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I am curious if anyone ever wonders how can this really smart person believe in God? I consider myself a really open minded person but I just can’t understand it. I’m just curious as to other people’s opinion so please share your thoughts. Thanks !

pamelayoung481 5 July 14

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I would quote Carl Sagan who said, "You can't convince a believer of anything, for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe."

I have read that scientist suspect it maybe in the genes.


A combination of tribal affiliation and compartmentalism I would guess.



Intelligence doesn't guarantee rightness or clarity or self-consistency. Intelligence is like a fast CPU on a computer. That computer can still be running slow, buggy, or just plain wrong software.

Religion is also compartmentalized. It's entirely possible to be, say, a brilliant brain surgeon and at the same time, a young earth creationist.

Humans aren't logical, consistent, or logically consistent. Even unbelievers sometimes hold inconsistent, illogical views apart from their lack of god-beliefs.

Is it possible that one can be brilliant brain surgeon and at the same time a young earth creationist because brain surgery is after all a technical activity? Maybe 20 years from now all brain surgery will be done by robots with advanced AI...

The question would be: is it possible to be a brilliant physicist and at the same time a young earth creationist? Or what about a brilliant biochemist who is a supporter of Intelligent Design? Or would that overstretch your concept of compartmentalization?

@Matias I don't think it would be very easy for a young earth creationist to be a paleontologist, that would break through the walls of the compartment too much.

It's true that a brain surgeon is more a technician / craftsman than a scientist but he must master a great deal of science to be allowed to practice, and cannot help but encounter the theory of evolution in the process. The TOE permeates a lot of science, particularly biology and genetics.

As for a brilliant physicist or biochemist ... well maybe the best answer to that is, are there any current examples of that? I'm guessing a handful, or maybe none. Occasionally proponents of YEC and ID publish lists of "scientists" who subscribe to their notions and those lists tend to be people with degrees in unrelated fields, or technicians as you suggest. A good example is the originator of the YEC "hydroplate theory" of how the Biblical Flood could have occurred. The guy is not a geologist, or a paleontologist, or a meteorologist or anything else tangentially related to the hypothesis -- he is a mechanical engineer.


My ex inlaws were very highly educated - Ivy League. Smith and Colgate. Very well read their entire lives revolved around their Congregational Church. My father in law was Deacon, my mother-in-law taught Sunday School and sang in the choir. They were very generous people,bringing Sunday dinner to the elderly and sick, and inviting lonely elders over for Sunday dinner. I respected them and their charity towards others, something I never saw in my Jewish parents.


All the time. I am constantly perplexed by how people I know (who I know are reasonably intelligent, college-educated, professionals), could possibly have fallen for the bullshit that is religion? How can they believe that there is only one god and it cares about them?
Where the hell does that "disconnect" occur?


If someone thinks differently than me on something, I assume only that. They think differently. I don’t make judgements or assumptions on their intelligence.

@CoastRiderBill Thanks. It’s a view I try to have. It is difficult to not make judgements to be honest.


There seems to be a need in some humans for somebody else (god) to be in charge of things that they do not understand and thus a need for a god.


What I've had a tendency to notice is that not everyone has logic. Ask yourself why you're an atheist or agnostic? is it logically based or emotionally based. Do you logically "not" believe or do you "feel" that you shouldn't believe? One doesn't have to be ultra intelligent to possess logic nor lacking intelligence to feel. From a logical standpoint "Judge not lest ye be judged" None are better, just different.

My Atheism is logic based… From all we know, and we know a lot, there’s nothing found to be pulling the strings.. ‘Belief’ is a choice, a decision, a desire, not logical.

@Varn It's also the only fact centered in any discussion. 😉


this was brought up by either tyson or krausse. in a talk. the conclusion i agree with is, that the more intelligent people make better excuses, show a bias towards this god belief based on emotion. like every other god believer. and do not use the scientific method when it comes to this belief. i believe the figure was in the range of 5% of the hard scientist. have a god belief. though in most cases its more of a deistic one. hard science such as evolutionary biology and physics .

the more intelligent people make better excuses” - that’s good 😉

i wish i could take credit, but i think it was tyson who said it. if i can find the link i will post it.

though its not the main topic, here you go


I think it’s not so much a matter of smart/stupid. It is about indoctrination from birth. It is not coincidence that kids take on the religion of their parents. Of course some will be the sort that ultimately make a different choice down the road. It comes down to whether or not you are the sort of person that demands hard evidence as in God appears on a cloud and the whole world sees it. Which, of course, is not necessarily proof that that being was the creator of all. Soft evidence as in look around you at the beauty of the world and that proves God exists. Some, myself included, would call that no evidence.
Lastly, are those that just believe because they feel it’s true. We are certainly living in the era of this belief. If you look at the number of things people now believe, not only with no evidence, but with actual hard evidence that the opposite is a fact. All the hot button issues of the day seem to fall under this category, from climate change to vaccines, people believe what they “feel”is true rather that what the facts show.
Happy times! ?


Human beings are intellectual beings but we are also emotional beings and just as our minds are hungry for knowledge so too are our hearts hungry for love. Science feeds our hunger for knowledge but does not sate the heart's need for love but religion does.
Religion drives away the fear of our own mortality, it gives a sense of order to the world and our place in it, it gives meaning and purpose where there would otherwise be chaos and it gives eternal love from an omnipotent and omniscient creator being who loved us so much that he created us in his own image. Just because this is a completely delusional pile of horseshit doesn't mean that it isn't comforting in the same way that a security blanket comforts a child while not providing any real security, just the illusion of security. The very human need for a sense of security and order and purpose and love are what make people willing to set aside their logical mind and believe in religion to soothe their emotional hearts.

Well spoken my friend.

"Science feeds....." This is one of the most correct statements I've ever heard on the subject. Kudos

@idoubtit You are too kind.


Some of the smartest people I've ever met were religious, but as soon as I engaged them on religion they were less smart. So, I've come to believe that belief in religion doesn't come from the rational part of the brain but the emotional child-residue part. I'm sure it's complicated, but essentially that's what it is.


Politics has made me realize just how common it is for two people to look at the same thing and see somthing completely different, really drives it home.


Organized religion is many faceted, and much good has been done under its auspices. But many of its fundamental precepts are aimed at recruitment and the tactics used have proven effective over time. Funny how the same tactics are used by the political right these days; fear and misdirection. Even smart people can be suckered.

Only if you are a complete and total MORON !! I have a Degree in Industrial Technology and Industrial Electronics and the church is and always has been a JOKE !!


I know a great many intelligent people who believe in god, and I think it's because they compartmentalize. They separate all that biblical, faith-based dogma from their intellectual selves and never bring it out for examination. They walk into a church like it's a place for receiving, not reflection, but they'll walk into a college lecture hall ready to do battle. I don't understand it because I prefer to think and examine everything, but maybe it's a little like the powerful executive who enjoys being submissive in a D/s relationship? Religion lets them turn it all off and be submissive.


I see there are already a lot of ‘answers’ posted here, and suspect something to do with repetitive lies rearranging one's brain might be the best, but deep down - I suspect they know their’s is a lie.. They may suppress that realization to the end, but it has to be there.

They have to know, cuz every once in awhile they meet one of us. Good, honest people - telling it like it is, and how everyone initially perceives it. Nothing to gain, and often times taking a loss for our honesty … that can’t be lost on them..

From what I’ve witnessed, their entire persona has developed around the lies of religion, often their business relations, neighbors, family & friends, too. So they cling to the lie.

I suspect most have been in a situation where ‘both of you’ knew you’d never see the other again, thus share an honest thought or observation. When there, like an interstate rest stop.. I suspect I’m seeing and hearing ‘the real person’ … perhaps one of few times they feel free to be honest. I wonder how that feels to them, and how envious they must be of someone who gets to do that on a regular basis 🙂

Varn Level 8 July 15, 2018

Highly intelligent people over the centuries have put great effort into explaining and proving (to their own satisfaction) the existence of God. It's not a matter of intelligence. It has to do with a belief system and the premises of that system.


I've wondered the same thing. How can a person who I know is extremely intelligent and is required take fact based decisions to be successful be so entrenched in religion? The inconsistencies really grate on me. I don't speak up unless it is directed towards me, which it rarely is. One of these people has been very sick in the past. His social media updates are always followed by the thoughts and prayers type support. I also hope for competent and caring medical professionals for him.


Your post begs the question: Are all atheists unusually smart (high I.Q.), people. When I came this site, I erroneously thought that to be true but after reading some of the member's posts, it is apparently not.

As to believers level of intelligence, I have come to believe that religious belief is a manifestation of social factors rather than a rational thought process. For instance, if one is brought up Catholic by Catholic parents from a Catholic family, live in a Catholic neighborhood, attend Catholic school, attend Catholic church, have all Catholic friends, one is not very likely to question the existence of God or see other faiths as being legitimate. Unlike myself (a high functioning Asperger's Syndrome person), most people are more influenced by social factors (personal interactions, friend's beliefs and actions, local social morays, etc.) than they are aware.


I wonder this all the time! With family members. Smart, well educated and boom the find religion.

I know like 5 people all Christian except my half sister who lives in Germany.sometimes think easier lie and just pretend to be believer then tell the truth


Intelligence and faith are two disparate things. There are very intelligent believers and very low intelligence non believers (and everything in between). A lot has do with how you were raised, how you view the world, and how desperately you need have sense made out of a non sensible world (much like how children look to adults to help make sense of their confusing world).

PDF Level 5 July 15, 2018

Niels Bohr was a very intelligent person, and he shared his thinking on this subject.

Statements of Bohr after the Solvay Conference of 1927, as quoted in Physics and Beyond (1971) by Werner Heisenberg

“ I feel very much like Dirac: the idea of a personal God is foreign to me. But we ought to remember that religion uses language in quite a different way from science. The language of religion is more closely related to the language of poetry than to the language of science. True, we are inclined to think that science deals with information about objective facts, and poetry with subjective feelings. Hence we conclude that if religion does indeed deal with objective truths, it ought to adopt the same criteria of truth as science. But I myself find the division of the world into an objective and a subjective side much too arbitrary. The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. And splitting this reality into an objective and a subjective side won't get us very far.”

Note that Bohr didn’t believe in a personal God as taught by religious organizations. Yet he seemed to have a concept of a higher power that can not be approached by science. Am I reading it right?

If you want to argue against the religious opinions of people like Bohr, Einstein, et. al. you’ll have to do more than offer a psychological analysis of their characters. That argument can easily be directed at anyone, including atheists, but it is not a valid argument.


When I was studying for the ministry I thought I was smart. On the god question I always told myself it was a no brainer. All these older than me people had believed their entire lives, and they are smarter than me. Even today as an atheist I find all these theists who cannot betray the beliefs of their grandparents and every other believer in the past. I think that's why some of them hang onto it.
Believers crack jokes about agnostics and atheists taking "logic classes." They write books like "The Atheist Who Wasn't There." The big problem is their logic is flawed and the bible cannot be evidence of something. They don't get it.

I have religious friends who keep trying to wrap daily worldwide events together with that book of Revelation to show how right the bible is. OK. Let's throw in the Easter Bunny and Casper the Friendly Ghost. Is he the Holy Ghost? I bet his sheet is worn out by now. They seem to miss the fact that imaginary and make believe creatures have no part in anything and they are stuck where they are because they have to have answers to everything. The bible is one big book that was made out of all the smaller books that were allowed. Many books were not allowed because the "miracles" were too bizarre. When it was decided to bind them all together it was done as a "beginning and an ending" thing. Presto! Believers now have all the answers. Even so, Revelation almost didn't make it.

I just keep in mind today that if it wasn't for Adam and Eve living so long, a talking snake, (the serpent) and incest, there would be no need whatsoever for Jesus. Believers still think god had a perfect plan. Zeus, Thor, and others were left out in the cold.

The Bible was written by inspired MEN not GOD or any GODS , still just a FAIRY TALE !! The BOOK OF FICTION or your Bible !!!

@Ricky64 I'm not sure who inspired the men? When you study that big book from end to end it's so easy to see all the contradictions.


Even if they are smart doesn't mean that they are confident. There are people in this world who cannot fathom that we are not so special and that when we die that is it.


I've come to realize that the intilectual aspect of a person really doesn't come into play here. They have a fear of the unknown and have not come to terms with that. It brings them comfort to know that if they choose to believe the whole God story, they don't have an unknown to fear, even though they still do. They can be rational about everything else yet choose to ignore the inconsistencies of religion for the sole purpose of avoiding have to face an unknown. It's a crutch for them to get through life.

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