[quote author=“Nietzsche”]It is self-evident to intelligent people that religious beliefs are stupid.
This is not the same as saying that religious people are always stupid. They can drive cars, hold down demanding jobs and take positions of considerable leadership. In everyday life, these intelligent religious people use scietifically-based logic to function properly. It is only when they don religious garb that they spout religious garbage.
Sam asks a valid question in The Book - how come religious people apply rational, common sense in every other aspect of their lives and are somehow prepared to chuck it all out the window when it comes to the big questions? This is where the stupidity creeps in - they just lose their nerve at the last, forget everything they have learned and crawl back to their godly bosom for easy, comforting answers. When the intellectual going gets tough, they crumble. Like a desperate quarterback, deep in the fourth quarter, they just throw the hail mary and hope for the best.
To dismiss it as stupidity misses the point and stultifies any meaningful debate. I would argue that from their perspective, we are the stupid ones. In the bible, people who don’t share their beliefs are frequently called deaf, dumb and/or blind. If you are not literally unable to hear, speak or see, then this is just another way of saying “stupid”. Calling someone stupid only serves to shut down the dialogue.
The problem isn’t that these people are stupid. The problem is they are operating from irrational premises and refuse under any circumstances to re-examine those premises. This is stubborn, but it is not stupid. They are reaching intelligent conclusions based on their basic beliefs.
If you can definitively prove that the creator of the universe did not write their book (or divinely inspire it, which is the actual claim), then I will join you in calling them stupid. But just because it is prohibitively improbable, doesn’t mean it is stupid to believe it. It is prohibitively improbable that the Big Bang could have produced all life as we know it, but that doesn’t mean that anyone who believes it must be stupid. (But predictably, many christians make exactly that assertion.)