Study: Analytic thinking can decrease religious belief
An exhibit of Rodin's "The Thinker."
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.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Culture & Science

soundoff (3,468 Responses)
  1. FurGods

    There is a 'LIE' in every be.LIE.f – Do no harm & do as you will – this is the way – Love is the only god we need in this world – Jesus [if his story is real] was not a lover of life!! he was a pathetic loser – with no life, and his death simply created more drones who hate life and dream of an 'afterlife' – in reality and 'clinically'; that is sick. Muhammad was a murdering pedophile. Moses was a jerk [couldn't find his way – lost 40 yrs in a desert that can be crossed on a camel in 1 week – all he needed to do , is find the coastline and follow it north]. Religions divide people and cause harm to all life – look around you & watch how you all [religious people] treat others who don't belief like you do – and last – repetative thinking & reciting of one book turns people into dummies. exactlly what we have today. a world full of IDIOTS.

    April 28, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • E

      The only idiocy I see here is someone stamping on everyone else's culture.

      Way to set an example.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:04 am |
    • Ned

      Well said, E

      April 28, 2012 at 3:51 am |
    • bob

      Christians stamp on many other cultures as well.

      April 28, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  2. Read: "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl

    and come to your own conclusions.

    April 28, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • jeff

      Try also "The Denial of Death" by Ernest Becker, or "I and Thou" by Martin Buber. The former draws heavily on Soren Kierkegaard, who approached Christian thought via Existentialism.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:11 am |
  3. Willie

    Why do you think religious leaders have to work so hard? Of course critical thinking decreases belief. Belief is the domain of a closed mind.

    April 28, 2012 at 2:59 am |
  4. Ned

    I live in a world of scientific research among critical thinkers, most of whom are religious. I know a lot of scientists who are humble enough to recognize that they don't and can't know everything on the subject.

    Religious principles have grounded us through the ages; most agnostics of today stand on the shoulders of their religious ancestors. The very cornerstone of our nation is built on religious freedom, a remarkable concept that allows all men to follow their own spiritual (or non-spiritual) path, that emerges and grows over a lifetime. That's why it is saddening to hear the mocking, smug, self righteous voices of some agnostic/atheists who spit on the beliefs of those that are religious. It's a precious gift our founders gave us, and we should respect that everyone has the right to their own belief system, and the right to very personal growth. Otherwise, we might as well live in the old Soviet Union or Iran.

    April 28, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • E

      Replace atheist extremist with religious extremist, and you have the same problem.

      People imposing their wills on others at the cost of free thought.

      I thank all parties to keep the discourse civil, and let each of us arrive at our own beliefs and conclusions.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:00 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      I honestly don't know of a scientific field where most research scientists are believers. Nor do I know any scientists at all who do not recognize how little they know (the more one knows, the more one realizes how much they don't know). I suspect you are misrepresenting some aspect of your story.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • Dun

      Look, Ned, I am not being smug, arrogant, hateful, or violent when I say that religion is a delusional belief system.

      I happen to be very intent on protecting the human rights of every single person on the Earth.
      To this end I seek to find ways to end every kind of mental illness, just trying to be helpful here, wanting everyone to be as healthy and happy as they can be without encroaching or violating the human rights of everyone else.

      If you suffer from schizophrenia, I do not want you around children, do not want you to be in charge of anything where your schizophrenia could be a "problem" and definitely do not want you chiming in on what sort of legislation we need to put up for a vote in Congress or any government function.
      Your schizophrenic delusion does not have any rights as far as I'm concerned. It does not even deal with reality nor does it have any basis in truth or fact. Schizoid delusions are not corporate bodies, do not have the right to be expressed in such a way that it can be damaging to other people, especially children.

      I am against religious freedom even though I am realistic about it and know that as long as your expression of your schizoid delusions do not cause damage, we can live in relative peace together wherever we may be.
      But as a legitimate basis for real-world actions, motivations, or decision-making? Hell no.
      Mental illness is an illness. It is an affliction, a burden on us all. We must defend ourselves from crazy people, surely you agree?

      April 28, 2012 at 3:25 am |
    • Ned

      Not misrepresenting. I live in a religious community, where the majority of the scientists in the department are religious. They are not dumb, by any stretch of the imagination. Critical thinking does not automatically exclude religious belief.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:56 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      These wouldn't happen to be "Creation Scientists" would they?

      April 28, 2012 at 4:21 am |
    • Dun

      If those "scientists" (and I would bet you are using that term extremely loosely) truly believe in a delusion in the face of facts and science to the contrary, then they would probably not make very good "scientists" at all and their work should be reviewed and evaluated to see if they have allowed their schizophrenic bias to intrude upon their duties.
      If they know how to keep their religion separate from their public life, then I have other things to worry about and would not seek to terminate their employment on the behalf of the public's interest in having false science excluded from affecting them in a negative way.

      April 28, 2012 at 5:08 am |
  5. It is God's Wish

    ... for Stephen Hawking to critically-think into a pair of diapers.

    April 28, 2012 at 2:54 am |
    • tallulah13

      You are a horrible person. Really. Only the worst sort of person imaginable would make jokes about a disease like ALS. I bet you're a christian.

      April 29, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  6. Gordon

    The research only gave a partial answer.

    For those who have little faith, more analytical thinking only decreases faith they never had in the first place.
    For those with strong faith, more analytical thinking gives stronger conviction of faith.

    So the analytical thinking can weed out deceived ones who think they have faith but they don't.

    April 28, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • bob

      The deceived ones are all deceived by the Religious Right who if you really read the word of Christ and understood it you would have to conclude that the Religious Right is actually a collective Anti-Christ.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • Willie

      Typical cop-out answer. Good luck in your imaginary afterlife.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:07 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      Gordon, given how quickly you dismiss their results, you clearly have done more research on this subject than the authors of the study. Could you point me to some of your publications?

      April 28, 2012 at 3:11 am |
    • Dun

      No, the stronger the indoctrination, the more likely that bias will skew any analysis towards the tenets of the belief.
      This is true for every religion.
      There is no "faith" that is not delusional.
      To believe anything that is demonstrably untrue and imaginary is the very definition of delusional.
      Schizophrenia is a very real mental illness. It affects billions of people in the world today. Just because there are so many schizophrenics does not mean that their delusions are true.
      Their sincerity does not mean their delusions are true.
      And the skewed results of their clearly biased pseudo-analyses are not true. Just because they engage in what they call "reasoning" or "analysis" does not mean that their results are accurate, true, realistic, or even sane.
      You just cannot get around this fact. It will always be there. Delusion is not rational.
      Any priest can rationalize a familiar delusion as part of their duties and crank out utter tripe as a result. That does not in any way give any legitimacy to them, their religion, their premises, or their "results" which are pure BS.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • Ned

      Dun believes that every religious person is schizophrenic? Incredible.

      April 28, 2012 at 4:06 am |
    • Dun

      Can you prove otherwise? I think not.

      April 28, 2012 at 5:10 am |
  7. james A.

    Everyone believes in God in some way, shape, or form; whether this is the inscrutable face of nature, or the flesh and blood face of a man – or anything in between. Organized religions, on the other hand, are little more than independent political organizations, created by people who seek to control other people. Critical thinking – especially the pursuit of knowledge − should actually help to strengthen faith in God, while weakening the dependence on others to define God for you.

    April 28, 2012 at 2:50 am |
    • Jim

      This always bugs me when I hear it - no, not everyone believes in God. Just because you can't understand the concept of atheism doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I don't believe in any higher power or higher order at all I don't see the need for it. In the great scheme of things, humanity is completely insignificant and unbelievably temporary on a cosmic scale. Just because some people feel the need to assign particular significance to our unimportant species on our unimportant planet doesn't mean everyone does.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:07 am |
    • Willie

      That is ridiculous. I don't believe in any god or higher power.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • michael

      Jim, if God created the Universe then I would imagine He is responsible for far more than what exists on this planet. It's men who want to feel they're the most important thing which doesn't make it reality.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:38 am |
    • tallulah13

      No, James. I do not believe in a god. You are spouting complete nonsense in order to rationalize your own faith in something for which there is no proof.

      April 29, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  8. Shakakaa

    WWJD = Less inclined to commit independent thinking = More prone to blindly submit to authority = Believes that the probable and the possible have nearly equal chance of occurring = Not difficult to imagine as a Nazi in Germany around the time of World War II = Testament to this study

    April 28, 2012 at 2:43 am |
    • WWJD

      The nazis were an atheist regime.

      Try again.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:49 am |

      CASE CLOSED!!!


      April 28, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • E


      False. Nazi's worked actively to promote Christianity.

      Do a wikipedia search before you spout any more nonsense.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • preacherman

      Yeah thats why they wore iron crosses and said "God is on our side."

      April 28, 2012 at 2:53 am |
    • E

      albeit a messed up form of it.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:55 am |
    • Dun

      The Nazis were an extremely right-wing Christian-nation movement made up of Lutherans and Catholics.
      We have the proof. They killed Jews because the Jews were "Christ-killers" and all the other anti-Jew nonsense they got from Martin Luther's infamous anti-Jew pamphlet, some other nationalist sources, and from the Vatican and Lutheran Brotherhood.

      Take your revisionist propaganda and shove it. We don't need liars here. Or maybe you truly believe the BS you're spouting.
      Go read Hitler's own book. Go read up on the Christian "warriors" that sought a Christian national theocracy in Germany.
      They were called Nazis. Nazi Germany was a theocracy. Hitler might have been pretending, but the whole movement was a nationalist theocracy movement. Read up on it. You'll see you're quite wrong about the Nazi Party.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • Muzzleblast

      There is not a single doctrine or belief in all of humanity that has not been twisted to suit the evil intentions of men. Hitler and the Nazis were as Christians as the fanatics who flew those planes into the WTC were Muslims.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      The Nazis were indeed Christians, and the 9/11 fanatics were indeed Muslims. You can't pretend they weren't just because it's inconvenient to your worldview.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:19 am |
    • Muzzleblast

      False Dichotomy, spoken like a true Atheist. Just because you claim to be that does not mean that you are. The Nazis and the WTC fanatics contradicted everything those religions stand for. Atheists like you don't understand this one true fact about people who practice any religion.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • michael

      Wow, the believers are striving to look really really dumb. The Nazis weren't Christian???? The 9/11 terrorists weren't Muslims???? Wow. The early days of the Nazis are lining up perfectly with the american evangelical/ fundamental movement of today.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • Dun

      They only contradict your own personal interpretation. Your delusion is only slightly different from theirs.
      They cherry-picked stuff that you do not cherry-pick. That's it.
      Schizoids love the "no true Scotsman" argument yet their delusion can be individually "interpreted" to mean literally anything, giving the convenient "I'm a true believer and they are not" bias to everything they see.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:44 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      Muzzleblast, I do indeed understand that. But they would likely say the same thing about you. As far as I know you don't have the ultimate authority to decide whose Christianity counts and whose doesn't. They read the same holy book and probably believe just as strongly as you do that their way is right. You can't pretend they don't count – they are just as real as you are.

      April 28, 2012 at 4:25 am |
    • tallulah13

      The Nazis were primarily catholic or lutheran. WWJD is primarily an idiot.

      April 29, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  9. Plain Ol' Dreamer

    FurGods wrote on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 2:12 am, stating, "Religions are poison to humanity – they are worthless & useless – all made up by a bunch of narcies – they divide humanity – dilute the mind and create confusion & conflict especially at the end of one's life – when one realises the futility of religious beliefs – people believe because they don't have the mental capacity to THINK – simple; more than 90% of people use less than 10% of their mentals = more than 90% of people are beliefers. All wars and human conflict are caused at their roots by religious beliefs – look at muslims and how they live their lives, in utter dispair and ignorance. You want to worship someone ??? find Real Love inside your being and share that with another – we don't need gods to tell us to [love] everyone !! that is impossible . what we need is for each one to love just one [truly & fully] – each one LOVE one – 1/2 love the other 1/2 – this is how simple true LOVE is – that is the true path towards true enlightenment and evolution beyond the restraints of the 'human condition' – truly !! all the gods are DEAD ... it is time for us to bury them for good & the good and of our children's future – it will never happen! because humans simply can't overcome their limited mental abilities to rise above this idiotic idea [religions] that divide and seperate all of us – wake up and smell the stench that religions spread over our beautiful planet ..."

    I saw God the other day, in the eyes of my prescious brother 10 years my younger! As I looked into my brother's eyes I saw God's pain and anguish and as I looked ever deeper into my brother's eyes, I saw God wanting me to pitty my brother and show to Him the mercies I can so freely give my brother and overlook his alcoholism's stranglehold in myn brother's Life! I see God's unabated wants for me to repent forever of my sinfulness past toward my brother's youngness even though I was but 12 and he was 2 or 3! I remember well that sinfulness Act and do make penance almost every day to my brother's wants and his needs! The Times are now passing ever more swiftly as I age and yet I will never forget until my last breath is taken, my sinful past! In my brother's eyes are the things I do cherish most! My brother's eyeing Love for his children and their children is what keeps him wanting to live on! If not for his children, my brother would take his own life in a minute! I know my brother all too well! His eyes are my doorway to God!

    April 28, 2012 at 2:43 am |
  10. Miklan

    Who woulda guessed????

    April 28, 2012 at 2:40 am |
  11. EricKuma

    Science and Religion are two separate things.
    Confusing them is stupid.
    Bam! Logic and Intuition.
    Scientist are historically famous as both Religious and Non-Religious people.
    WoW! what a crazy paradox that is...

    April 28, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • Dun

      When I was a believer, I used every bit of my knowledge of science, mixed it with my imagination, and came up with some rather extreme-sounding (from a science angle) rationalizations to explain, to my own satisfaction, how certain things in the Bible could possibly work and therefore be "true" as long as one did not examine the basic premises of any of it.

      I would have been a good defender of "intelligent design" nonsense, but most of that was already clearly irrational to me from the start and so I never got that far. It helped that I used to read tons of science fiction, as it gave me a lively imagination.
      But in the end the more I examined each premise, it fell before simple, clear logic based on scientific facts and epistemology and thus I was left with zero religious delusions and a very large amount of anger from the sheer waste of time, energy, effort, devotion, money, resources, relationships, and all that.
      I am one of the angrier atheists in the world. I have a very good idea of the extent of the damage religion has caused to the human race throughout our existence. There will be no safety, no health, no sanity, and no equal rights or freedoms until we eliminate religion as a respected basis from which to form our decisions and thought processes.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • momoya

      Thanks for that, Dun.. I had a similar experience, but because I was so brainwashed the process took a long time.. Religion fvcked up my mind pretty good, but I'm not really angry about it because those people who brainwashed me thought they were doing the right thing..

      I do get angry sometimes when god believers completely refuse to follow their own logical arguments out to their conclusion.. It's frustrating to debate with people who will drop their position the second it seems uncomfortable and switch to a completely different issue.. I wish there was a way to track which arguments have already been soundly defeated for each believer.. Believers shouldn't put out Pascal's Wager for instance and have it totally beaten down, and then the next day they trot that stupid argument out all over again... That's the sort of tactic I just can't respect and it really makes me pity the reasoning power of the person who uses that tactic (as soooo many belivers do).

      April 28, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  12. =G=

    As it should.

    April 28, 2012 at 2:31 am |
  13. WWJD

    If a demon in hell is ripping the arms off of an atheist in hell and the demon asks, "do you believe in God now?" What will the atheist say? Do you believe there is enough evidence when your soul is in eternal torment? Would you be ok with that? Or should you think it maybe better to just convert now and believe that Jesus is your savior so that you can experience the real joys later on? We have only a few years here on this Earth. When Jesus returns, will you be getting the mark of the beast stamped on you, or will you be called to him by his side in the sky? You have a choice and all you atheists are making the wrong one by pretending that God does not exist. If you reject the Lord, then you deserve to be with the demons.

    April 28, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • doctorbabaguy

      I would rather encounter a thinking demon than an unthinking god.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • Mark

      The only problem with being an atheist is not having the opportunity to say "I told you so."

      April 28, 2012 at 2:40 am |
    • Leif

      The atheist will wake up from the dream, because demons are about as real as Bigfoot.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • E

      Many prominent Christians were deep analytical thinkers.

      Religion and analytical thinking may affect each other, but they are not mutually exclusive.

      What I find unfortunate is WWJD's behavior. No different than Pharisees that Jesus railed against in the day.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • bob

      When the Religious Right person is burning in hell he asks the devil and he says well Jesus Christ was Gay and you voted against his people.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • bob

      Actually it is the Religious Right that is no different then the Pharisees and he would call them the same thing: HYPOCRITE, HYPOCRITE, HYPOCRITE, HYPOCRITE, ...

      April 28, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • syntax

      You will remember Jesus supposed he would return before many of those listening to him had died. Well, he flunked the test!

      April 28, 2012 at 3:33 am |
    • momoya

      You think it makes sense for your god to give us "free will" for a fraction of a second (eternally speaking) and then dominate us and take away our free will for eternal torture because we didn't win a game we didn't know we were even playing?!? Really?? That seems amazingly stupid for an all-wise, all-powerful god.

      April 28, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • tallulah13


      What a silly premise. There is no more proof of heaven or hell than there is of Valhalla or the Elysian Fields. Are you trying to intimidate atheists with ridiculous threats? I'm sorry. I'm an adult. I am not afraid of your boogie man because there is no evidence to indicate he exists.

      April 29, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  14. Ein Zuschauer

    I am not certain Saint Thomas Aquinas would agree

    April 28, 2012 at 2:26 am |
  15. Scott Allen

    Another article written by an non-Christian trying make Christians not-believe. Good luck buckwheat – God created our brain and knowledge: he's not afraid of critical thinking; after all, he created it.

    April 28, 2012 at 2:21 am |
    • WWJD

      He is a bully just like the man in this article.


      April 28, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • WWJD

      Jesus warned us that in the end times these things would happen. Jesus will return soon.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • Richie

      I don't think Jesus would approve of namecalling, darling.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:45 am |
    • bill constantine

      Religion is a man made thing. . Mosl.ems, christians, Jews? and others. I would have to agree with that. The moslems think that we are nuts, The Jews he same, and us feel hat they are nuts. so all f this is a man made religioon..Stop and think. The moslems will kill you if you disagree with them..

      April 28, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • tallulah13

      In other words, Scott Allen and WWJD will not be attempting any analytiucal thinking. It scares them.

      April 29, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • tallulah13

      The correct spelling is actually "analytical". Sorry. Keyboard issues.

      April 29, 2012 at 12:56 am |
  16. WWJD

    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 † †


    April 28, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • Jez

      Now for a reality check: Change "Atheism" for "Religion". Now you are reading the truth.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • Jez

      By the way, you're funny! Do you really believe in a red guy with a pitchfork and a pointy tail, with cloven tap shoes? Oh – let's not forget the curvy horns! Seriously?

      April 28, 2012 at 2:21 am |
    • dwerbil

      What a bo-bo. Everybody is Atheist; they just don't realize it.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:22 am |
    • E

      A nice example of WWJ not D ...

      So much for not casting the stone ...

      April 28, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • Thinking Atheist

      It doesn't surprise me that all your information is incorrect. Most religious people don't try to understand anything outside their bubble, a true shame. This is why humanities progression is being slowed down, people that are ignorant like you, and spread it.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • WWJD

      You fail to take into consideration atheists are all bullies, liars and deviants. They all claim that Christians are in a bubble, when it is YOU that is in the bubble. Jesus lifts us out of that bubble so our eyes are opened to all things. You think science, or that new iphone gadget are going to save your soul? Get real.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:35 am |

      For someone supposedly not "stupid, ignorant & blind", you sure aren't opening yourself up to a lot of possibilities to discussion. Do you actually want to help us poor sinners or do you just want to tell us how wrong we are for believing the wrong things? Because I have to tell you, your behavior is very much discouraging anyone from following your religion.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • Mirosal

      Oh no ..WWJD is using threats of eternal fire and suffering if I don't believe what he believes. Last time I checked, the Inquisitions and witch-burnings were done away with. Are you bringing them back? Is the use of threats the only way you can win any converts? You do know that the use of coersion and extortion are illegal in this country, don't you? No one believed in any kind of "hell" until Xtianity reared its head. Just another way to attempt control of the masses. By the way, you do know that IF Jesus existed, he certainly was NOT a white man, right?

      April 28, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • tallulah13

      WWJD is either a troll or liar. Either way, he/she is not just breaking, but shattering that whole "thou shalt not bear false witness" commandment. I guess WWJD thinks that his god is too stupid to notice that one of his followers is not only committing a major sin, but is committing it repeatedly and in a very public place. If there is indeed a god, WWJD will be burning in hell with the atheists.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • WWJD

      No one is being threatened. I'm telling you that you will be judged by the Lord Jesus someday. The choices you make in this life will determine that judgement.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • E

      And you would presume to know Jesus's judgment?

      THAT's presumptious.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:49 am |
  17. Jez

    "Study: Analytic thinking can decrease religious belief"
    Was someone actually paid for this ingenious article??...

    April 28, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • bill constantine

      Religion is a cancer? am I correct . How many humans are killed everyday due to others religious beliefs. Even women (females) are subjucted to this. think ing. . Women have balls, only theirs are in the sshape of breasts. Are you a thinker???Bill the Greek..

      April 28, 2012 at 2:52 am |
  18. FurGods

    Religions are poison to humanity – they are worthless & useless – all made up by a bunch of narcies – they divide humanity – dilute the mind and create confusion & conflict especially at the end of one's life – when one realises the futility of religious beliefs – people believe because they don't have the mental capacity to THINK – simple; more than 90% of people use less than 10% of their mentals = more than 90% of people are beliefers. All wars and human conflict are caused at their roots by religious beliefs – look at muslims and how they live their lives, in utter dispair and ignorance. You want to worship someone ??? find Real Love inside your being and share that with another – we don't need gods to tell us to [love] everyone !! that is impossible . what we need is for each one to love just one [truly & fully] – each one LOVE one – 1/2 love the other 1/2 – this is how simple true LOVE is – that is the true path towards true enlightenment and evolution beyond the restraints of the 'human condition' – truly !! all the gods are DEAD ... it is time for us to bury them for good & the good of our children's future – it will never happen! because humans simply can't overcome their limited mental abilities to rise above this idiotic idea [religions] that divide and seperate all of us – wake up and smell the stench that religions spread over our beautiful planet ...

    April 28, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • WWJD

      Atheism is poison for humanity and is unhealthy for all things.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • Muzzleblast

      Show me one example in all of human history that we behave better without religion? I will surmise to say that we have been way better with religion than without ......belief in self leads to moral decay, decadence, and eventually unspeakable horrors. Oh yeah, you can state facts that religion has resulted in many horrible things also but I will credit that to the native evil that lurks inside the heart of all men.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • dwerbil

      WWJD said:
      "Atheism is poison for humanity and is unhealthy for all things."

      What a load of ignorant baloney. Ever look up celebrity Atheists for starters? Here's just a few....Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Christopher Reeves, Katherine Hepburn, Brad Pitt, Lance Armstrong, Richard Branson, Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, Andy Rooney, Ted Williams, James Cameron, Roger Ebert, your next door neighbor?

      Tell us (be honest here) we take it you reject the several thousands of gods in the history humankind's mythology.
      If that's true, by definition that makes you Atheist (to those gods) several thousand times over.

      Go forth and educate thyself.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • tallulah13

      Sweden is arguable the most atheistic country in the world. It also has a low crime rate and a high standard of living. A lot of the Scandinavian nations have a similar balance. Most people would consider this a good thing.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • WWJD

      Hitler and Stalin were atheists as well. Responsible for millions upon millions of deaths.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • Mirosal

      Hitler was NOT an Atheist. You need to read and see his speeches. He said that "god" has blessed his Reich and that through "god" the German people will be on top of the world again. He may have given up his Catholic upbringing, but he NEVER refuted "god".

      April 28, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • Mirosal

      And as far as Josef Stalin, you're confusing poltical paranoia with Atheism. They aren't even the same game, let alone the same ballpark.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • Muzzleblast

      Political paranoia and Atheism, both morally bankrupt belief systems (and yes, Atheism is a belief system). I shudder to think what would happen if Atheists took over this world.

      April 28, 2012 at 3:04 am |
  19. Glenn

    The real question is, why hasn't CNN re-named this section from "Belief Blog" to something like "Subtly and Sometimes Not So Subtly Anti-Christian Platform for Ranting Atheists with Too Much Time on Their Hands Blog"?

    April 28, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • WWJD

      Atheists may find joy in tormenting others in this life but demons will find joy as they tear the limbs from atheists for all eternity in the afterlife.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • Jez

      CNN is in the business of selling ad space. All of you freaked out Christians are ramping up the advertisers' "hit list. Smart of CNN – you guys are the fodder.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • yikesboy

      Sadly no, your attempt at sarcasm has missed the mark. The whole point of raising all of these questions is to provoke thought- which I suspect is something of an anathema to the devout. It just so happens that the centuries of dominance and sway that religions have had over us all is finally over, and it's OK for those who don't believe, to actually be heard. This is what is happening here on this blog and personally I feel it's long overdue. For those deluded enough to actually believe in the insanity that is "demons tearing limbs from atheists", I feel only pity.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • tallulah13

      It's called freedom of speech, Glenn, and it's guaranteed by the Const.itution of the United States, as is our secular government. This blog may have been set up for believers, but atheists also have opinions, and have every right to express them. It's the American way, and frankly I'm glad to live in a country where freedom is so protected.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • Jolt


      We can tell so much about a person's character by how he says his imaginary god behaves (or "spirits").

      You are one sick monster, pal.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • dwerbil

      WWJD said:
      "Atheists may find joy in tormenting others in this life but demons will find joy as they tear the limbs from atheists for all eternity in the afterlife"

      YOU are the tormentimg others with your sick peverted religion. What's one of the basic tenants of christian faith......how about this - reject god and he'll cast you into hell fire for eternity. WWJD, try this little twist on that - if I ask you to be my friend and you say no, then I wish a ETERNITY OF HELLFIRE AND DAMNATION on you........be honest here......how fricking SICK is that of me to wish that of YOU????
      xtianity is one sick wacked out parasite on humanity. Wise up.
      It's sad that so many go through life lost in the delusional fantansy of religion when there's such a universe of wonderment out there to discover.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  20. Plain Ol' Dreamer

    1. Cosmos= the culmination of infinite numbers our stellar universes

    2. Fractal Cosmology= finitely derived Cosmological constructs from the largest; being the Celestial Cosmos to the most finitely smallest construct being the cellularized cosmos that are made manifest within all Life everywhere.

    April 28, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • WWJD

      Jesus = Savior

      April 28, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • yikesboy

      WWJD, Shaggy is Scoobie's best friend.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • E



      If you're trying to paint Christians as Bible-thumpin' yokels, you're doing it right.

      And alienating the religious (who are embarrassed) and atheists (who are laughing) alike.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:32 am |
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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.