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Thread: Why are some smart people religious? [parallel to High IQ]

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    Junior Member Array Soured Lie's Avatar
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    Default Why are some smart people religious? [parallel to High IQ]

    I sorely want to join a thread that is in the High IQ forum about why smart people might spiritual or religious, but I do not have access to it. I was going to post a thread about this particular subject, but had a look around first and somebody beat me to it. It looks like an awesome conversation.

    I am personally Atheist to the bone, but I find a sort of sad romance in the idea that there is an omniscient benevolent creator that knows of all my pains and knows how many and every which way every single hair in my head moves when the wind blows. I find myself praying every so often for the hell of it (maybe a foxhole prayer?). I love the idea that one could know everything, and be the ultimate designer (which is of course a fantasy of mine), But I know deep down inside there is nothing there, and if there was a God, I would most likely tell him that his existence in contingent on our belief in him, and that our existence is not contingent on his existence because we are already here. I would most likely try to strong arm my place in the hierarchy between me and him so that we were equal. Not very nice right? Sometimes I feel that this is truly the situation. I never thought it to be possible to be atheist and a believer at the same time, but more and more often I find that this is surely my situation. Multiplicity maybe? I think so. I feel religious without a bit of spirituality. I feel the dogma burning the side of my neck, but I wish to exact it rather than experience it. Anybody experience this?
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    Burning Goat Array C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soured Lie View Post
    I sorely want to join a thread that is in the High IQ forum about why smart people might spiritual or religious, but I do not have access to it. I was going to post a thread about this particular subject, but had a look around first and somebody beat me to it. It looks like an awesome conversation.
    Anyone is welcome to create a parallel thread if they can't post in the original thread's subforum. (I took the liberty of editing your thread title so people will know what it's really about.)

    I am personally Atheist to the bone, but I find a sort of sad romance in the idea that there is an omniscient benevolent creator that knows of all my pains and knows how many and every which way every single hair in my head moves when the wind blows. I find myself praying every so often for the hell of it (maybe a foxhole prayer?). I love the idea that one could know everything, and be the ultimate designer (which is of course a fantasy of mine), But I know deep down inside there is nothing there, and if there was a God, I would most likely tell him that his existence in contingent on our belief in him, and that our existence is not contingent on his existence because we are already here. I would most likely try to strong arm my place in the hierarchy between me and him so that we were equal. Not very nice right? Sometimes I feel that this is truly the situation. I never thought it to be possible to be atheist and a believer at the same time, but more and more often I find that this is surely my situation. Multiplicity maybe? I think so. I feel religious without a bit of spirituality. I feel the dogma burning the side of my neck, but I wish to exact it rather than experience it. Anybody experience this?
    I was about to suggest you were spiritual without being religious, until I read the bolded sentence. As in, you know it's all mumbo-jumbo but you can't help feeling it anyway. In my opinion, the mumbo-jumbo is the notion that any of it comes from outside of you, whether it be a personal deity or the aura of the universe or whatever. It's all coming from your brain. A lot of odd stuff comes from there. As long as you recognize it as such, I see no problem with feeling spiritual -- or religious.

    I'm atheist-agnostic myself, and I've caught myself wishing there was a heaven for the sake of my sweet kitty who died too young. If anyone deserves a heaven, it's her.

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    Having a high IQ (or whatever such) doesn't prevent you from being an epistemological (and so philosophical., and so nigh-total) halfwit.

    However much you hold a religious belief(-system) makes you that much an idiot, whatever "intelligence" otherwise notwithstanding. For to what/how will that "intelligence" be applied through religious delusions? The uselessly arbitrary, hence the unproductively unhealthy.

    Nutshell: Religion is of and for idiots.

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    Asking why some smart people are religious,
    is like asking why some smart people fall madly in love.
    And isn't everything you described why some
    ambitious young people created The Church of Satan?
    Not that I would ever recommend it, like at all.

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    I am personally Atheist to the bone, but I find a sort of sad romance in the idea that there is an omniscient benevolent creator that knows of all my pains and knows how many and every which way every single hair in my head moves when the wind blows. I find myself praying every so often for the hell of it (maybe a foxhole prayer?). I love the idea that one could know everything, and be the ultimate designer (which is of course a fantasy of mine), But I know deep down inside there is nothing there, and if there was a God, I would most likely tell him that his existence in contingent on our belief in him, and that our existence is not contingent on his existence because we are already here. I would most likely try to strong arm my place in the hierarchy between me and him so that we were equal. Not very nice right? Sometimes I feel that this is truly the situation. I never thought it to be possible to be atheist and a believer at the same time, but more and more often I find that this is surely my situation. Multiplicity maybe? I think so. I feel religious without a bit of spirituality. I feel the dogma burning the side of my neck, but I wish to exact it rather than experience it. Anybody experience this?
    You sound young. As fascinating as the mechanics of a god who's existance is contingent on our beliefs would be, fantasy novels do not philosophy make. Your stated notion of strongarming into a higher position in god's heirarchy shows you are full of pride and care about your social position. The fact that you sometimes pray or even care about dogma still suggests to me you live in a religiously charged environment which has obviously shaped you, you are socially imprintable (if it makes you feel any better, most humans are), and this all explains why you care about heirarchy in the first place, pride, power, etc more than logical truth or philosophical arguement. Most of your post consists of how you feel and where you stand. Your problems appear more psychological and sociological than philosophical. I suggest you focus on fixing those first.

    Why are some smart people religious?
    Though the answer is complicated, the problem usually stems from a number of sources. Firstly, the notion of smart can sometimes be based upon a social definition of smart. i.e society says this person/type of person is smart. This is usually observable in the "blah is a blah-cicist", "blah-cicists are very smart", therefore blah is very smart, but blah believes in god/kooky religion...what gives? The most common error here is simply in step number two is usually little more than an early imprinted cultural meme being repeated.

    Secondly, if we define smart in a computational sense (i.e number of answers one can calculate in a given time), there is no particular reason why we would expect this to eliminate religiosity. A powerful computer focusing its time on mudkips is still just going to produce lots of mudkips. Some highly polished and 3D mudkips probably, but mudkips all the same.

    Thirdly, human beings are evolutionary creatures. Their minds are not merely rational computers, but are a highly evolved system of minor-systems intertwined. "Intelligence", however it is defined, is but one quality, and it is futile to believe that it is the one that will come out on top. Survival, senses, society, communication, reproduction, locomotion, and the list could go on, but there is no reason to believe that intelligence will triumph, or even that most human minds, no matter how "smart" are ever designed to turn those smarts towards arriving at a logical or philosophically valid position. There is a biological position for why we are not merely computers.

    Indeed, humans have to learn rationality, reason and logic before they can use it, and most rarely do. Early children are easily fooled and quite maeleable. Many human viewpoints and base beliefs are socially imprinted notions in early childhood, religion being one of them. Society does not explicitly teach logic or critical reasoning skills, and if anything imprints authority, order, social acceptance, and a fear of the "negative emotions" as the main drivers of human action. There is, I suppose, a reason for this, being that successfully combating these would destroy the basis of our society. But the main outcome is that most people, if not all of them, cannot fully eliminate these early imprinted functions. Introspection, is another one of these dangerous things that if not properly chanelled provides a problem for society. To arrive at a proper position, you need not only smarts, but the will, stubborness, introspection, time, ability, motivation, and critical reasoning skills all pointing in the right direction. Without them, you arrive at the scholar monks, or doctors, lawyers, physicisists, corporate whores, and academics, who, although notionally and societally deemed smart, have not had a deep intellectual thought in their life, let alone are willing to go down that road and lose all they have if they don't like what they find.

    And last, there is that truth that to be philosophically and rationally sound individual, you must be in some sense be a social outcast. Which is not to say that you need be a loner, or a hermit, but by the sheer fact that society and most people hold values and positions that will be in obvious and fundamental way contrary to yours, you will find yourself in natural conflict with it. I would go so far as to say that those who are actually closely approaching rationality or philosophical integrity need both a conscious public face of deception (and partake in things/rituals/activities that are not conducive to their philosophical position) to survive, and are saved by the fact that the public is generally unable to comprehend or enquire as to their true beliefs.

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    Senior Member Array nonperson's Avatar
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    Common sense would say particles splitting into two and then merging back together is nonsensical as would two particles at either end of the universe influencing each other would be equally nonsensical. But the maths support it. As there is no irrefutable proof against God we can't rule Him out completely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonperson View Post
    Common sense would say particles splitting into two and then merging back together is nonsensical as would two particles at either end of the universe influencing each other would be equally nonsensical. But the maths support it. As there is no irrefutable proof against God we can't rule Him out completely.
    Common sense is one of those things similar in a lot of ways to religion... it's used to support a number of sins. I would agree that there is no irrefutable proof against the existence of a God/s (I don't want to be seen to be supporting Papatuanuku and Ranginui in preference to Allah), but it would be an equally pointless argument to say there is no irrefutable proof that there is a God, therefore there must be one (and I would be surprised to hear that the math/s support that proposition).
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    There certainly isn't enough evidence for the existence of any gods to impose anything on anyone in "their" name.
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    At the risk of reducing everything to typology, I think a lot of the motivation to be religious or not is related to their type. SJ's seem to like it because it gives them all the answers neat and wrapped up, and a church gives a feeling of continuity and stability. SP's get into this also for similar reasons.

    Religious NT's, not a lot of them but the few that are, seem to take an academic approach like the Jesuits. The few NF's in church seem to be attracted to the numinous.

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