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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Immorality and Religiosity

From Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion (in which he is quoting Sam Harris):
Sam Harris in Letter to a Christian Nation writes:

While political party affiliation in the United States is not a perfect indicator of religiosity, it is no secret that the ‘red states’ are primarily red due to the overwhelming political influence of conservative Christians. If there were a strong correlation between Christian conservatism and societal health, we might expect to see some sign of it in red-state America. We don’t. Of the twenty-five cities with the lowest rates of violent crime, 62 percent are in ‘blue’ states, and 38 percent are in ‘red’ states. Of the twenty-five most dangerous cities, 76 percent are in red states, and 24 percent are in blue states. In fact, three of the five most dangerous cities in the U.S. are in the pious state of Texas. The twelve states with the highest rates of
burglary are red. Twenty-four of the twenty-nine states with the highest rates of theft are red. Of the twenty-two states with the highest rates of murder, seventeen are red.

Dawkins notes that in the U.S. red is conservative and blue is liberal, which is the opposite of how it is in most of the world. I understand that this data may be anecdotal at best, but you can not deny at least some correlation.

This serves as yet another example of how morality does not come from religion. Examples such as the problems in the middle east and elsewhere can even serve to show that perhaps it is immorality that stems from religion.

Obviously not all religious people are immoral, and not all non-religious people are moral, but trends are trends. Why do people feel such a need for religion, even with evidence such as this?


Stran_ger said...

I think that in some cases (if not in most) desperate people are more open to religion (they tend to question less the hand that helps them). If you go to some bogus church (those that proclame to cure everything bad in your life as long as you pay) you will see that desperation is a common factor.
I think that is one reason for that correlation (in violent city there is more desperation), another explication is that strong religious people are more dogmatic and tend to see themselfs as virtous keepers of the "truth", thus leading to more violence speech and action towards opposing sides. This will lead to radicalization, more violence and more desperation.

Kathryn said...

Religion is dangerous on many levels.

Those who are apart of the Bapist Church take the Bible literally and thus have unrealistic views towards the world and those who live in it. The Bible was written by man and thereby invariably flawed. It's stories are just that, stories, parables to teach morals (and in my view, create fear).

Religion above all, especially Christianity, Judiasm, and Islam is abused most heinously in order to control the masses. Granted religion can bring comfort to those looking for something to believe in but I think it's done more harm than good...the proof isn't just from history as it's happening everyday before our eyes.

Guthrum said...

Hi Stranger

Thanks for the invitation, I would be pleased to.

Cheers Guthrum

Edda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edda said...

I would like to find an answer to your question, Mitchell, but an impossible issue.

Perhaps one of the key issues would be education and socio-economic roles of the individuals in a society. The poorer are people, more religious they become or the richer are people, less religious they are. The undeveloped countries and wealthy Scandinavian countries are a good example to that. It seems being religious doesn't necessarily mean being moral.

I believe people need hope and security. If they can't find those in their lives, a supernatural power, call it god, must give to them. If we're not happy in this world, we will be in the heaven, won't we?;)

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