Why Intelligent People Are Less Likely to Be Religious

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I have a new article featured on Christianity Today, expanding on the thoughts I published for Fare Forward:

My story is almost always met with surprise: How could an atheist convert to Christianity at Harvard, the bastion of secular intellectual elitism?

Now this reaction has some empirical justification. A recent meta-analysis of studies on religion and intelligence found that yes, overall, people with high IQs and test scores are less likely to be religious. Researchers analyzed 63 studies on religion and intelligence from the past 80 years with differing results to discover the slightly negative correlation between the two.

Unlike previous studies that tried to explain the data by suggesting that smart people simply see past religion’s claims, these researchers, led by University of Rochester psychologist Miron Zuckerman, tried to identify other social factors in play. Nevertheless, the hype about their conclusions is overblown, and all of us—the religious and the non-religious—should be wary of placing too much weight on their findings.

Read why at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/august-web-only/brains-and-belief-arent-mutually-exclusive.html

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2 thoughts on “Why Intelligent People Are Less Likely to Be Religious

  1. So you’ve merely immersed yourself in a different narrative.. The article doesn’t do Christianity any favours. If atheism is socially and narratively constructed, so too is faith. “Truth” becomes a relativistic performativity. Veritas indeed!

    You gave up too soon Jordan. The Church certainly contained some of the greatest minds to ever live, but it was these very thinkers who helped give birth to modern atheism. Why? Because after their critiques nothing remained of the modern notion of a “personal God” acting in the world, answering prayer, etc. The God of the gaps became increasingly smaller.

    I’m sure your role as poster child for the Church (the atheist turned believer) has had its benefits (would we have even known who you were otherwise?), and perhaps that’s unfair, but I’m tempted to claim, as many Christians have claimed about former believers who have fallen away, you never really understood the arguments for atheism.

    Too strong? Not if you love truth..

    • JP – I’m not saying atheism is just socially constructed. I think that it’s a part of the story. And I worry about places where faith is socially constructed such that people don’t really think about it or wrestle with it. For example, the Christians I know in New England seem far more faithful than many Christians in the South, for though we are smaller in number, we know that our faith must be more than a box we check off on surveys.

      Incredibly, after atheist critiques, lots of brilliant people (Francis Collins, John Lennox, Alvin Plantinga, Dean Zimmerman, and on and on) still believe in God! Because they realized that faith isn’t simply about explaining what can’t be explained in the natural world (filling the gaps) but about believing in the One who created all of nature itself. God isn’t a god of the gaps, but a God of the whole show!

      I’m not going to bother addressing your ad hominem insinuations, but suffice to say, they don’t suffice to show why atheism is true nor that you care much about truth yourself.

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