Is Your Religion Making You Stupid?

I’ve been doing a lot of praying over the past week and I have asked for your prayers and positive thoughts. Those prayers meant everything to me because I have a faith in God and I believe in the power of prayer. It gives me hope when otherwise, I would have none. It sustains me when otherwise I would give up. That means everything to me. So this morning while I was perusing Facebook and I came across an article shared by one of my friends titled Atheists ‘have higher IQs’: Their intelligence ‘makes them more likely to dismiss religion as irrational and unscientific’ it bothered meI read the article and it argues …

“Atheists tend to be more intelligent than religious people, according to a US study. Researchers found that those with high IQs had greater self-control and were able to do more for themselves – so did not need the benefits that religion provides.

They also have better self-esteem and built more supportive relationships, the study authors said.

The conclusions were the result of a review of 63 scientific studies about religion and intelligence dating between 1928 and last year. In 53 of these there was a ‘reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity’. In just 10 was that relationship positive.

They defined intelligence as the ‘ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience’.

In their conclusions, they said: ‘Most extant explanations (of a negative relation) share one central theme – the premise that religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable and, therefore, unappealing to intelligent people who ‘know better’.

‘Intelligent people typically spend more time in school – a form of self-regulation that may yield long-term benefits.

‘More intelligent people getting higher level jobs and better employment and higher salary may lead to higher self-esteem, and encourage personal control beliefs.’

Okay, so all of that being said, I am calling bullshit. I am religious and I am also intelligent. I don’t think that the two are mutually exclusive. And yes, I have proof that I am intelligent. I have graduate degrees and credible IQ scores. I have even taken theology courses on various religions but still, I believe in a God and my faith remains. This is why there is no conflict for me. At the core of my belief is that God created the universe and from there evolution happened. Time passed; people, the world and the universe have changed.

My faith was instilled when I was a small child. Yes, blind faith. I absorbed it all in and took it to my heart and gave myself over to it. I needed to believe there was something more. I’ve experienced hardships and I needed to believe in a savior if not, what was the point? Above all else, I believe that there is a God and through God, all things are possible. I see miracles every single day of my life and maybe they are all explainable by science but they are miracles to me nonetheless. Science and medicine are miracles to me. A baby being born is a miracle. Honest, raw, enduring, authentic, unconditional love is a damn miracle. The kindness of strangers is a miracle. All that being said, I know that man is only a man and I am cautiously skeptical of just about everyone.

Do I dismiss scientific facts? Not, at all. Do I dislike or judge atheists or people who are not of my own religion? No, because I also believe in choice and tolerance and everyone has their own choice to make. We live with our own choices so why should anyone else judge us? I judge people on how they behave and move through the world not by their labels. Many of my dearest friends and favorite people are Jewish, Hindi, Buddhists and every other religion and some of my friend’s don’t believe in God at all. Are they more or less intelligent than me? The answer is yes and yes because I don’t think your religious preference makes you intelligent or ignorant, your brain and nurturing do. How you act and behave with those beliefs is what determines that. Do I try to push my beliefs on anyone else? Never, because it’s a very personal. decision. Do I believe they will be damned or cast out of some afterlife utopia? No. I believe that God is tolerant and loving and I’m not dead so I have no proof about what happens after we die. Maybe we do just all go to the ground. Maybe we recycle and keep coming back until we get it right. Either way, I want to be kind to people. I want to live like every day is my last and I want them all to count, here on earth.

My faith in God is what gives me my faith in me. Through God all things are possible and through hard work and determination all things are possible for me. My faith is anchored in the belief that good people deserve good things. I know that life is not fair. I have experienced it first hand and I have questioned my faith. Believe me! But in the end, my faith is nourishment for my starving soul. My faith grants me serenity in this chaotic world of unpredictability.

My faith is based in my belief that doing the right thing is always right even if the other person chooses to reciprocate by doing the wrong thing to me, that is on them. I am only responsible for my actions and only accountable to my own conscience which maybe, that is what God really is, my moral compass. But when my fears and burdens are too great, faith allows me to hand them off to a higher place; to leave them on a shelf because worrying helps nothing. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t work to fix my issues first myself. I believe in modern medicine, working hard and doing good in the world. I believe in people. I trust in humanity. God helps those who help themselves.

I don’t expect to sit on my ass and hope for something/ someone to magically take care of me. For me, faith is hope. It is being able to have faith that good can come of even the worst of humanity. Having hope that when life looks dim and worthless, it can turn around. It helps me to see the good in people. How can that be bad or make me unintelligent? Naïve, maybe but I can’t believe that putting my faith in the good in people or the world is wrong.

Isn’t an atheist judging me to be ignorant because of my faith equally as offensive as a Christian judging an atheist to be the same for his lack there of?

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Comments (2)

It is really amazing how similarly we think. We’re like, soul-sistas. My neighbor is a preacher, and I find him to be quite intolerant of lifestyles and choices that differ from his own. But intolerance is just another life-choice, isn’t it? And I guess I shouldn’t judge his choice to be intolerant??? He says he thinks the word “tolerance” is thrown around by people who are trying to circumvent the Word of God. Clearly, my neighbor and I are not on the same page on that one. =)

One of the things that I look to when my faith wavers is the faith of the many brilliant Catholics through the centuries. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine – those guys were no dummies! Pope Francis is clearly a very intelligent man. I figure all those smart people can’t be wrong. 😉 Seriously, though, I love this piece. It is seriously irritating to see believers portrayed as small-minded and ignorant, and it’s a prevalent portrayal in certain circles.

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