Critical thinking highly associated with low belief levelsEven though making other people think analytically didn’t have a big impact as such on the way they did see the world, the impact was noticeable still, said Will Gervais, the study lead author, a psychology graduate in Canada at University of British Columbia. During the study, Gervais noted that they those who participated didn’t enter being devout believers and left being committed atheists. Rather, it was pretty clear than thinking analytically produced reliable, but subtle disbelief effects.

Factors promoting belief and disbelief

The study was launched by the researchers in hope of understanding better how religion choices were made by people. In order to understand religion comprehensively, it is essential that the many non believers found in the world are accommodated. For one to seriously approach the issue of religion, all facts which promote belief and disbelief must be studied. In one of the various experiments undertaken during the study, Gervais and his colleague tested 179 undergraduate students in Canada. The experiments aimed at detecting how religious and analytical the students were.

The test was a measure of analytical skills and aimed at asking questions, which could only be figured out by using brain power and the answers were not obvious. For example, the total cost of a ball and a bat is $1.10 and if the cost the bat is $1 more than what the ball costs, what is the cost of the ball? 5 cents is the correct answer and not 10 cents. Next, the authors of study also wanted to ascertain where priming people and making them analytical can impact on the responses they gave on religion questions. In this regard, several experiments were launched, which coaxed the participants to be analytical. The students were, for example, forced to think about various words as well as consider depictions of ‘The Thinker’ by Rodin or neutral artwork. They were then asked questions about their religious belief.

Causes of religious disbelief

One of the possible responses that emerged regarding religious belief was that people talk to themselves when they are praying. Gervais said that triggering analytic thinking subtly promotes religious disbelief. The experiment never produced statistics that were friendly to the lay person on being influenced to be analytical. Gervais said that it was unfortunate that their analyses never yielded punchy, nice numbers. However, in a bigger picture, the results obtained from the study further supported the idea that one of the reasons why religious beliefs persist is because they are found to be intuitive by people. When people override their intuitions analytically, this is the major cause of disbelief in religion in the world. According to Micahel Nielsen, a religion research, the study offers intriguing evidence supporting the fact that low belief levels are associated with clinical thinking. The study only managed to find an association without proving the effects of analytical thinking on religious belief.