Religious people are less intelligent than atheists, study finds

(Thread closed in catholic news forum, moved to general news. I apologize!)
Hello everyone,
I’ve been lurking for a while, but after reading this:–study-finds–113350723.html#upCr476 …I felt compelled to participate. This is highly offensive and only helps further the liberal, god-denying agenda this country seems to be currently faced with. Unbelievable!

Well, you know, “worldly wisdom is foolishness in the eyes of God”.

Now this does not mean God wants us to be stupid.

But let’s think about how intelligence is measured. In the studies used, often intelligence was correlated with ‘higher education studies’. Most of the institutes are, and have been for some time, antithetical to religious belief because faith cannot be ‘measured’ or ‘scientifically verified’ and therefor an ‘intelligent person’ would not bother with something that doesn’t require ‘intelligence’ or is seen as a refuge for those who don’t want to actually KNOW. IOW, ‘intelligence’ is equated with knowing scientific, verifiable, ‘worthy’ facts. The more facts you know (facts again being what the experts/teachers/etc consider worthwhile, measurable, and 'intelligent), the more intelligent YOU are.

Let’s also consider earlier ages. Universities, in fact, were established by Christians (then ‘only’ Catholic) in Europe, and some of the greatest minds in history were religious people.

So then, what changed? When did intelligence become the property of those who reject religious belief?

Answer: It didn’t. The way in which intelligence itself was measured or accepted has changed. Somebody today with the mind of Thomas Aquinas would be considered intellectually IMPEDED by his profession of Christianity. And the more he attempted to continue to defend religious thinking, the more he would be viewed as ‘stupid’. "Oh old Tom. He could have been an intelligent man, but he is so ‘fanatic’ about religion that it warped his brains. . "

I agree with you! But there will be so many who read that article and become further from Him. It breaks my heart that there are so many lost souls who have succumbed to things like atheism and the homosexual agenda (who is mostly behind this new atheist movement)

By “religious people” they of course don’t mean Muslims since criticizing Islam can get them killed. Yahoo News is driven by the secular left agenda.


The article and the agenda itself is appealing to our vanity as humans. We don’t want to be considered stupid so by presenting it as such we feel the sting of not saying anything regarding religion.

I have a family friend that always posts all the scientific articles slamming religion and yet he keeps telling me religion does not bother him…lol :thumbsup: Makes me laugh.

I have had to retrain my own brain to not think of the athiest agenda as a slam on my intelligence. If someone wants to think I am stupid for believing in God then so be it. Doesn’t mean I am. Not all athiests believe this too (that religious people are stupid) so you have to take people on a case by case basis.

I am not Stupid but I’d rather be stupid and Believe than a genius and deny the Almighty!!! :slight_smile:

Sorry to toot my own horn, but I’m a Catholic with an IQ between 138 and 142. Study refuted.



Another example of a modern study that is reaffirming what everybody already knew. Prosperous and successful people have always been less religious on average. Atheism is an ideology that can be extremely charismatic to someone that is independent and in control.

So yes, atheists are more intelligent on average than religious people. I see no reason to doubt the study. What is also true is that as atheism has projected itself into mainstream society in certain areas (particularly Western Europe) that gap has closed somewhat. You don’t need to be a pioneering politician or professor to be an atheist. More and more, the potsmoking video game addict is one as well.

The media, some more than others, has become pagan. Keep in mind, that while some in this country simply dismiss Christianity and in extreme cases, make man equal to God, the fact that the Abrahamic religions exist at all bothers them to no end. There are over a billion Catholics worldwide.

Atheists can be very intelligent and they are actively promoting their lack of faith, especially a few in the sciences like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. But atheists as individuals are not our enemies. They are all potential converts no matter how smart they are, but leading scientists still reject God.

So, I look at stories like this and think: Even if this is true, so what? Atheists make it a point to be either hostile or indifferent to religion anyway.


Reports in the media (including Yahoo) generally do almost as poor of a job of reporting science news as they do religious news. Reporters generally lack backgrounds in science and theology.

One problem with the study, as reported in the article, is that it attempts to lead the reader towards the belief that intelligence somehow correlates with being right. An interesting article in the New Yorker ( discusses this problem: why are people who are rated so high in intelligence so often wrong?

Perhaps our most dangerous bias is that we naturally assume that everyone else is more susceptible to thinking errors, a tendency known as the “bias blind spot.” This “meta-bias” is rooted in our ability to spot systematic mistakes in the decisions of others—we excel at noticing the flaws of friends—and inability to spot those same mistakes in ourselves. Although the bias blind spot itself isn’t a new concept, West’s latest paper demonstrates that it applies to every single bias under consideration, from anchoring to so-called “framing effects.” In each instance, we readily forgive our own minds but look harshly upon the minds of other people.

And here’s the upsetting punch line: intelligence seems to make things worse. The scientists gave the students four measures of “cognitive sophistication.” As they report in the paper, all four of the measures showed positive correlations, “indicating that more cognitively sophisticated participants showed larger bias blind spots.” This trend held for many of the specific biases, indicating that smarter people (at least as measured by S.A.T. scores) and those more likely to engage in deliberation were slightly more vulnerable to common mental mistakes. Education also isn’t a savior; as Kahneman and Shane Frederick first noted many years ago, more than fifty per cent of students at Harvard, Princeton, and M.I.T. gave the incorrect answer to the bat-and-ball question.

What explains this result? One provocative hypothesis is that the bias blind spot arises because of a mismatch between how we evaluate others and how we evaluate ourselves. When considering the irrational choices of a stranger, for instance, we are forced to rely on behavioral information; we see their biases from the outside, which allows us to glimpse their systematic thinking errors. However, when assessing our own bad choices, we tend to engage in elaborate introspection. We scrutinize our motivations and search for relevant reasons; we lament our mistakes to therapists and ruminate on the beliefs that led us astray.

The problem with this introspective approach is that the driving forces behind biases—the root causes of our irrationality—are largely unconscious, which means they remain invisible to self-analysis and impermeable to intelligence. In fact, introspection can actually compound the error, blinding us to those primal processes responsible for many of our everyday failings. We spin eloquent stories, but these stories miss the point. The more we attempt to know ourselves, the less we actually understand.

Essentially, higher recorded intelligence is not a buffer to bias - it may be causative.

Certainly, the religious are no more scientifically literate than those who are atheists. Reported conflicts between the two groups seem to center on some very specific areas of disagreement and magisteria, as sociologist John Evans at UCSD pointed out in a study of scientific literacy and religiosity:

Debates about religion and educational attainment often assume that members of certain religious groups do not seek out knowledge of science because they are opposed to the use of the scientific method. Using the science module of the 2006 General Social Survey, the analysis indicates that no religious group differs from the nonreligious comparison group in its propensity to seek out scientific knowledge. A more subtle epistemological conflict may arise when scientists make claims that explicitly contradict theological accounts. Findings indicate that Protestants and Catholics differ from the comparison group only on the very few issues where religion and science make competing claims. A third possible source of conflict may not be epistemological, but rather derives from opposition to what is understood as the public moral agenda of scientists. Findings indicate that conservative Protestants are opposed to scientific influence in public affairs due to opposition to the scientists’ moral agenda.

(Evans, J. H. (2011), Epistemological and Moral Conflict Between Religion and Science. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 50: 707–727. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5906.2011.01603.x)

In contradiction the to claims made in the article, religiosity increases with education - see (Although to be honest, the two groups most likely not to go to college are atheists and Christians - Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs all outperform the first two groups.)

The article also claims: “For instance, intelligent people are more likely to be married, and more likely to be successful in life - and this may mean they “need” religion less.” There is a lower rate of marriage among atheists, so I don’t know how they made that correlation. Many of the factors we would associate with “success” - lack of substance abuse, satisfaction with one’s life, overall physical health (by a wide margin), optimism, low suicidal ideation, and many more - show a strong positive correlation with religiosity, as numerous (and far more expansive) meta-studies than the one cited in the article have shown.

“Religious people are less intelligent than atheists”. What about the President and Vice President of the United States who are considered Christian?

The concept of intelligence in psychology is such a murky one, having multidimensional features, and it is so difficult to measure accurately, that it would behoove any study on intelligence to describe first how the concept is defined.

On a personal note, I would think twice before engaging a student of the Talmud in a Talmudic pilpul or conversing with a Kabbalah scholar about their analytic application of the Zohar for the purpose of elucidating Torah.

Neither one is an atheist and both are intelligent, particularly Obama.

Obama can seem clever at times. He is very skilled as a politician. But I don’t agree with him at all when it comes to moral issues.

IQ tests measure learned knowledge. It’s all about what you’ve memorized…according to what this world thinks is important. I think Atheists are intelligent people, who value their own opinion more than others. They like to go their own way. They believe they are smarter than others, so others opinions rarely sway them. They are in a habit of thinking, “Hey I’m smarter than you, so you should follow my ways, and beliefs.” Unfortunately they have the same attitude with God It’s pride. That’s my best guess from what I have observed.

I don’t think he’s particularly brilliant intellectually. He has the ability to read a teleprompter as long as there are no unfamiliar words…corpse-man? How about his geographical skills? Yes we do have 57 states…or is that the Steak Sauce? Recently he made a gaffe regarding the Gulf. Amazingly though the media never mentions his frequent blunders. Ditto but more for VP Biden. I really think he’s truly stupid. But Obama’s lack of intellectual ability is causing a lot more damage.

What indicates more than anything a lack of ability to learn is his seeming total confusion that his policies and economic plans have been disastrous yet he refuses to try anything different than “more taxes, more spending…” Obamacare has proven to be worse than everyone expected but the actual expected results have all occurred, again a disaster. Yet he simply tries to mitigate the political damage rather than respond to reality.

He belongs in an ivory tower where he can only damage generations of college students rather than destroy the country.

I am stunned he has so many people fooled. He’s a great BS’er but not that bright. I also do not think he’s a religious man.


Good point. I think there is someone else behind the curtain who is pulling the strings.

Not necessarilly - you might have been even smarter if you were an atheist:p

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