Why are Christians so Stupid?

Photo of a dunce hat on a stool in a cornerYou’ve talked to them. You’ve heard about them. You’ve seen them on TV. Heck, you were raised by them! The nutty and nitwitted Bible-thumpers not only want to prevent everyone from having fun; they want to keep you from learning and exploring!

Why are Christians so stupid? Why are Christians so ignorant? What in the world made them this way? Why do they cling so tightly to their extremely conservative philosophies, ignoring and preventing societal progress?

Is there any way to get through to them? Will they listen? Why do they deny science and reason and statistics and just plain facts? Believe it or not, there are understandable reasons behind the madness of the super-religious. And especially Christians.

Rational Thought

Give me a break.

The mark of intelligence is difficult to spot and track. Does it show in a master’s degree? How about a doctorate? Does the answer lie in IQ points, personality, success and effectiveness, or lifestyle? Can you really measure how smart a man is by what he believes?

I often wish these young progressive “brights” were able to actually see on the other side of the colored and biased looking glass they put on us Christians.  You mock us, twist our scriptures, belittle our God, and then expect us to see your point of view in the same light you do?

Not so fast.

Before I say anything else, I’ll be brutally honest. I’m not proud of it, but I admit: we mock you, too. We belittle your beliefs. And we certainly make fun of all your little gods like new atheism, humanism, secularism, and even evolutionary theory. (Most of us, anyway. There are a few voices of humanistic or evolutionist Christianity. For the most part, though, their beliefs are rejected by orthodoxy.) We shouldn’t, of course; we are to be loving and understanding. Maybe it’s just our way of coping with what we see as a darkly smoldering world.

Related: Seven Myths about Christianity

It’s Not Just Us

Look around you, though. People say “knock on wood,” or “seven years bad luck.” Every rational person knows this is absolute hogwash, yet we say it because we heard it from someone else.

photo of a tagged flock of sheep being herdedYou see a lot of stupid Christians, and I do too. I see a lot of stupid atheists! And I hope you do, too. Maybe it’s our culture, maybe it’s our country, maybe it’s our failing education system. I’m really not sure. But you should realize it’s not just Christians that are stupid: it’s everyone.

Rational, reasonable, easygoing, studied, well-read and highly educated intellectuals are not exclusive to any particular belief system. Even I must admit that Islam, which I do not by any means subscribe to, had periods of enlightenment with considerable scientific and artistic renaissance.

Notable Scientific Christians

Similarly, one cannot refute the impact of Christian scholars and scientists on the modern world, the industrial revolution, and even the advancement of scientific discovery. Please view a list of great Christian minds throughout history and tell me again that Christians are stupid and have contributed nothing to the world stage. Tell me again Christianity hinders progress and scientific advancement.

A couple of notable examples: Francis Bacon, for one, is considered to be the father of the scientific method. No, he didn’t totally complete and refine it, but he advocated and paved the way for a verifiable scientific method to prove observable hypotheses. Perhaps he was not one of the great theologians, evangelists, or revivalists of the time either; he was, however, at the very least in a shallow sense if not more, a professing believer.

(As a side note, let me point out that the strange myth of modern evangelicals rejecting the scientific method and science itself is absolutely false. We do, however, reject a range of popular hypotheses and theories that cannot or have not been proven by the scientific method.)

Another is Benjamin Silliman. Founder of the American Journal of Science, he was a chemist and devout scientific explorer. He is known for successfully distilling petroleum and studying the Weston meteorite in 1807. For the record, he was also opposed to slavery.

Finally a more modern example is Raymond Damadian, who had a large role in inventing the MRI machine (although some dispute that-could it be because he is a young-earth creationist? very likely).

Conclusion

I don’t need to cite a list of well-respected atheist scientists. They’re pretty much the only ones given credence in the media and elsewhere anymore. But for the most part when they open their mouth about God or the Bible, they get pretty stupid.

Although so many of the most popular argumentative points among today’s atheists are ignorant and easily refutable, they are still adored as the world’s celebrity geniuses. Hell, a lot of the more popular atheists aren’t even scientists as much as they are talking heads.

Look, here is the point: while you’re asking questions like “why are Christians so ignorant? and “why are Christians so stupid?” we are asking the same questions about people like you. If we are able to abandon our xenophobia and communicate we might find more truth and struggle than expected.

When you lump an entire group of people together under false pretenses, assumptions, and butthurt feelings about a few people you’ve met in the past, you’re potentially allowing the same kind of fallacious group-think behind genocidal WWII regimes, Jim-Crow era racism, and endless middle-eastern slaughter into your pool of thought.

No, I am not comparing you to Hitler (even though that’s popular these days). I’m just saying that you can’t accurately label and compartmentalize people like that. You need to learn to empathize and understand. And yes, we do as well.

There is absolutely an endless supply of stupidity out there. But there is plenty of it that does not belong to Christians.


photo credit: Dunce via photopin (license)
Sheep on the road courtesy of Ali May via FreeImages.com (licence)

12 thoughts on “Why are Christians so Stupid?

  1. Tennyson,

    This is Dallas, from Frontline. I really like your points, but there is one I truly feel you have left out.

    In my (considerably limited) experience, it is not so much that Christians are not given the credit they deserve, but more so that they are misrepresented. A GLARING example of this is Duck Dynasty, the stars of which have, on occasion, been asked to represent the entire Christian community.

    Just a thought, but good article, I enjoyed reading it!

    • Absolutely true point. I definitely see where you’re coming from and I’m not sure how I would word it… However, I feel that only Christians and the American church as a whole is to blame for said misrepresentation. I’m not sure if you grew up Christian or not (I didn’t, not overtly anyway) but before I really found gospel culture I was more familiar with a shallow surface of church culture. There is a BIG difference. It’s difficult to explain, but I think I can summarize: it seems that there is a surface to Christian culture in the US that is very trite and -to be brutally honest- meaningless. The spirit of God had to intervene in my life to pierce that culture like a vault and show me the reality of the true church and how it moves and grows in Christ.

      Sadly, that “surface” culture full of casual and half-hearted believers is what I see to be the norm today. And what we see in movies and media (think main character in God’s Not Dead) definitely matches up with that norm. Not that those people are unsaved per se, but you have to really search for those fiery-hearted believers who are truly changed and moved by the spirit. Of course, you might have had a completely different experience!

      Regardless, thank you for reading and commenting. I am honored. ^.^

  2. “The joke that is evolutionary theory?” Are you joking? You are refuting mounds and mounds of evidence for your silly beliefs. The thing is, evidence does not care about your beliefs. This one quote sealed your grave of stupidity. When asking your self why people think Christians are stupid, point to this quote.
    Christians ignore irrefutable science for biblical stories and they do it in confidence; now that is dumb. Christianity is dumb because it is all based on belief and faith for no reason what so ever. You people believe simply for the sake of believing, because someone told you to believe, and your strength of resolve is rooted in how much you believe. Therw is no reason towards it, no progress for society is gained through it, it is in a sense. Useless.
    Actually one could easily argue it detracts from society, limits rights, limits scientific progress, it simply puts limits on others all for the sake of “belief.” Thats why people call it dumb, because even if they dont believe it imposes on them whether they like it or not. Non religious people essentially hate religion because it benefits them in no way and it inhibits their rights indirectly.
    To give an example, look at how christians treat marijuana. Doing all they can to ban it and limit peoples use of it. How do christian people feel they have the right to limit my use of my herb. Oh, because God said they could? Absolutely ridiculous.

    • You know what? You’re right. At the time I wrote this, I was a little more sure and dogmatic about the young-Earth theory and, although I still see it as a viable theory, I don’t necessarily think it’s something that matters that much or that we can know for sure. So yes, I need to change the phrasing on this article.

      Now, as for evolution… No reasonable Christian disputes the idea of micro-evolution, that is to say environmental adaptation. In fact, I would venture to say that a large amount if not a majority of Christians actually support evolutionary theory. As for the rest of us, yes, Darwin’s finches and plenty of other examples prove that species can change over time. However, Darwin’s finches were still finches. There is no concrete and observable proof that one type of animal can eventually adapt into a completely different creature altogether (single-celled organisms eventually turning into frogs, etc). We can verify through the scientific method that species bred in generations in certain environments will eventually change some of their characteristics and genetics… but we currently have no verifiable evidence proving that, for example, something like an amphibian could eventually evolve into something like a mammal. Every supposed link scientists think they can make has convenient gaps which are too wide to make any sort of concrete assumption. So what we have when it comes to evolutionary theory are assumptions based on assumptions ad infinitum. What it comes down to is that the processes required for the theory take thousands and millions of years to test, so it is currently unverifiable.

      Although your comment is a real angry mess of a rant, I’ll attempt to answer some of your other allegations. For a learned and scientific mind, you actually spout a lot of assumptions and cliches which prove your ignorance of religion and specifically Christianity. Did you take biology but skip out on the world religion classes? Did you even read the article you commented on, or did you just start typing when you saw something you didn’t like? Many of history’s most profound scientific minds (who have contributed greatly to society and human progress) have been Christian, and many more have been dedicated to other religions. In fact, western society as a whole has been impacted by Christianity to such an extent that it takes an extreme amount of cognitive dissonance to ignore. Our very system of democratic republic and our justice system is based on morals found in Christian scripture and literature. You have to ignore a baffling load of history to believe that religion limits science and progress.

      Let me also respond to this statement: “You people believe simply for the sake of believing, because someone told you to believe…” That may be true for a lot of Christians in the west, and I am cautious with them because faith handed down by parents can often be nothing more than a cultural norm. However, in my case this is not so. I was not raised with any sort of religious slant and I came to faith around the time I was 18 after being agnostic and disliking religion for years. There are also many people who convert to Christianity from atheism and other religions, as any Christian will tell you. Unfortunately statistics about this can be difficult to track but there are hundreds of thousands of first-hand accounts of conversion written about and witnessed.

      As for cannabis, your statement about Christians being against it is a fallacious, wide-sweeping generalization. It tends to have more to do with age and political beliefs than on religion. I support recreational cannabis (I signed the petition and voted for the measure which led to medical usage becoming legal in my state) and I know many other Christians who do. Lots of older folks are still hanging onto all the propaganda from the “reefer madness” era and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that lots of older people tend to vote where younger folks abstain or never register. In my opinion an honest reading of scripture cannot find issue with medicinal usage of mind-altering drugs, including alcohol, other than a general ethos of being responsible, of good reputation, and “sober minded” which I don’t think are so strict as to discourage the use of certain substances in moderation for pleasure or illness.

      For someone who thinks I’m ridiculous, you spent a decent amount of time writing up a rambling several paragraphs so that it would be seen by virtually nobody on a website which hasn’t been updated in 2 years.

  3. So, I know this post is 4 years old but I still wanted to say something. You brought up a lot of important points and facts that most people tend to ignore. I really liked the post as a whole and your rebutals in the comments. I came here after reading a long comment thread on Reddit talking about how christians are insane and all that stuff. I was a bit baffled about how negative the general picture of christians seemed to be, so I searched for some other point of views to see if the general image really was that bad and then I found your blog post. I am a christian/believer or whatever you want to call it, but I just wanted to say that I really appreciated the post and I hope that more people would see things like this and listen to our arguments instead of blatantly saying that we’re insane. *thumbs up*

    • Thanks for you comment, it means a lot. In 4 years not much has changed as far as the popular view of Christianity in the West goes. Although I haven’t made a new post in awhile I still keep an eye on any comments that come in and try to reply when I can. I do hope to be writing some new content again soon, so I appreciate the encouragement.

      Anti-theists can laugh all they want. The way I see it, the facts and logic are not in their favor. I don’t mind debating, but most people don’t know how to do so properly and just scream with fingers in their ears. It’s dumbfounding to me how many people who are obsessed with “reason” have none of it. Often all they can do is mock and whine about things they do not understand. When I find atheists who are polite and respectful (when it comes to discussions of religion and science), I always commend them because they are quite rare.

      Another thing we must understand is that this is really a subject of deep emotion and spirit. Many if not most of the people who are so bitter about religion and Christianity in particular have been hurt by religion or religious people and are still angry about it. Often events from their past cloud their mind and urge them to deny Christ whatever the cost. We must always keep this in mind to help us be graceful and understanding. There are a lot of people who call themselves Christians who treat others very poorly and unfortunately it reflects on the entire Church. That’s why it is so important for us to speak up and denounce evil, and to care for those in need.

      Based off your IP and email domain, it looks like you are from Sweden. I’d be interested to learn what the cultural temperature is on Christianity there. If you read this, please let me know.

  4. “…the same kind of fallacious group-think behind genocidal WWII regimes, Jim-Crow era racism, and endless middle-eastern slaughter into your pool of thought.”

    Racism and racist violence =/= verbal criticism of religion.

    Religion is a belief and practicing it is a choice; it is subject to change in a person and it SHOULD be debated whether some beliefs or practices are harmful. According to Christian dogma, if the god-given beliefs are harmful, then they were interpreted incorrectly and need to be reexamined.

    Being Jewish or Black or Arab is not a choice, it is an innate quality. These should NEVER be criticized because they don’t reflect anything significant about a person.

    —-

    While I’m on the topic, mentioning that a Christian scientist was opposed to slavery is laughable. I expect that of *everybody*, not just of every Christian. It seems silly to only mention one, if you are out to prove that Christians are generally against slavery. It should not need to be said.

    This mention is way out of left field. I don’t think anti-Christians accuse
    Christians of being pro-slavery. The fault for the modern whitewashing of US slavery lies on conservatives, and not every Christian is a conservative, believe it or not.

    —-

    1 Kings 18:27 (linked under “we mock you too”) is moral justification for doubting the existence of a magical/supernatural god. It’s implied, by the lack of mention of punishment and Elijah’s eventual chariot ride directly into heaven, that this mockery was accepted by god. So even in Christian mythos, it is fair to doubt that for which there is no concrete evidence. And there is no concrete evidence that a miracle-working, laws-of-nature bending god exists. There is only an archaic book that could have been written by any group of people. Why has god abandoned us? Why doesn’t he part the Red Sea or turn heretics to pillars of salt? An all powerful god could make any of these things happen – including giving me a “sign” to prove his existence – but perhaps he has deemed me unworthy. Of course, how could I ever be worthy of anything if I am only the manifestation of sin? There are too many logical inconsistencies.

    If “god” was worthy of being called God, there would be no pain or sin in the first place. “But free will…” I can make choices that are not moral. I can choose my favorite color to be green instead of blue. So if God has the power to destroy all sin or send all to heaven, and he has not, then he is not benevolent. Why christianity at all – many will never read the bible or be born into a Buddhist or Hindu or Jewish family. Do these people have a chance at heaven? I guess we can’t know – but why not? Why isn’t it, “you will go to heaven”? It seems all too convenient that there is a whip *and* a carrot. Why do I need to commit to god to go to heaven? He designed me and can improve me in any way, so why haven’t I always believed in god? If I am broken, why haven’t I been fixed? Is it my fault? How is it my fault, and not the devil’s, if the devil is the root of all sin? Why can’t god kill the devil? Why did he make a show of it and kill his son, when he could have not killed anybody ever? Why did he commit so much genocide in the OT? Am I to assume they, like unborn babies, also went to heaven out of pity? Do all aborted fetuses go to heaven? Would it then be better to “take the express lane” if the fetus was going to live a miserable life in a family plagued by poverty, addiction, and poor mental health? Shouldn’t everyone go straight to heaven like Elijah, since life on Earth is suffering and serves no purpose aside from converting people to Christianity?

    If god were good, he wouldn’t let life be bad.
    An all-powerful and benevolent god would prevent all suffering from ever occurring.

    After making so many stretches to make this all work together, you would think it obvious that this explanation is not reasonable. There is order in our universe, and you can call it god if you like, but it doesn’t care about you. Bad things will always happen to good people, because god either can’t stop them or he just doesn’t care. Probably the latter, since an infinitely powerful being has no reason to express interest in that which barely exists relative to the scope of the universe.

    —-

    Sorry I wrote such long paragraphs. Thank you for reading them, if you do. Please excuse me if this comes off as very condescending, it’s not my intention. (Well, I ended up on this page – nice trick you pulled there. Yeah, I was caught in a moment of anger because of Pensacola CC, the college that wrote my K-8 textbooks. They make Christopher Columbus look like a saint to young children and that has always upset me.) I guess you could say I want to instill healthy doubt. If you don’t think healthy doubt in the bible is a thing, then I don’t see why you aren’t reading some other holy book from some other religion. It would be silly to question those but not the Bible. You know how people usually switch majors in college? I think most people’s worldviews evolve too.

    If I can leave you with one thing: discourage parents from forcing a particular religion onto kids. It’s not fair to the kids; they can’t critically think about this because the parents are in position of power. They don’t know what they Picture a child born in Saudi Arabia, for example. If their family is Muslim, they will likely end up a Muslim as well, since in all cultures the family is that which blesses and that which punishes.

    Do you want that child to be encouraged to find the truth for themselves? Or do you want them to be stuck with whatever their family’s got? The same rule goes for every family, since it is small-minded to assume one’s own religion is definitely true but other religions are not; i.e., it is unreasonable that a benevolent god would only save 1/3 of people on earth, so we can safely assume god will guide them to whatever the truth is, or whatever is correct enough that it meets the criteria for heaven. I have always respected Christianity’s ideals and I commend you for believing in them. I just have different feelings about how we should reach those ideals.

    I really am sorry for offending you as I most certainly have, but I believe in what I say too. It hurts to talk about this because I was traumatized by some things that happened as a result of private Christian education. The Christian community would earn more respect from me if its members worked harder to stamp out bigotry among one another. Sorry for generalizing, but the “New World Order” antisemitic conspiracy groups that plague the web are almost always Christian, and it hurts very deeply to see such hatred projected by members of a group that considers itself supremely loving. Homophobic and transphobic groups are bad too and should never use the bible as justification for intolerance. Have a good one.

    • I really do appreciate your well-written and thought out ideas here. I am not offended; the whole reason I made this website is to have dialogue such as this. Your honesty and respect earns an equally thought out reply, and the fact you’re not just another angry person ranting is appreciated.

      Before I comment on anything else, let me start by saying I am profoundly heartbroken and sorrowful for the trauma you have experienced from the Church. You are not alone in this and I pray for your healing and guidance to deal with this pain. It has been said “the Church is a whore, but she is my mother.” That is to say that the church is corrupt, broken, dysfunctional, and full of helpless sinners. And yet, the Church is the Bride of Christ and still divinely loved and cared for by Jesus.

      I’ll try to address your thoughts point-by-point but there is a lot to unpack here so don’t be surprised if I miss some.

      First, your assertion that criticism of religion versus racism are not equal. I wasn’t trying to equate them; I’m just trying to warn against mob mentality and ideological bandwagons. However, I do disagree when you say one can choose their religion. It’s not so much I believe that to be false but it is more complex than that. A great many adherents to religion consider their faith to be just as much part of them and their identity as their biology, if not more so. For example, I am not necessarily Christian because I want to be. I am compelled to be because my perception of reality leads me to see it as truth. Though I have “chosen” Christianity, I have done so because I consider it to be reality, and to turn against reality is madness.
      ———————–

      On slavery and Christianity: The sad fact about slavery is that during the time period in question virtually everyone in the world was racist and supported slavery. It was the zeitgeist of the day and was so deeply ingrained into society that it was not questioned and was treated as natural. The evils of slavery were so incredibly intertwined with the world that even good people were deceived into supporting or at least ignoring it. I think my point here was that, of the few people in that era who were opposed to slavery, many of them were religious. Most abolitionists I am aware of were Christian and from my perspective it is the perseverance and ultimation of Christian thought that drives out institutions such as slavery.
      ——————-

      The next grouping of paragraphs is a bit long and rambling, but suffice it to say you have issues with the problem of pain and suffering, as well of the idea that the way to heaven is only through Jesus Christ (in that we are “forced” to follow God to get to heaven).

      There is really too much here to deal with shortly in a comment, but firstly I think you have a misunderstanding of some basic doctrines. In order for us to willingly choose God there must exist free will, and the existence of free will necessitates the fallen nature of the world due to human ability to turn from God. God refuses to force Himself upon us and only wants us to chose eternal life with Him if we want to accept his free gift, so we get back to free will and therefore suffering being necessary.

      You say Christianity has logical inconsistencies, but here you are using circular reasoning. You are upset with God for allowing suffering and therefore free will, but you are also upset with God for requiring us to turn to Him to have eternal life. You can’t have it both ways.
      You must either accept that free will is necessary and will cause suffering, or that God should give us no choice in accepting him thus reducing us to automatons. Even the angels can choose to rebel, which many did. God can destroy Satan, but He does not because he allows the choice of not living eternally with Him. Ultimately we all get what we want, whether is eternity with God or away from Him.

      I also want to comment on your passing phrase “archaic book” in describing the Bible. As far as authenticity and historical importance, the Bible is extremely authoritative and verifiable in its integrity. It is understandable that its claims are scientifically disputed; however, you cannot credibly discount it as not being historically and philosophically significant, nor can you credibly claim the modern Bible is not true to its origins. The only reason academia does not take it seriously is because it contains ideas that oppose the group think of the academic elite today.
      —————————–

      On your comments about questioning and skepticism: I absolutely believe all doctrines, dogmas, and beliefs should be questioned and continually tested on a regular basis. Scripture gives us basis for this as well (a few examples on testing scripture here, yes it is a lazy google search). All people experience doubt at some point, and doubt is a necessary part of faith. If someone says they do not doubt they are either lying or probably not very intelligent (power to them I guess).

      On raising children in faith: I agree with you here, sort of. It is a bad idea to force religion on children as you have stated (the trauma you have experienced proves this) and I believe any indoctrination is inherently bad, even if the ideas being indoctrinated are good. Many atheists today are living proof that indoctrination not only does not work but often backfires. However, raising children to be “neutral” is not ideologically possible for religious people and I do not believe you can ethically require religious parents not to raise their children within their religion. There is absolutely a healthy way to raise children in religion, and it involves open dialogue, allowing questions and helping children find answers to those questions, and refusing to reject children if they grow up to differ in ideology.

      I realize I use strong language but please do not take any of this as disparaging or disrespecting your viewpoints. I do appreciate you reading and commenting on my post here and I only wish goodwill upon you. Go in peace.

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