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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. It comes down to this...

    Everyone will have to decide: either Christ is who He said He was or He isn't.
    If He is, then those who don't believe will suffer not only here on earth because they will never have the peace He gives but, also, eternally.
    If He is not, then those who believe will it suffer any more than those who do not believe.
    As someone who did not become a believer until almost 30 I can tell you, whether you believe me or not, my life is FAR, FAR better as a believer and I would die for Christ because NOW I understand what He did and the great gift of life He has provided for me and all who believe. Unbelievers, you have every right to choose what you will but don't talk about something you really have no clue about. If you don't believe you really have no clue why we who do believe really believe.

    April 27, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Gabe

      Thank you for demonstrating what an either/or fallacy is. Critical thinking skills would have prevented this error.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Observer

      I doubt there's ever been anyone who walked down the church aisle to get married who didn't totally BELIEVE it would be "until death do us part".

      Fortunately, HALF of the were right. You know, like flipping a coin.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • momoya

      Everyone will have to decide: Either Mohammed was the last prophet and the Koran his final word or not..

      You know how concerned you are that Islam might be right and you are just pi.ss.ing off Allah more and more each week? That's how muslims (and me) feel when you give you stupid false dichotomies.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post contains an instance of the False Dilemma fallacy and also presents a form of the flawed argument known as Pascal's Wager.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      April 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • It comes down to this...

      Gabe – critical thinking skills may help you to understand this is not fallacy. : )

      April 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Recent post by "It comes down to this..." is a form of the ad hominem fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      April 27, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • A Cannon

      Reply to "It comes down to this....If you live a good life, treat others well, you will be just fine in the next life. My Christian faith teaches that if you make good choices you can make your religious choices after you die, as will the billions from the Asian and African continent that were never taught about Jesus Christ. It sounds like your Christian faith teaches otherwise, that you will be punished after death for not accepting Christ. That is not correct, that would be completely unfair as most people who live on earth never even hear the name of Jesus Christ. I don't believe we will be judged on things we are not aware of, punished for sins we did not commit or judged against standards we never knew about. That is what the Bible teaches and that is why Christ himself organized teaching/missionary work in the afterlife.

      April 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • mandarax

      Bless you, Fallacy Spotting 101. Your mission is noble.

      April 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  2. Ricky L

    So many of these "critical thinkers" are too quick to deny something that they haven't even defined.

    They haven't figured out yet, that one opinion is pretty much like another.....without facts and data,,,,,one enters the realm of faith.

    April 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Perry

      whereas you would rather simply ignore facts, data, and thinking.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Gabe

      That's why we don't form opinions on things without evidence. For every correct answer, there are an infinite number of incorrect answers. Your odds of being correct are infinity to 1. You are guaranteed to be wrong.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • momoya

      Ricky, do something to show why we should consider the realness of your god.. Go ahead.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Ricky L

      @ Perry.....what "facts and "data" are you referring to?

      @ Gabe....there are infinite correct answers. I do not presume to to know the dimensions of God, physically or metaphysically.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Gabe

      Ricky L, 1+1 = 2. Every other answer is wrong.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Ricky L

      @ momoya

      Though faith in God is a personal decision, by definition,

      "The arc of the universe Is long but It bends towards justice." MLK

      In other words......you believe in your God, I'll believe in mine.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Perry

      Ricky:
      the fossil record
      the vestigial organs you carry with you
      the host of errors and contradictions in your holy book
      and so on.

      And again, your evidence for your god is what, exactly?

      April 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Ricky L

      Ricky L, 1+1 = 2. Every other answer is wrong.

      And yet, Gabe, 11 might be three instead of eleven.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Ricky L

      "Ricky:
      the fossil record
      the vestigial organs you carry with you
      the host of errors and contradictions in your holy book
      and so on.

      And again, your evidence for your god is what, exactly?"

      Perry, you confuse a literal interpration of the Bible with a belief in God.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by Ricky L. is an instance of an Ignoratio Elenchi fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      April 27, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Ricky L

      Speak English.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Perry

      Sigh. So Ricky, what do you take as guidance as to how your bible should be interpreted, and why is it that your wonderful deity can't come up with a better package of communications that is so subject to such different interpretations? The latter question is one of the biggest problems with your idiotic, pathetic beliefs, but only one of many.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • pepsee

      Somebody, please prove that god exists.

      April 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Ricky L

      @ Perry

      What's "idiotic and pathetic" is your choice of those words in a debate.

      The Bible was written by men....fallible human beings.-–with agendas of their own.

      If we had the time....and you had a more open-minded, respectful approach to this discussion I would be able to answer most of your questions.

      April 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  3. How can finite wisdom comprehend the infinite being?
    April 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Observer

      Apparently there's no use in trying.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Perry

      How can a "god" expect us to know its intentions, and to believe in its existence, when no reliable proof can be presented of its existence and when its book is so subject to interpretation and is so apparently flawed and man-made.

      And how is your pink unicorn feeling today? My celestial teapot says that you need to get out and think more.

      Back at ya, stupid.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Gabe

      Without evidence, believing in God is as equally likely to send you to Hell as it is to Heaven.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • 1OftheSheep

      Obviously the answer is that this takes infinite gullibility.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  4. Nick S

    I believe in God. I have been fortunate enough to experience feeling close to God at certain times in my life. Those have been times of total inner peace and clarity.

    Some people don't believe in God. Some people won't even listen to you when you try to tell them about your experience on the matter. These people seem unhappy for the most part.

    I think another thing about humans is that we have to experience everything for ourselves, and it is never good enough to be told something is true. We must experience it ourselves for it to be real.

    April 27, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Gabe

      Testimonial evidence is not evidence. Not by scientific standards.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Perry

      Go for it, Nick. Tell us about your experience with "god", but do try some analytic thinking first about why you don't have any proof of your claim.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • momoya

      A wise person does not have to necessarily experience everything for himself.. The issue with God is verifiability.. Apparently, belief is the "magic" factor, not the particular god who is the object of that belief.. Why does god allow there to be so many millions of millions of misconceptions about his nature and will (if any one religious belief is correct and excludes others as most teach).. Why does god not allow people to believe in different "maths" or "chemistrys" but he does let people believe whatever they want about himself?? It doesn't make good sense, does it?

      April 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Plain Ol' Dreamer

      Nick S,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,.,,..

      I too believe in God! May He in analytical wisdom be ever with you in all your mannerisms and revelries of Life!

      April 27, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • It comes down to this...

      Gabe – not true. Look up the definition of science. Try Merriam-Webster for starters.

      Testimonials are valid evidence. If they were not, why do our courts value them in making judgements

      April 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Nick S

      Since you are all demanding evidence, what of the Near Death Experiences that are reported across Western and Eastern cultures? You may try to debunk them, but all it takes is for one NDE of the thousands reported to be true in order to indicate that there is something more to our existence than the here and now.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Gabe

      Courts don't operate by scientific standards.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  5. Scot

    The churches are in it for the money or they would do more for the poor and needy so we would not be in the trouble with welfare in this nation. The churches are tax free because they "say" it is a non profit ! The republicans are in it for the money because they do not want to give anymore money to those welfare queens and they say they are christians !
    See the simularity ! TAX THE CHURCHES !!!!!!!

    April 27, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  6. Ricky L

    Many commenters on this board should learn the difference between atheism and cynicism.

    April 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Perry

      Hardly.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Ricky L

      Concise, Perry, if not entirely comprehensible.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Raz

      This is true. An Atheist is a person who doesn't believe in God. A cynic is a coward who doesn't have the strength to believe in anything.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Mel

      Perry, I love your spunk.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  7. You lost me at "Intuitive..."

    The simple fact that the researcher believes "religious belief is intuitive" completely skews their view and shows me they do not understand what religious belief is. This could have been a great study.

    April 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Perry

      You were lost long before "intuitive".

      April 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  8. Perry

    Thinking is bad for religion. Think more, believe less.

    April 27, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Ricky L

      Believe what?

      Everybody believes in something.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Gabe

      You're right Ricky L. But a healthy mind abandons those beliefs that are revealed as false or based on faulty reasoning.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Raz

      You have a very limited mind if you believe that. Read up on formal logic.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  9. Plain Ol' Dreamer

    The town fryers are beside themselves and do so need to re-think their being role-modeled as the diasperium compendium of analytics' consortiums! Free-thought does ever degrade the general populace of teeny wieners until they become fluential whiners! The treasuries of the richly engulfed portionalities want only for their namesakes to be but tally whackers of indescent exposures duplicities of varagated compliancies! All Trees need to be shaken ever so violently at timeliness and when wantoness befalls all generations to justify all allotments to be the distiliants' amalgumations!

    April 27, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Observer

      So much for cut-and-paste.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Plain Ol' Dreamer

      Observer,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,..,

      Lying eyes want to know, and then maybe they will, yet whomever thye bells toll are for their ownliness wants!

      April 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  10. Truth7

    "When was the last time you sat down and questioned your belief in God?"

    Just what cnn promotes everyday. Why? Because they HATE God. Tells you who they are promoting. Just looking at their homepage at any given point in time reveals one or more of the following:

    Words: death, kill, evil, hate, murder, se.x
    Images: fire, red, muslims

    Got it.

    April 27, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Gabe

      How can you hate something that doesn't exist?

      April 27, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Observer

      Oops.

      The only people that can HATE God are believers.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  11. Ndlily

    This is one of those "no s___, Sherlock," articles.

    April 27, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Perry

      No shit, you mean. I'll second that.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  12. Ed

    Well, duh! Questioning anything and really thinking about will cause almost anyone to increase their belief in science (empirical evidence) and decrease their belief in religion (faith) or anything else that requires acceptance instead of evidence. Common sense.

    April 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Raz

      So science is something that is "believed" in? If you view it that way, then there really isn't that much difference between religion and science. You just replace one set of dictates for another. In fact, a lot of people view science that way, which is kinda sad. I've met several people who claim that Darwin disproves the existence of God and then show a dismal knowledge of Darwinian evolution. They have essentially adopted a new faith, one that makes them feel smarter and superior to their fellows. They don't understand a particular scientific theory, but they have faith in it, cause that's what smart people do.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Gabe

      Raz, thank you for demonstrating your misunderstanding of the scientific method.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Raz

      I understand it just fine, however I've notice many people "believe" in science rather then understand it.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  13. Ricky L

    @ LinCa, Ken, etc.....

    You can do anything except prove that God doesn't exist. It doesn't really matter to me what you believe or do not believe. You can't prove it one way or the other.

    On the other hand, I don't have to prove anything. Faith is like that. You seem to have faith in a Godless universe.....I don't.

    You can act as superior as you wish. You can ridicule, you can insult.....but you can prove nothing.

    April 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Gabe

      If you knew what these mysterious "critical thinking skills" mentioned in the above article were, you'd understand that you CAN'T PROVE A NEGATIVE.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Snow

      Yep.. perfectly understood.. faith is to put your fingers deep into your ears, close your eyes and yell "LaLaLaLa" until people around you simply walk away from the idiot you are.. But in your mind, you just won a big logical debate, eh?

      But I fear for your children when they talk back or act disobediently to you.. I hope at least for their sake you do not follow your book.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • momoya

      I say unicorns exist.. Can't prove me wrong?. That means they exist..

      silly christian.. no.. that's not logic.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Prove that Thor and Valhalla don't exist or that Leprechauns don't guard a pot of gold.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Callmeishmael

      Ricky, I've read a lot of stupid, nonsensical posts in my time, but I can honestly say, yours is near the very top. It was just stupid on so many levels, sorry.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Callmetom

      And the circle of life continues.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Perry

      Ricky exemplifies those incapable of analytical thinking.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Ricky L

      You said, "You can do anything except prove that God doesn't exist. It doesn't really matter to me what you believe or do not believe. You can't prove it one way or the other."
      Again, if there is anything to prove, the burden to provide evidence rests entirely on the ones making the claim. I don't claim there to be no gods. I only refuse to believe your assertion without some evidence.

      You said, "On the other hand, I don't have to prove anything. Faith is like that."
      Of course, because faith is all you have. There is nothing else. That is obviously sufficient for you to believe the nonsense you clearly believe, but it has no persuasive powers.

      You said, "You seem to have faith in a Godless universe"
      I have no reason to believe there are any gods, of any stripe. I simply disbelief there are any.

      Just making one up doesn't mean you somehow got it right. Even christians can't figure out what exactly their imaginary friend wants, or how he wants his followers to behave. There are, by some count more than 38,000 different christian denominations, sects and cults. They all believe differently, yet all claim to know the truth. At most, only one can be right. The odds that one is and that you belong to it, aren't very good.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Ricky L

      @ Linca.....Figure it out.....really, figure it out.

      Faith is personal, I don't have to prove my faith to you or anyone else.

      My original statememnt on this board was...."I choose to live in a universe with God."

      I never even said God existed.....however, you're insistent on making a claim to the contrary. WITHOUT PROOF to back up your assertion.

      It's really very simple.....my faith includes God.....yours obviously doesn't.

      My question is why it should disturb you so much that I don't believe as you do. Especially considering that neither of us can prove our position?

      April 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Ricky L

      You said, "Figure it out.....really, figure it out."
      Oh, I did.

      You said, "Faith is personal, I don't have to prove my faith to you or anyone else."
      True. You don't.

      You said, "My original statememnt on this board was...."I choose to live in a universe with God."
      I never even said God existed.....
      "
      Your original statement makes no sense without a belief in a god.

      You said, "however, you're insistent on making a claim to the contrary. WITHOUT PROOF to back up your assertion."
      No, I merely dismiss yours as baseless.

      You said, "It's really very simple.....my faith includes God.....yours obviously doesn't."
      True.

      You said, "My question is why it should disturb you so much that I don't believe as you do."
      It doesn't.

      You said, "Especially considering that neither of us can prove our position?"
      The difference is that without evidence, your position is silly, mine is the default one.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    And here it is, the end of another day. Abortion is still legal. This is still a secular republic. We aren't required to believe in a sky-fairy. No one has yet proven there's some invisible puppet-master in control of the universe.

    Life is good. Idiots like bfart, Chard, Gold Borge and the dimwitted legions who follow their lead are still ridiculous.

    Bon Nuit.

    April 27, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Tom is in Middle School

      Ah, the parting shot from the loser that never proved a thing except that he has the insulting skills of a minor. Goodbye sweet Tom.

      April 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gotcha, crack monkey.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Raz

      Why is that athiests keep repeating certain phrases like "Sky fairy" and "Bronze age book". Is this from some book or something? Can't they think of their own insults. And I'm glad I don't live in a country ruled by the dictates of angry atheists. Mexico was back in the 1930's. When the power of logical fallacy and insult was unable to convince people to give up their faith the power of rope and bullets were used.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Tom is in Middle School

      Lol, bet Tom still gets a thrill from a Jack-in-the-box. Just can't wait for the big surprise.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Gabe

      Raz, you're right, it's not a sky fairy. It's the anthropomorphization of physical phenomena.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Gabe, you're not fighting fair; you're encouraging analytical thinking.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Perry

      Tom, Tom, you rock. Good night.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Tom's brother Perry

      More self sucking up. Classic Tom Tom.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Perry

      Actually, Tom Tom and I, to my knowledge, have no relation other than being posters on this blog.

      Care to offer any proof to the contrary? You stupid religious folk seem to have a really tough time coming up with proof of any of your conjectures. And you are an ass-wipe.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Tom's brother Perry

      Writing style and the devolved insult capacity of a child. Nope, you are Tom using a new username. Amazing how Tom just left and you just arrived. My theory works better than your, whatever you want to call it.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Perry

      Like I said, you are an ass-wipe. Look on the bright side; there's reliable demand for your services in that regard, whereas the demand for those of religion is in decline. The latter is great to see.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Tom's Brother Perry, you must be some sort of desperate.

      I haven't posted a thing in the past half hour.

      Poor little thing. You really are sad.

      April 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  15. andrew

    i wish i could believe in god maybe i would fell my life is full but i know it really wouldn't be its like a drug if it makes me hi who cares

    April 27, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  16. Gabe

    Is this why critical thinking is strangely absent in public education?

    April 27, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Public education is run by people who will buy any fairy tale with a happy ending...whether it makes analytical sense or not.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  17. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    It's easy to see that a point has hit home. Wackaloons like b4 show up and attempt to jump on a non-existent bandwagon.

    Too bad they lack wheels, axles, and engines. Oh, yeah, and brains.

    April 27, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Luke

      I've been an agnostic for years. However, I would just like to point out that because you are an agnostic or an atheist, clearly does not necessarily mean you have the capacity for critical, comprehensive thought as you have so clearly demonstrated. How are you any different from a racist, calling those with different beliefs fools and what not. Tell me, do you walk around in public spouting that garbage?

      April 27, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      @Tom Tom: At least I have sufficient brains to not be a h o m o s e x u a l 'bottom' such as yourself – a behaviour you are apparently still engaging in.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Observer

      b4bigbang,

      You were born that way so you can skip the undue self-praise.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I have no idea what you intended to say, Luke. But that's okay, since I don't really give two sh!ts about you or your opinion.

      April 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  18. Sifleut

    Religion is antiquated thinking, quantum theory has answered more than religion ever has or will. If there is a god, they would be very upset at how they're interpreted here on Earth.

    April 27, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Um

      Your post is antiquated thinking. Modern physics contains so many unknowns and for many like Einstein gives evidence for their faith. You should look up George LeMaitre by the way. FYI he was a catholic priest and he was the one who took Einstein's field equations to give evidence for the big bang.

      April 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Observer

      “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. … For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish supersti-tions.”
      - Albert Einstein, letter 1/3/1954

      April 27, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Gabe

      Um, an absence of a scientific explanation is not evidence of a supernatural one.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Perry

      Analytical thinking is absent from Um's capabilities.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Um

      Gabe, true. One thing of note imo from the article is reference to jobs (like lawyers) that require analytic thinking. I note that scientists not only have such requirements but also often have the requirement to publish, and to publish means to be limited to only that which can be observed or directly proved. Now some theologians like Aquinas have offered proofs of God. But I am fine to acknowledge that while I have personal experiences, you can always doubt the honesty or validity of my witness to my experiences. Moreover if I point to evidence such as order in the universe or the need for a cause to explain it, you could say it is not a proof. So allow me to opt out of the debate. Personally I see evidence for God in science.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  19. Um

    It depends what you think about. Think only about earthly things, can effect you one way. Think beyond earthly things, perhaps another.

    April 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Well just about anybody can make things up in their mind. Question is, are you strong enough to face facts and think through things logically and unbiased enough to leave your children's stories behind if logic and facts require it?

      April 27, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Um

      Good point about making things up, Dee. I don't mean think up imagined things. I mean think about what is real. But let's not pretend we have all the facts of existence or the logic to deduce everything. Why assume the bible is merely children's stories? It is not. Why assume logic requires something it does not? Perhaps one should not be too hasty.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Gabe

      You have to presume everything without evidence doesn't exist or is untrue. That's how logic works.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      "Um", it's fairly obvious that you don't know what science is about. It's not the evil mysterious thing your fundie pastors make it out to be.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Um

      Dee, though I realize you may have just been saying that without meaning it to insult me, your statement is a false conclusion about me and science. If you knew me, you'd know you you're wrong. But I hope in that you find some solace. Consider if you may be reaching hasty conclusions about other things too. As Twain said, it's not what you don't know that gets you in trouble but what you think you know but ain't so. Ps I'm catholic not fundie.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  20. DHumeSaves

    At church, we never sang songs praising critical thinking skills.. And our pastors never expressed much of these skills... They were bad role models.

    April 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Raz

      Should have gone to a Jesuit school.

      April 27, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Raz, and be taught by the brainwashed? No thanks.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      A Jesuit will pretend to believe almost anything comfortable.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Raz

      You have no idea do you? You ought to look at Jesuit contributions to science, logic and math.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:16 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.