Where are the Smart Theists?

demons-of-stupidity-400x446I spend entirely too much time debating idiots.  I’m sorry, but that’s the truth.  Be it on forums, on Twitter, on blogs or anywhere else, I debate a lot of theists and they are, entirely without exception, morons, especially when it comes to their religious beliefs.  Finding stupid theists is easy.

Where are the ones that aren’t?

Now I’m not trying to be mean, honestly I’m not, but I’m really flummoxed.  I have yet to run into any theist who can actually discuss their belief systems or the world around them in anything approaching a rational manner.  Oh sure, there are varying degrees of idiocy involved, some people can hold their own a bit longer than others, but boy are there some real doozies out there, people who I’m surprised can manage to dress themselves in the morning. Unfortunately, nobody who takes religion seriously can manage to hold a discussion regarding  their beliefs and manage to use big words.  This applies across the board, from janitors to college professors, whether they’re novices or experts in their fields, religion seems to be the one area that they just cannot examine rationally.

I’m just getting frustrated with the whole thing.  Moron after moron on Twitter, spouting easily demonstrably false claims, yet when you prove them wrong, they just keep saying the same stupid, already-disproven thing. They just don’t care.  I don’t know if they’re trolls pretending to be stupid or if they’re just that stupid to begin with, but I’m tired of it.

So I went looking specifically for smart theists, people who could hold their own in a rational discussion, who don’t play the “Hitler was an atheist” card, who actually know what an atheist is, who know how the scientific method works, etc.  Yet no matter how hard I look, I keep coming up empty.  I see people that seem promising at first, yet fall into the same old tired emotional idiocy.  It strikes me as strange that religion seems to be the only belief in humanity that operates this way.  Certainly, there are other beliefs where some believers are fanatics, but none where absolutely every believer is a fanatic.  Would we accept any other beliefs that operate like religion?  I don’t think so.

I’d really like to talk to some rational theists, people who have thought critically about their beliefs and who understand and can articulate why they believe what they believe and can defend their faith intellectually.  I know that I’m asking for a lot, anyone who can actually do all of the above almost certainly has rejected irrational religion and moved on to a non-theistic position, but I’m just sick and tired of interacting with morons who are too stupid to realize how moronic they actually are.  I see these people by the thousands.  Going around and around with them when I know they are incapable of rational, critical thought is pointless.  I’m just tired of wasting my time.

16 thoughts on “Where are the Smart Theists?

  1. “I’d really like to talk to some rational theists, people who have thought critically about their beliefs”

    WTF???

    I have been talking to theists about their beliefs for almost 40 years now, and I haven’t met a rational one yet – how can a magic man, that was born from a virgin 2000 years ago, killed and then reanimated, and who is still living today, somewhere in the sky, be analyzed rationally?

    Hint: theists don’t think, they just parrot what they have been told or indoctrinated to believe….

    In short: there’s little or no thinking going on inside their empty heads.

    PS… I've been reading your posts for some time now, and I really enjoy your posts!

    My recent post The Threesome – an Orgy of Stupidity:

    1. That's great, thanks. And yes, I know it's highly unlikely that there is a single rational theist anywhere on the planet, religion is an intellectual wasteland, filled with over-emotional and under-rational gullible people. That doesn't mean that wishing for someone worthy of a serious intellectual debate isn't a valid desire, I'm tired of wasting my time on idiots that can't string two rational thoughts together and whose beliefs make me roll my eyes. Unfortunately, I'm sure that's all there are in the world, religion, by it's very nature, demands it.

  2. I've seen plenty of stupid (not just ignorant; I'm talking dumber than a bag of hammers) in the atheist realm, so obviously theists don't have a monopoly on idiocy.
    I used to be a theist. I may have been deluded and I may have been ignorant, but I'd be hard-pressed to see how I could have been described as stupid, moronic or idiotic.

    “Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.”
    ― Aristophanes

    1. But even considering the best and brightest of the theists, their theism is still ignorant and stupid. I want to see theists who are able to think critically and rationally about their religious beliefs, not be forced to turn off their brains the second they come to religion. I just don't think it's possible and it's really sad to think that the whole of human religious belief consists of being purposely ignorant.

  3. I think it is important to distinguish between "stupid" and "stupid about a topic". There are plenty of smart theists out there, they just don't seem to apply that intelligence to their religious beliefs.

    "I’d really like to talk to some rational theists, people who have thought critically about their beliefs and who understand and can articulate why they believe what they believe and can defend their faith intellectually. "

    I totally agree with this line, and I would say perhaps that it would be nice to find a theist who is smart about religion. Or to say all theists are stupid about their faith. Just saying all theists are idiots irks me a bit though.

    My recent post Anything Can Be Inspiring

    1. I've often made the point that because you're dumb in regard to any particular thing, that doesn't automatically make you dumb with regard to all things and just because you're smart with regard to any particular thing, that doesn't make you smart with regard to all things. Francis Collins, head of the CDC and former head of the Human Genome Project is clearly a very intelligent man, but he believes in God because he found a waterfall frozen into three parts. His religious beliefs, as idiotic as they are, do not reflect on his scientific skill or expertise. By the same token, Bill Maher is an outspoken atheist, but he's an ardent anti-vaccer too. Because he's an atheist, that doesn't give him any credit for his anti-vacc stupidity.

  4. Another important point that needs to be made is that things have changed dramatically due to the internet. It has offered those people who have made a commitment to follow the evidence a path to intellectual freedom. My first halting steps towards deconversion happened before I started to use the internet. It wasn't as easy as it is today and I had to work hard to get to the point to where I even began to seriously question my religious beliefs. It wasn't so much a matter of intelligence as it was moral courage and natural curiosity.
    What got me started on my path is difficult to pin down, but the fact that I was raised both Muslim and Catholic simultaneously as a child made me question religion…but not the existence of a god. That was not to come until much later.
    After a stint in the service and several years of marriage, my wife convinced me to attend a service at a Church of Christ. After several visits from elders and preachers to our home I decided to convert. My decision was not based on emotion, but on bad information. I approached my conversion as logically as I was capable of at the time and with the information that I was given. Was I skeptical? Yes, to some degree, but the historical "evidence" and the clever arguments being offered to me made sense. I only began to seriously question the bible and the historicity of Jesus, etc., when I started to argue with the elders about creationism. At the time, I was a theistic evolutionist, meaning that the evidence for evolution by natural selection was so overwhelming that it couldn't possibly be false. To me, evolution was a fact, but I also believed that it was a natural process conceived and implemented by a supernatural force. Cognitive dissonance, yes. stupidity? No. Based on erroneous information I saw just as much reason to believe in a god as there was reason to believe in evolution and therefore theistic evolution was what made sense to me. That didn't go over too well with the elders of the church and they had the senior elder hold weekly one-on-one discussions with me concerning the accuracy of the Bible in all things. The earth was 6000 years old and that was that.
    I had a catalog from Prometheus books at the time and I saw something from the National Center for Science Education. I made a few phone calls and eventually found myself speaking with Eugenie Scott. She gave me a list of books to purchase about evolution and creationism and was very supportive of me in my quest to become better educated and finding the truth. She also advised against me trying to debate creationists; advice that I dismissed. I continued to go to these weekly studies with the elder and engaged him head on in discussions concerning his beliefs. He was a teacher of logic, fluent in Greek and Latin and he made his living as a technical writer. He was not a stupid man by any stretch of the imagination.
    What he was however, was deluded and unethical. One can use logic to make a sound argument or one can abuse logic to make a sound argument. This man did the latter and I caught him abusing logic and outright lying numerous times.
    After several months of this back and forth, we both came to the conclusion that I needed to leave the church. To be more exact, I was asked to leave the church as I was a disruptive influence. I still believed in a god, but I was no longer a member of that particular sect.

    1. The problem is, people are far too quick to attach a particular label to a person, be it "smart" or "dumb" and assume it applies to everything about that person. That's why I asked about smart theists, not smart people. People may be brilliant in many different ways, but when it comes to their theism, I have yet to find a single smart person, smart in the sense that they are critical and rational and interested in the factual truth when it comes to their beliefs in the supernatural.

      And yes, while the Internet has made it easier to find non-religious arguments, it has also made it easier to find religious ones, it's given us many, many thousands of armchair apologists who really have no knowledge of their own but they can find an unending variety of half-ass theological sites out there with tons of already disproven arguments. These people can cut and paste like nobody's business but they really have no clue if the arguments are good or bad and really, they don't care. Most theological debate is filled with "yeah, but it says on this website…"

      Further, while the Internet has made the information more available, it's also allowed people to get into little insular communities that operate as little more than echo chambers for the faithful. Just because the data to blow their beliefs out of the water is just a few clicks of the mouse away doesn't mean they're actually going to look at it, most of the time they hide behind electronic walls and comfort each other that the data isn't really there. This goes both for the religious and the non-religious, after all, that's exactly how AtheismPlus operates, isn't it?

      So I'm still left wondering where the smart theists are, the theists who actually operate rationally with regard to their beliefs. Of course, I know the answer, any that actually did that are no longer theists, they've realized what a crock religion is and rejected it.

    1. I haven't found that either, in fact, some of the worst people I've found to have debates with on any subject have been college students, mostly because they've got book learning but very little actual real world experience. They are the ones most prone to taking an online apologetic argument and running with it whether they understand it or not. You're right though, Twitter is just a cesspool, that's why I ignore it most of the time.

  5. What about Wm Lane Craig? Atheist triumphantly proclaim that his logically crafted arguments have been thoroughly "debunked" but I've yet to hear or read any of these devastating refutations. In debates, the atheist rebuttal never touches his actual arguments. Instead they go off on a red herring about how moronic the Bible is or how the God of the Old Testament is a horrible meanie. Ahem, our understanding of God was transformed by Jesus. Since you would be hard pressed to find anything objectionable in his moral teaching, the best an atheist can do is claim that Jesus never existed. The most documented figure in ancient history is a conspiracy theory because all the authenticated written material was canonized to be included in the Bible. Anything in the Bible is disqualified automatically. I personally am not that into the Bible. So even if everything included in the Holy Bible could be nonsense and God would still exist. Other religions might be more accurate in their perception of God, but we all know there is something much greater than what He created. We see and experience it. I am sorry you don't or can't. But I am not going to call you an idiot for your unfortunate lack of perception. Maybe you feel cheated? Why are you hating on the bulk of humanity for not proving to your satisfaction what is obvious to all of us?
    But please explain how everything came from nothing. Your theory cannot be verified with evidence. If there aren't any rational theists, that implies that the majority of humans are idiots who are only parroting what they were taught by their parents. My parents are nominal Christians who might attend a Presbyterian Church service on Easter every few years. OTOH, I was confirmed Catholic as an adult after 2 years of asking questions and learning the teachings of the Church. That makes me an idiot I suppose. Galileo, Copernicus,Kepler, Newton, and Columbus were all Catholic. I suppose you consider them to be idiots too. Where did the energy required to form the universe come from since energy requires a closed system? Who strung the String Theory or spawned the multiple universes? At some point, there must be an uncaused cause by logical inference.
    You ought to look into why so many hospitals were established by religious organizations. Is it idiotic to rely on medical science to cure and heal people? I am an RN who has worked at several hospitals. Yet I never saw a doctor order prayer in lieu of treatment. We feed the hungry and shelter the homeless. What secular organization gives chronic alcoholics and drug addicts another shot at sobriety? I'm sure there are some, but I've never encountered any.
    Hope I didn't bore you.

    1. To be perfectly honest, William Lane Craig is not at all impressive, I've taken on the best of his arguments and found them pretty laughable and easy to defeat. In fact, I did a videocast on his classic 7 arguments a while back which blows virtually everything he preaches out of the water as irrational and ridiculous. http://report.jadedragononline.com/2013/08/18/bit

      If you're impressed by his silly claims, I don't know what to tell you.

      By the way, while that's an oft-made claim, Jesus is not well documented at all, in fact, there isn't a single demonstrable contemporary eyewitness account of Jesus anywhere. That's a tale told to the ignorant who never bother to check out the actual facts. That's something else I've taken on several times in the past. In fact, I think you can get virtually all of your questions answered in this one huge post I did a while back that tore apart the 20 most common Christian claims: http://bitchspot.jadedragononline.com/2013/01/18/

      Give it a shot and tell me if there's anything you disagree with for rational, evidence-based reasons, not emotional ones.

  6. How about you look up "Atheists Turned Christian/Muslim/Jewish" instead of just "Smart Theists"? Those people had been forced to reevaluate what they had been taught (as some had been raised atheist) and had to look through all the anti-religious propaganda.

    I am not an expert, nor have I read scientific studies on these things, although I have tried to. My reasoning currently depends on common sense, rather than the regular parroted arguments. I am actually very young, so I unfortunately do not have enough patience to read those studies, so I don't think I would be on your list for "smart theists". The most easily accessible and understandable source of pro-religious information and reasoning I have found is actually a YouTube channel called InspiringPhilosophy.

    I know that you would be hesitant to look at something so unreliable as to be on a website famous for aggressive idiocy, but this channel actually cites intellectual people, studies, and even meta-analyses. The person there is active and responds to comments.

    Honestly, I think all the smart theists prefer to keep to themselves, as they know they would just be pelted with the same arguments over and over despite explaining multiple time why so-and-so is so. Not to mention the increasing privation of religion where I come from.

    1. Actually, that's rarely the case, as I've pointed out in many posts. Virtually no atheists who turn to religion do so for intellectual reasons, in fact, the vast majority of atheists who become religious were never atheists for intellectual reasons to begin with, they were default atheists who were only non-religious because they had not been indoctrinated. They never had any idea what the problems were with religion, they never walked away from a religion for cause and therefore, when they did become religious, it wasn't because they had studied the religion rationally and found evidence that the religion was actually true, they did it entirely emotionally.

      I've actually seen some of the videos from InspiringPhilosophy and have one in the queue for refutation on my YouTube channel. If that's what impresses you, I don't know what to say because I found it utterly absurd.

      1. But that's the thing isn't it? Atheism nowadays is based around "science", or what they believe it is and has been achieved through it. Very rarely will they use true logic; they listen to people such as Richard Dawkins for a goal. Most modern theists become atheists because of these "problems" they find in religion. In America, or rather the place I live in, religion is seen as a hindrance to progress, human rights, and causes problems wherever it has the most influence. Unlike many, I did a small search and found that some christian sects only view homosexuality as a fetish, as a sin only in sex, found that Islam is based around love, that Judaism does not believe in Jesus as the messiah for solid reasons instead of a desire to keep a certain culture, and that barely any christians believe you will truly go to hell if you sin in things you are "not able to help". In this search I found that very few religions offer huge problems, other than requiring work to stay in and gaining radicals who give it a bad name.

        Sure, religions may have problems, but what about atheism? It offers absolutely no meaning in life and produces the horrifying idea of Social Darwinism, which was one of the most important factors in the Holocaust. Some atheist sects are just a repetition of christianity, just secular.

        As a person is born into an atheistic family has been brought up on the idea that god was disproven by actual reasons. They are brought up to think critically about everything and, unfortunately, exposed to the propaganda that all theists are superstitious fools, who only believe in god only because of their denial of the proof obviously laid in front of them. Nevertheless some have become atheist. Why? They have argued against the usual, cliche questions such as (tell me if I forgot one, and forgive me for using ones centered around christianity):
        "Who created god?"
        "If there was a god, why would he allow so much evil in this world?"
        "Isn't believing in god the same as believing in the flying spaghetti monster?"
        "Isn't god just a fairy tale for those afraid of death?"
        "Doesn't religion just create more problems than it solves?"
        "Does the mind not come from matter? How can we have souls?"
        "How come god didn't create the world without suffering if he loved us like all the christians say?"
        "How do we know Jesus wasn't just made up by some people?"
        "How can miracles even happen if it goes against all logic and scientific facts?"
        "What evidence is there for all of these claims?"
        "Do I really want to join a religion that is so against… for reasons written in a book, written by humans?"

        Not to mention that they meet the answers to these questions with skepticism because, in all honesty, no one changes their mind easily. I have written previously that atheism offers no meaning in life, and so you may say that it is this idea that prompts raised atheists to start converting to a religion because of its emotional impact. In reality, modern atheists do not think along that track and are easily distracted from this line of thought many, many times by real life. Even then they would try to live a life entirely based around fulfilling their own pleasures. Also, a society based around people fueled by their own self interest? Sounds much worse than a society based around people fueled by teachings of love, humility, and kindness to your fellow man.

        What is your YouTube channel? I'll watch this video and see if you actually refute the logic instead of just explaining why you believe the sources are unreliable. The videos from InspiringPhilosophy were sound in logic, and addressed possible counterarguments. Much more preferable to the endless, repeating, Socratic questions from the atheists trying to defend their position. Most of them mentioned above.

        Can you please explain what you said more please? I was confused on how you said "they never walked away from a religion for cause".

        Again, I am young and have only just stumbled upon the true realities of the world. However, my brother had researched religion for 6 months for a college research project. As he didn't fail and got a decent grade, I assume he used reliable and plausible resources. He told me religion is an important choice as it determines who you affiliate with, who you look up to, what your goal in life is, and hugely influences what kind of person you become. He is still not an atheist. No, I would not ask him to argue with you because frankly, what kind of theist would I be if I could not defend my own ideas?

        You may be able to find some smart theists soon. All the stupid ones are becoming atheists.

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