On one hand, I am blown away constantly by the stupid, stupid things that Fundamentalist Christians say. I constantly want to ask them, “Do you even hear what you’re saying? Do you realize how idiotic that is??”
OTOH, I really hate it when nonbelievers paint all Christians with the wide brush of “stupid.” Sometimes they simply mean in common sense, and I’d agree. But many really do believe all Christians have low intelligence. I have seen this assertion multiple times.
It’s objectively untrue. While atheists tend to have more education than their Christian counterparts in the US (for multiple reasons), there isn’t some drastic difference in IQ between believers and nonbelievers. (I realize IQ is just a construct, but it’s what we have.)
I was a Christian for most of my life (not a Fundamentalist, but devout). And my IQ wasn’t 72 five years ago and 136 now. That isn’t how it works.
I recently compiled a list of Christian philosophers¹ (for @Snowcity) and I don’t think they were stupid people.
My ex was an Orthodox priest with a MENSA level IQ.
I recently lived in a household with someone in the field of biology and someone who was an Advance Practice RN. They are objectively intelligent. Yet they are Fundies.
Here, I wrote about my college roommate, who was a 4.0 student in medical studies, and also incredibly dumb. (Very short)
In short: I think the issue is one of compartmentalization and cognitive dissonance, not intelligence.
But damn. Sometimes they do just seem really stupid.
If this baffles you, too… meet Alex O’Connor (Cosmic Skeptic).
Alex is a fucking Wonder Boy, IMHO.
He’s a 20-year-old philosophy & theology student at Oxford, and a former Christian, now atheist, who is mature and articulate well beyond his years.
His YouTube channel is sublime, if you are into this sort of thing.
Last night, I listened to this: his 45-minute presentation, “Why Smart People Believe Silly Things,” at the LogiCal LA conference in California last year.
It is well worth your time. I’m listening to it again. He goes above the issue of faith/skepticism into all kinds of thought and logic in religion, politics and relationships.
(I can’t believe he was barely 19 years old here. Wow. Wow. Mind blown)
¹In Hellenist thought:
Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Irenaeus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Augustine of Hippo, Athanasius of Alexandria, Dioscorus of Aphrodito, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil the Great
In the Medieval era (800s to 1500s CE):
Peter Abelard, Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham, John Duns Scotus, Albert of Saxony, Roger Bacon, Gabriel Biel, Hildegard of Bingen, Johannes Scotus Eriugena, Marsilius of Inghen, Albertus Magnus
During the Renaissance and Reformation (1400s to 1600s):
René Descartes, Jacobus Arminius, Francis Bacon,Jean Bodin, Desiderius Erasmus, Hugo Grotius, Marsilio Ficino,Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Huldrych Zwingli
In the modern era (1600s to today):
Thomas Browne, Galileo Galileir, John Locke, Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, Immanuel Kant, Karl Leonhard Reinhold, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Barth, G. K. Chesterton, Fyodor Dostoevsky, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Karl Barth, Søren Kierkegaard, Reinhold Niebuhr,
Edith Stein, Albert Schweitzer, Leo Tolstoy, Frederick Buechner, David Bentley Hart, Simone Weil