Is There an Inverse Relationship Between Intelligence and Religiosity?

According to Kimberly Winston writing for Religion News Service:

A new study of almost a century’s worth of data shows that the smarter you are, the less likely you to believe in God.

The study, conducted by Miron Zuckerman, a psychologist at the University of Rochester, examined the findings of 63 earlier studies–one dating back to the 1920s–that measured intelligence and religiosity.  The majority of those studies found that more intelligent people were more likely to lack religious belief.

“The relationship between intelligence and religion is negative,” Zuckerman said.  “It was very early in the study that we realized that.”

But Zuckerman is careful to point out that his work–known as a “meta-study” because it examines a range of other studies–does not mean only dumb people believe in God.

Instead, he said, it shows only that more intelligent people may have less need for religion.

I don’t know how the studies measured intelligence (education level?), but they imply a problem with church policies that encourage education.  If the more educated a person gets, the less inclined he/she is toward organized religion, then that doesn’t bode well for churches that emphasize education.

To overcome this problem of education, churches needs to ditch bad “doctrine” that is not only nonessential, but that is also clearly wrong and indefensible.  Churches also need to come to grips with past mistakes.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • take a firm stand against Old Testament literalism
  • work out compatibility issues between evolution and religion
  • atone for past mistakes like racism, indulgences, inquisitions, etc.
  • get on the right side of LGBT issues (this is clearly a civil rights issue)
  • develop a more realistic view of women’s role in the church
  • have a more positive attitude toward the future
  • take a more proactive position on global poverty and other inequities
  • lose the cynicism toward science

In no way, do any of the above threaten the core Christian message.  But they certainly go a long toward making religion more compatible with higher education.

This entry was posted in catholicism, feminism, humanism, mormonism, Philosophy, Religion, Social Justice, transhumanism. Bookmark the permalink.

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