Are Theists Stupid?

not-sure-if-stupid-or-just-christianOn a recent Atheist Experience, they talked briefly about their disagreement with calling the religious stupid, saying that the religious can be just as smart as non-theists.  Well, yes and no.  Certainly, with regard to their theism, theists are not as smart as non-theists because they believe in irrational things. They can be bright outside of their religious beliefs, they can be geniuses in fact, but when it comes to the things they believe about gods and the supernatural, they are, without exception, downright dumb.

That’s because their beliefs are irrational and there’s no denying it.  They believe things, on faith, for which they have no good objective evidence are actually so.  They are delusional.  They have an overactive fantasy life.   They ought to be embarrassed by it, just like an adult who still believes in Santa Claus ought to be embarrassed by it, they’re just not.  That’s an even more clear reflection on their intelligence in the religious realm.

I know I’ve said this before, but some people seem to have a significant problem making differentiations between sub-sets of data.  They assume that if a person is “smart”, that means they are smart in all things and if a person is “stupid”, that must mean they are stupid in all things.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We are all smarter in some areas than we are in others, we are all dumber in some areas than we are in others and apparently, if these differentiations are not spelled out directly, some people are unable to understand that simple fact.  There are plenty of things that I am downright ignorant of.  That doesn’t make me a completely ignorant person.  One of my primary examples of this is Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institute of Health and former head of the Human Genome Project.  He’s a genius when it comes to his scientific work.  He’s also a evangelical Christian.  He’s very smart in one area, very, very dumb in another.  I don’t know how we can call it anything else but what it is.

Many rational atheists were once religious.  We were, by any reasonable definition, stupid.  We didn’t understand the reality, we didn’t have the tools to evaluate the facts or think critically about the situation.  Then we learned.  We stopped being stupid, foolish and gullible.  We started acting as rational beings, at least with regards to religion.  Religious stupidity isn’t necessarily permanent, it can be changed, just by adding a dose of evidence and mixing with the spoon of rationality.  It happens every day, more and more often as the public becomes better educated and science shows us that religious bunk is wholly unnecessary to living a worthwhile life.

So yes, I’m going to continue to call Christians and Muslims and Buddhists and all of the rest of the religious looney-tunes stupid.  It’s not because I want them to feel bad, they ought to feel bad enough because they believe this crap in the first place.  It’s because I want them to step back and take a look at what they believe and realize just how stupid it actually is.  I know that the majority aren’t capable of that, but for those that do, that need a metaphorical boot to the head to get some intelligent thought going, it works.  I’m not going to pretend to respect these people and their crazy beliefs, these are things that they should be ashamed of, they should want to change and until they do take steps to change them, they deserve to be thought of as idiots, at least within the religious realm.  They need to lift themselves out of the morass of religious insanity and join the rational human race.

Then, and only then, will they stop being religiously stupid.

7 thoughts on “Are Theists Stupid?

  1. Trouble is that too many people often conflate intelligence and knowledge when using the word's smart and dumb. These two words most correctly apply to a person's intellectual capabilities. But too often we call someone smart or dumb on the basis of the knowledge they have. It is not uncommon to hear someone refer to another person as smart because that person knows a lot about a subject or has a lot of knowledge in general. But being knowledgeable does not necessarily mean you are smart (intelligent). Likewise, having little knowledge does not necessarily mean you are dumb (un-intelligent).

  2. "Many rational atheists were once religious. We were, by any reasonable definition, stupid."

    How are you defining stupid? Seems to be that such atheists were at one time ignorant, not stupid. They unaware of and victims of cognitive dissonance and other cognitive biases, something that afflicts all of us to some degree or another. I have always thought of the term stupid as referring to a person's intelligence and therefore their ability to learn. I have never thought a person stupid simply because of ignorance. In fact, ignorance and stupid are not the same thing. One can be ignorant (have a lack of knowledge) but not be stupid (lacking in intelligence). Ignorance is a condition that can be remedied. Stupid is not.

    I don't think that what you describe in the paragraph that contains the above sentence I excerpted is describing stupidity. Sounds more like ignorance.

  3. Wether somebody is "stupid" or not is quite often a matter of perspective, especially when it comes to topics like Religion. Having both religious as well as non religious family members which are close to me, I learned to be more open and tolerant towards both perspectives. This keeps me sane and the relationships intact..

    1. When dealing with things regarding the real world, a view is either correct or incorrect. A person who refuses to change their view when it is demonstrated to be incorrect because it makes them feel good to think something that is wrong is, at least in my opinion, an idiot. There are, unfortunately, a lot of idiots out there and it's not just limited to religion, politics has just as many idiots. That kind of abject stupidity is nothing to be proud of.

    1. Since when does the phrase "calling a person out" mean hurling personal insults? I have always thought that the phrase meant to challenge and criticize their belief, claim or behavior. Calling someone an idiot or stupid is not an argument or a challenge of the belief or claim. Such insults are more akin to an ad hominem attack than an actual criticism. They make the person using the insult feel smug and self-important. They make the target of the insult dig in their heels. What they are likely not to do is to get the person to reconsider the belief or claim.

      1. Suppose it depends on how sensitive you are. I come from a culture where we call stupid people dumb-ass all the time. In fact we call each other way worse.
        Point is people will ask why they are being called stupid. If they do not then the problem lies with them, and not the person pointing out the problem.
        My recent post Aliens and creationism

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