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

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

Post by admin » Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:05 am

Thank you, Tayi, for leading us to this challenging article.

[quote]The Times September 27, 2005

The Times

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 en
joy 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.”

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Post by admin » Sun Nov 13, 2005 10:45 pm

Nekita, it was The Times of London.

Earlier, Tayi had pointed us to this link: http://www.jimmyakin.org/bible/ , from which I discovered this other link: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0, ... 44,00.html for the lead article of this thread.

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Post by admin » Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:34 am

Of course, Nekita. Please note that the paper identifies itself as "The Times". A bit anglocentric perhaps, but they are probably the original. Now that this has been established... do you completely agree that "societies are worse off when they have God on their side" and if so, what should societies do about it?

As for me, I find it extremely arrogant and dangerous for any society to think that "they have God on their side" (instead of being on the side of God). Stating that God is on your side (on the side of a nation or on the side of a football team, etc) is to diminish God. It also leads to feelings of superiority and the idea of God just becomes a tool for naked imperialism and for the justification of social injustice.

Does God bless America so she can be in a position to consume disproportionately all the world's resources? Does God bless America so she can slaughter more than 30,000 Iraqi lives, in a seemingly irra
tional response to the attack on the World Trade Center by Saudi Arabian nationals? Does God bless America so she comfortably place herself beyond the reach of any international court and take exception to any international treaty? Does God bless America so that she may establish unequal immigration policies for caucasian and negro populations, deprive detainees of legal appeal, and watch indifferently as nameless Haitian bodies wash up on her shores? Does God bless America so that she will feel entirely free to develop nuclear weapons while threatening to obliterate lesser nations which might feel tempted to develop their own? Does God bless America so that she can crush all resistance in the Iraqi city of Fallujah by targeting the mosques, health clinics and hospitals, and the unfriendly press before killing everyone else in sight? Does God bless America so that she can undo the world's governments that she does not like and then wash its bloody hands while saying that she had nothing to do with it? Doe
s God bless America so that she can maintain structures of inequality within her own society?

Indeed, it would appear that the more "God bless America" the more "in God" she trusts.

But to their God, what makes America deserving of being on her side, and not on the side of all other nations? Does God even support the geo-political boundaries which we call Nations, the frontiers of which have for the most part been drawn by the imperialistic nations of Europe?

Are we better off when God speaks to George Bush?

Why does God play "favorites" (beginning with "the Chosen People") and extending today to Favorite Nations ?

Did God establish the ultimate system of "MOUNPA" ?

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