This is an offshoot of my other thread about my best friend.  Part of the problem I've seized upon is that I know a lot of theists whom I would otherwise characterize as really, very smart.  A composer about whom I'm writing a book; my dissertation adviser; and of course my best friend.  I've gotten the sense here that most interactions with theists has been with friends and family who are, frankly, just not very bright.

If you've known a bright theist, did you talk about religion much?  Did you find the interaction stimulating?  Frustrating?  Or do you think theism automatically disqualifies anyone from being "bright"?  (I recall Daniel Dennett's aborted attempt to repackage "atheist" with the term "bright."  A valiant attempt that I think was doomed from the outset.)

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But of course. We've gone on and on about why obviously intelligent people have a blind spot when it comes to belief. My dermatologist is one of the best in the business, the only certified Moh's surgery man south of San Antonio. But he plays Joel Osteen CD'S while he removes basil cell and squamous cancers from my face.

Have any conclusions been reached as to why obviously intelligent people have a blind spot when it comes to belief?

Fear of death seems to be the ultimate answer to me.  The more intelligent you are, the more profoundly you comprehend the implications of eternal oblivion.

Yes, well, I'm not all fired up to return to the billions of years of nothingness before we were born.  Utilizing the brief period of somethingness and yet fearing death are not mutually exclusive.  Indeed, I sometimes think they're mutually reinforcing.

I don't understand why anyone would fear death. We are all terminal. You can fear bears, but there is no law of nature that you will one day face a wild bear. Death, on the other hand, is unavoidable for every living creature past, present and future. My only explanation for why otherwise intelligent people believe in the absurdity of God, is Pascal's Wager intertwined with a longing for being part of a community.

I have a lot of friends much smarter than me that are Christian. Some more devout than others. They aren't fundies. They're off the hybrid type where the earth is hundreds of millions of years old but a god started the process. It's disheartening but they are more of the live and let live type, "God is love" so don't hate. That sort of christianity instead of the "God is the way and creator" type that thinks homosexuality is an abomination. 

First of all you got to see if theism has anything to do with intelligence. I mean, how much intelligence do you need to claim that god(s) exist(s)? The "holy" books are full of ignorant people who claimed that god(s) exists(s).

Sure, you are somehow intelligent when you claim the existence of god(s) in order to manipulate other people, or to avoid being killed by claiming that you're defended by your imagined god(s). Yeah, I have to admit that to have imagination and to find ways to deceive as a way to survive, requires some kind of intelligence. However, when one says "bright", one doesn't specify about the area in which one uses his/her "brightness".

Atheists, if they don't want to be pulled into the theists "brightness", they have to be intelligent at least for substantiating their disbelief with scientists findings, for example, that render theists "findings" as based on ignorance. So yea, both theists and atheists may have to use some kind of intelligence, but in the end one has to ask to what ends.

Theists use their intelligence to find new interpretations of the ignorant "holy" books, so they can continue to control, intimidate, manipulate those who are less intelligent than them. Atheists have to use intelligence to substantiate their disbelief in theistic claims, thus getting freedom from religion. I find atheists use of intelligence more laudable than theists intelligence.

People can be "bright", but specify in what area.

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