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. pbernasc

    really ... how surprising that using your brain makes you be less stupid

    April 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  2. Muneef

    Prophet Abraham pbuh has made his long Analytic thinking and came back with monotheism replacing what the pagans were worshipping...

    April 30, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Cq

      Abraham only had a preferred tribal god, he never declared that his was the only god that actually existed. The history of the Jewish people is the long struggle to eliminate the rural house deities that were common throughout the land, especially with women. After all, what does a male god know of women's problems and needs, like childbirth and fertility?

      May 1, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Muneef

      In search for the Truth

      Time went by, and Ibrahim became a young man. He still could not believe that his people were worshipping the statues. He laughed whenever he saw them entering the temple, lowering their heads, silently offering the statues the best of their food, crying and asking forgiveness from them. He started feeling angry towards his people, who could not realize that these are only stones that could neither benefit nor harm them. They could not be gods, they have no power. God is Greater than what his people were worshipping, Most Powerful, Most Magnificent. One could not find Him sitting on a table in a temple!

      One night, Ibrahim went up to the mountain, leaned against a rock, and looked up to the sky. He saw a shining star, and told his people: "Could this be my Lord?" But when it set he said: "I don't like those that set." The star has disappeared, it could not be God. God is always present. Then he saw the moon rising in splendor and told them: "Could this be my Lord?" But it also set. At daybreak, he saw the sun rising and said: t "Could this be my Lord, this is bigger?" But when the sun set he said: "O my people I am free from all that you join as partners with Allah! I have turned my face towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah." Our Lord is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and everything. He has the power to make the stars rise and set. Ibrahim then heard Allah calling him: "O Ibrahim!" Ibrahim said trembling: "Here I am O my Lord!" "Submit to Me! Be a Muslim!" Ibrahim fell on the ground, prostrating and crying, he said: "I submit to the Lord of the universe!" Ibrahim kept prostrating until night came again. He got up and went back to his home, in t peace, full of conviction that Allah has guided him to the Truth.
      Read the full story;

      May 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm |

    They have eyes but see not, they have ears and hear not. And becaue the love of truth was not found in their hearts, God has given them the spirit of stupor so that they can't even see nor understand the obvious!

    April 30, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  4. 3511danny

    I am now in a deep sleep. Thanks.

    April 30, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  5. PersonWithABrain

    What I find amusing about all religious discussions and sects is that each interprets the Bible or other Holy Books to say what they want it to say. The Bible for instance has been translated hundreds of times and yet each translation is different. Why? Because we only have the knowledge of what we are told the words mean.

    Language is a living breathing thing and it changes day to day. Words are added and forgotten, meanings change. To think that it is possible for modern man could accurately interpret even the early English translations of the Bible is ridiculous. The reality is that all religion is a matter of opinion and subject to change according to the wishes of its believers. How many laws in early religion (any religion) have been changed to suit modern believers?

    Basically, all I'm saying is that we really don't know what the original Bible or any or the other various religious books actually say. All we have now are flawed human translations of what we think they say. Plus these were written by a group of randoms who for all we know, never even met Jesus.

    Religions in general were simple ways to keep order in a time when laws and law enforcement were non existent. What better way to keep people from murdering one another than to make them fear some unseen, all-knowing being that will punish them in the after life? After all, once some one dies who can prove they were or weren't punished? Fear is a powerful motivator, create enough of it and you can make people do anything you want.

    I am not bashing any religion nor am I condoning any particular belief. I simply wish that people would open their minds to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, they don't have the answer.

    More deaths, wars and other atrocities have been caused throughout history because of religion than by anything else. It usually breaks down to the fact that we get so wrapped up in our own individual religion we just can't accept the fact that it's possible we aren't the only ones who are right. It created the mentality of, "You're either with me or against me."

    Religion, like anything else in life, is a numbers game. The more people you convince to believe what you believe the more powerful you become. Remember, history and religion goes to those who are still strong enough to be standing when the dust settles. History was written by the victors.

    It's all bull* anyway.

    April 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • m

      You are correct. It has been a tool to enslave the masses for centuries in all of it's forms. Hopefully in a few more generations religion at least in the western world will be a thing of the past. That education and critical thinking will win the day. Unfortunately in 3rd world countries it will still have a base because they lack education and basic freedoms.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Free

      Seriously. "It's not that I don't like religious people. I just don't want to be around them. Just like I don't want to be around the mentally insane. They're in the same bag." This Jesus character probably never existed. It's like a Dr. Seuss book on steroids for gullible adults.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Dan Again

      Another study showed that people who actually buy books by modern Atheists are more likely to become angry comedians.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      I like angry comedians. We could use more of them.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  6. Really-O?

    @Mark and Jeanine-

    Seriously folks...less is more.

    April 30, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Jeanine

      What's the deally-o?

      I was busy working and I made you scroll a little farther than usual? Poor baby.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things..

    April 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Blue Phor


      April 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Common Sense


      April 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!,!,

      April 30, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • PersonWithABrain

      Pray in one hand and crap in the other. Let me know which one fills up first.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "Polly want a Crac.ker?"


      April 30, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Free

      Um. Yeah. So you are saying that Science and Mathematics are unhealthy for children? Because Atheism is not a religion, it is a fact-based, logic-driven way of thinking. AND it has absolutely nothing to do with the loss of faith – it is the discovery of self. If prayer fixes everything then what's the point of even getting out of bed in the morning?

      April 30, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Mike

      What if you pray for crap and then out it comes? Is that proof? Where is the flush handle on this toilet of a blog?

      May 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  8. hank

    Think & Rundvelt.... I'm not sure you guys understand necessity vs contingency. A necessary God that possibly exists in any world must exist in all worlds. Contingent gods have no necessity to exist at all. Enormous difference in the two. Contingent gods must have an explanation for their existence.

    April 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  9. Zoney

    Liberals are funny. They seem to think the rules - the very laws of nature and physics, the concepts of right and wrong, sublime and perverse, knowledge and ignorance - will change and are flippable based on their current political agenda.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Brad

      That makes no sense.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Maya

      People who can't tell the difference between adjectives and nouns are funny. Go back to grade school.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Daniel Uzza

      8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Larry


      April 30, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Cq

      Sure morality changes. Slavery, the burning of witches, the beating of children for being left-handed, and the killing of pagans, Muslims and Jews was once fully accepted within Christianity. They were part of the accepted morality, but times changed, and as people became more enlightened religion tagged along and reformed itself before becoming so out of step with society as to become obsolete. It's still happening. Divorce is now accepted and so is the gay lifestyle in many churches. In a 100 years bigotry against gays will be regarded like slavery is today: Something that "real Christians" weren't a part of. We call that progress. Embrace it, of go the way of the dinosaur.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Cheese

      Zoney so ronery.

      May 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  10. Heidi Lee

    I am not surprised about the results of this study because too few people explore the Bible in any detail, much the particulars of docrine and theology. Belief in God should be synonymous with meditating on (thinking about) God. That includes meditating on the Bible verses and passages and on the world created to reveal God's glory. How can we share a Gospel we so imperfectly understand about a God we have spent little or no time rumminating on? But too many Christians want their beliefs about helping themselves through troubles (which is what God does), but fail to get to know or think through who God is and who we are in relation to Him. Doubt explored in the word and in prayer deepens understanding of God and our own beliefs. If religious beliefs of these folks are reduced by cognitive activities, then it seems likely that their beliefs have never progrest beyond intuition to be embraced by reason – both human and divine.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • WachetAuf

      I agree. And, by the way, I think that the reason for that is the herding instinct. The herding instinct, fear brings them together, not reason. Once they are provided a shelter where reason is not required for survival they have no need for analytical reasoning. All they must do once they have become a part of the flock is to protect the flock.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • hank

      Excellent point

      April 30, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Cq

      But being analytical is about analyzing why you believe in what you believe, not immersing yourself in it. For example, how far have you actually questioned why you believe God is real? What makes the Bible a more reliable scripture than the Qu'ran, the Book of Mormon, or even Homer's Odyssey? Why do you trust the opinions of Paul when he admits to being an enemy of Jesus' followers, and continued to clash with them after his conversion? These are just a few points where you could do some serious analytical thinking regarding your faith if you are brave enough to try.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  11. MAJ USA Ret

    The Christian God exists outside space and time and can never be fully comprehended nor described using the language of simple mortals. What one thinks about when one thinks of God is the most important thing about a person. No person has ever risen above their perspective of their god. No society rises above their image of their god. History shows societies reflect the values of their god(s). If the society has no god, then power makes right. The weak are consumed and the strongest survive, as in evolution. No natural born man has lived up to the God of the Bible. None can ever do that. We depend completely on the blood of Christ. Any who fails to acknowledge Christ as Lord will have an eternity of damnation to regret it. But those blessed with this revelation will have eternity to rejoice in it. May you seek and find.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Thanos

      Your words are about as empty as the book you got them from. Come back to reality and use your brain.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • WachetAuf

      The Christian God is a product of the distillation of many influences. We have come to know God through the eyes of men who did not personally know Jesus. Through the eyes of men who appointed themselves to determine what was authentic and what was not. Through the eyes of politicians who appropriated his "image" to their likeness. Ever notice how divided the church is? How much some groups actually disdain other groups? How often do you see Christians integrate Jesus' teachings into their daily lives? Why is it that there is so much focus on the life everlasting (mysticism) about which we can know so little and so little focus on Jesus' principal teachings about tolerance? Jesus' most painful teaching is that we love our enemy. Just why, therefore, do we love guns and Jesus so much?

      April 30, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Maya

      Prove it. Oh right, you can't. All you can do is blow hot air. Well, the world has enough hot air, so you can stop talking now. No one with half a brain is taking yous seriously anyway.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • fiscal conservative

      I dont know why I am bothering since the article expicitly says that logic doesnt work on religious nutjobs, but the belief in Jesus or burn in hell philosophy is just an excuse to make yourself feel special. You really expect anyone with half a brain to believe that an all omniscent, omnipotent, being who has PERFECT love for all his creations is going to damn the VAST majority of mankind. According to your faith some kid in Africa who gets blown up mining for your wife's diamond is going to hell. Not because he did anything wrong but because he thinks Jesus rides a sleigh and wears a red suit. If that doesnt bother you then you dont actually beleive the christian charity that you claim to have.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • fiscal conservative

      Oh I apologize, I forgot to include this. Thank you for your service. Seriously I really mean it. Religion aside, we should support our troops.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Tim

      Your God doesn't sound like anyone I want to associate with. Good riddance.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      " If the society has no god, then power makes right."

      "Any who fails to acknowledge Christ as Lord will have an eternity of damnation to regret it"


      So apparently power does make right as long as it is your god.

      Infinitely punishing people for finite crimes is immoral, unless you are god and then 'might makes right'.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  12. AGuest9

    "Creationist Senator insults Nobel laureates with 'little letters behind their names'".

    Can I get a "Yee-Haw!" that Senator Julie Quinn wasn't re-elected???

    April 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • WASP

      @guest9: yeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhaaaaaaawwwwwww. 🙂 lmao

      April 30, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  13. vic

    Socrates who proposed critical analytical thinking used his thinking to came to conclusion that soul exists and he had to take the poison pill to prove that he was right and not afraid to die about his conclusions. SO it logical follows if soul exist , a supreme being or God exists.
    SO atheist Conclusion there is no soul and No God is not analytical thinking

    April 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      So, because Socrates died for his beliefs, that made him right? What does that say about the terrorists who died on 9/11? Because Socrates thinks analytically, everything he says is accurate? Seems to me that you definitely are NOT and analytical thinker.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • momoya


      So you're saying that it doesn't matter what god we believe in just so long as we believe in a god and a soul? Interesting.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • WASP

      @vic:"Noun 1. ana.lytic thinking – the abstract separation of a whole into its consti.tuent parts in order to study the parts and their relations"

      ana.lytical thinking is looking at the parts of a whole to see how it works.....sounds a lot like how science works. religion requires faith which has no need for proof. atheists definitely ana.lyze their enviroment, we don't just accept things we are told to be true.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Larry

      Amongst the charges against Socrates (remember, Athenian justice was pretty strange), was impiety – NOT believing in the Gods of state, and teaching it to his students.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Just because Socrates thinks a soul exists does not mean it is true. And then you make the assertion that a soul means there is a god, why?

      April 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Maya

      Holy non-sequitur, Batman.

      No, that doesn't logically follow at all. Your ignorance is almost painful.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • fiscal conservative

      Socrates was forced to take them hemlock for being convicted of IMPIETY. While you are right that he believed in the existence of a soul that is not the belief he died for.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • vic

      If any one had cared to read the Pluto dialogue ' yes Socrates could have escaped with the aid of his close close friends e but he had refused because he was sure of his beliefs in aftter life and existence of soul .. the Greeks were geniuses in analytical thinking that propels them to think in terms of soul , if that could be proven then it becomes even more easier to prove the existence of God . It same the modular programming which i use in IT. to arrive at whole abstraction

      April 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  14. AtheismIsCrap


    April 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • WASP

      @carp: then why read it? lol go read you buybull and be happy in ignorance.

      April 30, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Guess you didn't learn much in math class, either.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • PersonWithABrain

      Wow. I certainly hope you haven't reproduced.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  15. Donovan Cook

    What ever happened to the original pantheons? Greek/Roman and Egyptian,Mayan and Incas. Why can we go back to worshipping trees and flowers and platypus'? People were alot more respectful of nature back then.

    April 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • WASP

      @cook: that's an easy one. during polytheistic belief we saw ourselves as part of nature and we valued our place in the world, as humans changed to monotheistic belief we became rulers of this world. we have done everything we could to seperate ourselves from nature; to try and be the master of nature......down side is nature is a very jealous woman and fond of teaching humans how weak we truly are compared to her.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  16. James Henery

    "Osiris, Hercules, Hermes, Prometheus, Perseus, Romulus, and others compare to the Christian myth. According to Patrick Campbell of The Mythical Jesus, all served as pre-Christian sun gods, yet all allegedly had gods for fathers, virgins for mothers; had their births announced by stars; got born on the solstice around December 25th; had tyrants who tried to kill them in their infancy; met violent deaths; rose from the dead; and nearly all got worshiped by "wise men" and had allegedly fasted for forty days. [McKinsey, Chapter 5] "

    April 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  17. Reality


    Based on Parts I-VII: See pp. 2, 14, 22, 23, 23, 24, 26, 48

    Putting the kibosh on religion in less than 500 words:

    • 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 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • hank

      It is truly amazing the historical ignorance of non-believers.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • WASP

      @hank: and the historical ignorance of theists are written in the pages of history. religion has always been at odds with science and thus at odds with critical thinking. religion teaches not to question god, thus the preists, rabbis, clerics, preachers can't be questioned because they use the whole " i am the voice of god" bs line. so when someone trys to prove religion incorrect or simply imply that they can exsist without it, stand back and watch the fireworks.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • hank

      Not sure why you're rambling about not being to question God. Most, if not all, religious leaders I've encountered in life have been more than eager to answer any question I had. If you approach them sincerely I think you'll find the same.

      Back to your previous post, respected historians do not doubt existence of Moses or the crucifixion of Christ.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for the those interested in a religious update:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.


      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current problems:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      April 30, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Reality

      Crucifixion? Yes. Resurrection? No.


      To wit:

      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 30, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • hank

      so annoying when people simply just copy and paste propaganda.

      i'll just respond by saying that Christ Ascension is mentioned throughout the NT.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Reality

      The Ascension is mentioned throughout the NT? Not so fast. Apparently some neglected to read the following noted previously:

      "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). "

      Some specifics:

      o The "ascension of the magic man Jesus" 1a) Luke 24:50-52 = (1b) Acts 1:9-11 Both written by Luke i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable.

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 413-415, (Luke 24 : 36-53), "The historical yield is nil, both in respect of the real historic event and connection with the visions which were the catalyst for the rise of Christianity."

      Then there is this:

      As a good student, you have read the reiterations of the "fems" (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational and Analytical Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

      May 1, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  18. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    this has got to be one of the funniest pieces i've read in a long time : D

    April 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  19. AtheismIsCrap

    @I'm the best

    So you find a source that couldn't give a more FIX and SPECIFIC figure on their study thinking that they could bias information behind a VERY HUGE percentage gap, reliable? Oh, 46-85% Oh, C'mon!

    April 30, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • I'm The Best

      You're welcome to do your own research. I just typed into google and showed the first article I found with a reliable source. If you plan on proving someone wrong it actually helps to do a little research yourself. I've shown my proof that it could be as high as 85%, but that was from 7 years ago. Maybe a more recent article would be more accurate.

      Stop trying to find holes in our posts and start trying to make a proof of your own. It's how intelligent people form arguments, it might even help with some analytical thinking skills which according to this article could help you out a good bit.

      April 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Not believing in UFO'S is Crap

      Not believing in Santa Claus is Crap
      or the Tooth Fairy
      or Paul Bunyun
      or Thor

      You need to ask yourself why you are so angry at people who don't believe in something there is no reason believe in.

      April 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • AtheismIsCrap

      To all..here's the real facts about religion in Sweden

      Church membership in Sweden dramatically fell-down from 95.2% in 1972 to 70% in 2010.


      And in Eurobarometer poll though majority (53%) of Swedish population don't believe in God but they "REFUSED" to be LABELED as atheist because they still believe in something like a spirit or life force.

      Devout believers and atheists shared at 23% a piece.


      That's a HARD FACT and those who tried to bend it to favour their sides is nothing but a PIECE of CRAP! End of the story.

      April 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I've responded to this on the previous page. Please see what you've done wrong and feel free to respond here or there. I'll check both, here probably more often though.

      April 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • momoya

      Okay, so you're saying that if more American citizens quit believing in the god of the bible and started just believing in some sort of "eternal force," we'd have less crime and murder and such like Sweden?. I'd be down with that.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • AtheismIsCrap

      I already did it "there".

      "Please see what you've done wrong and feel free to respond here or there."

      Except of some few misspelled words and grammar usage, there's I couldn't find something else wrong. While yours, was apparently the other way around, (Except of spelling and grammar usage, nothing else right) lol!

      April 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I responded, and I agree with the grammar and spelling thing. I did my best to understand what you were trying to say and I think I got it, but if not then ignore the middle school insult.

      To everyone else, is this as amusing to the rest of you as it is to me? It's really helping my work day go by faster.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • AtheismIsCrap


      Are you saying that U.S. has a higher crime rate compared to U.S? DIRECT and HONESWT answer, PLEASE!

      April 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • AtheismIsCrap

      *Compared to Sweden, rather

      April 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • AtheismIsCrap

      "I did my best to understand what you were trying to say and I think I got it,"

      Simple, You really DIDN'T get it. That's why.

      I might find some time to respond you "there".

      Momentarily, I'm done with you now. So if you'd excuse me, I need to deal with this another CRAP by the name of momoya.

      April 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • AtheismIsCrap


      Ey, CRAP! Are you still there?

      April 30, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Is. Recommend working on communicating your points better then. If only a few people can understand what you're trying to say then that's your fault, not the people you're talking to.

      And running from this argument is probably the best strategy you have at this point. I may or may not be back on later. But so far you have done a fine job showing how close minded you are. It's easy to tell that you're making up most of your comebacks on the spot with no previous knowledge of...well... Anything.
      But don't bother responding unless you have a real argument and can defend your points. Have fun in your pursuit of momoya, I hope you have a better gameplan than you did when trying to argue with me.
      Have a good day, and I'm serious, please learn what a reliable source is. It will help you in your future.

      April 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • AtheismIsCrap

      Since momoya is apparently still crouching in the corner too terrified and trembling to answer my simple question, I find some time to respond you "there".

      And for the record, I don't intend to back pedal even an inch. It's just that I find it less exciting to throw more haymaker to the opponent that couldn't lift his gloves anymore but still standing just to keep on ludicrously claiming victory. I'd better go for a fresh leg to have a more exciting punching bag.

      April 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • AtheismIsCrap


      April 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • LOL!

      You have to love it when someone quotes Wiki as their source since even teachers and professors are telling kids not to use that site because of all the bad information on it, 60% of it is worthless garbage.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      You never answered my question as to why non-belief in god is any different than non-belief in any other myth?

      I will take no response as an addmission you can't adequately answer the question.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • momoya


      Or perhaps I just didn't check back on this board for a while.. Ever think of that??

      By the way, judging from your last several responses, it's clear you're dumber than a box of dirt, so I have no interest in discussing anything with you.. I tend to talk more to people who understand how reasoning works.. You haven't a clue.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      I'm trying to figure out how Sweden has a supposedly low crime rate when they are the r–a–p–e capital of the world, thanks to all of the third world muslim immigrants.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      I'm trying to figure out how Sweden has a supposedly low crime rate when they are the r–a–p–e capital of the world, thanks to all of the th-ird wor-ld mu-slim im-migra-nts.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      Sorry for the double post. Thought I hit the filter on the first one.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      From the state department: "Sweden has a low crime rate"

      Where are your sources @GodsPeople? And are you basically saying that you think Sweden would have a low crime rate, except for religious people that are increasing crime?

      April 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      > Where are your sources @GodsPeople? And are you basically saying that you think Sweden would have a low crime rate, except for religious people that are increasing crime?

      Google "religion society health". That should give you what you're looking for.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • AtheismIsCrap

      It's amazing to see lots of mice play while the cat is away.

      MEEOOOWWWW!!! Gotcha momoya!

      "By the way, judging from your last several responses, it's clear you're dumber than a box of dirt, so I have no interest in discussing anything with you."

      Speaking of my "several responses" and no interest of discussing with" me, let's see...uhhmm...how about this thread..here you go!


      Amazing! If you actually think about the existence of a deity you come to the conclusion that it's bull...
      Hmmmm it would appear that the people that "believe" obviously are not thinking.
      It took an actual study to come to this conclusion? Geez...

      April 30, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse | Reply

      And nothing more than.

      April 30, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |

      energy is required.

      April 30, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
      ◦Not believing in UFO'S is Crap

      and nothing more than."

      Too QUICK to response on intended pun but no interest on answering question? How amusing, yet, how TYPICAL.

      So I say it again, are you saying that USA has higher crime rate compared to Sweden? Answer the Godda.mn question, YOU sun-dried PIECE of CRAP!

      @No Truth just CRAPS..

      Sorry I can't answer questions which are not related to my posts and I really don't have a clue when or where was the first time you ask me such question. I'm not even sure you're talking to me nor what are you whining all about. Are you drunk, just come back to me to when you sober, coz you're starting to smell like a PIECE of CRAP to me. And beside you're not on my radar but momoya.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • AtheismIsCrap

      @No truth just craps

      But anyway thanks for dropping-by, I appreciate it. But wait...where are you going? Ah, to timbuktu..can you please bring LOL! with you and leave him/her/it there for good.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  20. Cq

    An obvious place where believers fail to employ analytical thinking is in their decision why God is more believable than any of the thousands of other gods and goddesses that have been shelved as myth. Careful comparison of them all reveals no real difference save that God just happens to still be popular.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • hank

      I'd say that analytical thinking would confirm that a necessarily existing single God is much more believable than multiple contigent gods. Are you seriously arguing that there is no difference between a necessary God and contigent gods?

      April 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Think

      @hank..The possibility of any god existing is the same as any other god existing, even god(s) not yet named/ gods of the future. Every god has the same amount of proof/ disproof, and none can be reasonably argued for or against. And there are millions of people today who believe in multiple gods, so that is not an argument, just an opinion. The Christian god is just as likely as the Flying Spaghetti Monster (note I picked an official monotheistic religion as an example).

      April 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      > I'd say that analytical thinking would confirm that a necessarily existing single God is much more believable than multiple contigent gods.

      Nope, it's more likely that a being has some powers rather then being all powerful. It's sorta like how humans have certain powers over the environment but not others.

      > Are you seriously arguing that there is no difference between a necessary God and contigent gods?

      There is no difference if you think about it logically. There is no proof for a single God. There is no proof for multiple Gods. Therefore, they're the same. That is to say, baseless claims that shouldn't be believed.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • hank

      Oops... posted above on accident. here is my reply:

      Think & Rundvelt.... I'm not sure you guys understand necessity vs contingency. A necessary God that possibly exists in any world must exist in all worlds. Contingent gods have no necessity to exist at all. Enormous difference in the two. Contingent gods must have an explanation for their existence.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Cq

      Why, then, would God be necessary? We can easily explain away the universe without need for his existence. God's existence is not necessary.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Cq

      Also, multiple gods, each with their own responsibilities and personalities, within a pantheon makes a whole lot more sense than a single god that supposedly does everything, and expresses multiple personalities. As the old saying goes, any tool that supposedly does everything, does nothing as well as a set of tools with one purpose each.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • hank

      The nature of God being the maximally greatest being (omniscient, omnipotent, morally perfect) makes his existence either impossible or necessary. A contingent god would not be maximally great and therefore such existence would not be necessary..

      May 1, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Cq

      Creating a god that is maximally the greatest possible being is only a matter of having the imagination to dream up such a being and the vocabulary to articulate it. Why would such a creature's existence be necessary then?

      May 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • hank

      ugg.... i just told you. necessity vs contingency is a basic philosophical principle. do some research.

      May 2, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
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.