Essay: Christianity, atheism and intelligence

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Does biblical Christianity have a positive effect on intelligence?

It absolutely does. Why?

In other to have a better understanding of the underlying data, please read the articles below:

Socioeconomic factors have an effect on intelligence (for example, wealth which can affect the quality of education, health care and nutrition).[1]

Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson declared: "Through a mixture of hard work and thrift the Protestant societies of the North and West Atlantic achieved the most rapid economic growth in history."[2]

The article The Surprising Discovery About Those Colonialist, Proselytizing Missionaries published in Christianity Today notes:

In his fifth year of graduate school, Woodberry created a statistical model that could test the connection between missionary work and the health of nations. He and a few research assistants spent two years coding data and refining their methods. They hoped to compute the lasting effect of missionaries, on average, worldwide...

One morning, in a windowless, dusty computer lab lit by fluorescent bulbs, Woodberry ran the first big test. After he finished prepping the statistical program on his computer, he clicked "Enter" and then leaned forward to read the results.

"I was shocked," says Woodberry. "It was like an atomic bomb. The impact of missions on global democracy was huge. I kept adding variables to the model—factors that people had been studying and writing about for the past 40 years—and they all got wiped out. It was amazing. I knew, then, I was on to something really important."

Woodberry already had historical proof that missionaries had educated women and the poor, promoted widespread printing, led nationalist movements that empowered ordinary citizens, and fueled other key elements of democracy. Now the statistics were backing it up: Missionaries weren't just part of the picture. They were central to it...

Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations.

In short: Want a blossoming democracy today? The solution is simple—if you have a time machine: Send a 19th-century missionary."[3]

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's website RN reports:

The reason for this rise in Asian Christianity is as varied as the region is diverse. However for South Korea, China and other economically vibrant neighbours contributing to the rise of the Asian Century, German sociologist Max Weber got it right. Christianity is like the spiritual backdrop to the market economy.

Christian business people in China ‘think that the Protestant work ethic is particularly suitable for this market economy,’ claims Professor Fenggang Yang, sociologist at Purdue University in Indiana.

‘The market economy [in China] is sometimes associated with a high ratio of corruption—doing business without rules or regulations, or when those regulations cannot be enforced,’ he says.

Contrary to the belief that modernism breeds secularism, Yang posits that the rise of the Chinese entrepreneurial class has created a demand for internal rules—morality, ethics and spiritual certainty—all the elements that make up religion’s job description.

The demand for this religious foundation is certainly formidable. Beijing controls Christianity by sanctioning only a set number of churches, yet underground or ‘house churches’ keep popping up, like Bible studies groups that gather at McDonalds, recounts Yang.

Buddhism, Confucianism and other great religious and philosophical traditions indigenous to Asia also provide the same spiritual bedrock, and overall, religion is on the rise in China. However Christianity can claim more converts because of its association with other key aspects of a modern life like better education, individual freedom, equality and democracy says Yang.

Sebastian Kim of York St John University in the UK concurs. Unlike other Asian countries, Koreans, not foreign missionaries, planted the first seeds of Christianity in Korea. Yet, it was western missionaries who brought with them hospitals, schools and other social institutions that helped transform Korea.[4]

In the latter part of the 20th century and throughout the 21st century, China has seen a rapid growth of evangelical Christianity within their nation, increased economic development and a leap in intelligence scores.[5][6] See also: Asian atheism and intelligence

The historian Niall Ferguson attributes this recent economic growth to the Protestant work ethic being more incorporated into Chinese society.[7] See also: Growth of Christianity in China

China has the 5th highest national IQ in the world with a score of 105.[8] China's Zhejiang province is China's Christianity heartland.[9] In 2005, the Chinese Journal of Endemiology (Owned by China ‘s ministry of health) reported that Zhejiang province had the highest IQ of all the provinces in China with an average IQ of 115.8 which was markedly higher than China's average IQ at the time which was a score of 103.4.[9]

The Christian apologist Gary Habermas wrote: "Double-blind prayer experiments: where people pray for others with terminal illness. Habermas admitted that most such experiments have not worked, but the three that he knows of that have indeed worked were cases of orthodox-Christians praying for the sick."[10]

After reading those articles and the material above, it is clear that a worldview which fosters: the seeking of knowledge; industriousness; literacy; scientific thinking (and discourages pseudoscience/superstition); prayer; ethical conduct; pro-natalism social policy; social stability; peaceful coexistence with others; a balanced view concerning the military defense of a country; healthy behavior; access to divine wisdom/power, will have a highest degree of a beneficial effect on human intelligence. Biblical Christianity meets all these criteria.