Is It Smart to Believe in God?

It has long been speculated that religious belief and intelligence are negatively correlated. In a review of 43 studies conducted by Bell (2002), it was found that all but four showed a negative correlation.

This particular study chose to evaluate IQ and religious belief internationally using four sources of evidence: (1) negative correlations between religious belief and intelligence; (2) lower rates of religiosity among the top intelligence tiers as compared to the general population; (3) a decline of religious belief as cognitive functions mature with age; (4) a decline of religiosity as general intelligence is increased among populations in the twentieth century.
This data is explained in a variety of ways, although most speculate that people of higher intelligence are more skeptical and prone to ask questions rather than accept faith blindly. The scientists conducting this experiment believe that religion is a social construct designed to explain the unexplainable and to serve as a justice system where previously there was none. But in the modern era, people are less reliant on religion and becoming more reliant on science.

There are few exceptions to the linear relationship between IQ and religious belief although a few should be noted. The two most outlying countries are Cuba and Vietnam which both have higher percentages of general disbelief (40 percent and 81 percent respectively) which would not be expected by analysis of their national IQs of 85 and 94 respectively. This anomaly was attributed to the fact that former or current communist countries are known to utilize strong atheist propaganda. Also, the United States is noted as being highly religious (only 10.5 percent are recorded as not believing in God), when compared to the national IQ of 98. This reflects a general trend among North West and Central European countries. One possible explanation is that Catholicism is highly prevalent among these countries, and predominately Catholic countries tend to show lower levels of disbelief than predominately Protestant countries. Another possible explanation could be the high levels of immigration to these areas from countries with high levels of religious belief. In fact, many of the immigrants from Europe to the United States immigrated in search of religious freedom. There have been a multitude of studies relating religiosity to a genetic factor or relating the transmittance of religious belief from parent to child, so it can be assumed that deeply religious immigrants passed on their religious traditions through generations.



  • I am enlightened to hear that all goddamned atheist are so super smart!

    • Are you on the side of religion, or Atheism? I cannot tell from your comment.

      • he’s on the side on common sense, i mean, being an atheist doesnt make you some kind of enlightened, one hell of a intelligent human being isn’t it?

      • Being an Atheist gives you the advantage of understanding the universe properly

      • However, being an atheist doesn’t necessarily tell you exactly everything there is to know about the universe

      • pfft this is the current tendency of petulant selfishness of the so called atheists

  • Religiousity and intelligence are inseperable. But you need to be less religious to correctly prove some facts.

  • Personally, I fail to see why religion and intelligence should be negatively correlated. Obviously if the religious people you survey have been completely blind in their faith then you’re going to get that “it’s not God, so it’s not true!” attitude. I’m religious but I have a very open mind of our universe because not all answers are provided by the Bible, Koran, Torah etc. but if my belief that God created the world is true, then why shouldn’t we explore it for many different answers…I mean, maybe that’s also part of being here, is fully appreciating the world in the way we study it and try to analyse it? I dunno, that’s my opinion.

    Didn’t Einstein say “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.”? So it is possible for someone to believe in a religion but still be open to the world and to science. And that person would be the most intelligent of all as they don’t dismiss ideas because those ideas don’t agree with them, you know what I’m trying to say?

    • I agree with you.

    • Einstein saw religion as a, quote, “childish superstition”. He wrote “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this”

      This was in the same letter that he wrote your quote.

      • With more context, Einstein stated: “I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”

    • So suffice to say, God Hates F**S represents intelligence? Anywho, the definition of intelligence means to be capable of adapting to new situations, therefore, with their hatred, they proved they are not intelligent. Also, the real issue here is rationality. Being religious means you lack rational thinking. Why? Because religious folks believe in some Sky-Spook or a cloud being or believes the son (who was born of rape), became a zombie after preaching peace as well as hatred. You call that rational or intelligent?

      • Based on what you have said it seems that all religious people are hateful, which is not true, Also believing in God does not exactly make one less rational in their thinking. Not every person who believes in God acts or thinks the same way. For example you could have a person who views their religion as something in which to change their perspective about life as well as to improve their lifestyle without being void of complete rational thought. By going by what you just have said, all homosexual people shouldn’t be religious because some religions reject their orientation, but there are Gay people of many different religions, Why? Maybe they came to the realization that their God created people and wants people to be loved equally, including themselves. To go from “My God hates me” to finding ways to say “My God loves me, just as he loves everyone else” takes some pretty rational thought.

      • Youre right, not all religious people are hateful, but i disagree with what you said after that. Believing in God does make someone less rational in their thinking. Because to believe in this scripture 100%, unlike Buddhism which is a perfectly rational way of living a moral life, is to be extreme and frankly – wrong in your entire history of the world. The bible teaches creation of the universe in Genesis in a very childlike, choppy, silly, crazy way that only people thousands of years ago or very unintelligent, religious people could believe. People living after being burned in a furnace, people coming back from the dead, people parting seas and being swallowed by whales and surviving. people living to be 900 and the great flood and all the other stories that a 6 year old wouldnt believe. To say there is no higher power than we can channel and benefit from (perhaps psychedelic) would be arrogant, but it is safe to say that the crazy stories told in the bible are ridiculous, outdated, include murder and rape and incest and other plain silly magical things, is all complete bullshit. On the other hand there is modern science that gives us the internet and puts a rover on Mars in this wonderful age of the 21st century, we know so much about the beautifully mysterious universe in which were suspended, we know about galaxies and nebulas and star formation and gravity and light and all kinds of brilliant phenomena. We know about earths history, such a young and insignificant history compared to the rest of the universe, and we see geological evidence of millions of years of tectonic action. we see dinosaur fossils, dating time and animal species. we know about microorganisms and chemistry and the wonderful story of evolution – that is as spiritual as any story ive ever heard, explaining how were all related and connected and survive off one another. To turn a blind eye to science and believe Noah built an ark, jesus christ the son of god born of a virgin woman, yada yada yada is just plain unintelligent. That is not taking an educated stance on your decision making. it is not rational, it is nowhere near intelligent in nature to refute so much evidence. to say any more would only ignite more religious debate, which i dont want, but i simply want to point out that if your religion doesnt allow you to accept the age of the dinosaurs and the creation of galaxies all around us and the theory of evolution, then of course your IQ is going to suffer.

      • Science also tells us about a cell that magically appeared and multiplied and diversified to explain life,doesn’t that sound incredulous too.It’s not just religion that gives crazy answers to questions agitating the cogitations of humanity,science does too!

      • Science doesn’t currently know precisely how the first cells came into existence. There are lots of theories, but nobody is sure yet. Embracing the unknown and trying to figure it out is the point.

      • Please watch ANCIENT ALIENS on Netflix. Religion has kept cultures in a tight knit family that has found importance in education. If the jews weren’t so religious, they wouldn’t have an identity to keep them strong and together. Great atheist minds do not give enough credit to their heritage’s sacrifice to push them to where they are today. A common belief in God has created the highest iqs on earth. Ps-the Bible is real

      • First of, get your facts straight before you go blatantly typing false statements you believe are what happened. “The son”, as you call him, was not born of rape nor preached hatred. Also, God does not hate anybody, in what ever religion you come up with. Although you are right about your definition about intelligence, the majority of religious people and leaders are open minded to new concepts, so long as they do not contradict with beliefs and traditions(i.e. Ten Commandments, Five Pillars of Islam, etc). Although religion may restrict some areas of learning, it also explains the unknown.

      • If god doesnt hate people, why does he give them cancer, or aids, or make people mentally handicapped, or born with birth defects? If god is real, which i highly doubt, then he is a douche bag.

      • it is god who gives us all our riches in the first place. our arms our legs our health our family our wealth. At times he tests our faith and how we would react by taking away some of these blessings. Dude religion is common sense, do the good stuff and avoid the bad stuff

      • Sounds about right. If you don’t have answers to life biggest questions, just say it’s a test, that’ll fix our problems.

        Well guys, all our problems have been solved. No more research needed for anything.

        Besides, God clearly impregnated Mary. I should go tell all those unwed pregnant teens to use that excuse.

      • PLEASE. you are wrong.

      • Heat baybee ♥

        But why blame it all on “God”? Last time I checked almost all major religions have a God and an evil entity ie Satan etc. who is responsible for all malevolent actions and thoughts. Oh wait, but u don’t believe in that imaginary being either, so I guess we’re all looking for life’s answers in limbo

    • I believe the same way, I’m glad that others understand this

    • You fail to see why religion and intelligence should be negatively correlated because you have a low IQ. You can’t disagree as it’s written in a Holy text I’m writing

  • “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

    Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” 1 Corinthians 1: 18-25

  • Whether you’re an atheist or a theist this article shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    Religion…or shall I say faith since religion is (sometimes) a very broken human construction, takes a very open mind in a sense. It has to be open to possibilities that we can’t readily explain or understand. The mind needs to wrap its head around that we are small, and ignorant and that maybe we can’t explain everything. The more intelligent we are, the more prone we are in believing in ourselves as the end all and in turn denying the existence of anything more than us.

    Then of course, by logic, if faith is one thing and IQ is another, the minority of those with high IQ would believe in something more than what they themselves can figure out concretely with a pen and paper. This is true just because of the affinity for people with high IQs to put faith only in themselves. With affinity comes majority.

    Of course this is nowhere near a proof for religion as I don’t know what to believe. But it would explain these data even if say God existed.

    • …Please watch ANCIENT ALIENS on Netflix. Religion has kept cultures in a tight knit family that has found importance in education. If the jews weren’t so religious, they wouldn’t have an identity to keep them strong and together. Great atheist minds do not give enough credit to their heritage’s sacrifice to push them to where they are today. A common belief in God has created the highest iqs on earth. Ps-the Bible is real

  • I think it’s important to recall that the first universities were founded for religious purposes, and most of their attendees were future clergy members. Why there is such a perceived schism between religion and rational thought, I cannot understand. Modern education was essentially born from religious institutions, which sought to advance science as well as religion. I suppose people in the middle ages were just more open-minded…

    • Charles Tietjen

      At the point in time you’re referring to, disbelieving would’ve been social suicide, if not an actual death sentence, so no, people were much more closed minded.

  • IQ is something you are born with (and can possibly be influenced by your environment), but it does not really reflect head knowledge. According to this, it is obvious that regardless of what you believe, your IQ stays the same. However, people with high IQs (high natural intelligence) can be more inclined to reject God because they think that they don’t need Him, which is probably where this data is coming from.

    To those of you saying that the Bible is filled with silly, child-like stories, you are very wrong. The Bible may not make sense to you at first because of all the historical context that goes into interpreting scripture, but the real truth (not necessarily the literal truth) is revealed through it.

    To those of you saying that anybody who believes in God is stupid to not put his faith in science and facts, there are two very important things that you must know. First, they coexist. They really do. If you are truly educated in these areas, it is easy to see that the Bible doesn’t contradict science; it actually agrees with it. Sure it includes miracles which may seem unscientific, but miracles have happened in science, too. A very intelligent and accomplished chemist once told me that he had never met even one high-end educated scientist in his whole career who didn’t at least believe that there absolutely has to be a higher power out there because there is no other way to account for the intelligent design of this world. Secondly, Jesus is a real historical figure. We know this because we can do a cross-culture check. He was Jewish, but in his life time, he did not stay within the confines of that culture. The Romans have records of his life. He was a real person. Anybody who says he wasn’t is saying the equivalent of “Abraham Lincoln was never a President of the United States.” It simply can’t be that Jesus never existed.

    It’s rather ironic that some naturally intelligent people will reject God, the Creator. Rejecting the Creator is rejecting His creation. The very people who believe that they only need themselves, are actually rejecting themselves. Sad, huh?

  • If as the atheists believe, that evolution is the explanation to the presence and intelligence of humans, then why has the cockroach, which has been around for ‘tens of millions’ of years before humans, not evolved to rule the world. According to evolution, with the selection of the fittest, the cockroach should be 7ft long and have a brain the size of my couch. But it doesn’t does it? it’s still rummaging around people’s kitchen, and still susceptible to borax.

    • Charles Tietjen

      Evolution is not a linear process that always leads to improvements or intelligence, so no, your hyperbolic cockroach analogy is as wrong and ridiculous as it sounds.

    • Clearly, you were one of the people counted in this ‘study’..

    • our roaches don’t touch Borax no matter how we serve it or sweeten it. they must have evolved a little bit beyond yours… as for not being 7ft long, they wouldn’t be able to swim through sewer pipes and drains, fit through grates, under doors or get into your pantry cupboards very well, and they would be far easier to catch and kill. the fact that they have not evolved dramatically, in no way discredits Darwin’s theory — if you had an open mind and didn’t skip or sleep through high-school biology class, you would understand why.

  • TIL. Internet Posts are rock solid

  • I think the way most of you have chosen to discuss this topic shows that most people in general are morons…whether religious or not haha.

    • Francisco Estrada

      the Bible, תּוֹרָה , القرآن الكريم and Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution are all mostly contrived with a mixture of truth and sufficient nonsense to fill in the gaps. unfortunately humans have an overarching desire to be infantilized when faced with matters they can not comprehend (e.g. the meaning of life, the universe and everything). organized religion is a ready-made business to fulfil that need. the prevailing view of evolutionary science is that somehow Charles Darwin had all the answers, while the truth is he gave many more questions that are still unanswered about the origin of species.
      personally I think IQ is largely irrelevant to religious beliefs, an individual’s ability to reason and question is the key to their susceptibility to superstitious or religious conviction — maturity and higher education helps teach people how to think for themselves, rather than intelligence.

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