Religious individuals can be more open minded than atheists. A study in Western Europe found atheists were less apt to...

Religious individuals can be more open minded than atheists. A study in Western Europe found atheists were less apt to be able to consider positions contrary to their own when compared to Christians.

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  • “Atheists tended to show greater intolerance of contradiction, meaning when they were presented with two seemingly contradictory statements they rated one as very true and the other as very false. They also showed less propensity to be able to imagine arguments contrary to their own position and find them somewhat convincing.”

    From this statement I’d want to know what arguments were presented that were contradictory to their own position. How open are the arguments presented? This definitely matters. Depending on the absurdity of the arguments presented, I’d be worried that open-mindedness could be misinterpreted as uncertainty (where should probably be certainty)

    Also, why would intolerance of contradiction make someone more or less open-minded? I think most atheists tend to be so on what they view as logical grounds (at least disproportionately so compared to their more religious counterparts) and I think it seems reasonable that the same demographic would have an acute sense of and dissatisfaction with logical contradictions. Contradictions observed in scripture tends to not sit well with this group for the same reason. I’m not so sure it’s a reliable way to determine open-mindedness.

  • There is a chance this could be correlation and not causation since the majority of Christians are raised with their beliefs and the majority of Atheists have explored possibilites and come to their own conclusions which would leave the majority of the first group (sorry if this sounds patronising but) naive to contrary positions, whereas your average atheist will have perhaps researched that position already and rejected it.
    Not that one position is better than the other, and of course in these modern times there are plenty of people who are raised atheist (and there have always been adult converts to Christianity) so I’m speaking very broadly.

  • I wish I could read the study and provide a thoughtful comment on it, but it’s blocked with a $35.95 paywall … so … no one here can really say much …

    I guess I could say it doesn’t bode well that the study comes from The *Catholic* University of Louvain, “a major contributor to the development of Catholic theology.” But again, this doesn’t prove or disprove anything … since we can’t read the study

  • history says otherwise.

  • Sounds like a bogus “study” to me. I would need to see the questions asked. Atheists have a tendency to be more scientific and therefor not open to ideas that are based in faith or superstition. There is nothing wrong with being firm if you are being firm about the truth.

  • I agree completely. The study is spot on and it’s conclusions sound right. Any fool stupid enough to believe in a magical diety who created the world by pulling it out of a fart 6000 years ago, on the basis of faith, and in the absence of any evidence whatsoever, must be more open minded than I am…

  • This is consistent with my experience. People I know that believe in Santa Klaus are much more open to the possibility that it isn’t real than those not believing in Santa are willing to believe in the possibility of his existence.

    I’d love to do some research in this regard but can’t get the ethics approval.

  • Open minded to non empirical evidence? That’s the definition of a religious person. This is bordering tautological reasoning.

  • As an atheist, I remain open minded. I do not remain so open minded that my brain falls out. I think this can best describe the difference.

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  • Religious people screw this up all the time. The burden of proof lies on the assertion, not the denial. If someone tells you that they have an invisible friend standing next to them and, other than using circular logic, they provide no evidence of the existence of the friend, does that make you close-minded for not believing it?

  • Hey, when you right, you right

  • That seems only logical, since they are gullible to begin with and they have a lifetime training living in continuous cognitive dissonance.

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