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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Because it is easy and comfortable.
Comfortable I get. But are you saying intelligence is hard? Being dumb is easy?

Sort of.  I should be more clear and write that critical thinking is hard.  Intelligent people can be completely hoodwinked or self-delusional.  In fact, it takes some measure of intelligence to rationalize something like religion.  So, what is easy is for people is to find reasons to support a priori beliefs, which in many cases are established by way of childhood indoctrination.  It is much harder to critically examine long held or cherished beliefs.  Crticial thinking takes effort and practice to wield effectively.

I think that is a great clarification, Reggie. Sometimes I find myself wondering how I see the obvious holes in dogma whereas so many others either don't or don't care to.

 

The answer is not that I'm more intelligent, because I most certainly am not. The differentiating factor is my ceaseless desire to see things as they actually are...ie, think critically and skeptically.

Precisely. I cringe when some atheists make blanket statements about the intelligence of theists. I know many theists that I consider to be more intelligent than I. They are just not critical thinkers or have not applied that skill set to certain areas of their life, something we are all guilty of to varying degrees, I'd wager.
I was one of the few Christians who actually did read the bible [partly] instead of skipping to certain verses. I noticed something interesting when I went back to read it as an atheist. I only noticed the attrocities and contradictions as a freethinker. I had read the same passages as a Christian, but somehow, my brain didn't "see" the problems in the bible.
BINGO!! Reggie beat me to the punch! ^_^
I have this problem with my girlfriend and my best friend. Both incredibly smart and intelligent people but due to family pressure and fear of not being able to see dead loved ones once again they can't let it go. With my girlfriend I've had to stop trying to get her to realize the truth because she gets so sad and depressed that she will never see her granny again that she will literally begin crying uncontrollably. It breaks my heart to see her like that so I don't say anything usually. Every now and then though we'll get into it inadvertently and I have to catch myself because my argumentative side will start to come out.
For some reason when it comes to my family, all of whom are intelligent yet some still are religious, it doesn't bother me as much as people in the public sphere.

Similar scenario here so I don't bring it up in family discussions.

 

This is one aspect of religion that really pisses me off.  This promise of reunion with the dead that arrests bereavement.  It is yet another example of the subtle, immoral salesmanship of most religions.

 

There is not much you can do about this directly without reopening old wounds that never healed completely, thanks to false promises.

 

It's terrible and sadistic. It makes me so pissed because she is teetering on our side of the wall but can't jump down because of eternal family meetup in the clouds. So she has taken to learning about all religions and dicing them up and choosing the parts she likes to make everything fit together. I just hope that one day she realizes just how much religion messed her up and can finally come to terms with it.

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