Study: Analytic thinking causes religious belief to diminish

posted at 10:35 pm on April 27, 2012 by Allahpundit

Alternate headline: “Hey, who’s up for an angry, thousand-comment thread on Friday night?”

First, students were randomly assigned to look at images of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture “The Thinker,” or of the ancient Greek statue of a discus thrower, “Discobolus.” Those who viewed “The Thinker” were prompted to think more analytically and expressed less belief in God — they scored an average of 41.42 on a 100-point scale, compared with an average of 61.55 for the group that viewed the discus thrower, according to the study.

Two additional experiments used word games rather than images. In one case, participants were asked to arrange a series of words into a sentence. Some were given neutral words and others were presented with trigger words such as “think,” “reason” and “analyze” to prime them to think more analytically. And indeed, those who got the “thinking” words expressed less religiosity on a 10-to-70 scale: They ranked themselves at 34.39, on average, while those in the control group averaged 40.16.

In the final experiment, students in the control group read text in a clear, legible font, while those in the other group were forced to squint at a font that was hard to read, a chore that has been shown to trigger analytic thinking. Sure enough, those who read the less legible font rated their belief in supernatural agents at 10.40 on a 3-to-21 scale, compared with 12.16 for those who read the clear font.

Lots of news stories about this on the wires today, as you might expect, but I think people are overinterpreting the results. As I understand it, the researchers aren’t claiming that analytic thinking will turn you atheist or that nonbelievers are sharper critical thinkers than the faithful. They’re claiming that intuition is a component of religious belief and that intuition tends to dim when the mind is preoccupied with reasoning, which means religious belief dims with it. Note: Dims, but not disappears. Per the study, you’re talking about small, if statistically significant, differences in belief between the test subjects and the control group. Says one psychologist of the results:

“In some ways this confirms what many people, both religious and nonreligious, have said about religious belief for a long time, that it’s more of a feeling than a thought,” says Nicholas Epley, a psychologist at the University of Chicago. But he predicts the findings won’t change anyone’s mind about whether God exists or whether religious belief is rational. “If you think that reasoning analytically is the way to go about understanding the world accurately, you might see this as evidence that being religious doesn’t make much sense,” he says. “If you’re a religious person, I think you take this evidence as showing that God has given you a system for belief that just reveals itself to you as common sense.”

Yeah, I’m not sure why these results are controversial; they can be interpreted in different ways. For instance, religious friends tell me that their faith isn’t merely something they’ve reasoned through but something they “feel” or “experience.” For God to enter your heart, you must be “open” to him. In other words, faith isn’t strictly analytic; there’s more to it, or so I’m told. It may be that, as your mind adjusts to perform analytic tasks by applying certain known criteria, its capacity to analyze something that doesn’t operate according to known criteria momentarily decreases. You become less “open” to supernatural possibilities. If that’s true, then it’s not that “intuitive” understandings are necessarily false (although maybe they are), it’s that it’s hard for the brain to switch quickly from one paradigm to the other. Or maybe there’s another explanation? I’m all for the “atheists are inherently awesome” theory, if anyone wants to offer it!


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Comment pages: 1 2 3 7

yup, the same minds that assure us Global warming will wipe us out.

rob verdi on April 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Those who believe in sky-fairies also have a much lower IQ than atheists and agnostics.

Lord on April 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Alternate headline: “Hey, who’s up for an angry, thousand-comment thread on Friday night?”

Yes, we already had it cranking in the Headlines. lol

4Grace on April 27, 2012 at 10:38 PM

“Hey, who’s up for an angry, thousand-comment thread on Friday night?”

At least you’re honest about it, you lil hell spawn!

Valkyriepundit on April 27, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Well done AP. Friday night fireworks on the way!!

StompUDead on April 27, 2012 at 10:39 PM

More stupid ass generalizations based on pre-conceived biases.

Yawn.

JannyMae on April 27, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Study: Liberals seek anything to disprove Christianity or discourage its beliefs. Film at 11.

nobar on April 27, 2012 at 10:41 PM

D*mmitt,I’m still grasp’n with, Love of Theory thingy!!

(sarc).

canopfor on April 27, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Yeah, I’ve noticed that in several Jesuits I know. /sarc

clippermiami on April 27, 2012 at 10:41 PM

It takes a leap of faith to be an atheist, though they never admit it. It just depends on your starting point.

The Count on April 27, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Johm 1:1 In the beginning was the Logos–the Logic.

davidk on April 27, 2012 at 10:43 PM

Those who believe in sky-fairies also have a much lower IQ than atheists and agnostics.

Lord on April 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM

I believe the same study asserted that Christians, atheists, and agnostics all had a higher IQ than anonymous blog posters named “Lord.”

4Grace on April 27, 2012 at 10:43 PM

Well,I would rather be a thrower,than a thinker,er wait…..

canopfor on April 27, 2012 at 10:43 PM

MSNBS is living proof of this data.

FlaMurph on April 27, 2012 at 10:44 PM

Those who believe in sky-fairies also have a much lower IQ than atheists and agnostics.

Lord on April 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Lord:You mean Unicorns…..no!(sarc).

canopfor on April 27, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Flash: Analytic Arrogant thinking causes religious belief to diminish.

I’m not kidding. The statistical correlation is higher than this article’s study, so it must be true.

G. Charles on April 27, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Study: Analytic thinking causes religious belief to diminish

Duh? Pardon the pun, but god forbid you think for yourself instead of following along blindly to invisible magicians in space.

kastor on April 27, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Other alternate headline: “Let’s rehash all of the same arguments we already have a thousand times and call each other stupid some more.” A thousand comments? Ugh. Have fun y’all.

underemployed on April 27, 2012 at 10:47 PM

I can attest to this concept, frankly. The more I learned, the more I looked around at things, the more I questioned the concept of a loving god. I am not saying that those with faith are not analytical(a former friend was as analytical as me, and she was a Calvinist), but merely sharing my own experience.

MadisonConservative on April 27, 2012 at 10:47 PM

I don’t think you can generalize to the whole population from a sample of college students.

zmdavid on April 27, 2012 at 10:47 PM

V

predator on April 27, 2012 at 10:47 PM

Well, it doesn’t come naturally. Most people simply aren’t taught to associate God with reason. Some faith traditions even look down on the notion. However, teaching kids the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle is a great way to start.

AbaddonsReign on April 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM

God is dead – Nietzsche

Nietzsche is dead – God

axshon on April 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM

It takes a leap of faith to be an atheist, though they never admit it. It just depends on your starting point.

The Count on April 27, 2012 at 10:41 PM

This is illogical. What is the faith? There is none. I say, there is no evidence for the existence of god, so I don’t believe in god. I’m not taking anything on faith. Quite the contrary.

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM

Those who believe in sky-fairies also have a much lower IQ than atheists and agnostics.

Lord on April 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM

What an absolutely ignorant generalization. Anyone want to claim that some atheist blogging for Daily Kos who writes “Bush sucks!” in 18 different ways per day has a higher IQ than, say, Bill Buckley or CS Lewis?

amerpundit on April 27, 2012 at 10:49 PM

This is not a surprise, is it?

libertarianlunatic on April 27, 2012 at 10:49 PM

john calvin, augustine, martin luther, spurgeon, st athanasius,bonhoeffer..and on and on

congma on April 27, 2012 at 10:49 PM

In the final experiment, students in the control group read text in a clear, legible font, while those in the other group were forced to squint at a font that was hard to read, a chore that has been shown to trigger analytic thinking.
========================================

I’m banking on,that the ‘other group’,the squinters,are
Liberals,as the reading in question,are the bills that are never
read,which then triggers..(analytic thinking)which morphs into…

Love of Theory,what…what..jus say’n!
(snark)

canopfor on April 27, 2012 at 10:49 PM

For instance, religious friends tell me that their faith isn’t merely something they’ve reasoned through but something they “feel” or “experience.”

Never underestimate the power of Faith…

Seven Percent Solution on April 27, 2012 at 10:49 PM

Yup, if you look in the mirror and see god, you’re probably not going to look elsewhere.

RBMN on April 27, 2012 at 10:50 PM

“AP is inherently awesome”

ronval912 on April 27, 2012 at 10:50 PM

I can attest to this concept, frankly. The more I learned, the more I looked around at things, the more I questioned the concept of a loving god. I am not saying that those with faith are not analytical(a former friend was as analytical as me, and she was a Calvinist), but merely sharing my own experience.

MadisonConservative on April 27, 2012 at 10:47 PM

I agree with this. Analyzing belief in god shows the belief in god to be without foundation. I know several very intelligent theists btw, but none of them choose to apply their critical thinking skills to their belief in god.

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 10:51 PM

I beg to differ – Sir Isaac Newton

mankai on April 27, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Which isn’t to say all theists are smarter than atheists or vice versa. Some of the smartest people I’ve ever known are theists. And then some of the smartest people I’ve never known are atheists, too.

Here’s a tip: You don’t prove your intellectual or analytical superiority by making broad generalizations based on nothing more than your religious preferences. I’ve come to understand that over time.

amerpundit on April 27, 2012 at 10:52 PM

“Hey, who’s up for an angry, thousand-comment thread on Friday night?”

New posters not quite working out as planned…?

Seven Percent Solution on April 27, 2012 at 10:52 PM

Scientists have revealed one of the reasons why some folks are less religious than others: They think more analytically, rather than going with their gut. And thinking analytically can cause religious belief to wane — for skeptics and true believers alike.

As for whether this should alarm the layperson, Epley shrugged. “Even deeply religious people will point out they have had moments of doubt,” he said.

But were they always thinking analytically at the time?
Or, rather, caught up in some emotional, intuitive quandary?

Even deeply religious people will point out they have had moments of analytical reasoning – without losing their faith.

Even deeply analytical people will point out they have had moments of belief – sometimes lasting their entire lives.

AesopFan on April 27, 2012 at 10:38 PM

AesopFan on April 27, 2012 at 10:52 PM

Yeah, Einstein was such a tard.

John the Libertarian on April 27, 2012 at 10:53 PM

AP pulls another stupid study out of his blow hole that he thinks validates himself. Sorry just being analytical.

whatfur on April 27, 2012 at 10:53 PM

I find these sorts of studies very ironic, as I had virtually no capacity for analytic thinking before I became committed to religion. It just wasn’t important. Before religion truly penetrated my consciousness, I just went with feeling. For me, becoming a Christian was the very first step towards an intellectual life.

Scoff all you want, you can’t take it from me.

dkmonroe on April 27, 2012 at 10:54 PM

Scientists have revealed one of the reasons why some folks are less religious than others

One study did that?

Bill Ramey on April 27, 2012 at 10:54 PM

n supernatural agents at 10.40 on a 3-to-21 scale, compared with 12.16 for those who read the clear font.

effin’ decimal point dude: that’s SCIENCE man

newrouter on April 27, 2012 at 10:54 PM

I don’t think you can generalize to the whole population from a sample of college students.

zmdavid on April 27, 2012 at 10:47 PM

Good point.

What were their majors? Were the “analytical” types mostly Victims Studies or Journalism students?

malclave on April 27, 2012 at 10:56 PM

First, students were randomly assigned to look at images of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture “The Thinker,”

… and a professor told them they were insane and childish if they didn’t believe that the sculpture wasn’t just a meaningless accident for no reason. Did you see anybody sculting it? I didn’t think so. Accident. No reason.

Oh, there is one, analytical, scientific and logical answer we’ll accept… aliens brought a rock here a gazillion years ago hoping it would accidentally take some relevant form… for no reason.

/

mankai on April 27, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Study: Analytic thinking causes religious belief to diminish

Duh? Pardon the pun, but god forbid you think for yourself instead of following along blindly to invisible magicians in space.

kastor on April 27, 2012 at 10:46 PM

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths to which those who claim to Not beleive will go to convince those who do beleive that they somehow shouldn’t.

Excuse me, but if you fully and totally dis-beleive the existance of a Creator God, then the beleifs and actions of others will mean nothing to you.

But if you have doubts, then the beleifs of others will only exacerbate those doubts and cause you to want to eleiminate the nagging dificulties you have with disbeleiving.

Finally, I am convinced that most of those “Militant Atheists” that are featured in courtrooms and on the news are in Fact NOT Athieists at all.

You see, from their tone and from the venom in their tennor I’m convinced that they, in fact, Hate God!

And since it is Impossible to Hate that which you disbeleive the existance of – they are unqualified to be Atheist.

What they are is Anti-Theist.

jaydee_007 on April 27, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Which isn’t to say all theists are smarter than atheists or vice versa. Some of the smartest people I’ve ever known are theists. And then some of the smartest people I’ve never known are atheists, too.

Here’s a tip: You don’t prove your intellectual or analytical superiority by making broad generalizations based on nothing more than your religious preferences. I’ve come to understand that over time.

amerpundit on April 27, 2012 at 10:52 PM

I agree that there some very intelligent theists. However, a belief in god counts for me as a point against their intellect. I love talking about religion with very intelligent theists, but I’m never convinced that even they think they have a basis for their belief in god when all the chips are down and all the arguments examined. Religious belief is a very ingrained thing. (Which, according to some, is an argument in favor of the existence of god).

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 10:57 PM

Whenever I look at modern art my belief in God wanes, too.

Montjoie on April 27, 2012 at 10:57 PM

Let’s re phrase that – staring at one’s belly button or even the mirror will result in less adoration for a supreme being. For better analysis – see narcissus and his reflection in the pond (happy earth day by the way).

Fuquay Steve on April 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM

I love that line in Contact when they accuse Jodie Foster of honestly believing that 95 percent of the human race shares a massive delusion.

John the Libertarian on April 27, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Sorry, I can’t go along with most of the postings here. There is an order and a beauty to everything, here and throughout the universe. I for one, cannot believe that it was an accident. Therefore, there has to be a God. Ridicule this all you want but there can be no other explanation.

Bill R. on April 27, 2012 at 11:03 PM

I’ve also noticed that those who think analytically tend to be more conservative. Are you sure they didn’t mean the religion of the state so loved by the (unanalytical) Left?

Waggoner on April 27, 2012 at 11:04 PM

A belief in AGW is about 20 points against a person’s intellect.

ray on April 27, 2012 at 11:04 PM

Finally, I am convinced that most of those “Militant Atheists” that are featured in courtrooms and on the news are in Fact NOT Athieists at all.
You see, from their tone and from the venom in their tennor I’m convinced that they, in fact, Hate God!
And since it is Impossible to Hate that which you disbeleive the existance of – they are unqualified to be Atheist.
What they are is Anti-Theist.
jaydee_007 on April 27, 2012 at 10:56 PM

If there is a god or gods that are truly omniscient and omnipotent, we should all surely hate them. I think it was woody Allen who said “if there is a god, I hope he has a good excuse”

kastor on April 27, 2012 at 11:07 PM

Hmmm…if you had an ocean covering an inanimate Earth a mile deep full of amino acids, and let them react for 5 billion years, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics (law of entropy) the chances of them forming a single functional protein molecule is about the chances of winning the Super Jackpot 100 times in a row.

Yet we are here, in all our wondrous complexity with trillions of functioning protein molecules in each of 6 billion people and countless other animals and plants. So, sometime in the past, some tremendous intelligence arranged the cells of our ancestors’ bodies and enabled them to reproduce themselves, then changed the Law of Entropy.

So, by analytical reasoning we can deduce the necessity for a Creator and Designer of unfathomable power and intelligence. Whether we call it God or Lady Luck is another question.

“A little science leads people away from God; a lot of science leads people toward Him.”

–Louis Pasteur

Steve Z on April 27, 2012 at 11:08 PM

““In some ways this confirms what many people, both religious and nonreligious, have said about religious belief for a long time, that it’s more of a feeling than a thought,” says Nicholas Epley, a psychologist at the University of Chicago.”

I have a feeling that the Muslim Brotherhood was left out of this study…

Seven Percent Solution on April 27, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Ah, yes it is sooo analytical to completely ignore Godell and cling like morons to positivism.

Another case of those conveniently defining the word to omit the possibility that non-positivists could be analytical.

StubbleSpark on April 27, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Sorry, I can’t go along with most of the postings here. There is an order and a beauty to everything, here and throughout the universe. I for one, cannot believe that it was an accident. Therefore, there has to be a God. Ridicule this all you want but there can be no other explanation.

Bill R. on April 27, 2012 at 11:03 PM

What you are saying is, “I don’t understand how or why nature exists, therefore something did it, and I’ll call it god, and therefore I must worship it.” I’m not ridiculing you, but is this not precisely what you’re saying?

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Kastor’s moral compass is Woody Allen. That’s hilarious.

Montjoie on April 27, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Hmmm…if you had an ocean covering an inanimate Earth a mile deep full of amino acids, and let them react for 5 billion years, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics (law of entropy) the chances of them forming a single functional protein molecule is about the chances of winning the Super Jackpot 100 times in a row.

Yet we are here, in all our wondrous complexity with trillions of functioning protein molecules in each of 6 billion people and countless other animals and plants. So, sometime in the past, some tremendous intelligence arranged the cells of our ancestors’ bodies and enabled them to reproduce themselves, then changed the Law of Entropy.

So, by analytical reasoning we can deduce the necessity for a Creator and Designer of unfathomable power and intelligence. Whether we call it God or Lady Luck is another question.

“A little science leads people away from God; a lot of science leads people toward Him.”

–Louis Pasteur

Steve Z on April 27, 2012 at 11:08 PM

So what does that mean? I don’t agree with the bolded statement, but let’s stipulate to it for the sake of argument. Should you worship that entity? Does it read your thoughts? Does it dictate your actions? Will you spend eternity with it?

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:12 PM

Eh. I’m not reposting the wordy (over-analyzing?) posts I made in the headline comments, but to sum my basic thoughts.

1. This study is crap, plenty of Christians are analytically minded. Religious people come in all varieties and approach their faith in a multitude of ways.
2. Paul, the early church fathers, Aquinas, Descartes, Newton, et. al. might have a word or two to say about religious intellectualism.
3. I’d like to know who funded the study, and what exactly they were trying to build with it? A straw man perhaps?

Gingotts on April 27, 2012 at 11:13 PM

I am saying there was a man named Jesus who claimed to be Son of the Creator. I believe Him. I also believe He was raised from the dead. I believe that through Him we can exist with our Creator.

Atheists believe that there is no God. Of course they cannot prove this, they are simply certain it isn’t what Jesus or any other religion has told them.

In other words they choose the beliefs of non believers over those of believers.

Dress this up as more ‘scientific’ or ‘analytic’ all you want to, but it is NOT a superior position. It is simply a contrarian one.

DavidM on April 27, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Sorry, I can’t go along with most of the postings here. There is an order and a beauty to everything, here and throughout the universe. I for one, cannot believe that it was an accident. Therefore, there has to be a God. Ridicule this all you want but there can be no other explanation.
Bill R. on April 27, 2012 at 11:03 PM
What you are saying is, “I don’t understand how or why nature exists, therefore something did it, and I’ll call it god, and therefore I must worship it.” I’m not ridiculing you, but is this not precisely what you’re saying?
cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:08 PM

I’m willing to wager too that the 15k+ children who die everyday are not seeing the same beauty and order he is.

kastor on April 27, 2012 at 11:15 PM

I know several very intelligent theists btw, but none of them choose to apply their critical thinking skills to their belief in god.

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Francis Collins did. He wrote a book about it.

And here are others.

Gelsomina on April 27, 2012 at 11:17 PM

I love that line in Contact when they accuse Jodie Foster of honestly believing that 95 percent of the human race shares a massive delusion.

John the Libertarian on April 27, 2012 at 11:01 PM

What was the first thing she said when the pod was dropped…?

… That is right:

“OH, GOD!”

Seven Percent Solution on April 27, 2012 at 11:19 PM

Kastor’s moral compass is Woody Allen. That’s hilarious.
Montjoie on April 27, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Your everyday typical ad hominem response.

kastor on April 27, 2012 at 11:20 PM

Most of history’s greatest scientific minds believed in God and were actively pursuing Him. End of thread.

The Mega Independent on April 27, 2012 at 11:20 PM

The article is not denouncing one over the other.

It’s simply a way of showing that most people rely on either intuition or analysis, but have a hard time balancing the two tracks.

budfox on April 27, 2012 at 11:21 PM

I am saying there was a man named Jesus who claimed to be Son of the Creator. I believe Him. I also believe He was raised from the dead. I believe that through Him we can exist with our Creator.

Atheists believe that there is no God. Of course they cannot prove this, they are simply certain it isn’t what Jesus or any other religion has told them.

In other words they choose the beliefs of non believers over those of believers.

Dress this up as more ‘scientific’ or ‘analytic’ all you want to, but it is NOT a superior position. It is simply a contrarian one.

DavidM on April 27, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Speaking only for myself, my position isn’t “there is no God.” My position is, “there is no evidence for the existence of god, therefore I don’t believe in god.” Be sure to distinguish those positions. It’s an important distinction. Mine is a strictly logical, evidence-based position. If there was a reason to believe in god, I would believe in god. I don’t really have a dog in the fight, but I do take issue with people who DO have a dog in the fight and advocate their position without the slightest trace of evidence.

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:21 PM

Francis Collins did. He wrote a book about it.

And here are others.

Gelsomina on April 27, 2012 at 11:17 PM

Collins is also a better scientist than Dawkins:

http://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/collins-vs-gnus-2/

pearson on April 27, 2012 at 11:21 PM

This study isn’t comparing analytical people to intuitive people, it’s comparing similar people (randomized samples are designed to ‘average out’ to the same kind of average person in each group) in an analytical mood to an intuitive mood. The treatments that are supposed to put people in these moods are bizarre, though. Looking at one statue instead of another is supposed to activate an analytic mood? Meh.

joe_doufu on April 27, 2012 at 11:21 PM

If the implication here is that people of faith are simply “feeling it”, I would urge you to read C. S. Lewis’ “The Joyful Christian.” Lots of analytical thinking there, if you care to pursue it, rather than making assumptions about something you don’t understand.

fullogas on April 27, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Francis Collins did. He wrote a book about it.

And here are others.

Gelsomina on April 27, 2012 at 11:17 PM

I was just speaking of people who I know personally, and I was probably unfair to them by saying they “don’t” apply critical thinking skills. I’m just not convinced. I’m aware that there are countless attempts by very intelligent people, such as the ones you link, to justify their belief in the existence of god. I’m not convinced by those either.

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Analyze this: A fool in his heart says there is no God…signed God

crosshugger on April 27, 2012 at 11:24 PM

Speaking only for myself, my position isn’t “there is no God.” My position is, “there is no evidence for the existence of god, therefore I don’t believe in god.” Be sure to distinguish those positions. It’s an important distinction. Mine is a strictly logical, evidence-based position. If there was a reason to believe in god, I would believe in god.

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:21 PM

Then your position isn’t very well examined, is it?
There is lots of evidence for the existence of God, such as eyewitness accounts, well documented miracles and healings, scientific data for the Big Bang, and so on. Perhaps what you meant to say was “if there was more than X amount of evidence”, or “if there was so much evidence as to make an incontrovertible proof”, but that’s not what you wrote.

You said “if there was a reason to believe” you’d believe.
Well, there’s a reason.
So believe.

joe_doufu on April 27, 2012 at 11:25 PM

This is illogical. What is the faith? There is none. I say, there is no evidence for the existence of god, so I don’t believe in god. I’m not taking anything on faith. Quite the contrary.

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM

How did we get here? You have to answer that question, and if you decide that it was all some random thing thing that happened, with no guiding force behind it, that is a BELIEF that takes faith, because it defies logic. There IS evidence for the existence of God. Something can’t come from nothing, especially when that “something” is as incredibly complex as the simplest form of life on earth.

JannyMae on April 27, 2012 at 11:26 PM

It is a mistake to deny God over the goofy fairy tale interpretations and explanations of mankind. God does not want you to be sure of anything while alive. You have a soul for testing and you are not being marked for church attendance. You won’t know when or how your test choices will be presented.

BL@KBIRD on April 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM

The Bible concurs with this study
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise;
1Cor 1:26-27A

This is a relatively frequent theme in Scripture. Being a Christian is so much more than an intellectual understanding.

Kjeil on April 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM

Then your position isn’t very well examined, is it?
There is lots of evidence for the existence of God, such as eyewitness accounts, well documented miracles and healings, scientific data for the Big Bang, and so on. Perhaps what you meant to say was “if there was more than X amount of evidence”, or “if there was so much evidence as to make an incontrovertible proof”, but that’s not what you wrote.

You said “if there was a reason to believe” you’d believe.
Well, there’s a reason.
So believe.

joe_doufu on April 27, 2012 at 11:25 PM

My position is certainly well examined, but I guess what I should have said was there is no persuasive evidence for the existence of god. I suppose, strictly speaking, a story in a book describing someone many hundreds of generations ago who believes they encountered a manifestation of god is “evidence,” but it isn’t very much evidence in my book. Stories in a book that go back millenia are not persuasive to me.

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:29 PM

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:08 PM

No, that is not what he said.

ray on April 27, 2012 at 11:30 PM

How did we get here? You have to answer that question, and if you decide that it was all some random thing thing that happened, with no guiding force behind it, that is a BELIEF that takes faith, because it defies logic. There IS evidence for the existence of God. Something can’t come from nothing, especially when that “something” is as incredibly complex as the simplest form of life on earth.
JannyMae on April 27, 2012 at 11:26 PM

The only question you have to answer is: how did god get here?

Something can’t come from nothing. You said do yourself.

kastor on April 27, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Sad to say the perception of religion today today is tilting full blown into mysticism–completely unanchored to anything but subjective experience.

That’s not Christianity.

Several weeks ago I wrote that Christian belief is not a leap of faith. It is reasonable. The concept of a leap of faith is not a biblical idea, but is derived from existentialism. R. C. Sproul has written:

From the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) to the existential theology of Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976), the Christian faith now carries undue baggage—that of irrationality, which unfortunately translates into the common Christian description of coming to Christ as a “blind leap of faith.”

INC on April 27, 2012 at 11:30 PM

If there was a reason to believe in god, I would believe in god. I don’t really have a dog in the fight, but I do take issue with people who DO have a dog in the fight and advocate their position without the slightest trace of evidence.

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:21 PM

You don’t have to believe in God if there is evidence for his existence. That would be redundant.

Gelsomina on April 27, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Romans 1:22

Artie on April 27, 2012 at 11:32 PM

How did we get here? You have to answer that question, and if you decide that it was all some random thing thing that happened, with no guiding force behind it, that is a BELIEF that takes faith, because it defies logic. There IS evidence for the existence of God. Something can’t come from nothing, especially when that “something” is as incredibly complex as the simplest form of life on earth.

JannyMae on April 27, 2012 at 11:26 PM

I don’t know how we got here. Nor do you. My lack of belief in any particular reason is a more defensible position than your belief in god wiggling his nose and here we are. I don’t believe any one thing… I would like to know, but we simply don’t have the capacity yet to get there.

And if “something can’t come from nothing,” as you say, where would the creator come from? These are hard questions, and every position leads us into a contradiction. That means everyone should be an atheist until we learn enough to know what happened. (And yes, that might take awhile).

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:34 PM

No, that is not what he said.

ray on April 27, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Can you show me where you think I got it wrong?

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:36 PM

My position is certainly well examined, but I guess what I should have said was there is no persuasive evidence for the existence of god.

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:29 PM

That’s what I thought you meant. Not that there’s no evidence, just that you aren’t satisfied with the evidence.

By the way, I wouldn’t expect the Bible to be convincing on its own. I had to be convinced that the Bible was valid, before I even bothered cracking it open to learn about it. (Although once you do, there are some great pieces of evidence in there in the form of fulfilled prophecy. The prophet Daniel, for example, makes a prediction of the rise and fall of Alexander the Great’s empire and the eventual Roman empire centuries before Greece and Italy were even on anybody’s radar. Isaiah I think prophesies the rise of the Persian empire and even the very name of the emperor Cyrus before Persia is anything and before Cyrus was born.)

What persuaded me God was worth looking into was the evidence for intelligent design. What persuaded me then that Christianity was the religion to research, was the cross-examination of the apostles. To believe the New Testament is false requires a belief that twelve ordinary men would spontaneously enter into an unlikely conspiracy to promote a lie that none of them benefited from, and which 11 of them died under torture without giving up.

joe_doufu on April 27, 2012 at 11:37 PM

I know several very intelligent theists btw, but none of them choose to apply their critical thinking skills to their belief in god.

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Francis Collins did. He wrote a book about it.

And here are others.

Gelsomina on April 27, 2012 at 11:17 PM

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

Oh, and Kastor, I strongly suggest you check out the truly analytical thinking contained in Pascal’s Wager.

But, then again, it may be over your head.

jaydee_007 on April 27, 2012 at 11:37 PM

You don’t have to believe in God if there is evidence for his existence. That would be redundant.

Gelsomina on April 27, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Were the Mayans wrong when they thought god caused eclipses?

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:37 PM

As I said in the headline thread, it was analytical thinking that led C.S Lewis into belief in God.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on April 27, 2012 at 11:41 PM

Gelsomina on April 27, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
Oh, and Kastor, I strongly suggest you check out the truly analytical thinking contained in Pascal’s Wager.
But, then again, it may be over your head.
jaydee_007 on April 27, 2012 at 11:37 PM

I know it well. That’s why I worship all the thousands of gods and deities that man ever thought up. You know, just in case.

kastor on April 27, 2012 at 11:41 PM

Sad to say the perception of religion today today is tilting full blown into mysticism–completely unanchored to anything but subjective experience.

John calvin, augustine, martin luther, spurgeon, st athanasius,bonhoeffer..and on and on

congma on April 27, 2012 at 10:49 PM

I beg to differ – Sir Isaac Newton

mankai on April 27, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Let me add, God is a God of order and reason. Scientists and mathematicians who were Christians include: John Napier, Copernicus, Kepler, Euler, and Pascal.

Copernicus, “To him the universe was built for us by the Best and Most Orderly Workman of all.“;

Kepler, said I consider it a right, yes a duty, to search in cautious manner for the numbers, sizes and weights, the norms for everything He has created. For He Himself has let man take part in the knowledge of these things and thus not in a small measure has set up His image in man.

…For these secrets are not of the kind whose research should be forbidden; rather they are set before our eyes like a mirror so that by examining them we observe to some extent the goodness and wisdom of the Creator.

Francis Schaeffer in the 1970′s wrote,

Living within the concept that the world was created by a reasonable God, scientists could move with confidence, expecting to find out about the world by observation and experimentation. This was their epistemological base–the philosophical foundation with which they were sure they could know….Since the world had been created by a reasonable God, they were not surprised to find a correlation between themselves as observers and the thing observed….Without this foundation, Western modern science would not have been born.

INC on April 27, 2012 at 11:42 PM

Okay I have to admit this is the goofiest study I have ever read about. See I would be checking out the physiques on the statues and admiring them…for artistics purposes only. So they’re saying that the only choices in the thinking involved in viewing these statues relates to whether someone is analytical or not? ROFL

As for squinting, if people who have to squint are more analytical does that mean we should give up wearing glasses and then we would all become atheists? LOL Give me a break. This has nothing to do with anything other than a waste of money and time. But I’m sure it will attract the usual posters. Have a good night all.

Deanna on April 27, 2012 at 11:43 PM

As an Aspie I consider myself to have a fairly analytical mind-and I still believe in God.

annoyinglittletwerp on April 27, 2012 at 11:45 PM

i’m not going to waste time looking up the original research, but I think this is simply an experiment of the cognitive demands of two different experiment settings…one ‘analytic’, one ‘artistic’.

that’s all…the rest is journos meeting their word count quotas

r keller on April 27, 2012 at 11:45 PM

Can you show me where you think I got it wrong?

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:36 PM

Yes, but I won’t.

ray on April 27, 2012 at 11:45 PM

I believe the same study asserted that Christians, atheists, and agnostics all had a higher IQ than anonymous blog posters named “Lord.”

4Grace on April 27, 2012 at 10:43 PM

As do us Joooos.

annoyinglittletwerp on April 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM

That’s odd, a friend of mine who grew up an atheist in an atheist family of geophysicists and had 80 papers published BEFORE he got out of school PLUS went to Harvard to get his master’s in Math (because he wanted to) in two semesters but is a psychologist (lab rat/pigeon stuff) and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Science became a Christian AFTER all of this.

Kermit on April 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM

Were the Mayans wrong when they thought god caused eclipses?

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:37 PM

Funny you mention eclipses, as they are a particulary important piece of evidence for intelligent design. Did you know that despite all the planets and hundreds of satellites in this solar system, the only place you can see a “perfect” solar eclipse is the surface of the earth, and the only time for it is a relatively short window in geologic time happening to coincide with human civilization?

There’s a theory going back to Kepler that all of the many extraordinary features of our place in the universe that make life possible (which are explainable by the anthropic principle) are also the very same features that make our place in the universe almost perfect for scientific discovery (not explainable by the anthropic principle). Scientists can explain why we need a fairly large moon to help support life but there’s no “natural selection” explanation for why we need perfect solar eclipses. However, those eclipses have been absolutely critical in scientific discovery, figuring out what stars were made of, the periodic table, and so forth. There’s a book on this called “Privileged Planet” you might find very though-provoking.

joe_doufu on April 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM

What persuaded me God was worth looking into was the evidence for intelligent design. What persuaded me then that Christianity was the religion to research, was the cross-examination of the apostles. To believe the New Testament is false requires a belief that twelve ordinary men would spontaneously enter into an unlikely conspiracy to promote a lie that none of them benefited from, and which 11 of them died under torture without giving up.

joe_doufu on April 27, 2012 at 11:37 PM

I hope you won’t hold my semantic concession against me. If I tell you “I just saw a winged blue pig fly by my window,” that is evidence that a winged blue pig just flew by my window. I’m sure you don’t believe that, because that evidence isn’t persuasive to you.

But at any rate, your purported evidence for intelligent design is my problem with this argument. This “evidence” is actually a “lack of evidence.” Biology seems so complicated to you (and to me) that you think the only logical explanation is that something created it. But scientific knowledge expands every day. Perhaps in our lifetimes, we will understand how an eye came to be, for example. This is a logical fallacy: the god of the gaps reasoning. “Anything I don’t understand, god did.” Under that reasoning, god gets smaller and smaller. Eventually, as scientific knowledge expands, the gaps that we now fill with god will disappear.

And to your second point, you believe in Christianity, the virgin birth, resurrection, assumption of Mary, all of it, because 11 people were tortured and died espousing those beliefs? Is that “all” it takes for you to buy into these profound, timeless, cosmic questions?

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM

Yes, but I won’t.

ray on April 27, 2012 at 11:45 PM

haha that’s what I thought.

cjw79 on April 27, 2012 at 11:47 PM

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