- Published on Saturday, 06 November 2010 07:10
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 1379
There have been surveys that show that smart people are less likely to be religious. In fact, a large proportion of highly educated scientists are atheist or at least agnostics (More here). But there are still some smart people who are believers and even evangelicals. Why should that be? And how do we know that they are in fact smart? It's easy to determine level of education but it's difficult to determine intelligence. If you have a PhD, it's likely that you have a higher IQ than the average person with only a high school diploma. But there are obvious exceptions. If you take business success as a measure of intelligence - or at least "street smarts" - then the family of David Green all have better than average IQ. Yet they are all "born again" Christians! According to a recent report in Fortune Magazine, David Green has a net worth of $2.6 Billion and that usually does not come to someone with less than average smarts.
David never made it past high school so you might think it was because he couldn't but I think he just did not want to. Yet David and his family are big donors to Christian Universities and Churches because he says "we were being led by the Lord to do something". He attributes his success to God: "I think our belief in Christ and our giving is the reason why we're where we're at," says Green. "I think it goes hand in hand." He is obviously a strong evangelical Christian. So how come a smart man is so religious?
I would think there are many reasons why otherwise smart people are religious but in this case I think it's simply that he never learned how to think logically and rationally. He did not go far enough in his education to learn the "scientific method" or how to think systematically. He is obviously capable of thinking about business issues and can make the right decisions in those cases but has always kept his intuitive business thinking away from religion.
What about others who are smart yet religious? Here's a list of reasons I've come up with as to why they don't apply their minds - there are probably other reasons:
- They are so brain-washed they reject anything that causes them to doubt.
- They feel that "Everyone" believes in God so that must be true
- Thinking about God and religion is not worth the effort
- They have rejected religion but don't want to announce it because they will be cut-off by friends and family
- There are respected people who believe and "have all the answers" and just like they believe expert scientists, they believe the theology experts.
- They are caught up in spurious concepts like "Religious Truths" and "Faith" and partition religion, mysticism and spiritualism as being not subject to logic or reason.
The fact is that humans are not only rational beings but also emotional. What we think is the result of both reason and emotions. Some people are just better at keeping them separate when deciding about religion and the supernatural. It's not always related to their level of intelligence - but it is related to their level of education and ability to apply clear thinking.