Study Suggests The Smarter You Are, The Less Religious You Become
Not this argument again. A new review of 63 studies spanning the past century claims that intelligence does have an affect on a person's belief in religion.
The meta-analysis showed that in 53 of the studies, there was an inverse relation between having religious beliefs or performing religious rituals and intelligence. On average, non-believers scored higher than religious people on intelligence tests. This would suggest that "religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable and, therefore, unappealing to intelligent people who 'know better.'”
However, the researchers who conducted the analysis think the answer might be more complicated, and that intelligent people might just have less of a "need" for religion. Study co-author Jordan Silberman explains to The Huffington Post:
"Intelligence may also lead to greater self-control ability, self-esteem, perceived control over life events, and supportive relationships, obviating some of the benefits that religion sometimes provides."
"I'm sure there are intelligent religious people and unintelligent atheists out there," Silberman said in the email. "The findings pertain to the average intelligence of religious and non-religious people, but they don't necessarily apply to any single person. Knowing that a person is religious would not lead me to bet any money on whether or not the person is intelligent."
The researchers also acknowledged the limitations of this meta-analysis as it did not look at type of religion, for example, or at the role culture might play in the interaction between religiosity and intelligence.