Religion fosters bad behavior

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by CharlestonChad, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. CharlestonChad
    Offline

    CharlestonChad Baller Deluxe

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,845
    Thanks Received:
    126
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    Ratings:
    +128
    God would be an atheist: Why can't we all be Japanese?

    Religion fosters bad behavior

    COLUMN By MARTIN FOREMAN
    First published Nov. 12, 2005


    Several weeks ago, a ground-breaking study on religious belief and social well-being was published in the Journal of Religion & Society. Comparing 18 prosperous democracies from the U.S. to New Zealand, author Gregory S Paul quietly demolished the myth that faith strengthens society.

    Drawing on a wide range of studies to cross-match faith – measured by belief in God and acceptance of evolution – with homicide and sexual behavior, Paul found that secular societies have lower rates of violence and teenage pregnancy than societies where many people profess belief in God.

    Top of the class, in both atheism and good behavior, come the Japanese. Over eighty percent accept evolution and fewer than ten percent are certain that God exists. Despite its size – over a hundred million people – Japan is one of the least crime-prone countries in the world. It also has the lowest rates of teenage pregnancy of any developed nation.

    (Teenage pregnancy has less tragic consequences than violence but it is usually unwanted, and it is frequently associated with deprivation among both mothers and children. In general, it is a Bad Thing.)

    Next in line are the Norwegians, British, Germans and Dutch. At least sixty percent accept evolution as a fact and fewer than one in three are convinced that there is a deity. There is little teenage pregnancy , although the Brits, with over 40 pregnancies per 1,000 girls a year, do twice as badly as the others. Homicide rates are also low -- around 1-2 victims per 100,000 people a year.

    At the other end of the scale comes America. Over 50 percent of Americans believe in God, and only 40 percent accept some form of evolution (many believe it had a helping hand from the Deity). The U.S. has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy and homicide rates are at least five times greater than in Europe and ten times higher than in Japan.

    All this information points to a strong correlation between faith and antisocial behavior -- a correlation so strong that there is good reason to suppose that religious belief does more harm than good.

    At first glance that is a preposterous suggestion, given that religions preach non-violence and sexual restraint. However, close inspection reveals a different story. Faith tends to weaken rather than strengthen people’s ability to participate in society. That makes it less likely they will respect social customs and laws.

    All believers learn that God holds them responsible for their actions. So far so good, but for many, belief absolves them of all other responsibilities. Consciously or subconsciously, those who are "born again" or "chosen" have diminished respect for others who do not share their sect or their faith. Convinced that only the Bible offers "truth", they lose their intellectual curiosity and their ability to reason. Their priority becomes not the world they live in but themselves.

    The more people prioritize themselves rather than those around them, the weaker society becomes and the greater the likelihood of antisocial behavior. Hence gun laws which encourage Americans to see each other not as fellow human beings who deserve protection, but as potential aggressors who deserve to die. And hence a health care system which looks after the wealthy rather than the ill.

    As for sex… Faith encourages ignorance rather than responsible behavior. In other countries, sex education includes contraception, reducing the risk of unwanted pregnancies. Such an approach recognizes that young people have the right to make their own choices and helps them make decisions that benefit society as a whole. In America faith-driven abstinence programs deny them that right -- "As a Christian I will only help you if you do what I say". The result is soaring rates of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

    Abstinence programs rest on the same weak intellectual foundation as creationism and intelligent design. Faith discourages unprejudiced analysis. Reasoning is subverted to rationalization that supports rather than questions assumptions. The result is a self-contained system that maintains an internal logic, no matter how absurd to outside observers.

    The constitutional wall that theoretically separates church and state is irrelevant. Religion has overwhelmed the nation to permeate all public discussion. Look no further than Gary Bauer, a man who in any other western nation would be dismissed as a fanatic and who in America is interviewed deferentially on prime time television.

    Despite all its fine words, religion has brought in its wake little more than violence, prejudice and sexual disease. True morality is found elsewhere. As UK Guardian columnist George Monbiot concluded in his review of Gregory Paul’s study, "if you want people to behave as Christians advocate, you should tell them that God does not exist."

    I might express that another way. The flip side of Monbiot's argument is that God would be an atheist...

    Martin Foreman is the author of "God would be an atheist," a syndicated print column. For information about syndicating this column, visit www.godwouldbeanatheist.com to contact the author.
     
  2. Annie
    Offline

    Annie Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    Messages:
    50,847
    Thanks Received:
    4,644
    Trophy Points:
    1,790
    Ratings:
    +4,770
    CC where did your post come from? Your link was generic. Is the post original to you?
     
  3. Annie
    Offline

    Annie Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    Messages:
    50,847
    Thanks Received:
    4,644
    Trophy Points:
    1,790
    Ratings:
    +4,770
  4. Annie
    Offline

    Annie Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    Messages:
    50,847
    Thanks Received:
    4,644
    Trophy Points:
    1,790
    Ratings:
    +4,770
  5. Said1
    Offline

    Said1 VIP Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2004
    Messages:
    12,087
    Thanks Received:
    937
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Somewhere in Ontario
    Ratings:
    +937
    Wow. That article is so bad, in so many ways.

    Tell me Chad, what do you actually know about Japanese family values, culture, cosmology etc, etc?

    Can you find the statistical errors....per 1000 girls? :laugh:

    I'm going to read the study, did you?
     
  6. Said1
    Offline

    Said1 VIP Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2004
    Messages:
    12,087
    Thanks Received:
    937
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Somewhere in Ontario
    Ratings:
    +937
    From your article
    Your article failed to mention that although the crimes PTP are seemingly low, they are still higher than Europe and that of a combined North American.

    Your article also didn't differentiate between crimes in the US and Japan. That is, specific crimes were not mentioned with respect Japan and were with the US.


    If you want a better break down of crimes, see the following link.


    http://www.jref.com/society/foreign_crime_in_japan.shtml
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 4
  7. Annie
    Offline

    Annie Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    Messages:
    50,847
    Thanks Received:
    4,644
    Trophy Points:
    1,790
    Ratings:
    +4,770
    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Said1 again.

    Dang it!
     
  8. Nienna
    Offline

    Nienna Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Messages:
    4,515
    Thanks Received:
    333
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Ohio
    Ratings:
    +333
    I got her, Kathianne, althought mine isn't worth as much as yours. :)
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  9. Annie
    Offline

    Annie Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    Messages:
    50,847
    Thanks Received:
    4,644
    Trophy Points:
    1,790
    Ratings:
    +4,770
    Thank you, sending some your way...
     
  10. Dr Grump
    Offline

    Dr Grump Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,284
    Thanks Received:
    3,052
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Location:
    From the Back of Beyond
    Ratings:
    +4,229
    Unless Chad was claiming to be Martin Foreman, dunno what the problem is....
     

Share This Page