If you hear me speak in public, you might get the impression that I believe also. I do this partly out of old habit and partly because it makes for good camouflage and makes it easier to get believers to listen to what I have to say.
I think there are a lot of closeted atheists out there. In fact, if the social and economic pressure to conform were removed tomorrow, I think we would soon be the majority.
I am not sure that I have seen this phenomenon all that often. I think theists like to accuse us of this because it gives them another way to go ad hom and try to shut us up without addressing the merits of the disagreement because they know they can't win on the merits. Religion survives by bullying, and this is just another example.
That being said, I think that religious belief is so obviously illogical that any person past the age of reason who still believes in it is raising doubts about his capacity or willingness to think logically.
However they tend to say that if you believe in god(s) you are stupid or that religion is "idiotic".
There is a difference between "you are stupid" and "religion is idiotic". The first statement refers to the person. The second refers to the system of beliefs.
I've met people that are clever, ignorant, stupid, and everywhere in between, of all religious beliefs (and lack of belief). I for one try not to judge them as people. People deserve respect, until they prove unworthy of it. Beliefs, however, deserve all the criticism they get.
I think it's more about fear instead of intellectual laziness.
Many Christians are taught that having "faith" is the most important virtuous act of being a Chirstian (especially in Baptist religions). The fact that it will take "faith" to believe in something that cannot be proven is where redemption occurs. I know it does not make sense but this is widely taught.
From there, the next step is, if you have faith in God who says to do this and that, then you will obey this God. You are taught not to read things or think about things that will cause doubt so it is like a "deliberate" blind spot but it's all based on fear.
One of God's ten commandments is "You will set no other Gods before me" and many Christians take this as a threat not to study or be interested in studying other religions for fear of being seduced away from the "true" faith.
It's kind of like a intelligence "lock down". A person can be brilliant but fall prey to this fear.
Well hell, I'm right now listening to the Alan Hunt talk show on the radio and he's saying that if you do not fight for the rights of the unborn you are actively morally evil. That makes me so angry when people say things like that!
Now how else are you going to make a statement like that unless you have some major intelligence lock-down going on inside of your head?
I think your right, they have been told all their life they will go to heaven if they live a good and religious life.
Now here comes a scientist saying that erverything you had been told is false, that there is no heaven, the scientist has just taken away their security blanket.
And especially if your a bit older it's hard to let go of habits.
Sorry, but that's just not true. There have been numerous studies over the years that have consistently shown a positive correlation between intelligence and disbelief.
i promise to take the time to read these two links that you posted tomorrow morning. right now though, i just want to say that, it really does depend on your definition of intelligence. it depends on your area of expertise and how easily you comprehend information in various ways that it is presented.
I glanced at the first link that you posted, and I just want to ask if you could lead me to any other sources of research that prove you're theory. I feel that this is inadequate proof.
Here are a couple of the more recent studies:
Here is a link to an older study:
Here is a link to a nearly exhaustive list of studies:
Only one study from 1940 found no link between atheism and intelligence. The rest all found a positive correlation. Even the one from 1940 seems to have found no positive correlation between intelligence and religion.
The problem, I think, is that the pervasive discrimination in our society aids the religious in attaining an education and our education system favors them for numerous reasons. Education will cause a person to score higher on an IQ test than he otherwise would. That is a distinct problem with IQ tests.
A more recent study found that a person's ability to learn new information and quickly incorporate it into his thinking was a much better predictor of atheism. I suspect also that this study may point us in a direction that could improve our IQ tests by removing questions that are really more indicative of a person's cultural background and education than his or her intelligence.