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Atheism Used To Be So Easy. . .

Here's an interesting finding from Pew's new U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, via the New York Times:

The new report sheds light on the beliefs of the unaffiliated. Like the overwhelming majority of Americans, 70 percent of the unaffiliated said they believed in God, including one of every five people who identified themselves as atheist and more than half of those who identified as agnostic. [Emphasis added.]

This Pew study comes on the heels of some interesting (but less thorough) survey research by a psychologist named Julie Exline, who has found that some people's anger at God can cause them to stop believing in God; in other words, their disbelief is a coping mechanism for their belief, which is sort of like Tony Soprano wishing away his mother's existence by saying, "She's dead to me." All of which calls into question the psychologist Richard Ulster's contention that the higher your IQ, the more likely you are to be an atheist. I mean, how smart can you be if you're an atheist but you still believe in God?

--Jason Zengerle