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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That article made perfect sense; if it doesn't help you survive to pass on your genes, it's not really important. Debate might get you the better mate or more food, so it's a winning strategy!

Now, if over 70% of your breeding population KNOWS there is a big invisible man in sky who wants you to behave in a certain way and believe in him, you better darn well do it!

Thank goodness we're shifting away from that.

I first saw Cornel West on a documentary called "Examined Life" and found him an interesting character. I've looked up many of his lectures and decided I'm not a fan. While he may be considered "an intellectual," he often just throws out overly complicated poetic phrases and philosophical trivia which I find a waste of time to listen to. He's like an evangelical philosopher, and he repeats the same meaningless phrases over and over. It's not unlike the metaphysical wordplay used by Christian apologists. Like many American Christians (though far too few still) he sees the danger of dogmatism but manages to hold on to his faith by creating his own brand of Christianity which rejects everything in the bible except the whole "love thy neighbor" and "do unto others" because he can't break through his indoctrination. It is particularly amusing when he starts talks about truth-seeking, critical thinking, and how we are a nation of sleepwalkers steeped in dogma but doesn't see how it applies to his own religious beliefs.


He has his foot out the door of religious dogma but has fallen into the trap of metaphysics, thinking it's a way to truth. This is the common trend among intellectuals of faith.

Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.-Michael Shermer

That sums it up for me. As you know we all think what other people believe is "weird" or "dumb" but for them it makes perfect sense. Our politics may be completely insane to each other, while we share disbelief in deities. Common ground on that is not going to make us agree on other beliefs.

As Atheists we believe in evolution.  As I write you will see that I'm not intelligent, but I feel that common sense pushes me to believe in those things that have been proven through logical processes such as math and science.  These tools are in their early stages of development, not positive, but I believe we used mythical reasoning(story telling) to ease our minds as we evolved.  And apparently those who could fabricate the best stories carried on their genes.  I know you ladies are enticed by the "center of attention", in whatever social gathering it may be.  Hence, we've evolved using language, arts, and such, which I'm sure preceded the use of fire, tools, instruments that have been developed over time that began developing other portions of our minds.  Basically is what I'm saying, The answer is Evolution, and intelligence is a broad brush to paint with.  I just tell my kids that Jesus is as real as Bugs Bunny. 


I'm pretty sure I seen his rabbit hole one day when I was trippin on mushrooms in the Black Hills.  I bet you would like to hear the rest of that story.

Guido, you are on the right track. Though I'd have used the Easter bunny as the analogy. Very few zealous, evangelical Xians have ever read the wholly babble in it's entirety.  Almost none have read Roman history & the pagan origins of their faith. They're just a few books from the truth.  J.C. didn't attain divinity until Emperor Constantine's Council that he convened & directed at Nicaea. The bible is nothing more than a sloppy compilation of folklore, mythology & fairy tales gathered from all over the Middle-East & India, spanning over five centuries. The holy ghost didn't 'make it' until 385 CE to form the triune god at Constantinople. (three is a 'magic number)   It wasn't until much later the Mary was proclaimed 'the mother of god'.  I wish you good luck in conveying these historical truths to believers.
Many people have the capacity, and the will, to encapsulate religious and other irrational beliefs, in a cognitive shell that is impervious to logic and critical thinking.  The beliefs are emotionally held, the central tenets of which are indoctrinated into the person well before they developed an ability to think logically and critically.  They are well protected from harm and destruction because they have become part of who the person thinks they are, at a deep level.  If their beliefs are attacked they become very distressed because it seems as if they, themselves, are being attacked.  people will go to extraordinary cognitive lengths to avoid the humiliating knowledge that they may have been publically stupid. .
There are crime stats that suggest only a fraction of people who ever get defrauded actually file a public complaint.  I read a lengthy story about a Canadian accountant who got taken by a Nigerian e-mail scam - he replied in the first place just on a lark, partly because he was sort of desperate for a windfall, and with each exchange he got sucked further in and became less able to admit it.  Anyway, yes, extraordinary cognitive lengths to avoid the humiliating knowledge that one has been a fool - very well said.
"stupid" and/or "duped"!

I truly believe that most theists feel somewhat comfortable with not questioning their religious tenets although, again, most of them have registered doubts in their minds at one time or another.  But, and it's a big 'but', to expend the mental enery to actually dig into those tenets takes too much mental energy  and focusing with their frontal lobes. 

 What they fail to recognize is that their short life here on this planet might, just might, be far better enriched by questioning and then denying those false premises and free their psyche to the point that it a much greater happiness awaits them.  Once I matured and spent that mental energy, the eight-ton gorilla was lifted from my shoulders and I then knew life was what I....I made of it, and that I wasn't born a sinful criminal as view from some higher plane.

  Bottom line, it's the tendency of one's mind to forego remain still.

I believe, the main reason people "say" they believe in their respective religions, is because they don't want to accept the fact, that THIS, is the ONLY life, that they will ever live. Since "religions" offer them a "life everafter", they want to "believe" that they will have another life, and also see all their families and friends again! Nobody likes "the end" part of anything, especially their life!
Hi Joe, I have been an Atheist for over 65 of my 85 year life. I still enjoy most days & I'm not suicidal. But on the occasional 'bad' day, i find myself looking FORWARD to the return to the stardust from which I emanated. No big deal, & it IS an eternity of sorts. And the only one any of us gets, regardless of whatever beliefs we cherish. Or whichever of the thousands of 'the one true religion' we subscribe to.


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