One of my favorite people of all time is Cornel West. Two of his most well known books are Race Matters and Democracy Matters where his views on society are for the most part, incredibly on the mark. I've heard him live a couple of times and he is wonderful to listen to.  He is also a frequent quest on Real Time with Bill Maher where he rails against the right yet at the same time has been known to call out Obama. Anyway as I was listening to him the other day, I started to think, how could a man of such intelligence, hold onto something as unintelligent as religion? He is a man of deep faith. Expanding on this idea, why is it that many people of incredible intelligence are people of religion? What is it about what they get from religion that allows them all to suspend reason on one day a week and give themselves to the land of the make-believe? One of the main doctors who is treating Hitchens is a man of faith. This is a guy who has studied science in depth and has seen cells divide. He knows there is no scientific basis for his beliefs. Yet he believes. Is it because all these people need to religion to deal with death? Is because it is what is expected in our society and to be otherwise is too difficult? I just don't understand. 

What are your thoughts with this? Why does intelligence, reason, intelligent thoughts more often than not, lost out to religion? I would love to hear from of our friends of faith on here as well.

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I think most people of faith are afraid to take responsibility for themselves and they are also afraid of dying.  It is easier to blame Satan for their lonely or unhappy lives than to do something to make it better.  I have noticed with my family that they are all lonely and when things go wrong they get more religious and more judgemental.

We have a consciousness and an ego which says to us that we must be more important than what the evidence shows:  we lead useless, empty, meaningless, pointless lives in an utterly indifferent universe which is out to kill us and will go on for billions of years after our entire species has been gone for billions of years.

 

Surely all the reading I've done, the knowledge I've gained, what little wisdom I've achieved isn't going to just STOP.

 

Well, I'll tend my garden and love my loved ones, but I know it don't mean squat, as they say.

The "bottom line" to all this is that we have finally taken control of our own lives. We are responsible 100%, for what happens in our lives. We don't have to live in a "make believe" world anymore. Even though I wasted most of my adult life being a "christian", I finally have 100% peace in my heart and mind, that there is nothing further after I die. I will make each day, the best day that I can (even if I just sit and do nothing)because THIS LIFE, is the only life that I will have. Now, if only saddens me, when someone in my family says "God bless you", or "God is in control of my life". What a waste of such a precious life. Yes, I have "lost" many of my family and friends because I told them I don't believe in ANY "gods", religion, the Bible, or Jesus. But I am finally at peace with myself. I am in control, me, myself, and nobody else!

You really need to read a book called "The God Virus." It explains how and why even people of high intelligence can be unable to see the unreasonableness of their own beliefs. The God Virus - Amazon Link 

The author creates an interesting and unique perspective of religion. When religion is looked at as a virus, things begin to make sense that wouldn't otherwise.

 

Unfortunately, despite what atheists may want to believe, the link between faith and intelligence seems to be only a coincidental correlation. And besides, intelligence is notoriously hard to measure. Many religious people aren't stupid. But, as the book "The God Virus" demonstrates, once the mind of a person has been infected and taken over by a "god virus," the virus makes it impossible for them to critically analyze their own faith, yet they still can critically analyze other "god viruses" [other religions]. The god viruses described in the book act as parasitic infections that invade the host, take over the brain, and focus on nothing but propagating and expanding the populations of hosts for that particular virus. The hosts are usually unaware that their minds are being controlled. [also explained in the book]. The god viruses [especially Islam and Christianity - which are particularly good at this] immediately create "anti-bodies" against ideas that contradict the doctrine of the virus and program the host to protect the virus at all costs [even if it costs the host their life - suicide bombers...]. The usual way that an infected host will defend their virus against an idea that threatens the virus' survival is either by 1. Denying/ dismissing the idea or 2. [very common among intelligent theists] Twisting their own faith to fit the new information and "cherry picking" their religious texts to fit their current reality.

 

Unfortunately, it appears to be impossible to reach most hosts infected with God viruses. It appears they have to break free on their own... as I did.

 

Seriously... read the book! ^_^

"The God Virus". Thank you. Sounds like a perfect way to understand why all religious people are the way they are.
I just can't believe that people would not exercise their logic and reason, and instead choose to live by "faith". I can't believe I was one of those people, for so very long. They used to tell me, "the absence of Faith is Fear". But I have a better defination..."The absence of Faith is REASON, REASON, REASON. Faith cannot stand against Reason. Reason will win everytime.
Faith doesn't trump intelligence. But sometimes, faith can be useful where science fails(which it does). I get the feeling that people think faith and science have to be completely seperate. This is simply not true. I believe that there needs to be faith and intelligence in a person. What I am against is when people blindly follow something or someone without questioning the idea that they follow. So if great scientific minds believe in a deity of some kind, while also contributing to science, that is simply their way of combining their own beliefs with their scientific logical mind
Science doesn't fail - it just happens to leave itself open for criticism for the purpose of discovering if/when/where it has taken a wrong turn so it can correct its course.  Sometimes it can be a slow ship to maneuver, but the course is continually being corrected.  Jamming fairy tales into the gaps is detrimental to that process of self-correction.  Believing that there may be some unknown conscious entity that exists outside nature is perfectly tolerable, especially considering the fact that there could easily be multiple 'universes'.  On the other hand, thinking that nature is being manipulated capriciously by such an entity is contrary to acknowledging empirical observation.
And just think how many different gods there may be.  Better worship them all to be on the safe side
"A mind of their own"...To be able to be logical, rational, and use reason...religious people give up these things, completely, and live like zombies. How sad, how very sad. Yet, these so called "religious" people "seem" to outnumber us, don't they? Baloney, most of these "religious" people are just "making believe" they believe, so that they can "fit in" with the rest of them, to get ahead and further their own causes, under the "disguise" of religion. When we try to "help them" see the real "light", they accuse us of being crazy, or unloving, or some other stupid label. Yet, for hundreds and hundreds of years, they have been successfully brainwashing us through "word of mouth", propaganda, TV, literature, etc, etc. Perhaps we would be better off, moving to another country like Sweden, where Atheists abound?

Wow! Jacob, I lived like that too! I wasted my adult life, living a big lie! I was 13 when I "accepted Jesus Christ into my heart". It's only been a couple of years that I have finally "come out of the closet" and told everybody that I don't believe in Fairy Tales anymore. Sure, I have lost the friendships and family connections of many, many people. But I am very happy and at peace with myself. 

Folks, this is SO important for EVERYBODY to know about. Why is it SO hard for them to understand? It's logical. It's rational. It's reality! Are we going to have to move to another country, to live in peace???

It kinda reminds me of co-dependence that you find with a family that has to "deal" with an alcoholic in the fold, except atheism is not the problem...the problem is their disease called religion or theism.  Proceed with confidence and remind them that if they had been born in a country that practiced Islam...they would probably all be Muslims today.
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