What I believe

There is a type of question on tests in which we are given several samples and we are to choose which one doesn’t belong. For example, which of the following doesn’t belong: horse, mouse, man, mosquito, whale? The answer is mosquito because the rest are mammals. Here is another. Which of the following doesn’t belong: Muslim, Jew, Sikh, Agnostic, Atheist, Christian? Five of these hold a belief about the existence of God. It could be said that an agnostic has a belief but the belief is not in the existence of God but rather that no one knows whether or not God exists. Atheists believe there is no God while the others believe there is a God.
It bothers me that the term agnostic is frequently used similarly to the other terms in the list, usually lumped together with atheists as being nonbelievers (in a god). There can be agnostic Christians, agnostic Sikhs, agnostic Muslims, agnostic Jews and agnostic atheists. That is to say that, linguistically at least; one can hold any belief about a god while acknowledging that what they believe is just that, their belief.
But when someone says their God is the only true God, that their God is the only way to the Promised Land, and that they know this, they are telling everyone who doesn’t hold the same belief that they are wrong. Most of us do not react too well to being told we are wrong. How much better it would be if that someone said something like: “I believe in this wonderful God and through Him I will find my way to the Promised Land. What do you believe?” Then I could respond, “I believe in 24 Gods, two for each sign of the zodiac and they are all trying to sing in harmony and when they do they will hit a note that will transport all of us to the Promised Land.”
Well, hey, there’s a cool belief.
What I truly believe is that the world would be a much better place if we accepted each other’s beliefs as being no less valid than our own.

Reflections of a GOP operative who left the cult

Isn’t it fun that the religious right Bible thumpers also love Ayn Rand somehow ignoring the fact that she was a vocal atheist? For humor, you can’t beat the Republican right-wingnuts.
The following is from:

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/3079:goodbye-to-all-that-reflections-of-a-gop-operative-who-left-the-cult

It is a fairly long essay on the politics we are dealing with today but well-worth the time:
It is my view that the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism (which is a subset of the decline of rational problem solving in America) may have been the key ingredient of the takeover of the Republican Party. For politicized religion provides a substrate of beliefs that rationalizes – at least in the minds of followers – all three of the GOP’s main tenets.
Televangelists have long espoused the health-and-wealth/name-it-and-claim it gospel. If you are wealthy, it is a sign of God’s favor. If not, too bad! But don’t forget to tithe in any case. This rationale may explain why some economically downscale whites defend the prerogatives of billionaires.
The GOP’s fascination with war is also connected with the fundamentalist mindset. The Old Testament abounds in tales of slaughter – God ordering the killing of the Midianite male infants and enslavement of the balance of the population, the divinely-inspired genocide of the Canaanites, the slaying of various miscreants with the jawbone of an ass – and since American religious fundamentalist seem to prefer the Old Testament to the New (particularly that portion of the New Testament known as the Sermon on the Mount), it is but a short step to approving war as a divinely inspired mission. This sort of thinking has led, inexorably, to such phenomena as Jerry Falwell once writing that God is Pro-War.

Religious People Less Intelligent

“Religious people branded as less intelligent than atheists…That’s the provocative conclusion of a new review of 63 studies of intelligence and religion that span the past century. The meta-analysis showed that in 53 of the studies, conducted between 1928 to 2012, there was an inverse relation between religiosity — having religious beliefs, or performing religious rituals — and intelligence. That is, on average, non-believers scored higher than religious people on intelligence tests.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/14/religious-people-less-intelligent-atheists_n_3750096.html

If you are an atheist, you probably already knew this, being intelligent an all (and you were probably aware of at least one of the previous studies). If you are a religious person, you will reject the findings. For me, I’m not quite either, I would add a reason religious people are less intelligent than atheists (and other non-religious people) to those given in the Huffington Post article by the scientists; many religious leaders tell their flock not to question. Questioning engages the brain whereas acceptance without thought just numbs it.
The following was a post here over three years ago (back before the site was taken down by a spammer)

Liberals and atheists are more intelligent than conservatives and the faithful. The theory put forward by Staoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is that anyone can go along with the usual but; the ability to think and reason has helped our species recognize and understand unusual situations and deal with them. This is from a study published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly.
The following three paragraphs are quoted from Science Daily.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224132655.htm?sms_ss=email

Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) support Kanazawa’s hypothesis. Young adults who subjectively identify themselves as “very liberal” have an average IQ of 106 during adolescence while those who identify themselves as “very conservative” have an average IQ of 95 during adolescence.
Similarly, religion is a byproduct of humans’ tendency to perceive agency and intention as causes of events, to see “the hands of God” at work behind otherwise natural phenomena. “Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid,” says Kanazawa. This innate bias toward paranoia served humans well when self-preservation and protection of their families and clans depended on extreme vigilance to all potential dangers. “So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become atheists.”
Young adults who identify themselves as “not at all religious” have an average IQ of 103 during adolescence, while those who identify themselves as “very religious” have an average IQ of 97 during adolescence.

If you are an atheist or a liberal or a liberal atheist, you are probably feeling pretty good about yourself about now. I’d suggest that you might consider going even farther than atheism. Atheists have been around a long time even dominating several cultures. Those of us who have minds should continue using them especially as regards beliefs that so dominate the destructive actions of our species.
If you doubt the studies cited consider Republican Bradley Byrne. Poor Bradley knows that the Bible is not literally true but to run for governor of Alabama he has to say that it is. Why does he have to lie and say something really stupid? Because nearly eight out of 10 Republicans in Alabama identify themselves as evangelical or born-again Christians.

Religious less intelligent than atheists

“Religious people branded as less intelligent than atheists…That’s the provocative conclusion of a new review of 63 studies of intelligence and religion that span the past century. The meta-analysis showed that in 53 of the studies, conducted between 1928 to 2012, there was an inverse relation between religiosity — having religious beliefs, or performing religious rituals — and intelligence. That is, on average, non-believers scored higher than religious people on intelligence tests.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/14/religious-people-less-intelligent-atheists_n_3750096.html

If you are an atheist, you probably already knew this, being intelligent an all (and you were probably aware of at least one of the previous studies). If you are a religious person, you will reject the findings. For me, I’m not quite either, I would add a reason religious people are less intelligent than atheists (and other non-religious people) to those given in the Huffington Post article by the scientists; many religious leaders tell their flock not to question. Questioning engages the brain whereas acceptance without thought just numbs it.