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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. ButterSquash

    Burp.... this debate is STILL going on? What year is it anyway?

    April 27, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Rsquared

      Lat time I checked it was 2012...
      Hey. You asked.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • momoya

      It's still being debated because it CAN be.. If there was even one/onethousandth the amount of "evidence" or "proof" the believers always claim then somebody should have picked up their Nobel for it a long time ago and this discussion shouldn't be possible.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  2. Bo

    As I read some of the posts, there were some who would blame God for all the evil and bad things in this world. No, God is not the cause of the evil and bad things—Satan is, but so that God can let the universe witness what the product of evil is; He has allowed evil to persist until it reaches it's fullness and then He will put it all to an end.

    April 27, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Jagoth

      “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
      Then he is not omnipotent.
      Is he able, but not willing?
      Then he is malevolent.
      Is he both able and willing?
      Then whence cometh evil?
      Is he neither able nor willing?
      Then why call him God?”

      Epicurus – Greek philosopher, BC 341-270

      April 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • momoya

      @Bo

      God didn't have to make the world ABLE to be corrupted by sin.. You believe in a big magic sky daddy who used a spoken "spell" to create a universe with an entire mechanism built in to turn it all to crap with one little mistake that a rib-woman made–but didn't know she was making because she didn't already have the knowledge of good and evil.. That about right?. silly..

      If God is omnipotent, then he gets all the blame along with all the credit.. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • sybaris

      Uh, your god allegedly tried that before and failed.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Bo

      Adam and Eve were not the original sinners, Lucifer was. I don't know if the there is either the time or the space here to explain it all. But Lucifer [Satan] the highest angel, a created being, wanted to put himself on par with God, yes even above God and he was cast out of heaven into this world. It was he who deceived Adam and Eve who fell into sin. That is how sin entered into the world. This is way over simplified

      April 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Even if there were infinite space and time, Bo, you couldn't begin to explain much of anything.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Bo, the dinosaurs killed your bible's creation myth. . . .it's long dead and you don't even know it.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • momoya

      @Bo,

      Why did god make his creation so easily corruptible?

      April 27, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      @Bo – Why Lucifer? In Roman astronomy, Lucifer was the name given to the morning star (the star we now know by another Roman name, Venus). The morning star appears in the heavens just before dawn, heralding the rising sun. The name derives from the Latin term lucem ferre, bringer, or bearer, of light." In the Hebrew text the expression used to describe the Babylonian king before his death is Helal, son of Shahar, which can best be translated as "Day star, son of the Dawn." The name evokes the golden glitter of a proud king's dress and court (much as his personal splendor earned for King Louis XIV of France the appellation, "The Sun King").

      The scholars authorized by ... King James I to translate the Bible into current English did not use the original Hebrew texts, but used versions translated ... largely by St. Jerome in the fourth century. Jerome had mistranslated the Hebraic metaphor, "Day star, son of the Dawn," as "Lucifer," and over the centuries a metamorphosis took place. Lucifer the morning star became a disobedient angel, cast out of heaven to rule eternally in hell. Theologians, writers, and poets interwove the myth with the doctrine of the Fall, and in Christian tradition Lucifer is now the same as Satan, the Devil, and - ironically - the Prince of Darkness.

      So "Lucifer" is nothing more than an ancient Latin name for the morning star, the bringer of light. That can be confusing for Christians who identify Christ himself as the morning star, a term used as a central theme in many Christian sermons. Jesus refers to himself as the morning star in Revelation 22:16: "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."

      And so there are those who do not read beyond the King James version of the Bible, who say 'Lucifer is Satan: so says the Word of God'...."

      April 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  3. Tigerflower

    These results seem odd to me. The more I learn about my world and universe, the more I see that science and rational thought don't explain everything. I don't believe "someone" created it all, but that certainly a greater power than we can tangibly quantify set it all in motion. To me, at least, science provides evidence of the divine rather than disproves it.

    April 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Rsquared

      Yeah, you'd think that rational thinking would show the need for an 'uncaused cause;' i.e. God.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • sybaris

      Ohhhhhh yeahhhhh. This is the semi-new, pseudo-clever spin on the god of gaps argument. Heard it before.

      It fails

      You or rather whoever made this up didn't understand the precepts of science.

      Stop regurgitating these fallacies. They're not original and they make you look stupid.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • CJack14dt

      Existence has to be someway. What is it about this existence that requires it to be divine? You have nothing to compare it to; for all you know our existence could be profoundly mundane and common.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • momoya

      How, Tigerflower?. How does science "provide evidence of the design?". You can't just state it and not show the reasoning behind the statement.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Echoing momoya. Just because we don't know how something occurred does not mean it "must' have been some invisible creature's doing.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  4. John

    Analytical thinking decreases religious belief? Good. We need more of that.

    April 27, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  5. aelen

    So if we sit down and think really hard (i.e. meditate, or pray) long enough, we start to realize that humans are the only intelligent beings in the universe, and we come to worship man as the supreme being, maybe even call man a God... oh wait, kind of like we've been doing the past few thousand years?

    April 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Drew

      Well technically with meditation yes thats actually the point of meditation think of buddahism its to find the inner chi or what not.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Patrick

      What? that's the exact opposite of what the article is suggesting. Obviously you don't work your brain out too often.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • sybaris

      "worship man as the supreme being, maybe even call man a God... oh wait, kind of like we've been doing the past few thousand years?"

      Typical religious belittling tripe.

      Religious Fallacy #513.........If you don't worship my god then you worship yourself.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  6. Rsquared

    I consider my decision to believe (both critically and non-critically) very often, and it has dramatically strengthened my faith. If people are purely religious and aren't actually in touch with the true spirit of faith, then this would probably damage their beliefs—as it very well should, since laziness should not be tolerated in so important a subject. Guess it's God's way of keeping people honest 🙂

    April 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  7. Stripling07

    I am a physicist and am very used to thinking analytically and critically. It is the same spirit of curiosity and a hunger for the truth that made me decide to be a scientist that has lead me to the conclusion without a doubt that there is a God. My belief in God in no way contradicts my science. They are both quests for truth. I believe that God wants us to know Him and one way to do that is to understand His creations, science is one avenue to do that, other avenues include art and language and recreation. The ultimate goal of believers and scientists alike is truth.

    April 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • momoya

      But science doesn't determine "truth.". You should know that.. Science describes what knowledge we have gained and expresses the simplest, constructive "answer" as a scientific theory..

      What "evidence" do you have for a god? What sort of god–since one can't be objectively verified?

      April 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Mopery

      If you're a physicist, then I'm the Queen of England. On the internet, people can and will claim to be anyone or anything.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Stripling07

      I said that science and religion (faith) are avenues to truth, not that either define truth. Clearly there is something lacking in religion when people can't agree on what a single book means (hence all the different religions) but there are also gaps in our understanding as scientists. The battle between science and religion is a smokescreen. The same science atheists use to "disprove" God is by its nature (and you agree by your comment) flawed and incomplete. As for evidence of a God, everything one sees testifies of a great creator (God to most people). I pose to you the question, what evidence do you have that there is no God? Nothing I know about physics has ever made me question my faith in God, but has done the opposite it makes me feel even more in awe of His greatness and grateful He has allowed me to understand as much as I do.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • sybaris

      If you are a physicist and believe in a god then you are truly a minority.

      If you are not a physicist then you are lying and that is a sin in your book.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • momoya

      @Stripling

      I have to say that I do not believe you are a scientist.. I do not think that a scientist would every say things as stupid as:

      "The battle between science and religion ..."
      "The same science atheists use to "disprove" God is ..."
      "As for evidence of a God, everything one sees testifies of a great creator (God to most people)."

      LOL!! Why would physics make you "question your faith in god?"

      April 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  8. Eric

    There is an inverse correlation between education and intelligence and religious belief. The more educated and intelligent you are, the less likely it is you are religious. That's not to say there aren't geniuses who believe and idiots who don't. I figured out around age 8 it was all made up fairy tales used to control people, but then I wasn't brainwashed since birth (although I did spend a year in Christian school when I was 7). I've always been stunned at people's acceptance of obviously made up stuff and rejection of scientific findings, even though the scientific method is the best method of discovering truth mankind has ever come up with. People love to believe falsehoods if these falsehoods reinforce some already accepted belief.

    April 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Dennis

      Nice bit of propaganda, but it doesnt hold water.

      So you are saying NONE of the renaissance scientists believed in God?
      None of the middle eastern scientists believe in God.

      The facts have actually come out in the reverse specifically in the area of artistic expression where atheist 'art' has proven to be practically devoid of any skill, and admitted recently couldnt compare to theologically derived art.

      It must make you feel good about yourself, but the fact is anti-theists like you who are so full of hate and big otry, have a lot of information (thats usually wrong) and are incapable of any real original thought.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Patrick

      Dennis, you can say whatever you want, but he's right and the article is right. The more a person sits down and thinks about things the less likely they are to believe things that don't make any sense. There are some exceptions, but for the most part, the smarter people in the world question what they've been told. Anyone that really considers themself open minded and intellectual, realizes Religions are just silly stories to make kids live good and brush their teeth before bed.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • momoya

      @Dennis

      Since the data is accurate, you can just go look it up rather than lie and call it "propaganda.". God belief doesn't offer anything to science.. Science doesn't require any particular belief on god.. That's why you have to do science by scientific rules–it actually has them.. It's not like god belief where the god is just the believers ego agreeing with everything the believer already arrogantly assumes.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Dennis, that has to be one of the stupidest posts I've read in quite some time. There is no evidence that art produced by atheists is less aesthetically interesting, valuable, or masterful than that produced by believers. Really, dude, get a degree from a REAL university.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The fact is that for a preponderance of our history, religious music and art predominated because the church was the main patron that supported the arts. That is no indication that non-religious art and music was less valuable or worthy. It simply didn't exist in the amounts that are found in religious art and music because the church was one of the few sources of wealth that could support the arts, and therefore it controlled the output of the musicians and artists.

      Really, Dennis. Any freshman music major would know that.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Tom's twin sister Jill

      "Really, Dennis. Any freshman music major would know that."

      Fallacy 101
      Abusive ad hominem

      April 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, cry me a river, honey. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Prove my statement is incorrect.

      April 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  9. TSM

    If these researchers would bother to do research, they would find that almost every single scientific discipline we have was founded by "religious" men (mostly Christians) who were trying to figure out the order of creation. This research is encouraged and thought of as a good thing by God...He says "come, let us REASON together". This does not look like a believe because I said so kind of faith.

    I find this article to be ridiculous. Where are the actual numbers? What was the critieria for the "believers" in the first place? This is just a general attempt to demean someone for their belief with no scientific results presented.

    April 27, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • momoya

      Agreed, most great colleges and universities were began by men of the christian faith, but those universities followed logic and reasoning and are no longer christians, but largely, atheistic.. Why use them as an authority on how to believe "then," but not on how to believe, "now?"

      April 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Lol

      Everything you said is either blatantly false or totally unsupported declarations of fact.
      Good job, dude!

      April 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Eric

      For much of human history, and still today in many places in the world, including the United States, not believing in whatever the dominant religion is in the area you live is guaranteed to cost you job prospects, acceptance in society, and often your very life. How many openly atheist members of Congress do we have? How many Presidents have we had who aren't Christian? Opinion polls show that only a small fraction of people would vote for an openly atheist politician, even though non-believers are one of the largest (and growing rapidly) minority groups in the country. The point is that many scientists in the past simply could not ever admit to not believing in god just like many politicians today have to at least pretend they are religious.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Mark from Canada

      The article was published in Science – one of the worlds leading scientific journals. You know, that journal where Albert Einstein and every other scientist we hear about has made their careers. If you want your answers answered about the quality of the research and before you continue suggest that the researchers who actually got published in the most difficult peer-reviewed journal to get in, I suggest you go and read the actual article. Your response is typical of the uncritical thinker category. You just got angry and rejected the findings. Critical thinkers, like me, are digging through the academic home pages of the authors, sifting through their other research papers, and reading the actual study that this article is based on. That's critical thinking skills and yes I believe that God and religion is dogma indoctrinated into children and those without critical thinking skills, having as much validity at the tooth fairy or Zeus.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Leonard V.

      In the words of Penn Jillette:

      "There is no god, and that’s the simple truth. If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again."

      April 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Dennis

      Eric... BULL S**T.
      The only one that even cares what others believe are fascist anti-theists like you.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Voron

      If you want the "scientific results," criteria, etc., you just pick up and read the paper cited in the article in the journal,Science.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  10. mikhail

    love doesn't come from someone above you, love comes from someone next to you, and you keep it going by giving love back..to people...to your mother, to your father, to your brother, to a stranger...its everywhere, but people are too scared, so they keep looking up...

    April 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  11. Oh really?

    If anyone on this site is really interested in hearing a good debate by two analytical thinkers do a search for atheist biologist Richard Dawkins and Christian mathematician John Lennox – debating God and science. Listen to the debate and do some analytical thinking for yourself. If you seek for the truth with all of your heart you will find God.

    April 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Mopery

      Obviously you have to search using your heart, because if you use your brain you'll discover that there is no god.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • momoya

      I'll try to look into that debate, but I'll be honest with you.. I've had a lot of debates recommended to me over past several years and in EACH ONE the believer is thoroughly TROUNCED by the atheist.. Sure, sometimes the believers are better speakers or have smother transitions, but logically–the atheists always win..

      How about you?. Just from Dan Barker and Hitchens you get about nine or ten excellent arguments against any sort of personal god–have you adequately rebutted those?? Because honestly, I don't think you have..

      April 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Jolt

      Mopery
      "Obviously you have to search using your heart..."

      The heart is an organ which pumps blood through the body. Just because it flutters or thumps in a chemically/electrically generated response to emotions doesn't mean that the heart *knows* anything or *speaks* or any other nonsense.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Abdul Haqq

      Here is a debate with Dan Barker:

      Search Hamza Tzortzis and Dan Barker on google or youtube.

      Be honest after the debate and ask if Dan Barker was really using rational/logical arguments, or emotional arguments.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • CJack14dt

      You can not debate faith with logic because it doesn't play by those rules, simple as that. Even if people were to watch this debate believers always come back with "I don't care if its shown to be true or not, I choose to believe it anyway," which to me goes to the very core of the rot in our modern society.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • momoya

      After watching that debate I KNEW Dan Barker won the debate based on logical argument alone.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  12. allenwoll

    XR-Kons are ill people without consciences - that is, without souls.

    Many try to hide this shortcoming from others behind a showy facade of affected religious fervor.

    April 27, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  13. hollistergrant

    My belief in God comes from the overwhelming experience of a loving, intelligent presence behind everything. I've experienced it in quiet moments, meditation, and contemplative prayer. People will think or believe whatever they want to think or believe. I treasure my moments of insight. No argument can take that away.

    April 27, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • allenwoll

      You have obviously lived a life without event.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • sybaris

      Which god?

      April 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • CJack14dt

      If your God was so obvious then all the peoples of the world that can not/do not know your God would find him anyway which we know is false. So I'm going to need more to go on than just your idea that he exists because when you're alone you say he tingles your Spidey Sense.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  14. mikhail

    It doesn't really matter if one believes in god or he doesn't. I don't. Some do. I don't care about their beliefs and i hope they don't care about mine. People usually believe in god because they either want, need, or were raised to believe. If you are raised to think freely, to face life and fear head on, then you simply have no time or desire for fairy-tales, since you are living life here and now. Where you are not living wishing a fairytale was true, then you get to enjoy the most beautiful life now... not everyone was dealt good cards, and not everyone can play a bad hand... it is what it is... let them believe in whatever they want.... effectively they are out of the game, so we have more space to live and play...:) also, less traffic on saturday and sunday...lol... I personally don't pray or wish for anything, i wake in the morning and go to get it, while someone is talking to him/herself...oh well... 🙂

    April 27, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • mikhail

      one downside, is that religious get taken advantage of a lot...very sad... its like watching little children getting taken advantage of...:(

      April 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • sybaris

      That's all well and good until the faithful influence the lawmakers to pass legislation infused with their beliefs.

      Theocracy, no thanks.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Leonard V.

      The problem with your reasoning is that, at least in the USA, these "god-fearing folks" affect policy and laws. They persecute others, both adherents of other religions, as well as non-believers, using the tenets written in their holy books almost two thousand years ago as a guide.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Dennis

      So you claim not to care what people believe yet take the time to read and comment on an article about belief and spout off repeated insults about people who do believe.

      Make you should do some analytical thinking about your own actions at some point and figure out how hollow of a person you really are.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • mikhail

      agreed, as long as their "faith" is kept at home, i don't care... and the best way to get people thinking straight is to teach basic transactional analysis in high school, so they understand why they need to feel protected and watched over... religion is heavily driven by lack of good education and peer pressure.... more education, more results, less childish crap...that's all it is.. MORE EDUCATION!!! Unfortunately people are LAZY!

      April 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Dennis

      Leonard V. and the problem with your reasoning is it has no real facts or evidence to support your claim, and actually is quite the opposite is usually true, anti-theists (not atheists) like you and others try to oppress and take away rights from theists.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Oh really?

      That's fine for you if you are right and if you are wrong and the message of the Bible is right then you will spend eternity in hell. Yeah, it certainly is your choice. Christian's are told to go into all the world and preach the gospel offering hope to all who will hear and believe. They understand that for them to mind there own business and not attempt to share their faith is equivalent to saying they could care less if everyone else goes to hell. Everyone will choose, and must choose, what they will do with Jesus Christ and the redemption offered through Him. Just know this: many have understood and received Christ as their Savior and Lord and their eyes have been opened to a whole realm of knowledge that you can not understand until you step over by faith. Don't knock what you really do not understand yet.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • mikhail

      Dennis, i absolutely do not attempt to insult anyone, anymore that they are trying to insult me by calling me hollow...:) If people get upset when THE (not Theirs, but The) idea is questioned, its usually because they have a strong need to defend it, because it provides solace and escape, ...and are likely not indoctrinated strongly enough, so they attack to protect it. Interesting to note, that atheists never attack when they are told that their belief is non-sense. That's because there is no fear, we grew up!! We love people around us!!! You included! and when we say "thanks", we say it to you!!! for making this world beautiful!!! its been said – "Most people don't know what to do with the life they have now, yet want another one and that one to be forever".

      April 27, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • sybaris

      Oh really?, the problem with your drivel is that you are born agnostic. Through environmental influence you adopt the prevalent religion, usually.

      If you had been born centuries ago in Central America you would most likely be worshiping Quezacotl.

      Quite simply, your god and faith is no more the right one than all the others that have ever been invented.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • momoya

      @Oh Really

      Think about the Muslim version of what you just said.. How convicted would you be to search and truly find Allah?. What you would feel is very similar to what I feel, now, reading your words.. This isn't a "My god's right or my god's wrong" issue, is it?. there's millions who believe in their, different god much more faithfully than you believe in yours.

      April 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • ac74

      Mikhail, right on! And sometimes it's all right to say put the dope down, grow up and face the music. Basically, it comes down to "what you see is what you get"...

      April 27, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  15. Mopery

    This clearly shows that religious people are delusional idiots who are willing to believe in anything they're told is true, without the need for any reasonable proof to back up the claim. To con men, they're called "chumps". To carnies, they're called "marks". To preachers, they're called "sheep".

    If you open your mind too much, your brain will fall out.

    April 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • katmoondaddy

      Belief in God is not necessarily for idiots. It is intuitive (as the article says). and not all of reality has to fit the logical construct used by science to be true. My own higher power undoubtedly exists and it follows no religious path nor is dependent on rituals or charismatic people. It is very much real and alive and much bigger than myself to understand but I know it exists.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  16. Muneef

    Cow madness thinking...stop eating beef to think straight 😉

    April 27, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  17. Joyce Wright

    You don't "make a decision to believe" in God, any more than you "decide" to fall in love. Faith in God is not really a belief in the logical sense, it is a spiritual indwelling. You either experience it, or you don't. So critical thinking, which is not applicable to spiritual expereince, is irrelevant. I can logically convince you that no one is ever really in love, but that would not make it true.

    April 27, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Leonard V.

      Wrong. Everyone is born without any religious faith. It is through brainwashing and indoctrination you come to embrace your faith.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • momoya

      That's because love is not real but rather a mental concept.. God is the same way–a mental construct.. We can't prove mental constructs; we can only describe how they "light up" which neurons in which sections of the brain.. A deep feeling of spirituality can be stimulated with a special, magnetic "wand" that stimulates the right portions of the brain–the same with love..

      You are correct that people do not "decide" what they believe; rather, they are compelled to believe as they do.. Desirability has no effect; no non believer can just "decide" to believe–but yet that's what believers always say to do: "Just believe until you start feeling... okay, you didn't feel that, but just believe until you hear....okay, so you didn't hear that, but just believe until some scriptures start to become more clear.. ..okay, so those scriptures didn't become clear, but just believe until.." and on and on..

      April 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • conoclast

      Good point! Now if only the empty-headed proselitytizers would recognize that 'you either experience it, or you don't'.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Oh really?

      @LeonardV – no, it's through seeking the truth. Try it.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • ac74

      Put the pipe down. There is no such things as god, soul, spiritual, love etc. Just because our brains bigger than worm's does not mean anything. At least they get eaten and therefore have purpose in life. Better come down from that high horse.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  18. AthensGuy

    well, I think we all should at least read the paper. if you dont subscribe to Science, go to the nearest library

    April 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  19. Leo

    Every time I look at these great works of CREATION, that are just now being portrayed through animation I wonder how someone can come to the conclusion that this happened through random unintelligent mutations from a single cell the most advanced object in the known universe (the Human Brain).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrS2uROUjK4

    April 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • AthensGuy

      it is actually tougher to believe someone created this... and it is not "just now" that they are being illustrated by animation.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Leo

      Romans 1

      18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

      20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

      21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

      April 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • AthensGuy

      O c'mon. Like copying and pasting from the bible makes any point at all. that is the symptom of lack of critical thinking right there.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • momoya

      Leo,

      Spirituality is just philosophy; philosophy seeks to answer the question "why?" to the best of its ability by studying human behavior/desires.

      Evolution is just science; science seeks to answer the question "how?" and DESCRIBES the process of certain causes and effects and their complex relationships..

      Whether or not god spoke a magic spell to lay down the rules or get evolution going, evolution is a proven process.. Saying that a big magic sky daddy-wizard used a spell doesn't do anything practical since it's just a declaration of a faith.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Leo

      AthensGuy, Did you watch it? You really should!!

      April 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Leo

      The Funny thing is you will look at a BMW and say great engineering and then look at just a small example of the workings of this organelle and say, thank goodness for random chance and dumb luck. Like the Bible says "Professing to be wise, they became fools,"

      April 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • momoya

      Leo, stop using terms like "just dumb luck" or "just random chance.". Those words don't describe evolution at all.. It'd be like me talking about the christian god looking like a dinosaur or a swarm of butterflies..

      April 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • conoclast

      Call it "god" if you need to; I call it The Force of Gravity.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • ac74

      So you get awed by something... Guess what, babies and animals get that "awed" all the time. Does not mean jack! If you don't understand something, doesn't mean it was "created".

      April 27, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  20. Faculty

    I work at a Bible college, and our students score above the national average in critical thinking.

    April 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Leonard V.

      Care to provide a link to the study or survey supporting your claim? In the absence of verifiable evidence, a critical, logical, reasonable, thinking person absolutely cannot have a blind faith in a man-made deity.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • DenvMike

      Please cite the college and a non-religion funded study backing your claim.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • AthensGuy

      one point or one event doesn't make a statistic

      April 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Voron

      The very fact that they attend an university increases the probability that they have higher IQs than the average person but it does not necessarily compare to other universities and having higher averages than these.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.