April 27th, 2012
04:01 PM ET
Study: Analytic thinking can decrease religious belief
By Becky Perlow, CNN
(CNN) - When was the last time you sat down and questioned your decision to believe in God?
According to a new study, that simple act could decrease your religious conviction – even if you’re a devout believer.
In the study, published Friday in the journal Science, researchers from Canada’s University of British Columbia used subtle stimuli to encourage analytical thinking. Results from the study found that analytical thinking could decrease religious belief.
“Religious belief is intuitive - and analytical thinking can undermine intuitive thinking,” said Ara Norenzayan, co-author of the study. “So when people are encouraged to think analytically, it can block intuitive thinking.”
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Some of the more than 650 Canadian and American participants in the study were shown images of artwork that encouraged analytic thinking, while another group was shown images that were not intended to produce such thinking.
One of the images used to trigger analytic thinking was of Rodin’s statue “The Thinker.” A previous study showed that such images improved performance on tests that indicate analytic thinking.
In addition to the artwork images, the religion study used other stimuli to promote analytical thinking.
After exposure to such stimuli, researchers gauged participants’ religious beliefs through a series of questions. Subjects who had performed analytical tasks were more likely to experience a decrease in religious belief than those who were not involved in such tasks. That included devout believers.
“There’s much more instability to religious belief than we recognize,” said Norenzayan, noting that life’s circumstances and experiences, from traumatic events to joyous occasions, can lead people to become more or less religious.
“Religion is such an important part of the world and we have so little understanding of it,” he added. “So regardless of what you think about religion, it’s important to understand it because it’s so important in the world.”
Norenzayan is quick to mention that the experiments did not turn devout believers into total atheists. But he speculated that if people habitually think analytically, like scientists or lawyers do, it would lead to less religious belief in the long run.
Robert McCauley, director of the Center for Mind, Brain and Culture at Emory University, and author of "Why religion is natural and science is not," found the study particularly interesting because he thought it was difficult to make even a minimal change in religious belief.
“It’s not likely you would argue someone out of a religious belief very often because they don’t hold those beliefs on argumentative or reflective grounds in the first place,” said McCauley, who believes religious beliefs rely primarily on intuitive thinking.
Analytical thinking alone does not necessarily lead to a decrease in religious belief, emphasized Norenzayan.
“There’s a combination of factors [as to] why people become believers or nonbelievers - this is only one piece of the puzzle,” Norenzayan said, explaining that his team doesn’t think analytical thinking is superior to intuitive thinking.
“It makes the story we need to tell about religion and religious belief all the more complicated,” said McCauley. “That’s what great scientific research does – ask more interesting questions.”
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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.
Just be you, God knows where your heart is. Faith is a struggle. But just know this. There is something more to this life, something beyond.
GOD DOESN'T EXIST
actually he does, too many things have happened to me where I believe. How do you explain things like the show long island medium, thats no fake
Just remember Will, that throughout history, every mystery ever solved by man turned out to be... not magic.
YouTube some James Randi.
"With the thoughts I'd be thinkin' I could be another Lincoln if I only had a brain!"
You see... some people believe the lie that its a sin to pick fruit from the tree of knowledge. Funny how the men that wrote the bible blame WOMEN for that! So your god made a woman from a guys rib. Sure. That totally happened. Right. Cling to your god and suckle from the teat of fear. You better not shout, you better not cry, better not pout I'm tellin' you why...
Jesus Christ is comin' to towwwwn! Or is it Allah? Vishnu? Pick your favorite! Trade with your friends! Collect 'em ALL!
Why won't God heal amputees? Seriously, or victims of Down's Syndrome? If miracle healing exists, why are these and a range of other things that we can't recover from naturally always off the list?
Would you believe then? Or would you dismiss it and find reasoning as you do for all the other miracles you witness?
If god exists he knows exactly what it would take for everyone to believe. He either does not care or does not exist.
@Just claims, no evidence: He does and he will. God bless you.
No sensible answer...
"Would you believe then? Or would you dismiss it and find reasoning as you do for all the other miracles you witness?"
Try me. What have you (or "God") got to lose? Are miracles that strenuous? The least that can happen is that some poor victims would be relieved of their suffering.
@Try Me: Not for God. Read my post below and I explain my miracle. Then explain it away as Mirosal did. How many times has God reached out to you and you turned your back on him?
Converted, I read your post. There was no miracle. There was only medical science. It's funny how every time someone claims "miracle", all you have to do is check the facts to discover that "miracles" are generally the product of human effort. Of course that doesn't make you feel special and blessed, so you'll keep crying miracle instead of crediting the people who did all the work.
Your "God" is impotent then, and not very smart, if 'he' can't figure out a way to convince *everyone* (each to his/her own measure) of 'his' existence.
Mirosal: "So, you have actual physical, concrete evidence that a "god" actually exists?? You'd be the first in 4 1/2 billion years to have it!! By all means, PLEASE, let's see it. You'll win a Nobel for sure next year if it pans out. Show us Atheists why we're wronf, and you're right. This is what we've been asking for. Time to step up, lay your cards down, and show us your winning hand."
Mirosal, how long have I been with you on these boards and still you don't understand?
Understand now, that with the atheists there *is no winning hand of evidence* – it will always be dis-believed. I do understand your viewpoint however. Someone says "I was healed!" but there's never any direct observable proof – it's always 'a friend's great aunt was healed' or some other rumour.
I was in the same disbelieving camp until I was healed.
Again, I know, it's just another post, like the great aunt's 'healing'. or other similar hearsay.
This is why I say that if anyone wants to find direct evidence of the supernatural, they MUST get off the posting boards, off the internet and go out into the world, find Christians preaching (preferably in 3rd world countries) and eventually you might witness a miracle or two yourself.
And with that I must bid you all good night!
Seek God with all your heart and he will be found.
You might even get to witness a miracle!
SO YOUR GOD ONLY PERFORMS MIRACLES IN THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES? WERE YOU HEALED IN A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY?
WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO GET AT?
DID GOD GROW ONE OF YOUR AMPUTATED LIMBS BACK? IF NOT THEN I'D SAY YOUR "HEALING" WAS PROBABLY JUST BULLSHIT. LIKE, WHEN I GOT STITCHES ONE TIME, I WENT TO CHURCH AND TOLD EVERYONE A WEEK LATER THAT THE CHRIST MAGICALLY HEALED MY OPEN GAPING GASH BUT IN REALITY THE DOCTOR'S WIZARD HANDS ARE WHAT DID THE STITCHES AND PUT THINGS IN PLACE SO MY SKIN COULD HEAL NORMALLY.
If you have direct evidence of ANYTHING aupernatural, just contact James Randi. He's got $1 million to give away if it's real.As far as my "disbelief", you are a little off the mark. My mind can be changed, IF you have the support your claim needs. You're the one who doesn't get it. It's just that simple. You say there is a "god", yet you'll readily dismiss the thousands upon thousands of other "gods" worshipped throughout history. All Atheists want to know is "WHY is yours real and all the others are not?" You'll agree with Atheists that all the others were not real, yet you claim yours is. Ok then, time to back up that claim. Show us. I don't know any simpler way to phrase it.
"Religion is natural and science is not."
This is true. You know what else is natural? Dying before you're 40. Illiteracy. Freezing in winter and broiling in summer. Periodic starvation. Lots of infant mortality. Parasites. Completely justified fear of the dark.
You know what's artificial? Medicine. Education. Housing. Agriculture. Clothing. Machines. Books. The internet. Basically the things that make life worth living. Where did all these come from? Science!
Love is natural and not a product of science (I still like science).
Love is not a product of religion, either.
>>>"Where did all these come from? Science!"
Which is why the Parochial schools often score higher in the Maths and Science. 🙂
I was agnostic if not athiest until God showed me how real it is. Now I believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost! So I say God bless us all!!
I'm sorry you had a delusional episode. I hope someday you overcome it and can come to see the world in a rational light again. It must be unfortunate to live in such an impaired state but the human mind is fragile after all......
Aezel, and we hope one day you see the light as well. 🙂
You know Aezel, I have questioned that also... but the way it happened is exactly as the scriptures state. Since then I have witnessed miracles and have had confirmation after confirmation from the Holy Spirit. God is real...we have spirits...there is life after this life.
What miralces have you witnessed? And were they docu'mented? Any other witnesses for these miralces?
Aezel, the true delusional state is the Atheistic belief in 'self'. This is truly unnatural and not the way we were meant to exist. The belief in self is devoid of meaning and very empty when you finally arrive toward the end of life. Religion ads more meaning to life than the emptiness that is Atheism.
@Mirosal: My wife was pregnant with twins. She was hospitalized at 23 weeks (in a very new hospital that specialized in premature births)... the doctors said they will do everything they can but she will NOT get past 30 weeks and to prepare for delivery at anytime. It was severe enough that they asked if they should even try to save them if they were to come tomorrow. On this day, I asked God why (as I was already converted)... It came to my mind that the power of God was going to be shown. She was induced at 38 weeks. Ahh... I know, there are reasons...it was medical science... I say NO... it was God!! Don't reason away the miracles we see...the sciences themselves are miracles showing the power and glory of God.
Come Unto Christ and believe.
Your little miralce was nothing more than intelligent physicians who are quite good at their jobs, not really a miracle. I have 3 children, I know about being a parent. Ok, something good happened. And you thanked "god" ... but when BAD things happen, do you also attribute that to your "god" as well, was it "god's will", or do you just say "the devil did it."?
LOL... as I said. You ask for a miracle and then you explain it away. How many times has God tried to show you and you turn your back. Repent and Come Unto Christ
Oh my god, converted, that is the lamest "miracle" story I have ever heard. The doctors saved your wife and your twins – you even describe how – and then your backward stone-aged as's attributes it to magic. I mean I'm glad your family is healthy but you should put down your book of magical spells and march straight out and thank every doctor, nurse, medical researcher, and educator who took care of you.
Converted, just because you want something to be a miracle, it doesn't mean that it really IS a miracle. "Miracles" like this happen ever day in decent hospitals. It's called science and training. No need for god when you have doctors who know what they are doing. Shame on you for not giving credit where it is due.
They will not come to Christ and be converted because they love darkness more then light, lest their deeds be exposed for what they are. John 3:19,20 – Christ' own words
If Christ Himself would come again and do great miracles before them, they would do the same as they did to Him then...
So Momoya, for how many years were you a church-goer?
How is a decrease in religious belief measured? I would consider Atheist to be just as religious as Christians.
And you would be wrong. Atheism is not a religion. Atheists have nothing in common with each other besides the fact that they don't believe a God exists.
In the words of Bill Maher: "Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a hot s e x position."
That doesn't even make nonsense. Atheism is passive. The crap that gets broadcast is social/political agendas of people who have simple declared religious idealism anathema. Plain and simple: atheism is the absence of belief in a deity. There's no process, no organization, no philosophy...it's a non-act. Most people are actually just one god away from being atheists having tossed polytheism to the ages. Plenty are atheists just by the simple act of not really thinking about religion at all.
And I suppose to you "off" is a tv channel....
Well it is interesting that you Twinbotxenu feel that way and Kenny and others that are witnessed to very active Atheism, see it differently. I would also agree because Faith is a relationship with God. Either towards or away. What we see here in the Belief Blog are Atheist just as vocal and just as proud of their status as the Faithful are to theirs.
>>>”Plenty are atheists just by the simple act of not really thinking about religion at all.”
I would disagree, again the Atheist think about Religion a awful lot. Even an unfavorable thought is still a thought. Atheism is well on its way to being a Religion.
BELIEVERS USUALLY SAY THAT ATHEISM IS A RELIGION BUT ONLY DO IT TO MAKE ATHEISTS ANGRY. I THINK IT'S PRETTY FUNNY THAT THEIR KIND DO THIS SO OFTEN. IS IT ALL YOU HAVE? WHAT I MEAN IS, YOU DON'T HAVE ANY PROOF OF EXISTENCE OF ANY DEITY (THERE ARE PLENTY TO CHOOSE FROM) AND ALL YOU CAN SAY IS "ATHEISM IS ALMOST A RELIGION." THAT'S PRETTY FUKKIN STUPID. KINDA LIKE WHEN BELIEVERS DENOUNCE THEIR RELIGION AS A CULT. BELIEVERS FEAR WORDS AND THINK THAT ATHEISTS FEAR WORDS EQUALLY. SORRY, BUT I'M ABOUT AS AFRAID OF BEING CALLED RELIGIOUS AS I AM OF KNOWING THAT THE SUN WILL RISE IN THE MORNING.
SINCE YOUR KIND ARE SO AFRAID OF WORDS, WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS SO AFRAID OF THE WORD "CULT?" ALL RELIGIONS ARE CULTS BY DEFINITION. BUT TELL A BELIEVER IT IS IN A CULT AND IT'S LIKE TRYING TO PUT A CAT IN A BATHTUB. THEY FREAK OUT HARD. WHY ARE BELIEVERS SUCH PANSIES WHEN CERTAIN WORDS ARE USED TO ACCURATELY DESCRIBE WHAT THEY ARE?
I HAVE TO TAKE THE MOST PROFOUND DUMP. YOU HAVE NO IDEA. I'M GOING TO NEED A BIBLE TO WIPE CLEAN AFTER THIS ONE. BBL
Goodnight, all. Have a wonderful and safe weekend.
Religion and science are helpful tools in describing the world we live in, one is limited on the physical aspects, where as the other, is limited in the spiritual.
Animals, like us, have instinctive behavior carried by our DNA. Spiritual reason never involves matters of the physical world, only the morals and ethics that shapes the actions of humanity, or what makes us human. What we focus on is what we ourselves will ultimatly become; if the physical world is what governs you, you will go back to it. If the spiritual world is what you focus on, that's where you will be headed towards within this life (or the next?). We are not suppose to know what happens in the afterlife, if we did, evolution wouldn't be able to do it's job properly by teaching us our lessons.
Name one thing any religion ever has proven true. Making up answers and saying "god did it" doesn't explaine anything.
AFTERLIFE? LOL THERE ISN'T ONE, SILLY HIPPIE.
"Spirituality" is the modern, politically correct term for superst¡tion.
THIS IS THE BEST ARTICLE EVER
Animals, like us, have instinctive behavior carried by our DNA. Spiritual reason never involves matters of the physical world, only the morals and ethics that shapes the actions of humanity, or what makes us human. What we focus on is what we ourselves will ultimatly become; if the physical world is what governs you, you will go back to it. If the spiritual world is what you focus on, that's where you will be headed towards within this life (or the next?). We are not suppose to know what happens in the afterlife, if we did, evolution wouldn't be able to do it's job properly by teaching us...
Aezel: "he made up his mind because he actually examined the evidence, not the pretend evidence..."
So what's the REAL evidence as to the Faith (as opposed to the "pretend evidence")?
Also, since logical fallacy is a popular topic here from time to time, may I point out your ad hominem – "people like you"? What next, a straw man?
Yes, "people like you." That is not an ad hominem. You are a person who fielded poor references and false evidence. Therefore you were grouped with other people who do the same thing. I didn't not imply you had anything further in common with them other than presenting material as evidence which does not in fact meet the criteria.
whoops "did not imply"....
How is my evidence false? You havent even seen the evidence.
Look, Ive talked enough with the atheists here to know that they've already formed an opinion. The atheists dont like belief because they believe"
1. Science, especially fossils and Darwinism have proven Bible Faith false.
2. The God that the Bible does reveal isnt humanistic enough for the atheist sense of ethics/morality.
Therefore, for an atheist to adopt a belief in God would be tantamount to going insane (and evil too, because of reason #2).
I understand your mind-set. I also believe that atheists are way extreme and unwilling to look at evidence impartially.
I have looked at the evidence from both sides, for I was an agnostic for many years.
Hint: You can believe in all the 'old earth' stuff and still have Christian faith. Many scientists do.
So, you have actual physical, concrete evidence that a "god" actually exists?? You'd be the first in 4 1/2 billion years to have it!! By all means, PLEASE, let's see it. You'll win a Nobel for sure next year if it pans out. Show us Atheists why we're wronf, and you're right. This is what we've been asking for. Time to step up, lay your cards down, and show us your winning hand.
"How is my evidence false?"
The words "Lee Strobel" came out of your mouth. A person who is so soundly and utterly rejected by the scientific community it is comical.
"atheists are way extreme"
Demanding that you back up your claims with evidence and not just letting it slide sometimes is extreme huh?
Well in that case I'm going to make four statements:
1.) The sky is blue.
2.) Rock is hard.
3.) Pink unicorns live on Mars.
4.) Grass is green.
Oh what? You aren't willing to just let my statement that pink unicorns live on Mars slide? You must be an extremist!
The article confuses religion with belief in God. You can believe in God and have no association with religion whatsoever. On the other hand, I have known church goers who told me in private that they don't believe in God. Religion is this country is a social thing.
I GO TO CHURCH TO GET TRASHED AND LAID
Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:
† Atheism is a religion that makes you stupid, ignorant & blind.
† Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
† Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet Atheists)
† Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
† Atheists causes problem in our religious society.
† Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
† Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
† Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Hitler (Denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders.
† No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
† Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
† Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
† Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
† Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
† Most Atheists are uneducated... No Atheists could run for presidency.
† Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
† Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
† All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
† The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
† Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
**Only 2-3% of the U.S. are Atheists/Agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**
† † Our Prayers goes to Atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †
ATHEISTS WILL BURN IN HELLFIRE BRIMSTONE WHERE THEY BELONG
Dude, you really, *really* need to adjust your medication.
"Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith."
The funny thing is, actually the field of psychology classifies religious belief as a type of schizophrenia.
So saith the Jezuz Zombie Bot ... bergzzzzzzz Jo–hn th-r-ee SIX-teen.. brzkdzzzz
Now if the 80% would start acting like it we could convert a few a our brothers and sisters out there.
Or in other words, you are too afraid to critically think about why you believe what you do, therefore you will lie about, and wish the worst upon people who don't share that belief. The funny part is, you think that this makes you a good person.
Your little diatribe is flawed from the start. Your point #1 stated that Atheism is a religion. You'd better look up the definition of "religion" in any dictionary, then tell us if Atheism fits that criteria. Calling Atheism a religion is like saying bald is a hair color, or that abstinence is a se'x position. Since your intial point is flawed, the rest of your theorem falls apart due to a faulty premise. How's that for critical thinking?
Here is the really funny part of this post: I'm about 50/50 that it is a poe. That is how bad the religious have become in America. You can't even be sure anymore what is parody and what is genuine.
I find your name ironic, to say the least. Nobody would ever imagine Jesus saying what you just did. That makes you a poor example of a Christian.
Wow. I think you should be looking over your shoulder, you just never know when the devil or maybe an atheist is going to convert you!
You people are blind. You need to convert because the Bible tells you what will happen to your soul. So if you don't seek out the Lord Jesus, He will put you where you belong. You will be cast away from HIM into eternal darkness. People who call themselves atheists don't deserve anything good in this life or the next. They are all cancerous garbage and are filth and should all be homeless so they have no choice but to cry out to God for help.
Anyone who was questioning their faith, and then read this, is now an atheist. Who wouldn't want to oppose this worldview?
Your god is a pr.ick and wouldn't deserve worship.....screw him.
Religion is Satan's perfect storm, now you know who you really work for!
Your head is a mess! 100 year war. 30 year war. Spanish inquisition. The holocaust killed 6,000,000 Jews and various Slaves and Gypsies. A major cause of human death, religion. Catholics and Protestants marched Jews to the ovens and then went to church on Sunday. Religion in the rest of the world is no better! There is a God. There is no God. Neither position is testable.
@WWJD: I would describe myself as a spiritual person. But I have to say, if there is an afterlife and there's a place you're going to and another place that the atheists on this board are going to, I'm hoping they'll take pity on me and let me come with them. I can't imagine eternity with your ilk. I'd say "Oh. My. God," at this point but the irony would be too much even for me.
The Bible is a book, right? Do you blindly follow everything ever written by people in books?
Also, there seems to be much hate in you. Again, so unlike Jesus.
The irony is that people like WWJD, if they died and found themselves in a heaven with atheists and other non-Christians, would probably rebel against God thinking themselves superior and volunteer to enter hell just like the story of how Satan ended up there. For them, being Christian isn't worth it without the ent.itlement of feeling superior, and part of an elite. Fascist, or what?
I did't think we needed a study that says critical thinking makes people doubt things. All we needed was the definition of critical thinking. Critical thinking is exactly that. Casting intentional doubt on something to see if it holds any water. I thought everyone knew that there was a reason why these things are maters of "faith" and when they are deeply criticized they start to fall apart. Even the biblical policy on thinking critically about faith is "Yeah...don't do that." Matthew 17
Religion can only grow in dark, dank places untouched by the bright, shining rays of reason.
You make the mistake of thinking that religious belief or christianity precisely does not hold when critically scrutinized. It does. You only need to search and ask with n open mind.
Both CAN coexist but often fundamentalists ignore reason.
Now, I can leave happy.
I feel like I've been in some kind of super non-denominational stellar church for the last hour.
Goodnight, one and all.
Don't let the bed bugs bite!
Momoya: "Here's a reply I made for Chad that'll do here, too".
Well, that's the 1st line, no mention of me – also I didnt bring up "argument" in the particular post you were replying to, but ok, i accept your reply.
Also, my suggestion to Supra to maybe check out a few books dealing with the subject was simply because he/she was demonstrating a possible deism or agnosticism rather than an "I've already made up my mind" atheism.
I believe it's very reare for an outspoken atheist to find faith, so I don't waste time trying to witness so much or even recommend, but if someone is on the fence, why not invite him/her to investigate the claims of Christ?
Btw, I notice the flippant way you dismissed my statement of witnessing a miracle. I see this as proof of someone who does NOT have an inquiring mind regarding the Faith; you've already made up your mind, evidence be d a m n e d.
"you've already made up your mind, evidence be d a m n e d."
No he made up his mind because he actually examined the evidence, not the pretend evidence that people like you roll out. Lee Strobel making things up off the top of his head and writing them down in a book ≠ actual evidence.
So, since you put it out there, what exactly was the nature of this "supernatural miracle of healing" that you witnessed? And how was it physically impossible by any natural phenomenon (the definition of a miracle)?
I was telling the truth.. If you'd rather believe I was being flippant, I'll just have to live with that, but I was putting myself out there for you.. Why do you think it took me so long to leave my faith.. It was HARD and painful and it sucked.. I did not enjoy it.. But a person does not choose what to believe, they are compelled to believe according to the evidence as weighed by ones vital principles.. If a person could "choose" to believe, I would have.. I was just too dedicated to logic and reason and not lying to myself.. It is all just the myth of your culture.. No amount of wishing or praying it otherwise helps..
YOU WITNESSED A MIRACLE? BAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
REALLY? DID YOU SEE SOMEONE'S AMPUTATED LIMB GROW BACK?