Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Christians Are Not So Crazy

The Wall Street Journal (along with many other news outlets) is reporting on a new study from Baylor University that shows religious people to be less superstitious and less inclined to believe in pseudo-science than those who claim no religious affiliation.

You can't be a rational person six days of the week and put on a suit and make rational decisions and go to work and, on one day of the week, go to a building and think you're drinking the blood of a 2,000-year-old space god," comedian and atheist Bill Maher said earlier this year on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien.

But, in Look Who's Irrational Now, WSJ reporter Mollie Ziegler Hemingway reports that Evangelical Christians are actually more inclined to logical thought than those who claim another or no religious affiliation. Ms. Heminway writes,

"What Americans Really Believe," a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.

The report goes on to say much more, but sufficient for our purposes is the statement above. There may be many reasons for evangelical Christians to be more logical in their thought processes, but I believe that God-centered thinking may be the number one reason.

Faith in God and in Christ's sacrifice on the cross is not blind faith. Rather, it requires an understanding of an intricate doctrine of subsitutionary atonement. The Christian is not a mindless zombie, but rather a person who has carefully considered his or her life and weighed his or her sin on the scale of God's holiness. The regenerate believer has thought critically about his or her life and about the life and sacrifice of Christ. The Christian, therefore, must have the ability to think in the abstract.

A refusal to ackn0wledge God as an all-knowing creator also leaves a void where understanding is desired. Without faith in God, we look for answers about the future, the past, and life. The Christian, on the other hand, is confident not of what the future holds but of the one who holds the future.

For evidence that all people are looking for answers, the report gives one more interesting statistic:

We can't even count on self-described atheists to be strict rationalists. According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's monumental "U.S. Religious Landscape Survey" that was issued in June, 21% of self-proclaimed atheists believe in either a personal God or an impersonal force. Ten percent of atheists pray at least weekly and 12% believe in heaven.

Something to think about.

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