Originally Posted by CraftyMel2
Intellectually superior? I don't know that I would go that far but I guess I can understand why one could think that. I think that in many cases, it is not intellect but maybe innocence? I am trying to come up with a word that is not so condescending. I think that many religious people just don't know any different. One of the things that religions are really good at is separating the flock. They publicly teach acceptance of all mankind but then privately encourage followers to only befriend eachother. Sort of a "Help everyone, but help your own first" kind of attitude. I mean, look at it in terms of communities; there are neighborhoods in just about every city and state where the majority of people who live there are Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Mormon, Amish...the list goes on and on. People think they are somehow better off if they surround themselves with people who believe the same things they do. By doing that, they limit themselves to knowing only what their church wants them to know about the world around them. Churches like to discourage free thinking...if you think for yourself, you might mess up and not get into heaven--the ultimate reward. When you spend your whole life being told that your own thoughts are destructive, it's not easy to change.
But you say that many religious people just don't know the difference. I would argue that this is because they haven't thought about it enough or are unwilling to consider the option that there is no god.
Of course we have had some extremely intelligent philosophers through the ages who have tried to explain/prove the existence of god.
As for separating the groups, this was effective probably until about 40-50 years ago. Nowadays, not so much. Especially with the internet for those who start to wonder and find out they are not alone.
I do find it amusing that you are trying not to be condescending, when I've found that so many religious people have no problem being condescending to non believers.