Religion Doesn’t Make People Sweet After All
Well, obviously. This is what we keep saying. No, godbothering does not always and necessarily make people better.
Religious belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today. According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems. The study counters the view of believers that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society.
Or at least it counters the view that religion is a guarantee of a healthy society.
Many liberal Christians and believers of other faiths hold that religious belief is socially beneficial, believing that it helps to lower rates of violent crime, murder, suicide, sexual promiscuity and abortion. The benefits of religious belief to a society have been described as its “spiritual capital”. But the study claims that the devotion of many in the US may actually contribute to its ills. The paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Society, a US academic journal, reports…“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.
Correlate. Correlation is not causation. But still, even the correlation is worth noticing. (Of course godbotherers still have the option of saying Yes but you see without religion, US rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion would be thousands of times higher, whereas in the other, nongodbothering prosperous democracies, with religion the rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion would be much lower. That’s the thing about correlation: that option is always available. But anyway.)
The New Republic gives us a nice glimpse of religion making people and societies better.
There was a lot of traffic, and he started to maneuver between the cars as though he were on a race track going for first place. I couldn’t keep up. My strength flagged, I stopped the car, and I cried. I saw him pulling away from me and drawing nearer to his target. His heart grew still to tear out the criminal hearts. He will be blessed, and the criminals will face hardship; he will rise, and they will fall. I saw a column of smoke rise 20 meters into the sky amid a deafening roar. He felled 50 infidels.
That’s one of the things religion does right there: make its adherents think of non-adherents as infidels. Not always, certainly, and fortunately, but the potential is always there.