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

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by linwood, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. linwood

    linwood Well-Known Member

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    Cro-Magnon had no ideas or reason to shape his behavior beyond basic self-preservation.

    I don`t think the comparison is valid.

    Why do you think that more secular nations have less violent crime and immoral actions going on within them than those nations that are theistic?
    What is the correlation?
     
  2. Faint

    Faint Well-Known Member

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    Assuming you mean cro-magnon, yes they were violent and religious. Anthropological research seems to indicate that these people had burial rituals (artifacts and plants are found buried with them in the graves), and many of their cave paintings suggest spirituality. Also, common sense would suggest that a culture without science will tend to explain things like the sun and moon in terms of "magic". Modern-primative societies are the same, some with higher murder rates than Washington D.C. It seems like the further we get from religion/superstition, the better off we are.
     
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  3. MdmSzdWhtGuy

    MdmSzdWhtGuy Well-Known Member

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    I am with Faint on this one. Look at history. Many many more people killed in the history of this world for religious reasons than for any other. Why should it suprise anyone, then that the more religious societies are the most violent.

    There is nowhere on earth more religious than the muslim countries, and nobody can argue that they are the most violent places on earth. Religion breeds seperatism and dissent. Any time you get people thinking they are able to do evil acts in the name of a higher power, you are asking for violence on a massive scale.

    When people grow up and realize that each individual human life is important and that when this life ends, it is over, they tend to take better care of each of those lives. Secular people tend not to come to the conclusion that some cosmic boogeyman is telling them to kill strangers for beleiving differently than they do.

    I realize the muslim countries are not on par with the U.S. as far as economic development. However, they are very religious and very violent. The U.S. is the most religious and the most violent of the economically developed countries. Some may dismiss this as a coincidence, but a look at history tells us otherwise.

    Whether it be Christianity during the time of the Crusades, or Islam throughout its history, any time religious people gain control over the masses, the result is streets flowing in blood. This is no coincidence.

    B.
     
  4. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    The study is directly attached to religion in prosperous nations and was designed to be attached. Geez.. The oorrelation is evident and nobody has addressed as yet the cause.. Instead of fighting the correlation, come up with proper cause.

    Cro- magnum discussion seems a red herring to me (or is it a straw man)
     
  5. jonny

    jonny Well-Known Member

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    The United States is a very diverse place. I wonder if the study broke up the country into states if we would see the same correlation everywhere.
     
  6. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    That would have to be a different study - this one compare whole countries to one another
     
  7. jonny

    jonny Well-Known Member

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    My personal opinion is that poverty is the problem. I'm guessing that in areas with lower poverty rates there are also lower crime rates. The distribution of income in the United States compared with those other countries also is what is part of the cause. The Gini index for the United States is higher than that of most European coutries. This isn't religions fault.

    I haven't read any reasearch to verify this, but it's my gut feeling.
     
  8. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    I would seem to think there is a direct correlation between poverty and religion. Perhaps that should have been included in the study.

    Those countries with the highest index seem, in my undersatnding, to be the more religious. But if comparing prosperous nations (the thrust of the study), a first glance says that America is highest there too. http://www.undp.org/hdr2003/indicator/indic_126_1_1.html


    Added: Charitable religions and indifferent government (comprised largely of religious people - or so they say now in campaign ads) seems to have failed in eradicating poverty. That would be another reason to think religion (or ineffective in eradicating poverty) is detrimental to society.
     
  9. Mr Spinkles

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    I looked at the figures of the study, but I'm not fully convinced that increased religiosity tends to cause social dysfunction.

    The data does clearly show, however, that low levels of religiosity do NOT correspond to high levels of social dysfunction. I myself thought that that was the case, but apparently I was wrong.

    EDIT: In other words, I don't think this study convincingly shows that religiosity makes society "worse off", though it clearly refutes the idea that secularism makes society "worse off".
     
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  10. linwood

    linwood Well-Known Member

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    The data does clearly show, however, that low levels of religiosity do NOT correspond to high levels of social dysfunction. I myself thought that that was the case, but apparently I was wrong.

    Why would you have this idea?

    EDIT: In other words, I don't think this study convincingly shows that religiosity makes society "worse off", though it clearly refutes the idea that secularism makes society "worse off".

    I don`t know.
    Most here know I do deem religion bad for humanity so my bias is clear.
    With that said I will agree the study doesn`t definitively show that religiosity "directly" causes undesired behaviour but I think it implies that it may be responsible for supporting standards or situations that do "directly" cause undesirable behaviour.
    That is also inconclusive until we bring other research into the equation such as education levels, poverty rates, social status and what effects religion has on these factors.

    The United States is a very diverse place. I wonder if the study broke up the country into states if we would see the same correlation everywhere.

    Thats a good idea and wouldn`t take to long to find out, I`ll have a look.
    It would give a more detailed look at one geographical area and take alot of excess circumstances out of the equation such as non-religious cultural differences between countries.

    My personal opinion is that poverty is the problem. I'm guessing that in areas with lower poverty rates there are also lower crime rates. The distribution of income in the United States compared with those other countries also is what is part of the cause.

    The research supports you, I`ve seen it and will find it again if need be.
    However religiosity is also more prevelant in areas of poverty than in those that are more well off.
    The entire episode may come down to education which is something else seriously lacking in the USA when compared to other developed countries especially Japan in reference to the study in the OP.
    It`s my belief that educated critical thinking is the greatest weapon against poverty.
     
  11. jonny

    jonny Well-Known Member

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    Why would you think that? Do you know of any studies that link poverty to religion?
     
  12. jonny

    jonny Well-Known Member

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    This I agree with. I really think that the United States is still recovering from the discrimination that our government supported in a "free" nation at its founding. It may take decades for us to overcome this, but I believe we are headed in the right direction.

    I think the link between these may be that I assume that people with higher education levels are less religious (in most cases). I know many very religious people who have a high education, but I think this is the exception rather than the rule.
     
  13. linwood

    linwood Well-Known Member

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    Looking at the Gini link you gave pah one can instantly see a direct correlation between lack of education, poverty, and religion.
     
  14. linwood

    linwood Well-Known Member

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    I agree it`s the exception rather than the rule and I understand what you mean by "less religious" but just to be nit picky I see educated theists more like more "rationally religious" .
    I mean I`ve met a great many theists that I do have respect for because of the honesty the afford themselves within their religion.
    They sometimes "don`t know" and readily admit they "don`t know" concerning some points of their beliefs, they don`t intentionally decieve themselves into believing what they are told when their own minds show them differently.

    EDIT:
    Oh my, I just re-read what I wrote and now realise I could be kicked right out of the atheist he-man theist haters club for using a term like "rationally religious".
    Don`t tell anyone ..ok?

    :)
     
  15. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Makes sense to me. Having "God on our side" automatically suggests that there are indeed sides, and that some people are on the right side and some people are on the wrong side. It allows people to view the other side as inferior and, given the stories in the bible, suggests that violence is a legitmate way to deal with deal with them.

    If God be for us, who can stand against us? - Romans 8:31

    I used to be totally against this kind of good-versus-evil worldview for just these reasons, but recently have been thinking there might be some merit there after all. Liberal religion is criticized for being morally feckless precisely because we don't think in terms of good-vs-evil; morality is relative. When I heard Bishop Robinson say that "God is on the side of the weak, the oppressed, the ostracized" that clicked with me. As black liberation theologian, James Cone, says, what good is God if God doesn't take sides, and doesn't side with the oppressed? Whether or not that means that violence is justified to fight oppression I haven't yet figured out.
     
  16. jonny

    jonny Well-Known Member

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    The Gini index measures the distribution of wealth. The higher the Gini index, the bigger difference between the rich and poor. I used it because I believe that poverty is relative to the people around you. It doesn't measure education, religion, or even poverty really.
     
  17. jonny

    jonny Well-Known Member

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    Your secret is safe with me. :cool:
     
  18. linwood

    linwood Well-Known Member

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    I understand the index and at a glance it would seem the largest discrepancies between the haves and have nots are in those nations where the masses are typically uneducated or miseducated.
    Also at a glance it would seem the most fervently religious nations are those with the largest discrepancy between the haves and have nots.

    There is China and surrounding areas sitting there with that great big fat 43 and this may be a deal breaker in my opinion but I`d argue that that their brand of communism could easily take the place of religion as a component in the equation we`ve been tossing around.
    Either that or I simply need to educate myself to the religiosity of China before I speak.

    :)
     
  19. linwood

    linwood Well-Known Member

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    This is the core of my probelm with exclusive organized religions.

    I have also recently been giving this alot of thought just minus the god.
    :)
    Atheism seems to be the last acceptable group it`s ok to publicly disdain and I believe it`s because atheism by it`s very nature doesn`t usually organize or speak out.
    This is changing but I`m not sure whether I agree with it or not.
    I wonder if the price paid for acceptance and equality might perhaps be the very nature of the belief(or disbelief) itself.
     
  20. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Honestly, I have not noticed that to be the case. There seems to be equal amounts of disdain going on. Even in RF, there seems to be at least a many threads, started by atheists, designed to show theists how mistaken or stupid we are, or how superior atheists are, as there are threads by theists trying to convert people to their particular brand of theism. They both drive me nuts. But honestly, the ones started by the atheists bother me more. Not because I disagree with you more (because I don't disagree with you any more than I disagree with all other forms of theism besides my own) but because I would have expected better from the side that values reason above all else.

    And if some theists disdain you, it's not because you're not organized and don't speak out. Do you really think organization and volume will change anyone's minds? If some theists disdain you, it's only because you scare them. Their sense of self-worth is tied up in God being on their side (to get back to the original topic) and you are some sort of walking proof to the contrary.



    I'm not sure what you mean by this but am intrigued. What do you mean by this?
     
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