Alister McGrath

The Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity, a meta-analysis of 63 studies stretching back over decades found a ‘significant negative association between intelligence and religiosity’. Professor Miron Zuckerman, the author of the Rochester University paper, told Christianity that his inquiries started ‘as a mere curiosity about what type of relation there might be’, but that he realised early that the relation was negative. Noted Christian apologist for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, Professor Alister McGrath, said that many of the criteria used in the study to measure intelligence were biased towards a secular mindset: ‘Christianity is immensely reasonable and these studies are making, in effect, rather pejorative judgements about religious believers rather than the academic credibility of the Christian faith itself.’ Zuckerman, however, said that his study focused on averages and that trying to predict a person’s intelligence based on how religious they were would not be advisable. ‘My concern’, he said, ‘is that a religious person may think he (or she) is stupid.’ Zuckerman told Christianity that his study found that on many levels religious people were ‘better off than atheists’

McGrath believes that studies like this highlight the need for intelligent, thinking Christians to communicate their faith effectively. ‘One thing the study does bring out clearly is how Christians really need to think about their faith and not to simply buy into this very simplistic “just trust, don’t think” way of looking at things,’ he said.