Clawing through the bloated coverage of the Rugby World Cup in today's Herald on Sunday in the hope of finding something else to divert them, readers may have been surprised to find that "Bible believing" Christians featured in an unflattering report on research from the University of Edinburgh.
"The more religious you are, the less likely you are to be intelligent..."
"...Christians - particularly fundamentalists who believe the Bible is God's word - have a lower IQ than those who are less religious."
A Kiwi professor who participated in the research notes: "If you believe in religion, you haven't really questioned things." Um...
The head of theology at Auckland University, Elaine Wainwright, seems less than convinced, though she would be, wouldn't she?
If I was the Herald journalist, I'd be pounding on Brian Tamaki's door for a comment, but I suppose it isn't worth the hassle, what with the body guards and all, so dear Abby took the soft option and found a more conventional bishop. Perhaps Abby doesn't realise that, excluding Tamaki (who was ordained a 'bishop' by American 'youth specialist' Eddie Long) there are two Auckland bishops, one Anglican, one Catholic. Which is Patrick Dunn? She doesn't seem to think it's important for us to know that (he's the Catholic one). Dunn himself seemed unable to respond in a coherent way, stating that the study's findings are "a bit hilarious."
"However, he did agree that less intelligent people of all faiths tended to be more fundamental in their thinking, 'whether they claim to be Christians or atheists or Muslims or whatever'."
Cold comfort your bishopness, cold comfort.
The actual research, shorn of journalistic 'gee-whiz', might make interesting reading. If there is a negative correlation between faith and intelligence, it might have more to do with head-in-the-sand dogmatism (the fundamentalist's playpen concept of 'strong faith') rather than a sense of the divine.
But that hardly lets Dunn off the hook, does it?