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. momoya

    I wonder what happened to CPA lawyer.. It seems that every time somebody here claims to use analytical reasoning to strengthen their faith they never stick around long enough to tell us exactly how they manage to do that.. It makes you wonder why you'd do that.

    April 29, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  2. chuck

    And in an odd coincidence, stupid people prefer Fox News.

    April 29, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  3. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things.

    April 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • ofour

      Analytic thinking can decrease religious belief.

      You could drop the word Analytic from the headline and it still makes sense.

      April 29, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Paul

      You might be suffering from confirmation bias. Did you read this part of the article?:

      "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"

      April 29, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • A Chair To Your Face

      Thinking is part of the puzzle. Analytical thinking is the whole puzzle. Now shut the fuck up paul.

      April 29, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  4. b4bigbang


    April 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not your penis.

      April 29, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • b4bigbang


      April 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Everything else.

      April 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  5. Paul

    "There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent."
    "There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose. "

    What is your evidence to support such claims like that there was probably no Abraham or Moses?

    April 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Sol

      Moses just couldn't float his boat.

      April 29, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Sol

      if you see what I mean.

      April 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Paul

      Noah built the ark, not Moses. So you'll have to explain what you mean.

      April 29, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • momoya

      Moses WAS in a small boat, wasn't he?

      April 29, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Jen

      Moses had gas and let a big ripper go, and parted the waters that way, or so they say. They didn't have pepto bismol in those days. Then all the unicorns walked across dry. No need for the boat.

      April 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Paul

      "Moses WAS in a small boat, wasn't he?" –momoya

      What you're referring to is Exodus 2:3. The Hebrew transliterated word is "tebah" which means "basket vessel."
      But now back to my original question:

      What is your evidence to support such claims like that there was probably no Abraham or Moses?

      Sol and Jen resorted to ridicule. How will you respond?

      April 29, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • momoya

      If you're talking to me, then I feel no need "present evidence" for something I do not claim.. Do you have a good positive argument that we might consider for your position of belief?. I haven't seen a decent argument in quite a while now..

      April 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "What is your evidence to support such claims like that there was probably no Abraham or Moses?"


      What is your evidence there was no Paul Bunyan?

      April 29, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Paul

      Yes, you're right: You did not make the claim. The user "Reality" did. My post was in response to his or her post.

      No Truth, Just Claims,
      I didn't make the claim there was no Paul Bunyun. I'm not obligated to answer it.
      The user "Reality" made a claim and I asked him to back it up.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Jeanine

      Look, Paul, if Reality said "probably" then what exactly are you getting your panties in a bunch over?

      I could say the same thing. With a definitive lack of evidence that they actually existed, then the conclusion that can be drawn is that they "probably" did not exist.
      And since we are talking about the theoretical existence of some human being in history, that is not the same as talking about the theoretical existence of any non-existent god, such as the one you "probably" worship.
      The word "probably" effectively negates your demand for proof, as it is based on a lack of evidence going the other way.

      Really, Paul, you should think about it some more. Does it hurt you that Moses might have been just an exaggerated tale based on an amalgam of several prominent tribal leaders, or may have been pure bunkum, or he may have existed but not quite as described, or, least probably, he existed but all the rest of it was pure fairy tale?
      Does it hurt you that bad? To see the lack of supporting evidence? It should.
      But that's no reason to make a stink if you can't face the lack of facts on your side, is it?

      April 30, 2012 at 3:41 am |
    • Jeanine

      Correction: remove the "least" near the end. He probably existed, but everything about him is clearly fairy tale bs.

      You have to acknowledge that most of the Bible is bs as we DO have proof of that. Trying to shore up your favorite "Ten Commandments" movie that plays in your head is no way to seek the truth of the matter.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:45 am |
  6. Just food for thought

    I like debating and i see that so far this has been a one-sided debate on the comments. I just wanted to throw some things out there to living it up, and no it's not like I'm picking a side, sometimes in a debate you must argue for things that you are not for.
    Please don't respond with insulting comments, we humans are better than that, with that being said...

    "In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind am able to recognized, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views." Albert Einstein

    Einstein interpreted the position of man toward God as a child entering a large library filled with books of many languages. The child can't understand them, don't know how they got there, nor does he/she know the languages, but suspects they are mysteriously arranged in a order, but doesn't know what it is. Although Albert did not believe in a personal God such has a theist, he did believed that the universe and its amazing design demands the existence of a creator of God however impersonal. So why not personal, like many religions believe? He sited: "because of the violence and bad in the world."

    So, a theist can get the backing of a great thinker and mind such as Einstein that the universe has to have a God. The question is how can they make it into a personal one? Here is mine best interpretation of how this is possible:

    In order to move from Einstein's version of a God toward that of a theist i.e. a personal God. We must look at how morality exist and what a personal God would want for its creations. Morality can only exist if there is a good and bad. How can you have morality to do good, if you can't do bad? In simpler terms, how can you choose between road A and B if road A is the only choice available. This therefore gives us a reason for the "bad" existence, has a tool in order for us to have a morality. The existence of a morality is widely accepted, therefore by using its existence, we can explain why a all powerful being, a creator of the universe as Einstein would say, would allow such cruelty into the world. Now we must look into why a "God" would want its creations to have a morality.

    If you were creating a being, lets say a robot. Would you want it to only do as programmed or be able to compute, think, reason, and then choose the best path for growth? This answer is already answered in life today, think why exactly are humans so interested in creating a robot with artificial intelligence, or to be like us in the closet way possible. This is how we can take Einstein impersonal god and make it a personal God. A designer, who wants to make the best possible creation like itself. The algorithm being morality, and the tools used to create a morality are cruelty and "bad" things in opposition to the good things. Sometimes the "robot" computes wrongs and chooses the bad thing has oppose to the good and vise versa. However, with each choice it learns and grows, that being what the designer intended for in the first place.

    Before the comments, I know this is really stretching it, but I hate seeing only one-side being rational and not the other. There are a few not so logical things with this, but that can be found with almost everything. So just feel free to respond.. Just don't act like a fool.

    April 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Sue

      Belief in a god in general is distinct from the belief in a specific god, and belief in the religion associated with it. In specific cases, such as is the case with the Christian god that is described in the bible, we can know for certain that, and we do know for certain that, that particular god is purely fictional; it has contradictory claimed characteristics, and for that and other reasons, Christian god plainly does not exist as described.

      April 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Just food for thought

      Yes, I was just attempting to move from a deist point of view into that of a theist. Using a renowned thinker and a great contributor to science was just a way to credit the theory of a "God" in the first place and then moving that theory into a personal god having the best interest for its creations.

      April 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Paul

      "In specific cases, such as is the case with the Christian god that is described in the bible, we can know for certain that, and we do know for certain that, that particular god is purely fictional; it has contradictory claimed characteristics, and for that and other reasons, Christian god plainly does not exist as described." –Sue

      In logic that is called a non sequitur from the Latin "it does not follow." It does not follow that because the Bible has "contradictory claimed characteristics" that the "Christian god plainly does not exist." We might question that the Bible came from Him, but it does mean that he doesn't exist.

      April 29, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Paul

      correction to my last post:
      "but it DOESN'T mean that he doesn't exist.

      April 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • vic

      You mentioned something interesting about robots, I had wondered on the same lines .i am catholic, its really not hard for us to believe though we had our own journey during our adolescent when we searched for meaning , truth and had to take the position of atheist for few years to start from no God to Yes there is God. The assumption that catholic for that matter Christians are just brainwashed into believing is wrong and just laughable.
      We have already past the stage when we did put our faith to rigid testing.
      Coming back to Robots , St Augustine also wonders why would God not prefer His idle state , the pre creation days ??. Why did He have to put up with the creation , man and ensuing problems and heartaches.?.
      It similar to asking your dad why didn’t you prefer his single or bachelor days??
      In both cases the impulse to create is strong , incase of dad a human being in his likeness with free will, once adult it may love him in return for bringing him into existence or some of his progeny may wander away never to hear from them . Free will is important determining factor .Incase of Robots I don’t know how far can you go on free will because the keys or iterations still lie with the programmer before the download., he can modify it.

      April 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Sue

      False, Paul. Read my post again, but with your brain turned on.

      Something about "as described...".

      Got it yet, stupid? Take your claims of non sequitur and shove them up your rectum.

      April 29, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • momoya

      The bible describes a contradictory god; thus, either its god is contradictory and cannot be trusted in any way or its god does not exist.. Take your pick.

      April 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Paul

      "False, Paul. Read my post again, but with your brain turned on.
      Something about "as described...".

      It's still a non sequitur. Adding the words "as described" doesn't change things. It doesn't negate God's existence.
      It does not follow that because the Bible has "contradictory claimed characteristics" that the "Christian god plainly does not exist as described." We might question that the Bible came from Him, but it doesn't mean that he doesn't exist.

      Plus you never supported your claim that the Bible has "contradictory claimed characteristics."

      April 29, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Paul

      "The bible describes a contradictory god; thus, either its god is contradictory and cannot be trusted in any way or its god does not exist.. Take your pick." –momoya

      "The bible describes a contradictory god"
      Please support your claim.

      April 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Paul is an IDIOT

      The bible supports the claim that thechristian god is contradictory. Read the fucking bible sometime. You'll be amazed at how screwed up it is. You know. IF YOU READ IT. I don't know many christians who have.

      April 29, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • momoya

      I feel no need to support my claim, as I feel no need to offer argumentation for obvious facts; dismiss it if you wish.

      April 29, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims


      Not only is the god of the bible contradictory, he is immoral.

      He does not condemn slavery.
      He condons the killing of innocent people.

      Just two examples.

      April 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Paul


      In response to No Truth, Just Claims,

      "Not only is the god of the bible contradictory,..."

      How is He contradictory? What is your support for such claims?

      "he is immoral."

      I'm glad you believe in absolute moral standards. You do...don't you?

      "He does not condemn slavery."

      But it doesn't logically follow that He condones it.

      "He condons the killing of innocent people."

      First, how do you know they were innocent? Second, provide support for your claim that He condones killing them.

      I'd really like to understand where all you guys are coming from. It would really help me out if you could provide me with specifics.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • Paul

      "I feel no need to support my claim, as I feel no need to offer argumentation for obvious facts; dismiss it if you wish."

      "obvious facts", huh?

      From Wikipedia,
      "In logic, an argumentum ad populum (Latin for "appeal to the people") is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or most people believe it."

      Are you saying that just because you and other atheists believe the Bible to be contradictory makes it true? I hope not. This is why you really need to support your claims.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Jeanine

      Paul, I'm going to ignore your obvious lack of distinction and simply point you towards a search engine and tell you to search for "bible contradictions".
      In the search results, I fully expect you to find several sites with comprehensive and detailed analyses of the Bible's many contradictory passages.
      Then, once you have perused them to your trollish heart's content, you may choke and die on them for all I care.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:59 am |
  7. I Believe!!!

    Analytical thinking helped strengthen my belief in God.

    April 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • momoya

      That's fantastic for you.. Fee like sharing?

      April 29, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Lexagon

      You've misunderstood the meaning of the word "analytical". And possibly "thinking".

      April 29, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      You spelled 'delusional' wrong.

      April 29, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  8. Andrew

    What a pathetic bunch of idiots! Keep believing in religion and wasting your lives away. Meanwhile, those of us with a brain, not only can laugh at you, but also we keep advancing FORWARD, not backwards like all religious dimwits.

    April 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  9. Reality


    Based on Parts I-V: See pp. 2, 14, 22, 23, 23

    Putting the kibosh on religion:

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell. )

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    April 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Paul

      "There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails."

      In logic, that's called a non sequitur from the latin meaning "it does not follow." It does not follow that if there was no Gabriel that Islam fails and Christianity partly fails. Plus you provided no support for you claim that there was no Gabriel.

      "There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion"

      What do you mean by Easter? Do you pagan fertility festival or are you referring to the ressurrection of Jesus? What is your support for claiming that there was no Easter?

      April 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Reality

      From the references p. 21 since apparently some are not able to scroll back to previous comments:



      Joe Smith had his Moroni.

      "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

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

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

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

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

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

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".


      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:


      April 29, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Reality

      Part VII of Rational Thinking- ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      April 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Paul

      "So where are the bones" [ed: referring to the bones of Jesus]? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones."

      This shows a lack of understanding of what a resurrection is. If there wasn't a resurrection, the tomb wouldn't have been empty. They would have found Jesus's body.

      "The resurrected Christ is alive (Revelation 1:18). After His Resurrection, He spoke with His followers and taught them (Luke 24:25–27), reassured them (Luke 24:36–39), and commanded them (Matthew 28:18–20). He ate food with them (Luke 24:43; John 21:15) and urged them to touch Him to see that He was not a ghost but truly risen from the dead bodily (Luke 24:39). He also had a will (John 21:22–23) and performed miracles (Luke 24:31; John 21:6)."

      April 29, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Mahesh

      Most Hindus don't believe in caste-system or sacred 'monkeys'... so you FAIL as a thinker.

      April 29, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims


      Why do the 4 gospels have 4 different versions of the reserrection and contradict each other?

      April 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • momoya

      My goodness, someone hasn't studied their history of the formation of the new testament writings.. Oh dear.

      April 29, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Reality

      "Thomas Jefferson omitted it (Book of Revelation) along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther once "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/1john.html

      The Luke and Matthew "thumptations" have been thoroughly reviewed for historical authenticity by many contemporary NT scholars. In general, said passages have been found to be historically unreliable.

      For example, see Professor Gerd Ludemann's conclusions in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 694-695

      April 29, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Paul

      In response to No Truth, Just Claims
      "Paul, Why do the 4 gospels have 4 different versions of the reserrection and contradict each other?"

      I'd be more that happy to help you out, but you have to let me know what verses you're talking about and how they contradict. Sure, YOU believe they contradict, but Bible believe Christians don't think they do. (IThis is why you need to provide the evidence for why you believe what you believe. You believe the verses contradict each other. Tell me why. I'd be glad to resolve the issue for you. You could also Google it. Their are many, good Christian apologetic websites out there. Either way, I hope your question gets answered to your satisfaction.

      April 30, 2012 at 2:07 am |
  10. Nii

    Don't worry we are all still H.o.m.o. S.a.p.i.e.n.s ! H.o.m.o Fu.tu.rus will surely look different. Christians suggest they will be immortal with transcendental powers.

    April 29, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    prayer changes things .

    April 29, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Polly want a cra.cker


      April 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  12. Nii

    That said I agree with DREAMER that science is so highly technical that we can never really be sure that we have a truly worked out model. The Bible is simple and easy to use. It is built for a different purpose than the Natural Sciences. To push de 2 to justify each other is 2 force de impossible.

    April 29, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Cq

      You mean "so highly technical" to the lay person, but so is medicine, and most believers have little trouble trusting the experts. So why not trust the expert physicists and evolutionary biologists?

      April 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Nii

      Unfortunately I do not see THE SCIENTIFIC GUIDE TO SPIRITUALITY on any bookshelf or do you? I am a civil engineer, my little sister is a research biologist. next door is a family of surgeons. I don't think we r hung up on science being the best spiritual guide among the seven of us when we meet.

      April 29, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Nii

      An Atheist scientist and a Christian one do not disagree the way lay folks do. Religion is irrelevant to science because unlike law there is never one valid interpretation for a phenomenon. Even so-called disproven theories r revived from time to time. Debate is useless. We only arrange the info.

      April 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Nii

      I don't think its expedient to trust scientists over religion. Nor is it best to trust clerics over science. Unless they've training in both n dont seek to promote their religion by discrediting either. I can use infinity theory 4 instance to prove things in religion r probable tho not definite.

      April 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • A Chair To Your Face

      Spirituality, like religion, like god.... are all man-made. No one needs to study it or be trained in how to deal with it. It's all trash anyway.

      April 29, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Cq

      If only religion stuck to spirituality, and did not make claims that fell into the scientific realm. Creation stories are not merely "spiritual" concerns when people choose to take them literally, instead of metaphorically as was likely originally intended. The Bible makes a lot of statements that fall within science and math that have been proven inaccurate. It states that pi = 3, that the earth is flat, that the moon gives off it's own light, and that there was night and day before the sun was even created. If you don't take this story literally, then you can function as a believing scientist, but if you do take this story literally I can't see how you can be without splitting your personality into "Work" and "Church" versions.

      April 30, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Cq. The interesting things are the creation texts is how close they are to evolution. I could see if the text just said poof and God made the earth.

      I got this off a quick Google search:

      "Scientists believe that about one hundred billion years ago the Earth, the Sun, and all the planets of the Solar System were nothing but a cloud of cold dust particles swirling through empty space. "

      "And the earth was without form, and void"
      Genesis 1:2

      To me it is small things such as this. Maybe it is a big leap maybe just a small step but to me it brings me peace with a bit of the Evolutionist because to me the Bible came forth with a concept that was very close to what Evolutionist hold forth today.

      April 30, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Cq

      Mark from Middle River
      "And the earth was without form, and void"
      The bible is talking about the earth, not the solar system. The sun, moon, and even the stars were made separately and not out of the same "formless" matter as the earth.

      Now, if you want something that seems a little ahead of it's time try reading the Qu'ran.
      "And the heaven We built with Our own powers (aydin) and indeed We go on expanding it (musi'un)." Sura 51:48

      April 30, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  13. Worship Poseidon

    Religious people need to evolve.

    April 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  14. Nii

    As a scientist myself I feel I must point out that we make objective observations but subjective interpretations just like lawyers do. The big difference is we stop at that while a lawyer seeks that his interpretation be declared the most right.

    April 29, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • A Chair To Your Face

      That makes no sense. You're saying that scientists never need to be right on a theory?

      Are you fucking stupid?

      April 29, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  15. Raymond Takashi Swenson

    The content of this experiment appears to lack any evidence of analytical thinking. Art work influences analytical thinking? And how was religious belief measured?

    So how do the experimenters explain the intense religiosity of many theologians, who have thought analytically in ways more intense than most people?

    I suspect that the experimenters definitions of analytical thought and religious thought are arbitrary and are themselves lacking in validation.

    April 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  16. Mark Twain

    We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. And out of it we get an aggregation which we consider a boon. Its name is public opinion. It is held in reverence. Some think it the voice of God.

    April 29, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  17. johnfrichardson

    What I like about mathematics is that while robustly confirmed conjectures like the Riemann Hypothesis, Goldbach's Conjecture and the like are widely believed to be true, they are still called hypotheses and conjectures because they are UNPROVEN.

    We alas can't get true proofs of empirical conjectures. So all of science remains conjectural. That doesn't mean it's not true or that it is equally rational to believe it or to disbelieve it. It just means that there will always remain an element of uncertainty.

    Religion doesn't even try to make good arguments. It's just a pile of assertions from "sacred" texts (ie ancient blather), interpreted and reinterpreted to fit the times and the agendas of believers.

    April 29, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      johnfrichardson,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,...,,

      There, then and henceforth; does pragmatism via pragmatists further themselves to pragmatically endure their own "mudslung" adorations regardless any outcomes' concernments?

      April 29, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • momoya

      Science merely shows the most efficient and complete picture that can be produced from the proven facts.. Science does not answer "why? but "how?"

      April 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Alyssa

      Great response. You're hinting at the nature of science; its purpose is to create a useful human model of reality. We as scientists deliberately create hypotheses that can be disproved in order to further our knowledge. What does religion do? Throw a "holy" book at you and tell you it's the final word.

      April 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      momoya,,,,,,,,,,,, ,. .,.,,,..

      Science does no such thing! Socialisms of science oriented minds might be enlightened in a picturesque ambiance of self-ladled factualisms yet, "Truth is but a relative notion"! No why nor no how nor no way can in their ownliness interests be they but latherings of sophisticates' wranglings! I lather in daily onslaughts of worded rationalisms sometimes too high for the general commonwealths to recognize duly and truly! I pride myself in wrangling many wordisms and am sometimes carelessly critical of whom I denote towards! Forgive me if I offent thee! I am only writing in my faith of the written word!

      April 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • momoya

      Seriously, dreamer, just shut the fvck up.. You detract from any real discussions on these boards.. Go somewhere where people will appreciate you, because here, you're just completely retarded background noise that we have to put up with.. Go away and play hide and seek with the little kids, you don't understand the first thing about what's being discussed.

      April 29, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • GodPot

      "I lather in daily onslaughts of worded rationalisms " I think you meant you "lather in daily outpouring of wordy irrationalisms..."

      April 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Know What

      I consider putting up with @Dreamer (etc.) as our little gift to society - keeping him off the streets and off our doorsteps.

      April 29, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Nii

      Pascal's Wager is proven. It is also mathematical and analytical as well as having religious uses.

      April 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      momoya,,,,,,,,,,, , ,,.,.,.,..,,,

      You seem by your last post to me, to have a nervous condition,,,, Are you a nervous person? Do you need to be on medication(s) to ease your mind's displeasures?

      April 29, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • momoya

      Yes, I am a nervous individual by nature and I am on mood altering medication but it's not one of the "big" ones but more of a subtle assist.. I do not think that my nervous nature nor my medicine has anything to do with anything in this discussion, but it may keep me slightly more civil than I would be otherwise..

      Can you counter any of my arguments with this new knowledge?

      April 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Paul

      "Religion doesn't even try to make good arguments. It's just a pile of assertions from "sacred" texts (ie ancient blather), interpreted and reinterpreted to fit the times and the agendas of believers."

      Such as...

      April 29, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • momoya

      LOL, Paul, do you know why that question was soooo stupid??

      April 29, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  18. Mark Twain

    When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstltion of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circu.mstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstltion. I doubt if I could do it myself.

    April 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Nii

      That is not necessarily true as Textual Criticism was applied to the Bible by Christiaans rather than unbelievers. Also most archaeologists were of religious background. Many other scientists too. The word religious is not really a key factor here but does it make you more spiritual? i think it does

      April 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Nii

      As Bill Gates wud say religion does have valid points. The bible for instance even if not a historically factuaal docu.ment can still give its follower emotional maturity, mental stability and ethical behaviour. Doubting does not change this.

      April 29, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Mark Twain,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,...,,

      Your use of "brightest mind" sounds a bit like a lightbulb ready to explode! The highest flyers of mentalists do ever endure many arrows being leveraged upon their high-flying potencies! Fly ever higher yet be not far from the trees of "sustainableness"! Keep safely hidden that which one endures! Holy are the ones who never spurn your flights of reasoning! All is well and wellness to all!

      April 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Mark Twain

      The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.

      April 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Your use of "brightest mind" sounds a bit like a lightbulb ready to explode! "

      You do know Mr. Clemens died back in 1910 don't you? But I guess you prefer debating a dead man since you like to have the last word as if the last word means you won the debate.

      April 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Nii

      I for 1 dont think that any religion is wrong. Why? Christ's teaching. As de Way, Truth n Life, He was de perfect e.g. of what an emotionally mature n ethical man shud but was not hung up on religion. His teachings r more on spirituality than religion. It is for this reason all can relate to them.

      April 29, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Mark Twain,,,,,,,,,,,, ,, ,. ,. ,.

      Religion is yes but a construct wound within the history trees of ongoing socialsims' venturings! Today we have seen religion nearing its' zenith! The tentacles of the octopus are as rapturing undulations upon many levels of the amalgums' proper! The eating away at other structures of Life is making umbrages of all socialisms everywhere!

      April 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      GodPot,,,,,,,,,,,, ,. ,. ,. ,.

      Wanting of the "last word" is not mine to have! God and His Will be done to my spirited soul is the "Last word"! In the meanwhile, watch others as they will set upon the tables many cups and plates from which to feed to the hungry for and of worded ambiances' proper! Life is said to be lived and yet without a book to tell one how to live one's life soundly, one goes by living aimlessly and without due purpose and haughty reasonable understandings! I am but a lit candle placed upon this table! The flickering light of my candle are my thoughts written and even spoken!

      April 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Nii, If you don't think any religion is wrong then none of them can be right by the same logic, as religions spend most of their time trying to discredit other beliefs and show that they are the one "true" way.

      April 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  19. Nii

    Theology and Apologetics are analytical and religious at the same time. A lot of the time atheists project this "believers have only faith" stereotype. A true believer has faith in spite of harbouring doubt. Textual Criticism was meant to push Ministers to overcome a higher degree of doubt for e.g.

    April 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Apologetics is quite unlike real science, in that it is decided first what one chooses to believe and then the evidence is stacked and distorted every which way to make it seem like it points to the previously selected conclusion. It's argumentation more of the sort that lawyers do than the sort that scientists do.

      April 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      johnfrichardson,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,.,..,,

      Does one not think to come to a rationalization of weighing in on one's measurabilities? I'll stop in my constructivisms to let you consider and answer,,,,,

      April 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Cq

      Theology and Apologetics are analytical in the same way that Star Trek fans can debate the finer contradictions of episodes and issues like the possibility of just making another copy of someone using the transporter in the event that they died on an away mission. Or the way Twilight and Buffy fans can argue which versions of vampire were closer to the "real" thing. It's being analytical WITHIN a fantasy world, nothing more.

      April 30, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  20. CPA-LAwyer

    The more I a.nalyse things the more I believe.

    April 29, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • momoya

      Which things? What belief?

      April 29, 2012 at 11:53 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.