Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'

by candidlynuts 7 Replies latest jw friends

  • candidlynuts

    The Times
    interesting.... but not suprising.,,1-2-1798944-2,00.html

    Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'
    By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

    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.

    It compares the social peformance of relatively secular countries, such as Britain, with the US, where the majority believes in a creator rather than the theory of evolution. Many conservative evangelicals in the US consider Darwinism to be a social evil, believing that it inspires atheism and amorality.

    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: “Many Americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly sceptical world.

    “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.

    “The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.”

    Gregory Paul, the author of the study and a social scientist, used data from the International Social Survey Programme, Gallup and other research bodies to reach his conclusions.

    He compared social indicators such as murder rates, abortion, suicide and teenage pregnancy.

    The study concluded that the US was the world’s only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. Mr Paul said that rates of gonorrhoea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries. The US also suffered from “ uniquely high” adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates, the study suggested.

    Mr Paul said: “The study shows that England, despite the social ills it has, is actually performing a good deal better than the USA in most indicators, even though it is now a much less religious nation than America.”

    He said that the disparity was even greater when the US was compared with other countries, including France, Japan and the Scandinavian countries. These nations had been the most successful in reducing murder rates, early mortality, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion, he added.

    Mr Paul delayed releasing the study until now because of Hurricane Katrina. He said that the evidence accumulated by a number of different studies suggested that religion might actually contribute to social ills. “I suspect that Europeans are increasingly repelled by the poor societal performance of the Christian states,” he added.

    He said that most Western nations would become more religious only if the theory of evolution could be overturned and the existence of God scientifically proven. Likewise, the theory of evolution would not enjoy majority support in the US unless there was a marked decline in religious belief, Mr Paul said.

    “The non-religious, proevolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator.

    “The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted.”

  • tall penguin
    tall penguin

    Will the dubs be using this as "proof" that the turn on "false religion" is near. Of course, they don't realize that they're just as much a part of the problem, now do they?

  • Qcmbr

    Of course its just statistics. When you get any 'grouping it tends to polarise its opposite. I think if you take the stats and look at religious people rather than nations you'll TEND (before I get flamed) to find that religious people do fewer drugs, stay married longer, perform fewer murders, have less abortions, have larger families, do fewer crimes, are happier (granted you can define happiness many ways), live longer and are generally better looking (OK I made that up.)

    Unless a specific teaching is anti-social ('go bomb people' for example) I fail to see how anyone could think that religious teachings which are socially excellent (love, respect and honour based) could actually create the reverse effect. People don't normally go beat up people after a sermon on turning the other cheek.

    If we want a stronger society we have to look after our families.

  • tetrapod.sapien
    Unless a specific teaching is anti-social ('go bomb people' for example) I fail to see how anyone could think that religious teachings which are socially excellent (love, respect and honour based) could actually create the reverse effect. People don't normally go beat up people after a sermon on turning the other cheek.

    "And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead." Exodus 12:29-30

    "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." Leviticus 20:13

    "And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.... And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses." Numbers 15:32-36

    "And the Lord said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel. And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor." Numbers 25:4

    "But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee." Deuteronomy 7:1-2, 20:16-17

    "And they warred against the Midianites, as the Lord commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.... And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? .... Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." Numbers 31

    "And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword". Joshua 6:21

    "And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter." 1 Samuel 6:19

    "And [Elisha] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them." 2 Kings 2:23-24

    "Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up." Hosea 13:16

    "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." ps 137:9

    "Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces." mal 2:3

  • stillajwexelder

    Islam has god on its side and by god what a disgusting religion that is

  • Low-Key Lysmith
    Low-Key Lysmith


    I'm going out tomorrow to gather sticks, and I'll more than likely get stoned.

  • Qcmbr

    Tetra - when was the last time you heard that stuff preached? May I say that at the same time in world history across the world we don't have any examples of enlightened atheists living utopian lifestyles.

  • jaffacake


    I know you could give NT quotes too, but it is very significant that all the scriptures quoted were OT. The general thrust of NT teaching is very different, alyhough some of the NT authors were still not fully 'getting it' and still too heavily influenced by the norms of the day eg in the role of women. I think Q makes some relevant points.

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