In a recent study, a couple of researchers concluded atheists are more intelligent than believers because they are able to overcome what the researchers think is an instinctive attraction to religious thought.
It is true atheists, at least in the U. S. culture, have been able to see past what the researchers assume is a natural attraction to invisible beings in the minds. To say they are more intelligent because of this I’m not so sure.
I like a definition of intelligence I read years ago. It said there are different kinds of intelligence. A good athlete, for example, has an ability to control his/her body with their brain while others of us cannot. Some people, often politicians, have a talent for understanding how and what other people are thinking. Artists brains have something most of us do not have.
The first thing to question is whether an attraction to invisible beings is inborn or natural. It certainly is common and frequent. I don’t know we can be certain we are born with it or not.
I am unable now to think there exists a being or beings that are invisible. Thus, the believer has a talent I do not possess. The ability to believe such beings exist might be thought of a form of intelligence I am lacking.
The only real importance is when lives are ruined or lost because people cannot muster the ability to think critically. Jonestown, Haley-Bopp Comet and others saw charismatic religious figures lead others to their deaths.