Steven Taylor makes some excellent points on the subject here and here.

I have to acknowledge that, while being avovedly irreligious can be uncomfortable in some settings (say, virtually anywhere in the Deep South), there are many places, notably the academy, where being openly religious is a liability. Second, those of us who are non-theistic need to be cognizant of the fact that being highly intelligent and deeply religious are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, outside the academy, bright non-Brights almost certainly outnumber the bright-Brights. (Dean makes a version of this point, too.)

FILED UNDER: Religion,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    The whole term itself is egotistical. If the term were “I am a zibbar” or “I am a foozeitnoodle” it would not be so insulting.

    As it stands, the terms is “I am a bright” implying that you are not.

  2. Paul says:

    I … can be uncomfortable in some settings (say, virtually anywhere in the Deep South),


    Yankees are more than welcome down here in the South. It is the “Damn Yankees” we have a problem with.

    You do know the difference between a Yankee and a “Damn Yankee” don’t you?

    A Yankee is someone from the north that is visting the south.

    A “Damn Yankee” stays.


  3. jen says:

    On the other hand, there are plenty of places where religious folks feel equally uncomfortable (just about everywhere).

    And thanks, I think, for defending the non-brights, sort of.

  4. Dean Esmay says:

    I defend the religious regularly. Why not? I’m married to one of them, and many of my most-beloved friends and relatives are religious.

    You know what gets me? This whole thing has struck me from day one as whimsical and charming and fun. I’ve been utterly agog at the absolute fury in reaction to it. Seriously. Why can’t we have fun with this thing? Oh, there’s so much potential.

    We can talk about fools like the “Raving Atheist” as being blinded by an excess of brightness. We can talk about how people who sorta believe in God but have no religion are “Lite Brights” — they’re outta site! Maybe we can call religious people “sweets,” and make fun of those bitter brights….