Religious tend to be less intelligent but happier

Faith and religion have been constant elements in the history of mankind from its first moments. Where does the sea come from, day and night or even life? What are we and why are we like this? What is the meaning of our life? Through different explanations, he sought to make sense of the existing reality, forging beliefs that would eventually be fixed and passed down through generations.

Many of these beliefs have been structured in the form of different religions which, while on the one hand have long served to give hope and meaning to those around us, have also been used to manipulate and control the behavior of our fellows.

However, beyond the social effect of religions, you are also associated with personal psychological characteristics. For example, we know that religious, statistically, are less intelligent and happier than average.

    The psychological effects of faith

    Religion has always been based on faith, but the explanations of reality that it generally adopts are usually not verifiable by experience.

    It has been shown that many of the precepts defended by different religions have a different explanation from that offered by science. The perception that on many occasions faith was used as a method of control and manipulationThis has generated that over time the number of believers and the role of religiosity in recent times has been reduced more and more, as a larger population can find information that challenges religious dogmas.

    To believe or not to believe tends to generate differences in the way we conceptualize the world and reality. Below we will see a series of differences between religious and non-religious people.

    Differential characteristics between believers and non-believers

    Much research has been done on the differences between religious and non-religious for different purposes and from different perspectives. Some of the results reflected by these surveys are as follows.

    1. Relationship between level of intelligence and religiosity

    Several studies and meta-analyzes carried out with different sectors of the population establish that there is an inverse relationship between intellectual exercise and religiosity. While this data reflects that people with the highest IQs generally tend to be less religious, this data should be treated with caution. In fact, the studies carried out do not reflect that this relation is causal (that is to say that it is not established that one is more intelligent because of not being religious or vice versa), being able to obey the relation found to different variables.

    There are several hypotheses on these results, indicating for example that the presence of a higher intellectual level allows more to argue and not to accept imposed ideas on the outside, with which orthodox or inflexible positions can be rejected and non-conformist positions can be adopted more easily. Likewise, many people with a higher intellectual level tend to need a more logical and analytical explanation of events. Another hypothesis proposes that high intelligence can also tolerate uncertainty and provide a framework for action when needed, so that it becomes less necessary to seek an explanation of a spiritual nature.

    2. Level of anxiety

    Other studies show that religious people have a more defined framework of behavior and an explanation of reality allows them to have a lower level of vital uncertainty. They also express a lower level of worry about mistakes. These aspects are linked to a lower activation of the anterior cingulate, part of the brain linked to the stress and anxiety response, in believers compared to non-believers.

    3. Survival and well-being in the face of disease

    Religion appears to help prolong survival in severe illness, as well as improve the quality of life for people with chronic conditions. Less uncertainty and faith of people with religious and spiritual beliefs they lead them to have more resilience be able to rely on these beliefs in difficult times.

      4. Tendency towards tolerance

      Non-believers generally tend to be more tolerant with other ways of seeing life that are different from his own than those professing a high level of religiosity. To profess a faith is to limit oneself to a specific framework of thought and action that differs from that of others, which in some cases facilitates the birth of fanaticism and discrimination against others.

      5. Subjective well-being

      Believers tend to show a higher level of well-being in various studies, partly because of the feeling of belonging which involves sharing something with others, such as faith. However, it should be borne in mind that this data can largely depend on where the survey is conducted and how the religion in question is viewed socially.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Zuckerman, M .; Silberman, J. and Hall, JA (2013). The relationship between intelligence and religiosity: a meta-analysis and some suggested explanations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 14 (4).
      • Lim, C. and Putnam, RD (2010). Religion, social media and life satisfaction. American Journal of Sociology, 75 (6).

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