home
RSS
Study: More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures
August 11th, 2011
11:06 AM ET

Study: More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures

By Jim Kavanagh, CNN

People tend to become less religious as they become more educated, right? Not necessarily, according to a new study.

After analyzing data from a large national survey, University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist Philip Schwadel found that people actually tend to become more religious - by some definitions, at least - as they further their education.

“It all falls down to what you consider to be religious,” said Schwadel, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “If it’s simply attending religious services, then no. Highly educated people are not less religious; in fact, they’re more religious.”

“But if it’s saying the Bible is the literal word of God and saying that only one religion is the true religion, then they are less religious,” he continued.

Schwadel used data from the highly regarded General Social Survey, a cumulative and nationally representative survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago biannually since 1972.

Social scientists rely heavily on the “gold standard” General Social Survey, which provides cumulative data collected regularly between 1972 and 2010.

His study will be published in an upcoming edition of the journal Review of Religious Research.

Schwadel found that with each additional year of education:

- The likelihood of attending religious services increased 15%.

- The likelihood of reading the Bible at least occasionally increased by 9%.

- The likelihood of switching to a mainline Protestant denomination - Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian USA or United Methodist - increased by 13%.

Respondents to the General Social Survey were asked whether they believe in God without any doubts; with various levels of doubt; whether they have a different concept of God or a higher power; or whether they didn’t believe in any such thing, Schwadel said.

“With more years of education, you aren’t relatively more likely to say, ‘I don’t believe in God,’” he said. “But you are relatively more likely to say, ‘I believe in a higher power.’”

The findings makes sense to D. Michael Lindsay, president of Gordon College in Massachusetts and author of “Faith in the Halls of Power,” about the growing evangelical Christian elite.

“The more educated a person is in their faith, the more cosmopolitan they are in their religious outlook,” he said. “They’re worldly in the very best sense of the term. They rub shoulders with people of different kinds of faiths every day and as a result they have different visions of what it means to express your faith in the public square.”

“They’re more open-minded, but here’s the thing: They’re no less faithful.”

But a leading voice for atheists says the study’s finding about education increasing certain measures of religiosity may be less straightforward than it appears.

“There are plenty of people who go to church who are not believers,” said Ed Buckner, former president of the group American Atheists. “They go for all sorts of reasons. I don’t mean that they’re all frauds and deceptive, (but) they go for social reasons or (because) that’s what’s expected of them by their families or their peers. Sometimes they go so they can sell more insurance.”

“But there are a lot of atheists in the pews, or at least people who are not committed to and probably haven’t even thought about and examined carefully the religious views that are being expressed in that church.”

The finding that highly educated people gravitated toward mainline Christian denominations suggested class dynamics at work, Buckner argued.

As people become more educated, he said, they move into the middle and upper middle class. “And as they do so,” he said, ”they move into more establishment situations regarding the society, which means they join the churches that are the churches of the elite, or at least of the middle class.”

But Schwadel said respondents were discussing their actual beliefs, not just churchgoing habits.

“What it all says to me is that religion matters to people of all education levels in the United States,” he said. “It’s just that, depending on your level of education, you behave and believe differently.”

So why the widespread perception that intellectuals are less religious, even largely irreligious?

Academics are at least moderately less religious than the general public, Schwadel said.

“When we see these trends, we tend to exaggerate them,” he said. “Most people see a trend and they think everyone’s like that.”

Lindsay thinks there’s more to it than that.

“There has been a concentrated effort by a cohort of very smart people who treat religion as the panacea for the simple-minded,” he said.

Bucker disputes that.

“Do we think that anybody who doesn’t agree with us is an idiot or a fool? Well, some of us do think that,” he said of atheists. “But I don’t think it’s systematically true of everybody in the movement.

“… I mean, I do think they’re wrong. Anybody who believes that there is a sky god out there who is going to do anything good or evil for us, basically anyone who thinks the universe cares about us, is making a mistake,” he continued. “In the words of Richard Dawkins, they’ve been deluded.”

But some people’s religious beliefs are “deeply held and carefully considered,” Buckner said. “And I also realize that some atheists’ lack of religious beliefs are pretty superficial and they haven’t thought things through.

“I have a lot more respect for a religious person who has really considered this, thought it through, read some books that disagree with their point of view and still accepts that position than I do for somebody who just unthinkingly rejects any particular point of view.”

Lindsay said the study could help break down some of society’s religious barriers.

“It’s a problem of perceptions because it fuels the idea that there’s some kind of deeply entrenched culture war where smart people are opposed to religious people, when in fact it’s far more complicated than that,” he said. “And in fact, the old divisions between deeply religious and irreligious probably don’t apply.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Education • Polls

soundoff (1,651 Responses)
  1. Hmmm

    Most of my friends have at least a Master's degree, as do I. Most of us don't attend church, yet are quite spiritual. None of us believe that the bible is the literal word of God. We all believe in a benevolent universe and that we have free will. None of us will try to change your religious beliefs, but seek to understand them. We have read the bible. We know that the line AFTER "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" is "And vengeance is mine alone sayeth the Lord." The Gilgamesh predates the Bible by about 300 years. Read that and then tell me what you think.

    August 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  2. Greg G.

    The premise of this article is utter nonsense. It's not only "common knowledge" but been the findings of several other, FAR more scientific and unbiased studies that there is an inverse relationship between education and theistic belief / religion.

    August 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • LivingInVA

      I can remember a discussion between my father and his brother about this topic. My uncle, a biology professor, said that he felt that he became more religious as he studied – in fact, he said if you look at the creation myth more by order than by "days", it gets it just about right.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  3. The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

    Don Pound wrote on, Thusday, August 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm, "The fact is that our limited human minds are not capable of answering whether there is such a thing as a God. Certainly though there is NO biblical god as described in the holy bible. The bible has more errors, contradictions and absurd stories than most people even know. If god made man in his image, then that god would be just as flawed as we humans are. The idea that Jesus was the son of god is certainly not credible when we can't even prove is there is a god. People should really do some reading of the biblical research done by scholars over the past two hundred years. But, most religious people would rather remain in the dark."

    "The 'human mind' is only limited by its' lack of being regularly used in thought progressives such as writing and reading and even in the spoken word. Many people would rather have their mind be stilled with the peace of nothingness than to be devoted to the constancies of writing, reading and speaking. Should one reading the Gospels whenever their "emotives" lead them to, is not a bad 'Thang'. Even unto those who are atheisms' dissenters and do read and write and speak the Word are doing without knowing it the work(s) of the Holy Spirit. 🙂

    August 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  4. Reality

    Part 3- The Angelic Con – 101

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Castiel

      This displeases me greatly.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  5. Soulsnagger

    Interesting article (for a change). This study is clearly counter to the popularly held belief that educated people are non-religious or less religious. I have a doctorate and am increasingly spiritual as I continue to learn. I find that the Bible is a wise and fascinating compilation. It is comprised of 66 books written by 40 authors over several thousand years. It is amazingly consistent and offers a common purpose and theme. How did a bunch of uneducated people (with some exceptions) manage that?

    Perhaps it is that I am not pursuing a religion, but am pursuing a relationship with the living God. Religion is man's attempt to perform adequately to reach God. I don't believe that is possible. How can a limited, fallible, weak man do anything that would be good enough to bring about an encounter with a being so intricate, expansive, beautiful, intelligent, powerful?

    Try opening your mind to God and allowing him to find you. He will do it. He always finds those who are searching for him and are willing to let him in.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • LivingInVA

      Last I heard (but my stats are probably 10 years out of date) the Unitarian Universalists were the most highly educated. Fits in very well with the concept of the article.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • JohnR

      I guess you missed the part where the New Testament supposedly cancels the legal requirements of the Old Testament. And what makes you say that the authors weren't educated?

      Anyway, the article MERELY says that the more educated who ARE religious attend church more and actually read the bible.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • LivingInVA

      JohnR: Guess you missed Matthew 5:17 through 5:21 – the part that folks always use when they decide to quote Leviticus. Gee, there's another example of a contradiction, Iceman!

      August 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      JohnR

      I guess you missed the part where the New Testament supposedly cancels the legal requirements of the Old Testament.
      ----–
      Ah yes the true word of god needs adjustments and revisions. Also did jesus write the NT? Or as usual, fellow man wrote after the fact.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Or as usual, fellow man wrote after the fact."

      Darn that Plato...who knows what Socrates ever really said!

      August 11, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Lycidas

      "Or as usual, fellow man wrote after the fact."

      Darn that Plato...who knows what Socrates ever really said!

      ------------
      I assume Plato was present and not second or third hand accounts?

      August 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "I assume Plato was present and not second or third hand accounts?"

      Ah assumptions...and many on here thought atheists and those of faith don't have something in common. Of course, much (if not the majority)of the NT are not second or third hand accounts.

      August 11, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Lycidas

      "I assume Plato was present and not second or third hand accounts?"

      Ah assumptions...and many on here thought atheists and those of faith don't have something in common. Of course, much (if not the majority)of the NT are not second or third hand accounts.
      -----
      I admit I am not up to speed on Plato so I could not be certain. Well you have the Gospel and then the other (letters to churches etc). Are you suggesting majority of the gospel was first hand account?

      August 11, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "I admit I am not up to speed on Plato so I could not be certain. Well you have the Gospel and then the other (letters to churches etc). Are you suggesting majority of the gospel was first hand account?"

      Very good..that might have worked on the less experienced. The comment was on the NT and not solely the Gospels now was it?

      As for the Gospels...nope...there isn't enough evidence to show they were of first hand accounts. In the case of Luke it is almost guaranteed that it wasn't. I will point out that you have yet to show that second hand accounts are instantly incorrect. I do believe that even in the court of law, second hand accounts still carry weight when other accounts aim to the same truth.

      As to the letters and the book of Acts, most are claimed to be first hand accounts and writings.

      August 11, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Fred1

      @ JohnR: Christ himself said the old testament is not canceled. Ignoring the old law is the easy path to hell

      Jesus said to follow the law of the old testament ALL OF IT. He also said the most difficult path is the one that leads to heaven. Pretending that you are no longer bound by the law of the old testament is the easy path to hell

      “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."Matthew 5:17-19

      What part of “until EVERY THING is accomplished” don’t you understand. That doesn’t mean until the resurrection (That’s just the first part of “everything” that would be the easy path). It means until the new kingdom of heaven on earth.

      August 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  6. Iceman

    @Don Pound
    For goodness sake, Don, give yourself more credit than you do. We do have the brains to understand. This is not rocket science, or quantum physics . These things you mentioned are things we can understand and figure out. =)

    August 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  7. Don Pound

    The fact is that our limited human minds are not capable of answering whether there is such a thing as a God. Certainly though there is NO biblical god as described in the holy bible. The bible has more errors, contradictions and absurd stories than most people even know. If god made man in his image, then that god would be just as flawed as we humans are. The idea that Jesus was the son of god is certainly not credible when we can't even prove is there is a god. People should really do some reading of the biblical research done by scholars over the past two hundred years. But, most religious people would rather remain in the dark.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Iceman

      @Don Pound
      "The bible has more errors, contradictions and absurd stories than most people even know."-

      Please, explain or provide references- Thanks,

      August 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • LivingInVA

      Iceman: Several of the stories are told more than once with significant differences. As far as absurd – the living for hundreds of years is pretty out there.

      Personally, I come from a family of Christian ministers. They are, however, mainstream and see the Bible as allegorical, not literal. The idea is to look at the big picture – be good to each other, take care of each other, treat others the way you want to be treated, etc.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Fred1

      @iceman: Happy to oblige, or course this is not a complete list.

      1. God is satisfied with his works
      Gen 1:31
      God is dissatisfied with his works.
      Gen 6:6
      2. God dwells in chosen temples
      2 Chron 7:12,16
      God dwells not in temples
      Acts 7:48
      3. God dwells in light
      Tim 6:16
      God dwells in darkness
      1 Kings 8:12/ Ps 18:11/ Ps 97:2
      4. God is seen and heard
      Ex 33:23/ Ex 33:11/ Gen 3:9,10/ Gen 32:30/ Is 6:1/
      Ex 24:9-11
      God is invisible and cannot be heard
      John 1:18/ John 5:37/ Ex 33:20/ 1 Tim 6:16
      5. God is tired and rests
      Ex 31:17
      God is never tired and never rests
      Is 40:28
      6. God is everywhere present, sees and knows all things
      Prov 15:3/ Ps 139:7-10/ Job 34:22,21
      God is not everywhere present, neither sees nor knows all
      things
      Gen 11:5/ Gen 18:20,21/ Gen 3:8
      7. God knows the hearts of men
      Acts 1:24/ Ps 139:2,3
      God tries men to find out what is in their heart
      Deut 13:3/ Deut 8:2/ Gen 22:12
      8. God is all powerful
      Jer 32:27/ Matt 19:26
      God is not all powerful
      Judg 1:19
      9. God is unchangeable
      James 1:17/ Mal 3:6/ Ezek 24:14/ Num 23:19
      God is changeable
      Gen 6:6/ Jonah 3:10/ 1 Sam 2:30,31/ 2 Kings 20:1,4,5,6/
      Ex 33:1,3,17,14
      10. God is just and impartial
      Ps 92:15/ Gen 18:25/ Deut 32:4/ Rom 2:11/ Ezek 18:25
      God is unjust and partial
      Gen 9:25/ Ex 20:5/ Rom 9:11-13/ Matt 13:12
      11. God is the author of evil
      Lam 3:38/ Jer 18:11/ Is 45:7/ Amos 3:6/ Ezek 20:25
      God is not the author of evil
      1 Cor 14:33/ Deut 32:4/ James 1:13
      12. God gives freely to those who ask
      James 1:5/ Luke 11:10
      God withholds his blessings and prevents men from receiving
      them
      John 12:40/ Josh 11:20/ Is 63:17
      13. God is to be found by those who seek him
      Matt 7:8/ Prov 8:17
      God is not to be found by those who seek him
      Prov 1:28
      14. God is warlike
      Ex 15:3/ Is 51:15
      God is peaceful
      Rom 15:33/ 1 Cor 14:33
      15. God is cruel, unmerciful, destructive, and ferocious
      Jer 13:14/ Deut 7:16/ 1 Sam 15:2,3/ 1 Sam 6:19
      God is kind, merciful, and good
      James 5:11/ Lam 3:33/ 1 Chron 16:34/ Ezek 18:32/ Ps 145:9/
      1 Tim 2:4/ 1 John 4:16/ Ps 25:8
      16. God's anger is fierce and endures long
      Num 32:13/ Num 25:4/ Jer 17:4
      God's anger is slow and endures but for a minute
      Ps 103:8/ Ps 30:5
      17. God commands, approves of, and delights in burnt offerings,
      sacrifices ,and holy days
      Ex 29:36/ Lev 23:27/ Ex 29:18/ Lev 1:9
      God disapproves of and has no pleasure in burnt offerings,
      sacrifices, and holy days.
      Jer 7:22/ Jer 6:20/ Ps 50:13,4/ Is 1:13,11,12
      18. God accepts human sacrifices
      2 Sam 21:8,9,14/ Gen 22:2/ Judg 11:30-32,34,38,39
      God forbids human sacrifice
      Deut 12:30,31
      19. God tempts men
      Gen 22:1/ 2 Sam 24:1/ Jer 20:7/ Matt 6:13
      God tempts no man
      James 1:13
      20. God cannot lie
      Heb 6:18
      God lies by proxy; he sends forth lying spirits t deceive
      2 Thes 2:11/ 1 Kings 22:23/ Ezek 14:9
      21. Because of man's wickedness God destroys him
      Gen 6:5,7
      Because of man's wickedness God will not destroy him
      Gen 8:21

      August 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  8. Iceman

    @Stevie7
    You ask very good questions and make understandable statements.
    Would it be reasonable for me to say that you have as of yet- not studied the Bible?
    Have you considered why the Bible was written?

    Primarily- the Bible was written so that we may know what steps that God has taken so that we may receive back what we ought to have- perfect life and perfect health, in a perfect world. Once you know this- all other questions can be answered, explained and made easier to understand.

    If you are truly interested in things like these- you will find all your answers to these questions.
    A person will contact you within three days about the things you made comments about. (I hope that I did not scare you =)

    August 11, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      "Primarily- the Bible was written so that we may know what steps that God has taken so that we may receive back what we ought to have- perfect life and perfect health, in a perfect world. Once you know this- all other questions can be answered, explained and made easier to understand."
      .
      Translation, once you put faith in the writers of the bible you then can leap to having faith in a god and trust what the writers state.
      .
      Faith in the con-artist is key to a successful con. You got to first believe man.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @ACTS- you are inplying there is a con-artist where there isn't any

      August 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Lycidas

      @ACTS- you are inplying there is a con-artist where there isn't any

      -------
      Can you prove it isn't a con? Also, I like to point out the nature of a con.

      August 11, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Can you prove it isn't a con? Also, I like to point out the nature of a con."

      Since there is no con....there is nothing to prove. You wouldn't want me to try and prove a negative would you?

      Go ahead..point it out.

      August 11, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Lycidas

      "Can you prove it isn't a con? Also, I like to point out the nature of a con."

      Since there is no con....there is nothing to prove. You wouldn't want me to try and prove a negative would you?

      Go ahead..point it out.

      -------
      Whatever you feel I was implying, how do you know I was false?

      August 11, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Whatever you feel I was implying, how do you know I was false?"

      How do you know that whatever I felt at you implication is false?

      August 11, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
  9. Fred

    This story really cuts to the heart of the atheist. They like to crow about how much smarter they are than believers and now this study disputes that. The poster above who chose the name "SmarterthanU" really looks bad in light of this study.
    In addition to that, you have posters like "Juggling Squirrel-Jesus" who go out of their way to try and offend believers.
    Of course, they would be the first ones to cry if someone posted under the name "AtheistsRStooopid."

    August 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • J.W

      I think you should use that name.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • heynow

      That's just plain grouchy of you. Where is your smile, Fred?

      August 11, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Fred, maybe you can find it in the study. What was the benchmark used to show more educated tend to be more religious? They mention this, "People tend to become less religious as they become more educated, right? Not necessarily, according to a new study." So where is the before and after being educated numbers???? There is no cutting of the heart as you say. Simply this study is flawed or they are leaving out key information that might be more revealing.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • JohnR

      Fred, you clearly are too stupid to understand the article. The article is comparing religious behaviors of more and less educated religious people. The more educated read the bible more and attend more religious ceremonies, but also are less likely to believe the bible is the literal word of god and seem to be tending to believe in something more like the a Deistic "higher power" rather than the god of the bible. The "mainline" Protestant denomination who gather more educated people are less literalistic and more likely to be socially liberal in ways agnostics and atheists also tend to be, and NOT like the bible thumpers. It's real spin for religious literalists to try to claim vindication from this article.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • GodPot

      Hi Fred,

      A cooked spaghetti broadsword would cut deeper than this article. With phrases like "by some definitions" and "at least occasionally" and " tend to become". The only close to factual thing he says is "Academics are at least moderately less religious than the general public", Schwadel said. "When we see these trends, we tend to exaggerate them, Most people see a trend and they think everyone’s like that.”

      August 11, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      "In addition to that, you have posters like "Juggling Squirrel-Jesus" who go out of their way to try and offend believers."
      --
      Looks like someone can dish it out, but they can't take it.

      August 12, 2011 at 7:18 am |
  10. Travis

    The headline is remarkably misleading. Most Christians have never read the Bible, most avowed atheists have. Almost all research on this subject shows that education and religious belief (key word: belief) as well as specific association with a religion are negatively correlated.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • what

      Reading the Bible is not the same as Understanding the Bible, you are an atheist because you have read the bible but lack Undertstanding.
      How about making an honest attempt in understanding the Bible, ofcourse you have to pray and ask God for discernment

      August 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • JohnR

      @what No, it's actually the other way around. To understand requires critical reasoning ability. The smarter you are, the more likely you are to agree with geniuses like Thomas Jefferson and conclude that the bible has a few worthy morsels embedded in a lot of crud.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      "what

      Reading the Bible is not the same as Understanding the Bible, you are an atheist because you have read the bible but lack Undertstanding.
      How about making an honest attempt in understanding the Bible, ofcourse you have to pray and ask God for discernment"
      _________________________________________
      Who is to say god wasn't present and he got it right???????

      August 11, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  11. J.W

    How could all you atheists say there is no god after seeing that good looking lady in the front row in the picture? Only God could have made her.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      Nah, if a god had made her she'd have bigger boobs.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • J.W

      They look about right to me, but that is just my personal preference probably. Others would probably agree with you lol

      August 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Not Me

      Fred Evil
      "Nah, if a god had made her she'd have bigger boobs."

      Nah, the god of Gravity deals with those big 'uns quite viciously in due time.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • *frank*

      @J.W
      "How could all you atheists say there is no god after seeing that good looking lady in the front row in the picture? Only God could have made her."
      I bet if you lived with her for a few years your faith in a benevolent god would be frayed....

      August 11, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  12. Iceman

    @Juggling Squirrl-Jesus
    I only quote the bible so that other people who are interested in the bible can look it up in their own copy of the bible and find encouragement. No harm intended or malice intended..

    Here is some circular logic.... A person will vote and continue to put their trust in mans government and in four years time have to do it all over again if another person gets elected..all the good that the previous president did will be undermined...Now that is some circular logic!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Iceman

      @Juggling Squirrl-Jesus
      I only quote the bible so that other people who are interested in the bible can look it up in their own copy of the bible and find encouragement. No harm intended or malice intended..

      Here is some circular logic.... A person will vote and continue to put their trust in mans government and in four years time have to do it all over again if another person gets elected..all the good that the previous president did will be undermined...Now that is some circular logic!
      ----
      And the basis of a believer's faith starts in man. What is your point?

      August 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      "Here is some circular logic.... A person will vote and continue to put their trust in mans government and in four years time have to do it all over again if another person gets elected..all the good that the previous president did will be undermined...Now that is some circular logic!"
      --
      You keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      August 12, 2011 at 7:20 am |
  13. Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

    @KH,

    I'm guessing you totally missed the irony on that one.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  14. Daisy

    God exist whether or not men may choose to believe in Him. The reason why many people do not believe in God is not so much that it is intellectually impossible to believe in God, but because belief in God forces that thoughtful person to face the fact that he is accountable to such a God.

    ~Robert A. Laidlaw

    August 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I disagree.
      Even if God does exist that has nothing to do with whether I am accountable to Him. Oh sure, a Christian-type God could torture me for eternity, but that only puts me at His mercy not accountability. Like I am at the mercy of an armed robber, but I'm not accountable to him, am I?

      August 11, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Gracie

      @Nonimus

      God has given us all a free choice to accept him, that is why a person is not a christian just because they are born in a christian family.One becomes a christian when one is 'born again', ie., YOU accept Jesus has the Lord and savior of your life and repent for the sins and be baptized. No one else can force you to make this choice for yourself, you make this choice, ofcourse it is by God's Grace.

      The choice is yours my friend!

      August 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Gracie,
      Thanks, but that wasn't really the question.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Vince

      @ Gracie

      So he gave us all free choice to believe in his existence or not. The main question is why would he trick us? He filled the bible with inconsistencies, inaccuracies and utterly ridiculous stories to what end? So if I do not believe that Noah loaded a boat the size of a football field with 30 million animals, I am doomed to hell? If they loaded animal non-stop for an entire year they would have to load about 1 animal per second for an entire year in preparation for the storm. Yet this is some of the evidence that I am supposed to ignore.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  15. Iceman

    @Stevie7
    You said; "It does not seem reasonable to me that he was god's earthly avatar."

    Stevie7, In which way would it seem reasonable that Jesus was god's earthly avatar, to you? Is it possible for a human to have a firstborn child? The Bible tells us that Jesus was God's 'firstborn'. Now, stevie7, what is unreasonable about that? =)

    August 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Well, 1) it seems unreasonable to me that there is a god. 2) if there is a god, it seems unreasonable to me that he would be anything even remotely like the god described in the bible 3) if there is a god an he is the abrahamic god, I think its unreasonable to think that he would have chosen such a remote part of the roman empire to be born into 4) if jesus was god, then I find it highly unreasonable that an omnipotent being would have to be born as one of us and die to save us – he's omnitpotent – he could have saved us anyway. 5) I think its unreasonable to assume that all powerful deities curse at out-of-season trees for not having fruit.

      Basically, after reading the bible, I find the entire things extremely unreasonable.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • explain

      @Stevie7

      Sin separated eternal God from Man
      The atonement for that sin was a "supreme sacrifice"
      God sent his son-Jesus to be that suprement sacrifice to take away the sins of the world.
      John 3:16
      For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever shall beleive in him shall have everlasting life.

      The Bible is to read reverentially, as far the fig tree being cursed, God just showed us that it is not just okay to appear Spiritual , it was a waste to appear as if you are green when your life bears no fruit of the spirit. There is a more deeper meaning to this than just seeing this as god cursed the fig tree.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Actually, most scholars tend to think that the whole fig tree tantrum is allegorical – that the fig tree is the Jewish faith.

      But the idea of sacrifice is not consistent with an omnipotent god.

      August 12, 2011 at 7:24 am |
  16. Daisy

    If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshiped.

    ~Evelyn Underhill

    August 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  17. Daisy

    For when we cease to worship God, we do not worship nothing, we worship anything.

    ~G. K. Chesterton

    August 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Or we just don't worship anything.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Gracie

      Stevie

      GK Chesterton is right in that if people stop worshipping God, they don't just stop worshipping, they look to other things some worship their money and so on...

      August 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @Gracie – not necessarily. that's an as.sumption, not a truth.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • So

      Daisy can you think for yourself or you can't which is why you quote others.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Not really, gracie. Some people are just content to live a good life. No god needed. Please try to open your mind and put aside your as/sumptions.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • Fred1

      Overnight I became a sun-worshipper. Well, not overnight, you can't see the sun at night. But first thing the next morning, I became a sun-worshipper. Several reasons. First of all, I can see the sun, okay? Unlike some other gods I could mention, I can actually see the sun. I'm big on that. If I can see something, I don't know, it kind of helps the credibility along, you know? So everyday I can see the sun, as it gives me everything I need; heat, light, food, flowers in the park, reflections on the lake, an occasional skin cancer, but hey. At least there are no crucifixions, and we're not setting people on fire simply because they don't agree with us.

      Sun worship is fairly simple. There's no mystery, no miracles, no pageantry, no one asks for money, there are no songs to learn, and we don't have a special building where we all gather once a week to compare clothing. And the best thing about the sun, it never tells me I'm unworthy. Doesn't tell me I'm a bad person who needs to be saved. Hasn't said an unkind word. Treats me fine. So, I worship the sun. But, I don't pray to the sun. Know why? I wouldn't presume on our friendship. It's not polite.

      August 13, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  18. jnemesh

    Funny, I would think that the more educated you are, the less likely you are to buy into a 1700 year old scam perpetrated by Constantine to pacify the masses!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • SmarterthanU

      That is my thought. The results are certainly counterintuitive. I spend about 50 days per year in hotel rooms. Even before I acknowledged to myself that I do not believe in god, i never opened the ubiquitous bible. What in the world for. What would I find in that ancient gibberish?

      August 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • kb

      Historically, Christianity was firmly in place long before Constantine. Whether it is true or not is beside the point. It can be demonstrated (and has been) without doubt that beliefs such as the deity of Jesus of Nazareth, a somewhat Trinitarian model, etc. were held much earlier. Constantine may have had a hand in how this religion developed, but he didn't create the "god man Jesus" (despite popular modern myths like Dan Brown's novels to the contrary). The Gospel of John, perhaps finished and edited by AD 125, clearly portrays Jesus as being in ways equal with YHWH. Justin Martyr and Irenaeus in Lyons, both spoke unequivocally of Jesus as divine.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • JohnR

      Guys, guys! These results are NOT counterintuitive. The more educated among the religious are less orthodox, less literal, more likely to belong to denominations with socially liberal agenda but also more likely to actually practice and understand their faith than the bible thumpers. That's all.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  19. Iceman

    @Michael
    You have not heard the rest– God is going to resurrect Jobs' family; all ten that died in the Tornado.
    All ten will be resurrected in Gods New Earth.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  20. Iceman

    @Nonimus
    I understand Christianity perfectly. Especially the Pre-Christian writing: "The wicked one according to his own superciliousness makes no search: All his ideas are: "There is no God." Psalm 10:4 – that is a pretty simple truth and you support this truth simply. =)

    August 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      Animals 15:6-9
      "He that quotes religious passages that serve only to stoke one's ego by implying that anyone that disagrees is an idiot is himself an idiot. Especially since the only thing to back up the passage is circular logic"

      August 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • KH

      To Juggling Squirrel: case in point

      August 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      @KH,

      I'm guessing you totally missed the irony on that one.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.