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- Mr. P
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Quote: Bad Religion The Times September 27, 2005 The TimesSocieties 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." Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
I remember hearing about a similar study done in the USA. The study showed similar results, too. The religious southern states had higher rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, and suicide than the less religious northern states. I wish I could remember the source, so that I could post the actual statistics.
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tarav: The religious southern states had higher rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, and suicide than the less religious northern states.I don't have time right now to read that article reprint, so I don't know their methodology at all, but with the southern states, at least, I would say that the mediating factor between the listed social issues and religion is not religion itself but poverty. That is to say, that the poor have a sociological impetus to turn to both religion and vice. I wonder if that isn't also the case with the more recent findings.
Perhaps it is useful that a foreigner, from 'the old Europe" as someone stated in the Stated.As you perhaps know: I live in a (very) liberal country, where a minority now is a churchmember.my experience here in my country is, that when people abort religion, they also care less. Meaning that they are not concerned anymore about what christians say or think (or believers from other religions for that matter). Although we, originally, were a christian nation, now most Dutch believe the evolution theory and see the creation-story from the bible as a myth (what it is, in my opinion). At our schools creation is not thought as a factual explanation for the origin of it all. In Holland there are public schools, boarded by the community and denominational schools, governed by private boards. But all are funded by the taxpayer. These schools can by protestant , or Roman Catholic, or even Muslim, or Hindu schools. And even these christian schools teach evolution as the only possible explanation for our being here. There is consensus about the idea.Except for a minority of fundamentalists. They believe 'against' better knwoing'. I have a colleague minister who preaches that the world only excists for appr. 4000 years, 'because the bible' says so.Well he may do so. It is not important enough to fight about.So: my conclusion would be: not religion per se is bad for your society, only some members (extrem fundamentalists) can be and are sometimes bad for society.Religious institutions can do very good work in society and for the rest 'they are harmless'!Now about how we see the USA.It is the land of possibllities, so it looks. Science is on a very high standard. For a part of the people life is very good and they are welthy. For a greater deal of people are not wealthy, or even very poor.In our views that is not compatable with the role of religion in your country. We feel very strong against the 'God bless America' from your president. If God blesses people, than all peoples and not only, or the most, America. A fudamentalist country who in the first place thinks of himself: only the safety of America was the reason to attack two countries and kill thousants of people. Katrina showed that the government was not concernd about his own people, but only his own power.There is no concern in this administration for the environment, although America and Russia are the biggest polluters of the world. Russia signed the Kyoto-treaty, America did not, because it is not in the interest of the American economy.According to your president, America comes first (the country, not its citizens). That is the same way of thinking as fundamentalist believers. And yes, then you get war.War in the streets, families, and with other peoples. And that is bad for society!So my point is: not religion as such is bad for society, but the fundamentalistic way of dealing with it and the fundamentalistic way of living, is bad for society.RolfI apologize when I have offended anyone. I realize that my knowledge of America is very few. But all the same: this is how we see and experience America.