Monday, August 13, 2007

Some additional thoughts on Christians and stupidity

Overnight I thought of a couple more reasons why atheists may latch on to the "Christians are stupid" idea.

First, it is true that atheism is associated with higher levels of education. And people with PhDs and professional degrees are typically thought of as smart. Also considered smart are leading scientists, such as members of the National Academy of Sciences (in 1998, a survey found a measly 7-8% believed in a god or immortality of the human soul).

Second, in an effort to convince others through logical means of beliefs not arrived at by logic, believers (the majority of whom are Christians in this country) will spout some astoundingly retarded statements, such as:
  • "The second law of thermal dynamics proves that evolution can't be true."
  • "God must exist, because if he didn't, then there wouldn't be a God to disbelieve in, in the first place."
  • "It was a miracle that Ms.Guided was the sole survivor when the plane carrying 100 people crashed into the ground."
(All of these come from merely the first page of this thread, which, granted, contains items that are simply weird or which espouse standard tenets of faith, but many of which are shockingly stupid, jaw-droppingly cruel, or both.)

Third, Christianity often encourages ignorance and anti-intellectualism. Sure, there are a lot of mainstream, liberal Christians who pursue knowledge with vigor. But the closer you get to literalist, fundamentalist belief, the further you tend to get from honest inquiry and well-rounded education. Most obvious are evolution deniers, who must wall off most of modern biology from their brains. Interestingly, reading Bart Ehrman led me to the realization that Real True Christians are carefully hamstrung even in studying the Bible. It's only "safe" to do so under proper conditions, or (like Ehrman) you might find yourself losing your tenuous grasp on fundamentalism and realizing, whether you like it or not, that the Holy Bible is an error-prone work of man.

On this third note, I leave you with a quote from Martin Luther, the "great reformer" and founder of Protestantism: "Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason."


Edward Baker said...

I think that the more 'intellectual' you are the less likely you are to believe a religion just about says it all.

Education is the enemy of religion and the friend of reason.

In Defence of Reason

Cogito said...

I think you're on the right track, but I think the best term I've found is where I got my blog name - need for cognition. Skeptics and atheists tend to have a high drive to think about and examine concepts, and that's totally incompatible with religion.

AlisonM said...

Sometimes I think that all we'd have to do to turn them away from God would be to force them to learn spelling, grammar, and punctuation. The simple act of having to write in correct English would put the seeds of doubt in their minds.