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.”
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.
Do a wiki search on Parley P. Pratt, Mitt Romney's great grandfather. See why he was killed by a jealous husband. You won't believe it.
Oh, really? Soo interesting. So..it has nothing to do with the article?
Been soo amusing to see how cowardly you sneaked on my post on the other page while I'm away and play there with your fellow rodents.
You think you can escape me, huh?
You replied on my previuos post and said:
"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!
"valid question", rather
You are crap.
Yikes! So much hate and anger AiC!
Wow! Whatta intelligent rebuttals. I'm IMPRESS!
PIECES of CRAPS!
It would appreciated if anyone of you
I would appreciate much if anyone of you could find momoya for me.
This article is obviously pretty straight forward. The more you think about the fact that there is someone in the sky who will determine your path, the more you realize that it RELIGION IS NOTHING MORE THAN A TREND/SCAM/ and worst of all A LIE FROM THE BEGINNING.
No its not
ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS AND THINKERS: Part VI, a summary:
Please read Parts I-VII: See pp. 2, 14, 22, 23, 23, 24, 26, 48 before proceeding--
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.
"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. "
Genius...everything man knows 'scientifically' about the creation of the universe is still ever changing theory. Prove your theory...otherwise it is only someone's opinion that is no better than a religious person's belief in God.
@gjp, Actually scientific theories are better than religious theories solely based on the fact that they continue to progress as we develop with time. They are subject to be disproved so they are more intellectually honest. There is evidence that points us to understandings on levels that are physically applicable. Einstein's theories have given us GPS. Theories in particle physics have improved our understanding of chemistry which helps us produce better medicines. Theories on quantum mechanics have led to all of the breakthroughs in computing technology that you blindly take for granted while you peck away at your keyboard. The list goes on and on. Name one innovation that has come from the theory of god. Name one religious inst.itution that has the intellectual integrity to try to disprove the theory of god.
@gjp – Science is continually trying to prove itself wrong until it finds irrefutable evidence that it's right...religion says it's right, and calls anyone trying to prove it wrong a liar and a heretic. Tell me how that's better, please?
Science is good it shows how God made things and helped them adapt through climate change.
Science hows how God was necessary to make anything. You're a swimming man clutching to gold bricks, my friend.
Total Rubbish. Analytical think can stimulate the faith on The God. As you analyse more and more you will find out the purpose of this creation more and more and you also can realise how tiny you are in relations to so many planets, stars in our universe alone, where there are many more universes where we can never reach by ourselves.
That was the reason Krishna said in Bhagwat Gita, Sankhya ( analytical thinking) and Yoga( devotional thinking) merges at the highest level. Remember what Karl Marx, the proponent of Materialsm wrote,
" Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, it enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. "
For context, the full quote from Marx reads as follows:
"The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man – state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.
Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo."
Amazes me that those who claim the moral high ground so readily lie and misrepresent others arguments (contextomy in this case).
Selective quote mining and cherry picking scripture are their main defenses, along with outright misrepresentation of things like evolution and the big bang theory. I wonder what Jesus would have thought of this "the ends justify the means" att.itude?
Do a wiki search on Parley P. Pratt, Mitt Romney's great grandfather. Find out why he was killed by a jealous husband. He also has 12 wives. You won't believe it.
...and then I suppose you have another suggestion for finding out why we should care?
Just trying to point out that the Mormon church is cult. No big deal. Back to your crack pipe.
Fundamental flaw is to say that faith is merely intuitive. That's a huge assumption that will necessarily skew the interpretation of your evidence. Faith is given by God through His Word. Analytic thinking is no problem to faith. Never has been.
Faith is given by God through His Word.<-Assumes quite a few things. That god exists, meets the Christian definition, and that the Bible accurately reflects his words after passing through the pens of hundreds of people.
And how do you know that "Faith is given by God through His Word"? Intuition, right? Somewhere within the circle of your logic you have to throw your hands up and accept some starting point on complete blind faith. It could be "There is a God", or "The Bible is literally true", or "What I feel is the Holy Spirit working in me", or something else, but you cannot get to having faith without suspending some analytical thinking on this subject.
It is funny how atheists ridicule religion because of the necessity of faith and yet science has yet to prove how the world was made, how the universe was formed, how everything involved in the big bang came together to produce our universe. Everything is theory (and still changing). Yet atheists will be the first to stand up and say we need to believe (place our faith in) scientists because they are 'logical'. Prove your beliefs...otherwise your beliefs are no better than a religious person's beliefs.
You are right in a way. Theirues can and do change, because as more answers are discovered, the better we can put the facts together. Science is ever-changing, for we find new things constantly. Religion NEVER changes, it is stuck 2000 years in a past for a society thaT ceased to exist long ago. We do know how the earth was formed. It's called an accretion disc, and astronomers are watching a good one right now. See, religion couldn't answer that. Their only answer is "god did it". Why do you think rel;igion forbade science for so long? It didn't want ot be proven wrong. Go ahead, please, prove science wrong, PLEASE. When you do no one will burn you at the stake, no one will hang or crucify you. Instead, you might win prizes, awards and money. Not to mention instant fame. And in the end, everybody has learned something new. When was the last time religion has taught anything new?
Sorry for the typo - 'theories'. can and do change
@ Mirosal.... Agree with most everything you've said... however, religion is in the process of change. No, not the holy books per se, but rather, religious views are changing everywhere one looks. Fewer people than ever before accept every word of their holy texts, fewer people than ever before feel they must do every single thing they are told by their pastor, preacher or pope. In christianity, you now have "beloved" men, such as Joel Osteen, who would've been burned alive at the stake just a hundred short years ago for some of the ideas he spews forth. Today though, he is praised for his progressive stances. The primary religions of third world countries will begin to follow suit so long as mankind as a whole continues to march forward and the global wealth spreads. It will be excruciatingly slow change, but the changes will continue.
Theories of who and what "God" is are ever changing and evolving too. The Jews redefined God to mean a single being instead of a pantheon of beings. Christians modified that to include a trinity of aspects to who God was. Eventually, they came to agree that Jesus was divine, and also God. The Muslims reinterpreted it again to make God a single being once again, the Mormons reintroduced the concept of being elevated to godhood, and modern Christians like to think of God as the embodiment of Love. People's idea of what God is has evolved. So, either people are making up definitions to suit them as they go, or nobody has any sense of what God actually is. With all that uncertainty, as much as there is with science's search for answers, why not just throw YOUR hands up in the air and quit having faith that a God even exists in the first place, Hmmm?
I believe every word in the Holy Bible is true. I believe in God...and I believe God. God's Word is more precise, analytical, powerful, functional, comforting, healing and guiding than all the lesser attempts by mankind.
Humans can choose to reject the ONLY way to live in peaceful abundance – or choose to wander through this life without a purpose, without peace and without redemption.
All the angry posts in this blog are a direct result of ignornace and ruinous pride.
More analytical thinking in the form of a prayer:
ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:
The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
(References used are available upon request.)
You say you believe every word is true. Therefore, you cannot wear two different types of cloth right? That is punishable by death you know. I am assuming you have children so you know you are supposed to kill them if they dont do what you tell them to do right? How many teenagers have you killed. It is all in there so either you are a murder or a hypocrite.
Len, maybe you need religion to give your life meaning, but I as.sure you, others do not. As for god, there isn't a single shred of proof to support the existence of your god, or any of the thousands of gods worshiped throughout the history of humanity. There is no evidence to support the existence of any type of afterlife. I don't know why you think it's arrogant and proud to look at the lack of evidence and to conclude that there is no god.
What I find arrogant and proud is the belief that there is a being powerful enough to create the universe, who hangs upon the every thought of insignificant life forms on a planet in the celestial middle of nowhere. Not only that, he will send these life forms to live forever in paradise if they just say they like him best and follow laws written by people who very little grasp of the natural world. How in the world is that humble? How in the world is that even believable?
Like I said ...Jeanine....look at who you are keeping company with 🙂
And look who you're with.
Oh, wait. That's right. You're all by your little lonesome, Piddles. In your puddle of pizz.
I don't know... life with Jeanine would have been interesting. 🙂
There is a mental activity which is lower than "reason". Namely, instinct. Lower forms of life have far more instinct than reasoning capacity. Yet during times of earthquakes and tsunamies, lower forms of life such as birds and squarrels, flee inland and survive. Humans, having greater reasoning capacity, perish in large numbers at the shorelines and under collapsed buildings. If survival is the goal of evolution, then evolution fails where humans are concerned. In mankind, evolution has produced a freak. This freak constantly lives in fear of what his "reason" produces: nukes, famine, genocide, not to mention the plethora of modern psychosis that a materialist society has produced.
Survival of the species is what's selected, not survival of the individual. Our ability to think rationally and control our surrounds has led to a population of over 6 billion, which is pretty good compared to other mammal. But yeah, for religious people, I guess thinking critically is somehow a bad thing.
Carl Jung, the father of ANALYTICAL psychology, rediculed the atheist/materialist view of things. He said such things as "The existence of God does not depend upon human arguments", and "God is present, bidden or unbidden." One would think that the better a person's analytical ability, the more likely he/she is to be a genuine, non-blogging atheist. If a person's analytical ability is developed to its highest potential, we have a computer, a thinking machine. We no longer have a human PERSON. If a human organism is a pure thinking machine, it is irrelevnt what such a being thinks about God's existence. It is not qualified to deal in abstracts such as the idea of God.
Wow, your logic is truly horrible. First, what makes you think that a computer cannot deal with abstracts? Waston, the computer on jeopardy, was programmed to understand the subtleties of language, which is pretty abstract. Second, if your God is purely abstract, he can't affect the physical world. If he can affect the physical world, i.e. as a creator, personal guardian, etc., then is should be possible to analyze his role in the natural process.
We have already had prophecies in the Bible that were fulfilled.
We don't need ongoing prophecies to validate previous prophecies.
That is called confirmation bias.
No, we haven't.
It is written "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!
My argument on wether god exists.
to start take the philosophical aspect of Schrodinger’s cat which is that if you cant know anything about the cat in the box then you cant know if its dead or alive so it is in effect both dead and alive at the same time. now if you think about with respect to the cats perspective on what is going out side of the box it then becomes that everything within the realm of possibilites is going on outside the box. so if we are the cat and the universe is the box, since we cant observe what is going on outside of the boundries, that means that there are an infinite set of universes that are there happening at once. And becasue there are infinite possibilites it is not out side the realm of those possibilities that there exists an infinite set numerically same universes like ours. and within the infinite possibilites there is as infinite set of universes with atleast one god and an infinite set of universes that have no god. so if you set that limitation of atleast one god or no god you can say that god both exists and doesnt exist in of universe because we dont know what type of universe we are in.
Schrodinger's cat was a joke about metaphysics
I couldn't get the past the horrible grammar, so it makes me think that you copied it from somewhere else. Secondly, you cannot use the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment with the concept of a multiverse. Create a truth table for both instances, and it will become immediately obvious. A superposition of the two cases is irreducible.
Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit:
Is a set of tools that skeptical thinkers use to investigate any new concept. A few tools include: a healthy distrust of information that isn’t independently verified, critically assessing an idea rather than becoming irrationally attached to it simply because it’s intriguing, and a preference for simpler explanations over wildly speculative ones
This article sounds about right.
most of the atheist here are very low intellect and IQ. they begin with the strong bias or premise that God Does not exist which leads them into aggressive emotional attack mode and hunt for the believers
True analytical thinkers are open and unbiased an not to eager to take a position
f any one had cared to read the Pluto dialogue ' yes Socrates could have escaped with the aid of his close friends the night before 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 or modules , if that could be proven then it becomes even more easier to prove the existence of God . It same the modular programming which we use in IT. to arrive at whole abstraction
what a pathetic troll you are vic
Funny that "they" all seem to know how to write beyond the level of an 8th grader, vicky, when you don't.
People in the past had the strong bias that God (of some sort) existed...The greeks ended up being wrong about a lot of things - for instance, that there were 4 elements and 4 humors (the basis of primitive medicine).
Prayer changes things .
"Polly want a crack.er"
@prayer changes nothing: troll, you don't ever debate your stance because you're scared. you just keep posting the same dribble over and over on every blog even if it has nothing to do with your cult.
Prayer changes things
Prayer changes lives
Really ? Atheism is not healthy for children....... is telling children about the existence of HELL and what happens to those who end up there healthy ? Wake up !
Atheism is the baseline, the default, the natural state. Religion requires indoctrination by other human beings and their literature.
Atheism is NOT the natural state. Do you not understand the laws of nature and the physical make up of the universe? If you did you would understand that there is a law of order and an intelligent design.
@kana: so you were born knowing the whole bible and understanding god? i know as i grew up i had no clue what religion was, i went to church to learn about the bible and man's teachings pa.ssed off as a god's word. when you're born we survive off of instincts, we are taught to follow a certain indoctrination depending on where you are born and what your parents believe......unless you educate yourself and decide to follow a different path.
You educated yourself and "discovered" that there was no God.....so you are saying you have no excuse for your ignorance, it was an educated decision to delude yourself into your self-worship (aka, atheism). Good luck with that.
It's laughable how upset people become when they hear the truth.
@Kanageloa “Do you not understand the laws of nature and the physical make up of the universe?”
Do you not? You certainly have your own interpretation. IE “intelligent design” the modern day religious work-around for creation.
“Atheism is NOT the natural state” Oh, of course it is silly! Depends on where you were born and raised.
You start out innocent and unaware of religion. Those born in western cultures are likely to be raised as Christian or Jewish, whereas elsewhere you might just as easily be raised as Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim.
@John “You educated yourself and "discovered" that there was no God.....”
You don’t know me. How can you make such a blanket statement? Did you “discover” there WAS a god?
I have not stated whether I am atheist or not. I am just making a simple factual statement that one is not born with religion. That doesn’t mean it’s bad or good. What gives you the right to call all atheists self worshippers? What an extremely judgmental statement. I am human and therefore have every excuse to be ignorant! What’s your excuse?
Debunk the "fairy tale" of Daniel 9's 70-week Messianic/Temple destruction prophecy and you'll be famous overnight. No one has yet, btw. The Dead Sea Scrolls certified the timeline of the prophecy. This precise calculation is as far for intuition as one can get. Purely mathematical and analytical. Youtube "Chuck Missler 70 weeks". It's about 10 min. Like Gordon Gecko said, " I don't throw darts, I bet on sure things".
@mark: the dead seascrolls were written by hermit extremists in a remote location......so yeah they were credible about the same as the guy that lives in the woods for fear of the end of the world. lmfao temple destruction? really? how many temples throughout the world have been destroyed during raids by marolding people such as the mongels? hundreds. let's see the norse gods even predicted their demise so they must be real by your rationing. ironic thing is your book picks up where norse mythology ends, hmmmmm i wonder why.
If you want me to believe a prophecy, give the date, time and event, and if it happens EXACTLY as you say I will believe it.
This is garbage.
And pi is three, right?
Present any bible prophecy speaking of a specific date of happening that is in the past 100 years, and prove that it happened. Or just shove off and take your religious fairy tales with you.