sadistic, war hungry maniac. I mean, my brother & my sisters boyfriend are atheist, and they don’t insult me or act differently, because of my belief, as long as I don’t try to force people to it. The other acts, like a good big brother does & the other acts like a good member to the family, accepting, loving & not caring about what I believe in.

    And now, to both groups. I don’t care, does intelligence have a link to religious people. As I see intelligence, it’s a thing that is impossible to analyze. I don’t care about going to church or reading the Bible every day. I don’t care what people say about proofing God’s existence or what kinda person God is. It’s impossible to prove & I will not find out, before I die. If I was wrong, I’ll go: “Well, you can’t always win”. If I was right, I’ll go: “Huh, I bet on the right horse”. But two comedians, atheist John Fugelsang & christian Jamie Kilstein(Go check it here said this advice best.


    There. I have nothing more to say. And if comment on this trying to have a debate, I’ll not take part in it.

  • rachel

    The fact that you even ask, ‘how does faith (or lack thereof) speak to smarts?’ shows a lack of intelligence. Intelligence is about critical thinking, observation, and reasoning. A reasonable person, observing the hard facts, would know that evolution is the explanation for natural diversity, that the chance of having been created by some imaginary god is infinitesimally small, and that everything can be explained scientifically (if not now, then with future technology). To believe in something imaginary, is clearly not reasonable.

    • ChristenW_Per4_BoydBence

      Did you ever wonder if maybe not all of Genesis was meant to be taken literally??? For your information, I believe in evolution and I believe that God created science, so of course I believe science is real. If you think your so smart, explain all of the secrets of the universe for me, please. Tell me where you think morals come from, what the meaning of life is. If you can’t, then obviously there is a lot we ALL still need to learn, because though science is very, very important, it tells us nothing about how to live life, why we are here, etc,.
      By the way, I highly doubt that suddenly, out of nowhere, there is now a certain religion,(or more non-religion), that knows sooo much better than every other person in the history of the world.

      • Quark Spark

        Did you ever think that maybe the entire bible is a myth or story of fiction based on some characters that may have actually existed?

        You asked some interesting questions and I will attempt to answer them the best I can so that you will understand them.

        “explain all of the secrets of the universe for me”
        This is quite a request. The answer is that we don’t know “all” of the secrets of the universe. You can’t know “all” of anything, unless you are omniscient. We do however know a good deal of the relevant information about the universe. And we are constantly studying to acquire more. Your belief in a god, does not offer you any more knowledge about the secrets of the universe than my non-belief. So this is really an irrelevant question. Also being more intelligent is not the same as knowing everything. The thing that higher intelligence does offer is the ability to understand the concepts that comprise the universe like gravity, nuclear forces, and particles like quarks and gluons.

        “Tell me where you think morals come from”
        I think morals come from the ability to empathize and critically think about a situation. I can look at a rape victim and see the hurt and damage that is caused. I can look at the family of a murder victim and see that they are grieving. I can look at someone who has had something stolen from them and see they are upset. Using my own empathy and my own critical thinking, along with my capacity as a good person, I can make the judgement to not inflict those things upon other people. That is morality. Now Morality is subjective. Some people ignore their empathy to varying degrees. Thus we have crime and immorality.

        “what the meaning of life is”
        I think assigning meaning is a personal thing and each person must find their own meaning in life. My meaning that I have discovered is to leave the world a better place than when I came into it. The meaning of life is to enjoy what you have while you are here. Make the best of the things you have control over. Make the majority of humanity better people.

        “If you can’t, then obviously there is a lot we ALL still need to learn”
        I think I just did.

        “I highly doubt that suddenly, out of nowhere, there is now a certain religion,(or more non-religion), that knows sooo much better than every other person in the history of the world.”
        Atheism is not a religion. It is simply a lack of belief in a god or gods. Here is a link to more information on atheism so you are no longer confused.

        Furthermore, There have been atheists throughout history. And it is likely that they were more intelligent then as well. This is just a recent study. This isn’t a “sudden, out of nowhere” thing. It is only sudden and out of nowhere to you.

      • MG

        Have you ever wondered why there are so many religions? Why there are so many creation myths, so many gods, so many different beliefs that all require a gigantic leap of faith, while utilizing rationality and logic would dictate you hold out for evidence, rather than make a blind leap such as religious people do.

        Have you ever wondered why you are only believing in your religion because you were born in a particular household in the particular part of the world?