Aug 142013
Religious individuals may not be as intelligent as atheists.

Are you smarter than a Christian? Photo by Arvind Balaraman/

Here we go again, another subtle attack on religious people!

A new study suggests (notice the word ‘suggest’) that atheists are more intelligent than religious individuals.

Alas, it seems the more we grow as a society, the more we regress by attacking each other’s ideologies.

Unfortunately, I am not a subscriber to the journal so I could not read the study’s full article. However, I was able to access the abstract and compare it with the concluded facts presented by others who did read it.

The abstract stated a combination of 63 studies were analyzed. The data showed a strong “negative” association between intelligence and religiosity. It offered three possible interpretations:

  • Intelligent individuals are less likely to conform therefore more likely to dismiss religious dogma.
  • Intelligent individuals are more analytical therefore undermine religious beliefs.
  • Intelligent individuals may have less need for religious beliefs and practices.

The Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity (abstract)

It is assumed the intelligent people are less prone to believe in things they cannot empirically prove. If it cannot be proven with science, then to them it’s fallacious. Simple put; if you can’t touch it, see it or feel it, then it’s not real.

Religious people may be more intuitive


According to a Huffington Post article, the researchers postulate the intelligent people may not have a need for religion. It could be possible the religious need is diminished from being self-controlled.

This appears more plausible than implying ‘smart people know better.’ To expand on the self-control theory, other studies found strong narcissistic traits (a controlling factor) in certain occupations that require leadership roles such as the position of CEOs. Leadership roles usually require some sort of education.

Controlling personality trait – education – less religiosity need

This slight fact would suggest it’s not the intelligence factor that shun religious beliefs but actually the personality trait. Thus, to my understanding, it’s not necessarily how smart a person is but their inner personality need to control their surroundings with tangible facts.

Can we trust intelligent tests?

Also in question are the intelligent tests analyzed in the previous 63 studies. It is common knowledge that intelligent tests are not exactly culturally appropriated. Some people even feel they are down-right discriminative towards the impoverished (stress from poverty or lack of resources) and people struggling with mental illnesses (a person with OCD may have trouble concentrating on the test if she/he feels the pencil is contaminated).

Therefore, the use of previous intelligent tests to determine the association with religiosity may be flawed just on those facts.

Unfortunately, I was unable to view the whole document on this association between intelligence and religiosity so that may suggest I am … not smart.