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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. catchyname

    Einstein dropped out of school. He wrote that the spirit of learning and creative thought were lost in strict rote learning. This study proves that people that stay in school become more religious. Me thinks it's because of the debt they are racking up.

    Also doesn't say much about what location he pulled his numbers from with his study.

    For this study to mean anything he would have had to done a study of people that are uneducated, to see how their religious activites increase per year, as ther'es nothing in this article that says it's any different.

    From my experiences I've noticed that alot of people as they get older, tend to gravitate to the church more often.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Horus

      Einstein dropped out of one school, then graduated from another.....

      August 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • GodPot

      "This study proves" nothing.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  2. Flawed Study

    More and more education will get you across the "I believe in a higher power" line and stop you very close of the "I don’t believe in God",

    August 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  3. The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

    Doight wrote on Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 12:34 pm, “The tiltle of this article is BS, The author is obviously trying to prove his own ideology. "it depends on the definition of religion etc". There is a difference in religous dogma and spiritualism. I have two degress as well as an M.D. and i hope that after we die there is some sort of existence for our spirit. But to muddy the waters and imply that I am religious is BS. In fact, everyone I know becomes less inclined to beleive in "religion" as they evolve. The religion that I am talking about is the dogma and simplistic beleifs that belonging to a religion brings. In fact, different religions are just established cults. What a misleading article and crappy study.”

    “ tiltle, degress, beleive religous beleifs” are your misspelled Words, maybe Me think(s) you shouldest gettuth thee a dikshunairee or utellize thy spell check before posting your propogandorial shenanigans meant to upset the proverbial apple carts or do like I do and just add some words to my spell checker that I deem worthy. 🙂 Sure one can write in “tongues” via utilienairially and conjugainleously typesetting their Wordisms which I do at times just for fun! 🙂

    August 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • IamGOD

      I agree, the author is trying to be deceptive..

      August 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  4. Estevan

    No indication of what kind of education though.

    How many students are graduating with "education" in the liberal arts, theology, philosophy, music, dance, business, and other arts related fields?

    How many are getting education in mathematics, physics, astrophysics, biology?

    These statistics become relevant only if they include the nature of the studies. It is no big surprise to see some types of education coinciding with religion. Think of some of the great theologians out there....for the past several hundred years education and the church went hand in hand.

    Somehow I doubt the same statistics hold true if we took a look at those studying sciences and engineering...

    August 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Hannah

      See Blaise Pascal...

      August 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Estevan

      Familiar with Blaise. Died in 1662... Your point?

      A man growing up in a time period where religion virtually permeated every aspect of society and education with serious social and often legal ramifications for lack of belief was religious. How is this surprising?

      Richard Dawkins. Paul Boyer. Stephen Hawking. Stephen Jay Gould. Peter Mitchell. Norman Pirie. So what?

      August 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  5. GodPot

    So are Christians here claiming that the hundreds of thousands of muslim pilgrims heading to Mecca is also just full of educated college graduates and have through their education decided Islam is the real religion and Allah is the one true God. They seem to be saying that they believe the more educated the person the more they turn to God right? Or is it that educated people would only choose their religion? Seem's more likely to me people are indoctinated at very early ages in the religion of their birthplace and have very little to do with changing it whether they are educated or not. Some of the educated decide to dig deeper and do read the bible and other religious writings all in an attempt to understand what they have been told to believe in all their lives, and many of those become disillusioned and become atheists. Others simply find it to hard to try and battle the contradictions they find inside so they go back to reading the gospel's only and listening to someone else who has no problem with the contradictions tell them that it doesn't matter because God is all powerfull and works in mysterious ways so no matter what corner your logic find's itself in, you can just relax, because God's got your back.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  6. Test

    Fl@wed

    August 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  7. Melissa

    rofl. Funny, every other study that isn't done by religious people says otherwise. Idiotic stupid lying article.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      ...it wasn't done by religious people. The data was taken from the University of Chicago and is being gone over by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • GodPot

      It's because the basic premise they are pushing is that if 83% of American's claim to be Christian and just under 40% have a college degree, then at least 20%+ of those must be Christian, therefore, education in itself does not free you from the make believe fantasy world that was forced over your head as a child like a turtleneck three sizes to small.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • conrad

      I'm sure that if you base a big part of your self-esteem on the notion that being atheist means you are more intelligent than others this article would irritate you – as it seems it has.

      I often think that – it seems people side with the 'science-only' argument because they believe it to be an indication of intelligence. There is nothing in science that proves God does not exist – it only in some instances proves that the metaphorical claims of the bible don't work if taken literally.

      Furthermore, not all religions even have God figures ... look at Buddhism and Taoism for example. The whole of existence is divine (including us), but is misunderstood by the confusing quality of human reason, intellect, and motivations. In other words, your intelligence is actually the source of your ignorance.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • GodPot

      "There is nothing in science that proves God does not exist"

      There is also nothing in science that proves unicorns do not exist.
      There is nothing in science that proves Voldemort does not exist.
      There is nothing in science that proves a-nalprobing Aliens do not exist.
      There is nothing in science that proves Santa does not exist.
      There is nothing in science that proves elves do not exist.
      There is nothing in science that proves Superman does not exist.
      There is nothing in science that proves Sauron does not exist.

      Wow, what a great argument you have come up with, so original.

      Lloyd: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me... ending up together?
      Mary: Well, Lloyd, that's difficult to say. I mean, we don't really...
      Lloyd: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
      Mary: Not good.
      Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
      Mary: I'd say more like one out of a million.
      [pause]
      Lloyd: So you're telling me there's a chance... *YEAH!*
      – Dumb & Dumber

      August 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "There is nothing in science that proves God does not exist"

      There is nothing in science that proves God was made up.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Lycidas

      "There is nothing in science that proves God does not exist"

      There is nothing in science that proves God was made up.

      -------
      Same goes for the monster that lives under the beds of children. Same goes for our thoughts and imagination.
      .
      However I think if one changes their view of what a god is (physical/tangible) then science could possibly prove they exist or existed.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  8. Papa Smurf

    Why is it that so many so called athiest keep staying stuff like, we shouldn't kill people, we should take care of the poor, want more people to have access to health care, etc....

    Please don't call your self a true athiest if you have these thoughts because these are all rooted in religion, a true athiest believes in natural selection and survival of the fittest. You should want less people on the planet polluting it and you so do whatever you want whenever you want because we humans are at the top of the food chain. We don't need a reason to do things we do them because we can!!!

    August 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Mormons-R-Cult

      Probably the dumbest post I have read in quite some time. One need not be religious to know right from wrong.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Q

      Yeah, starting with you..

      August 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Papa Smurf

      There is no right and wrong nor is there good or evil, its just all made up BS by religion!!!

      August 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Are you blue from lack of air to your brain?

      Athiest are altruistic because they have rational thought and commpassion.

      Are you implying that moral behavior in Christianity is merely based on a fear of punsihment from your God?

      Because both myself and God know what your did to Smufette, and although you may expect you can attone to Jesus Smurf and still be saved, I believe you must be fed to a cat.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Finch

      Natural selection is a law of nature, not a philosophical viewpoint. Just because gravity exists doesn't mean atheists want to throw people off cliffs. As someone who is not religious, it is quite apparent to me that since I do not wish harm to be done to me I should not do harm to others. I need no book to tell me this.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Smurftastic

      Please tell me you're a troll and not really that stupid.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Esteban

      Yes, Atheism is now defined by lack of compassion and denouncing societal living. We only care for natural selection, not others, because frankly, relationships are not our strong point. Only people who walk in the path of god know what compassion is.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Estevan

      Papa Smurf has no idea what the heck he is talking about.

      What about natural selection precludes cooperative social behavior?

      August 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Go Smurfy Go!

      Rebellious ANti Christiam Smurfs?

      I bet the Born Agains believe you are a demon!

      August 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • sbp

      No, they are not rooted in religion, and do not have to be. As I indicated a few posts down from here. Moreover, some people with limited reasoning abilities may act morally ONLY because of fear of their god, and therefore their moral sense is "rooted in religion". But if religion itself is a man-made social construct devised to control the social behavior of the less intelligent, then "rooted in religion" has nothing to do with a "real" god, and everything to do with people acting morally because it's in society's best interest to do so.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Horus

      You are confusing Atheism with Naturalist. There are countless humanitarians who are atheists.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Guest

      I think you are mistaking evolution for atheism and a confused version of evolution at that. You can be religious and believe that we evolved and survival of the fittest was the driver of that evolution and you could be atheist and not believe in evolution. Survival of the fittest doesn't mean we should kill off sick or old people. It merely suggests that people who are less genetically fit such as those prone to disease are less likely to procreate and pass on those genes. I think atheists want to help others because it is the right thing to do. You could argue that those morals are ingrained through religion, but that would be an incredible oversimplification.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Rob

      This post stinks of "schill" methinks.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Papa Smurf

      Then why do so many people blame religion for wars and killings, when our pre-human ancestors have been killing each other for millions of years before religion.

      Once religion was created that's when morals were formed, just take a look at the first book of the bible the first so called evil act of man kind was Cain killing Able.

      Morals are nothing more than more BS created by religion.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • heynow

      Morality was not invented by religious dogma. I'm going to call troll on this because I hate to think anyone is this dumb and still remembers to breathe.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Guest

      Actually morality more likely came into existence with communities. People banded together and looked out for each other and set rules. The original communities were based around agriculture, so technically agriculture is the basis of morals. Religion was then created to explain the unexplainable and it grew from there.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Horus

      Papa – Morals began with religion? In the words of Mcenroe....you cannot be serious. Morality is rooted in human awareness, and group survival. People still kill today; most even claim to believe in some God. You should read a little further back then 700 BCE (apprx beginning of OT).

      August 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • GodPot

      "why do so many people blame religion for wars and killings, when our pre-human ancestors have been killing each other for millions of years before religion."

      That's because we have evolved and invented better ways of communicating and can now see things from other cultures persepectives which makes us empathize instead of demonize. Religion on the other hand wants us to devolve back to our worst days of infighting and segregation where they round up all the non-believers and see if they float.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  9. Reality Check

    Who's more nuts? Those that believe there is a creator? Or those that believe the complexity of life and the universe just radomly happened? You need "faith' to believe either.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Mormons-R-Cult

      You might need faith, intelligent people do not.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • atheos

      Umm.... No, its not faith when you have evidence to back up your thoughts...

      Geeezus, have you ever opend a dictionairy and read the definitions of the words you use?

      August 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Estevan

      "Or those that believe the complexity of life and the universe just radomly happened?"

      Clearly you have no idea what you are talking about. You are simply repeating the same tired rationalizations spewed by ignorant believers.

      I don't know a single atheist who thinks that the universe and "complexity of life" just randomly happened. Not one. Not a single one. Go read some stuff not issued by religious groups or your church. Learn a little. Oh...and avoid "Pandas".

      August 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Vulpes

      Unfortunately for you ... you are wrong. You obviously are not a scientist. There are processes that are known which provide the reason things came about. Things happening by "accident" is not current scientific idea. This only shows the ignorance of the creationist.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Vulpes

      *CORRECTED for grammar*: Unfortunately for you ... you are wrong. You obviously are not a scientist. There exist processes which are known and provide reasons about how things are created. "Accidents" is not a scientific idea. This only shows the ignorance of the creationist. (Warning: Let me be a lesson. Don't type and fume ... 😉

      August 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  10. Hannah

    I have two degrees in structural engineering and my husband earned his master's degree in architecture from Yale. We are both practicing, conservative, evangelical Christians. Nearly everyone in my family has a masters degree or higher (including philosophy PhDs and MDs), and nearly everyone in my family is a practicing, conservative, evangelical Christian. While in New Haven we attended a conservative evangelical church that was full of Yale students, teachers, and alums who were all serious about their faith and following Christ. I appreciate this article bringing attention to the fact that academic intellect is not inversely proportional to faith (contrary to what some less informed atheists may claim).

    August 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Hannah

      And when I say "conservative" I mean theologically conservative, not politically.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  11. William Demuth

    Education is not intelligence, it is OFTEN indoctrination

    If one were to have studied the Nazi science of Phrenology for the ENTIRE duration of World War 2, you would have had accolades from your Fuhrer and a German equivalent to a masters degree.

    You would have then had about a year to use your "education" before you were hung at Nuremberg.

    The education of a Witch Doctor does not make him either moral, intelligent or usefull, but it probably gets you a cool mask and a grass uniform.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  12. Johnny

    ::shakes head::

    August 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  13. Jeff S

    FTA:
    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.”
    **
    So, religion is a status symbol. I can see that.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  14. Iceman

    @Brent Slensker
    You are correct: Science can not promise us anything. Science can not promise an end to war, terrorism, sickness, death, hunger, etc. Science is an empty hope,

    August 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Esteban

      Thus is life. There are no predetermined outcomes.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Hmm

      And religion is empty promises

      August 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Science is NOT supposed to be hope.

      Is a shovel hope? Is a turkey baster hope?

      These things and science are only tools, means to an end.

      Religion alas, claims to be the end itself (and the begining as well)

      It is just circular logic for those who fear the dark or want to manipulate their fellow man.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Iceman

      " Science can not promise an end to war, terrorism, sickness, death, hunger, etc. Science is an empty hope. "

      Hmmm... it (science) and the developments within can enable us to, if used properly to tackle things like sickness, etc...

      It is not an 'empty hope.'

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Rob

      An end to death? Have you considered carefully the consequences of such a wish? Think...harder...

      August 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  15. Mormons-R-Cult

    If they become more religious, then they are not educated. Truly educated people know it's all nonsense.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  16. CW

    Read some of the story....stopped reading where they had to let the "dumb" atheist's chime in though...Ha Ha.

    Anyway...I'm have a college education...and I'm "smart" enough to know that one...there is a God...Two...there is only one God...Three...the Bible IS the word of God...without ANY errors.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Mormons-R-Cult

      Nope.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Colin

      CW, no errors hey? Mind tracing the geneology of JC back about five or six generations? Please respond and provide source. Hint – start of two gospels.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • oakydoke

      In other words, you quit reading the article when it unraveled and showed that educated people are less likely to hold YOUR beliefs. Well, keep on truckin'... logical thinking isn't for everyone.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Mormons-R-Cult

      I don't read fiction, sorry.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • John Ladez

      I stopped reading your post after "I'm have a college education". Somehow I doubt you went to college.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Greg

      Which version of the bible has no errors since it was rewritten several times by several people for various control reasons? I agree with the one god point you are making though.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Esteban

      You're also smart enough... to speak in clips....way go...niceee....bullseye!

      August 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      CW

      Read some of the story....stopped reading where they had to let the "dumb" atheist's chime in though...Ha Ha.

      Anyway...I'm have a college education...
      ---------------
      Forgive me if I find this hard to believe. Unless you mean community college?

      August 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  17. WDinDallas

    at Brent Slensker: What do ditch diggers know?

    August 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  18. J.M.

    The complexity of this universe and its extraordinarily fined tuned balance, the massive amounts of information contained in DNA and in a cell, the perfect location of planet Earth in the solar system and in the galaxy for exploration of the universe and for life itself, and many other facts all point to intelligent design in the universe. Engineering and design always points to an intelligent designer. Also the fact that most human civilized societies agree that crimes like murder are inherently wrong, all these things point to a Creator. Also historical accounts from eye witnesses who gave up their lives for speaking about what they experienced is pretty compelling evidence

    August 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Mormons-R-Cult

      None of that points to intelligent design.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • sbp

      No, they don't. You can say they do, it doesn't make it so. And this idea that morality is a proof of god is so weak it's almost laughable. Hypothetically, L. Ron Hubbard could have taken pen to paper and written the Bible – word for word same as the Christian Bible – instead of Dianetics. Just made it up. It is POSSIBLE. And the same people who believe in a "divine" Bible could have believed the Hubbard Bible was divine. And acted morally because of it. In that case, if "morality" would be based on a lie.

      The fact is humans, like many animals (prairie dogs, for one), evolved as social beings because as a group, each one stood a better chance of surviving and therefore reproducing and sustaining it's gene pool. "Morality" evolved because it encouraged social behavior, which increased survival.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • oakydoke

      Your belief is part of a very ancient system to cope with the world. When you dont understand something, it's 'magic'. When you REALLY don't understand something, God must have done it.

      It is not logical, it is an emotional system you inherited from hundreds of thousands of years of evolution.

      Logic requires discipline.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Jeff S

      Yes, it can point to intelligent design, but it can also point to random coincidences. Engineering and design do not point to an intelligent designer. They point to someone that has been influenced by the world around them. And humans are the only animals that consider murder to be wrong. Other animals do not punish each other for "murder" or other crimes. So are you saying intelligent design is one set of rules for one species while everyone else operates under different rules? For an intelligent design I see a lot of inconsistencies when looking at the larger picture. That's not to say that sin't the case. I do not think there is enough evidence to make an informed decisions either way, but from where I sit I would not consider the entire body of work to be what I would consider intelligent design.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Jay

      @JM Yes, the odds of the universe and life developing are low. But if you should find yourself alive in a complex and ordered body, then the odds of your universe being complex and ordered is very close to 100%. If you found yourself in a physical body and your world was not complex and ordered, your body would likely deteriorate before you could even think about the situation. People often point to the low probability of the universe developing as it did without realizing that you would of course find yourself in such a situation if you were alive.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  19. wakeup333

    Some cultural traditions take centuries to end. Highly educated people once thought the earth was flat and the sun orbited around it. They could prove it mathematically. They were wrong. So education doesn't equal rightness.

    Faith, the blind belief in invisible, imaginary beings, is as old as the belief in a flat earth. Science advances as old theories are disproved by new facts. Faith ignores fact, science, history, repeatable experimental proof and common sense. Which is why the faith of believers hasn't changed for millennia.

    Though they reject old names of invisible, imaginary beings (Horus, Marduk, Odin, Thor, Zeus, Jupiter) believers are willing to die (or kill) in the name of their current invisible, imaginary beings (Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah). These believers are often just as educated as past believers in a flat earth.

    And just as wrong.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • conrad

      I think you've misunderstood 'faith'. Anyway, there are plenty of religious traditions out there that warn against faith in the way you are talking about it and instead invite sincere internal investigation within oneself. Through your superficial arguments you've closed yourself off from discovering the truth of who YOU are.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  20. bobcat2u

    Being smart vs being intelligent !!!!! Wow !!!!! That is an issue that can debated endlessly without coming to any concrete conclusion. Everyone has their own form of intelligence, but that sure doesn't mean they are smart. I've known some of the most intelligent people you could ever want to meet, but they are really the most stupid people when it comes to life . Now, the correllation between education is also a misnomer, as the undereducated have more of a tendency to use religion as a crutch. So, in that light you would have to admit that the less educated have an edge on the religious tendencies. It's, as usual, a fact of the media paying more attention to classes of people that are over a certain threshold of affluence.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
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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.