[Vision2020] Religion and morality

Ron Force rforce at moscow.com
Wed Sep 28 13:06:14 PDT 2005

I didn't get most of what Ralph sent. for those of you who didn't, here's a
popular summary from wired:

Glory for the Godless
Life in God's country may not be paradise on Earth, if a study published in
the Journal of Religion and Society is to be believed. Religious practices
don't necessarily enhance a society's moral and ethical fiber, according to
the study, and in fact may prove deleterious. "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," said Gregory Paul, the study's
author. Looking at social indicators such as murder rates, abortion, suicide
and teenage pregnancy, Paul concluded that the least devout nations were the
least dysfunctional. And the worst offender? "The United States is almost
always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes
spectacularly so," said Paul.
-- Jenny McKeel

for the academically inclined, the original, with a link.  It's an open
access journal published by Creighton University, so it's free:

Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular
Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies: A First Look
Gregory S. Paul, Baltimore, Maryland

Abstract: Large-scale surveys show dramatic declines in religiosity in favor
of secularization in the developed democracies. Popular acceptance of
evolutionary science correlates negatively with levels of religiosity, and
the United States is the only prosperous nation where the majority
absolutely believes in a creator and evolutionary science is unpopular.
Abundant data is available on rates of societal dysfunction and health in
the first world. Cross-national comparisons of highly differing rates of
religiosity and societal conditions form a mass epidemiological experiment
that can be used to test whether high rates of belief in and worship of a
creator are necessary for high levels of social health. Data correlations
show that in almost all regards the highly secular democracies consistently
enjoy low rates of societal dysfunction, while pro-religious and
anti-evolution America performs poorly.


Ron Force          Moscow ID USA
rforce at moscow.com

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