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“There are things about self-esteem and feeling in control and attachment that religion provides.In all those things, there are benefits to being religious, and that is the take-home message for those who are religious.”R.Anyone whose faith is shaken by the claim that research proves that higher intelligence leads to lower levels of religious belief has a misplaced faith.”Lillian Daniel is a Congregationalist pastor and author of the recent book “When ‘Spiritual But Not Religious’ is Not Enough.” She said many intelligent people are comfortable with “the metaphor and mystery” of faith.“It’s not that intelligence leads to atheism, or education leads to loss of faith,” she said.A new study of almost a century’s worth of data shows that the smarter you are, the less likely you are to believe in God.The study, conducted by Miron Zuckerman, a psychologist at the University of Rochester, examined the findings of 63 earlier studies—one dating back to the 1920s—that measured intelligence and religiosity.Rather, he said, it shows only that more intelligent people may have less need for religion.“It is truly the wrong message to take from here that if I believe in God I must be stupid,” he said.“I would not want to bet any money on that because I would have a very good chance of losing a lot of money.”Rather, Zuckerman and co-authors Jordan Silberman and Judith Hall write that more intelligent people may find certain basic needs—“functions” in psychology-speak—fulfilled outside of religion.



These functions include self-esteem, a sense of community and a sense of purpose, among others.“We say it is possible that having a high level of intelligence provides similar functions to what religion provides” for people who adhere to a religion, Zuckerman said.The study also concludes that more intelligent people are less likely to believe in God because they are more likely to challenge established norms and dogma.


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