“A Clever and Important Person is Religious, Therefore We All Should Be”

Nov 28, 2011 Comments Off by

This title is somewhat biased. It can often be heard that because some person widely considered to be very intelligent is theist or atheist, that this counts in favour of a that particular opinion. It is lines such as “there are many religious scientists” coated with the tone that because religious scientists exist then religion must be right. It is the antithesis of when people attribute atheism or theism to supremely evil dictators and claim that such facts count against a certain philosophical standpoint.

It ties in to the concept of idolisation. As human beings, if a person achieves something that is great, we assume that everything they do and say should be equally admired. It relies on the assumption that if a person is intelligent in one mental discipline, they must be intelligent in all mental disciplines.

This assumption may well be true to some degree, simply due to whatever education system a person has or has not been through. It is true that those who have been educated, even if it is only in one subject, are likely to show a broader intelligence. But this trend is not always true, and is definitely not a strong enough trend to justify the assumption. Consider the people that you know and ask if they are equally as good at everything. The answer is consistently no. In fact it is often more than no. There are many people, who brilliant as they are in one area, fail terribly in many others. A simple example would be the comparison between mental and physical subjects. Many people who excel intellectually do badly in practical activities and vice versa.

So from this we derive that just because a famous scientist sits among the theists, that does not necessarily count in favour of religion, because such a link would disregard and variations of the intelligence in different topics.

In addition to this, idolising great achievers in this manner disregards the notion that one should think independently. The thinking that surrounds the arguments for and against atheism clearly falls under the intellectual domain of philosophy. Philosophy is a subject that should not be dictated; blind belief has been shown to be foolish. One shouldn’t simply take another’s word for it when it comes to religion, given that religion so often includes morality in its doctrines. To say “this clever person thinks something, therefore they must be right” is to completely ignore the duty of contemplation that each individual has.

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About the author

I am the founder of Atheism Network.
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