Archive for September, 2011


From the Holy Bible, the words of the almighty creator of the universe:

Matthew 19:

19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Mark 10:

10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
10:22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
10:23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
10:24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Luke 16:

16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Seems pretty straight forward no? Thankfully, if you’re a Christian you CAN safely ignore the words of the almighty creator of the universe because… you know… it’s not convenient and anyway, Jesus wasn’t speaking to Christians (this quote from a Christian’s comment on this site):

Jesus was making a point and exposing the rich man, that he cared more about his fortune and wealth than he did about God. It is not an instruction to Christians to sell all their stuff.

Well, isn’t that convenient. Makes me wonder which bits were meant for Christians then and how do you decide which parts of the Bible were directed at you, exactly?

Here’s a quote commonly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi but he might not actually have said it. I think the point stands though:

I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

The actual quote is attributed to Bara Dada (Source – Jones, E. Stanley. The Christ of the Indian Road, New York: The Abingdon Press,1925. (Page 114)):

Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians — you are not like him.

I agree, most Christians are very much unlike the Christ they claim to worship but I don’t find that to be a problem. What disturbs me is that most of them aren’t even trying…

Because the words of the almighty creator of the universe are really just... like... suggestions... And

Because the words of the almighty creator of the universe are really just... like... suggestions...

What was is about Jesus, little children and something about asking and receiving…

I thieved that picture from @DanielFlorien (with much gratitude of course).

Your brain. It should be used.

Your brain. It should be used.

… or lack of intelligence to religious fundamentalism.

The New Zealand Herald published an article today about a study done by the Department of Psychology at Edinburgh University, “The relationship between intelligence and multiple domains of religious belief: Evidence from a large adult US sample”, that links intelligence to a lack of religious belief. I think the newspaper article does a fair job of describing the results – they are pretty straight forward: “These analyses indicated that intelligence was significantly and negatively associated with five of the six religion measures, with the largest coefficient on fundamentalism”. The only one of the six measures not significantly negatively correlated with intelligence is ‘spirituality’.

The article includes some comments from New Zealand psychologist Professor Tim Bates, who was one of the researchers in the study.

A possible reason behind the finding was a tendency for more intelligent people to challenge religious claims, said one of the researchers, New Zealand psychologist Professor Tim Bates.

“If you believe in religion, you haven’t really questioned things,” he said. “Brighter people were less likely to feel that religion plays a dominant role in their life.”

Professor Bates goes on to say:

Intelligence was an “inoculation against fundamentalism”, with each 15-point increase in IQ making people about half as likely to have strong fundamentalist views, said Bates.

You can read the article at The Herald here: Bible-bangers aren’t the brightest, study shows.

To those of us who spend significant amounts of time thinking about why and how people believe the nonsensical, self-contradictory and reality contradictory fables that religion teaches, the results of the study are not a surprise. It is hardly the first study to have linked intelligence with a lack of religious belief though it seems to possibly be the first to include 6 different dimensions of religiosity.

Obviously the religious will take exception to the study; who, after all, wants to feel like somebody is inferring that they might be less intelligent? Thankfully, reality and truth are not about sparing the feelings of some subsection of people who insist against all credible evidence in believing in unicorns, angels, demons, 600 year old men, world-wide floods, child murdering bears and people living inside whales.

The study included 2307 individuals who were surveyed for their religious beliefs and then tested for their intelligence. The study showed a good correlation between intelligence and lack of religious belief.

6. Results


These analyses indicated that intelligence was significantly and negatively associated with five of the six religion measures,with the largest coefficient on fundamentalism (β=−.13). Only spirituality did not relate to intelligence. This pattern of relationships did not change when education was omitted: For each of the religion variables, except fundamentalism,the association with intelligence was practically unchanged (all Δβ≤.01). For fundamentalism, however, removing education from the model increased the association with intelligence to β=−.25 (up from β=−.13). Openness had mixed relationships with the religion measures: For mindfulness, spirituality, and religious support, openness was a significant and positive predictor; however, this relationship was reversed for fundamentalism. Religious identification and private religious practice were not significantly associated with openness. Demographic variables were also significantly associated with the religion measures. Both sex (male = 1, female = 2) and age were positively associated with each of the religion measures with the exception of age on spirituality, and fundamentalism, where a null effect was observed for both age and sex.

From the results of this study it seems that level of education isn’t a huge factor, except for fundamentalism. When you remove education as an influencing factor, the inverse association of intelligence to fundamentalism increases.

You can download a PDF of the study be following this link: The relationship between intelligence and multiple domains of religious belief: Evidence from a large adult US sample or you can download the copy I have uploaded here and there is a link to the PDF from Gary Lewis’ site here.

There is the other side of the coin whose opinion is based on… well, no research really, just their own learned opinion:

The findings of the University of Edinburgh study were “a bit hilarious”, said Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn. “The suggestion that the less intelligent you are the more religious you would be seems to be degrading and insulting,” he said.

Of course the poor Mr. Patrick Dunn’s reaction is understandable; nobody likes the inference that they might be… less intelligent. The truth sometimes hurts Mr. Dunn and science is only about the truth. The researchers didn’t set out to prove that religious people are less intelligent, they looked at the data and the data says that intelligent people less likely to believe religious garbage. It’s not degrading and insulting to anybody or does Mr. Dunn think that proving the world is round to a flat-earther is ‘insulting’ and ‘degrading’ to them?

“I can’t take [the study] very seriously.”

Of course you don’t Mr. Dunn; religion and science are very infrequently good bedfellows since religion is about dogma and science is about the truth. Science requires you to change your mind when you are proved wrong and religion has fought that tiny fact viciously and lost, for several thousand years.

Let me lay it out for you, again: reasonable people cannot consider anybody who believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of the creator of the universe to be sane or intelligent. You must be delusional, ignorant or stupid if you believe that every word in the Bible is true. It demonstrably (even using the Bible its self) is not.

And again, another study proves, that the more intelligent you are the less likely you are to believe the garbage religion sells.


Edit

You can read Stuart Ritchie’s (one of the three authors of the paper) summary of the paper here: Fundamentalism, Spirituality, and IQ

American liberty in New York City

Sam Harris wrote a blog post on some thoughts and observations around September 11, now 10 years on and as usual it’s worth a read: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/september-11-2011/

I particularly liked the paragraph quoted below; it put’s the problem of religion into a perspective I had not really considered in this way before. The things that make religion dangerous and wrong are the thought process and the implementation of the religious ideology: conformity, worship, authoritarian hierarchical organisation, an absolute dictator as the ruler, obedience without question. Other ideologies that follow a similar format are just as wrong:

Whatever else may be wrong with our world, it remains a fact that some of the most terrifying instances of human conflict and stupidity would be unthinkable without religion. And the other ideologies that inspire people to behave like monsters — Stalinism, fascism, etc. — are dangerous precisely because they so resemble religions. Sacrifice for the Dear Leader, however secular, is an act of cultic conformity and worship. Whenever human obsession is channeled in these ways, we can see the ancient framework upon which every religion was built. In our ignorance, fear, and craving for order, we created the gods. And ignorance, fear, and craving keep them with us.

Read Sam’s full post here: September 11, 2011

There is quite a lot of irony in the American political position.

They wish to export democracy to the rest of the world, by force if the rest of the world isn’t amenable to their humble suggestion. If the American government had a penny for ever time the words ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ were used by an American to describe what is great about America they wouldn’t have any debt at all. Democracy, freedom, liberty is the cornerstone of everything that is supposed to be good about America.

Noun: Liberty
1. Immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority: political independence
2. Freedom of choice
3. Personal freedom from servitude, confinement or oppression

Those are certainly things to strive for, I couldn’t agree more…

The irony is that what Christians believe the order of the world to be after they die, is essentially Stalinism. The world defenders of liberty and justice and champions of democracy are frothing at the mouth to join the ultimate fascist organisation in the despotic state of Heaven:

Noun: Stalinism
A form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution, laws or opposition etc.)

Noun: fascism
A political theory advocating an authoritarian hierarchical government (as opposed to democracy or liberalism)

Noun: Despotism
1. Dominance through threat of punishment and violence
2. A form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution, laws or opposition etc.)

“God” is an absolute dictator in an authoritarian, hierarchical government and if you don’t agree with him you will be punished with the ultimate violence… forever.

They will fight to the death against Stalinism, fascism and despotism… just to spend eternity in a despotic, fascist, Stalinist state. Christians, you will never cease to amaze me. I would say amuse, but the thought of spending eternity in North Korea isn’t really something to laugh about.

To paraphrase alleged divine insight: “Humanity, forgive them; for they comprehend not what they claim”.

Video: A Sadomasochistic God

Worship that? Even if it were real, never.

The central themes? The Christian God is an insane sadomasochistic psychopath and Jesus sacrificed nothing what so ever; both points I’ve made several times before. People (read: Christians) like William Lane Craig defend genocide, rape and slavery as moral and claim the alleged torture and execution of Jesus was a sacrifice?

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” while close, should really read “humanity, forgive them; for they comprehend not what they claim”.

A very well put, very eloquently delivered answer to Pascal’s wager. Outstanding. With reasoning like this, how could you not be proud to be an atheist.

And Christians? You should be ashamed at your ass backwards, shoddy reasoning and special pleading. What you claim to believe is downright embarrassing.

And yes, bdwilson1000, he isn’t wrong. Not even a little. RAmen.

Heh, yes. “Reasonable” and “rational”, two words that should never, ever be used when describing Christians and what they believe. Oh, and “moral”. Idiocy.

RAmen.

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