Why atheists are smarter than Christians

An atheist is someone who denies the existence of God. This is different from an agnostic - someone who is unsure or undecided about the existence of God. And my point is the average atheist is smarter than the average Christian. And its mainly because you have to be intelligent and well-educated to qualify for atheism.

There’s a couple different reasons for this. First statistically, let’s say the U.S. has around five to six million atheists whereas there are at least a hundred million professed Christians in this country. So when you're talking about atheists, its a pretty small sample size relative to the number of Christians. Its also hard to identify atheists because they don’t usually have some short of regular gathering. What I’m saying is there are probably ten times as many smart Christians as there are smart atheists but there’s just so many other Christians who are not smart and they bring the curve down.

But most of all, its because atheism is an intellectual luxury. Its like Coach handbags. They’re a badge of status. Atheism is something you buy to show other people you’re with it. If you buy Coach, it means you’re fashionable, relevant, and probably affluent. If you buy atheism, it means you’re smart, well-educated, and probably affluent.

After all, atheism is a modern invention. You don't find African tribesman who are atheists. It just doesn't work. If the rain doesn't come when you do the rain dance, you don't stop believing in the rain gods, you keep dancing until it rains.

There's a much higher price for atheism in a primitive society. Without a belief in a divine being, there's not a whole lot of hope to live on. You can argue about the irrationality of optimism all you want but it keeps people alive. Atheism is a modern convenience like electricity and the internet. You don't need to dance or believe in rain gods when you can get clean water at the tap of a button. And once we get our needs met independent of any external force, atheism becomes much more affordable. Cheap if you will.

But still far too expensive if you're dumb. Stupid people can’t afford that stuff. Poor people can’t either. They’re too busy trying to meet their basic needs and achieve the American dream. Whereas atheists have tasted the consumerist cuisine and found it lacking. They’re looking for more gourmet alternatives.

See atheism is predicated on logic, rational thinking and the scientific method. That's most attractive to the intelligent. Most importantly, people who have no dependence on external force in their lives find atheism compelling because they are satiated in every other way. (That sounds like many Christians I know including myself, which might explain why its so tough to live as an affluent Christian in postmodern Western society. But that's another story entirely.)

Third, atheism is subversive to authority. This makes it attractive to postmodern Westerners who don’t like others telling them what to do. This might explain why celebrities follow scientology and other boutique religions. It differentiates them from other people. In any case, you have to be reasonably intelligent not believe in God because it takes a rebellious intellect to challenge why we keep dancing. Why not just get rid of the rain god? It makes things simpler, its more intellectually honest, and as a bonus, its subversive and different.

The other thing is about Christianity. Its kind of an interesting religion. Its exclusive but not really. I mean the barrier to entry is pretty low. You place life trust in Jesus Christ. You can be fat or black or gay or white or male or disabled or poor and uneducated and still be a Christian.

You can even be stupid. In fact, there are lots of stupid Christians and I know some of them personally (I don’t think I’m stupid but its an indictment that stupid people often fail to recognize their stupidity).

But there aren't stupid atheists. At least very many of them. Stupid atheism is not contagious. There's nothing attractive about a stupid atheist. They have no hope, no rationale for having no hope, and are rebellious for the sake of rebellion. At least a smart atheist has a rationale for being hopeless and some kind of limited hope in humanity.

Even if you argue that fascists and communists are poor atheists, there's a problem there. Because they're only atheistic in as much as they believe their governing system is going to get them a piece of a pie. Poor people want something. Any religious system, atheism included, is only attractive if it helps people get what they're looking for or consoles them for not being able to achieve it.

Christianity, however, is predicated on both the logical and illogical, rational and irrational, scientific method and otherwise. That's why stupid Christianity is just as infectious as smart Christianity. In fact, Christianity is infectious in almost all its forms. So the great thing about being an atheist is you can rest in the fact that you’re smarter than the average Christian. But the great thing about being Christian is that its affordable at every possible IQ and income level.


  1. "An atheist is someone who denies the existence of God. This is different from an agnostic - someone who is unsure or undecided about the existence of God. "

    No. It is amazing how many people think that's what those words mean.

    An atheist is someone who lacks the belief that there is a God.

    A theist is someone who possess the belief that there is a God.

    An Agnostic is someone who believes that the nature of God, as defined, renders it impossible to know for sure if such an entity does or does not exist.

    An agnostic may ALSO believe such an entity exists, or not believe such an entity exists. That is completely irrelevant to whether they are agnostic. I am an atheist. I am also an agnostic.

    Agnosticism is not some kind of third option to atheism and theism. You can be an agnostic, but you are ALSO either a theist or an atheist. That applies to everyone. There are no third options, atheist or theist is a binary solution set. You either believe in a deity or you don't.

    When someone says "I'm not an atheist, I'm an agnostic" it makes as much sense as saying "I'm not an atheist, I'm an accountant".

    And although studies do show atheists tend towards the high end of the IQ and education spectrums, you do not have to be highly intelligent and well educated to qualify. That's silly. I know more than a few embarrassingly ignorant stupid atheists.

  2. Grant, thanks for the clarification. It seems both our definitions of atheism are well within the semantic range of the word. Not that wikipedia is the definitive source of information but it certainly is some kind of consensus on meaning - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism ==> "In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities". Your definition is also affirmed here but I'm wondering what your point is in making these distinctions. I'm guessing its because people need to be aware there's no such thing as sitting on the fence (agnosticism)?

  3. I meant no such thing as agnosticism as a third option.

  4. I also must add, that there are astoundingly stupid "atheists" out there, who rebelled against god and the church for the worst reasons. For example, I have an acquaintance who is a so-called atheist, because he came to the conclusion that there can't be a god, because there is suffering in the world, and evil sons of bitches everywhere you look. A just and righteous god wouldn't let that happen.

    That is what many people would consider flawed reasoning. I do also.

    My two cents.

    1. Certainly that's flawed reasoning but almost every atheist can articulate a reason for their (un)belief. I would estimate many Christians couldn't even articulate a reason for why they believe. It does take a measure of intelligent to know why you believe something, even if it's for flawed or selfish reasons.


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