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Sunday Times(UK): Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'

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dhinojosa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:13 AM
Original message
Sunday Times(UK): Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 11:21 AM by dhinojosa
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1798944,00.ht...

Britain
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.

More...

On edit: forgot to tell you there is more to the article
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kenny blankenship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
1. Not that I doubt that religion will fuck people up
but the report--or at least reports about the report--seem to conflate correlation with causation. (But then again, what sociology studies do not?)
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
21. You're right. This doesn't show that religiosity CAUSES all that crap.
It just shows that religiosity does nothing to prevent it--and secularism, meanwhile, doesn't breed it.
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Melodybe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
2. Kicked and recommended
Never forget that the Nazis also claimed to have god on their side.
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dhinojosa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. I'd say amen, but better not...hahah
But I absolutely agree with you.
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FreedomAngel82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #2
17. Exactly
Privately they also believed in witchcraft and used that and astrolgy but publically Hitler proclaimed to be the holiest of Christians and had to "purge" and "cleanse" Germany and don't forget pictures of him coming out of the Catholic church, and Catholic priests at his rallies and parades and pictures of him praying.
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sui generis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:20 AM
Response to Original message
3. inspires atheism and amorality - puh!
1. What's wrong with atheism?

2. Believing that people are going to barn in a barnin lake of far for all etarnity if they don't say their prayers just right is immoral. They can keep those kinds of morals. Believing that you should hate and discriminate against people who aren't "saved", who believe differently or who believe that choices they make about their own bodies are their own to make is immoral.

Why do we even give these people 15 seconds much less fifteen minutes?

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dhinojosa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. You're heathens and you know it....Godless sons of b*******s
;)


I think they were using that for shock value in this article to add a little scare to the religious nutbags.
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sui generis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. heh heh
Heathen and Proud Of It.

Funny, "heathen" (pagan or goyim) was originally a Hebrew/Jewish concept. That would make Christians "heathens" by the oldest definition of the word.

who knew? :shrug:

}(
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dhinojosa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. I saw that too.
It still is interesting to me
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FreedomAngel82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. LOL
Kinda funny huh?
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hyphenate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. I can partly answer that for you
though the answer I have is not very satisfactory even in the best of circumstances.

I was raised Roman Catholic, in Boston, no less. Old enough to remember the pride of the city when JFK was president. As I grew up, I became more and more disillusioned by the church, and by the time I was old enough to refuse to go to church, I had very serious misgivings about the church and faith in general.

On the other hand, my two best friends were very religious--Marje, who died in 2003, was a devout Catholic, and my friend Barb has become very evangelistic and fundamentalist. I've tried to argue the "moral" issue with both of them at different times, and both seem to insist that you can not be truly moral unless you have faith. I've told them, look at me--I have a conscience, I would never kill anyone, I'm polite and mannerly, and I sure as heck keep my opinions to myself if I'm in a room with raging RRRs. But they can not understand. They keep/kept telling me it was because I was raised with these values that I remain such today. They can not understand that most people with a secular background aren't raised to be monsters, that traits such as manners, politeness, and compassion are universal, regardless of your upbringing.

History shows us that religion and faith was used as a tool by those in control for thousands of years, whether it's been Xtianity, Islam, Greek/Roman mythology, or anyone of a thousand different beliefs. To make up for what was often a horribly painful or intolerant life, "Heaven" (or its equivalent) was created as an after-death "reward" for being good little boys and girls. As a result, religious faith is ingrained in many to explain why bad things happen, why those who are living now and who have gone through hell on earth, and why they remain "good" without any real reason. Their faith tells them that something better will eventually come, and that they will be rewarded when the time comes.

So they don't understand that people might actually be good and decent people without that punishment/reward scheme in their lives. I know one asshole freeper who said if he didn't believe in his faith, that he would not follow the tenets of goodwill. He said that it was his "faith" which contributed to his being a conscientious person.

I don't understand why so many of those in the RRR can't believe that people without faith are essentially good, regardless of their beliefs. I guess you need to clobber them over the head with a frying pan in order to dislodge that thinking from them, and even then, I doubt if they would be paying any more than lip service to the concept.
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sui generis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. It's a perfect example of polar thinking
The bible and religion is everything good. The opposite of good is . . . evil. The bible and religion teach morality. The opposite of morality is . . . immorality.

They live in this weird transitive theorem place - if you don't have the bible and religion then you are therefore evil or immoral. It's a fundamental (sorry) truth of their worldview.

We're proud that we can think for ourselves, that we address morality in terms of the golden rule.

It's immoral to kill, and a shade more immoral to kill babies. But if you were driving a bus on a mountain pass and you had to choose between driving a bus full of people off a cliff to avoid hitting a helpless baby lying in the road or turning the baby into a grease spot, which moral path would you choose?

I'm guessing even if you do drive off the cliff the car behind you will turn that baby into a greasespot and everyone will be dead.

How do biblically "moral" people respond to these kinds of moral choices that require complex moral choices? I know that some of them think that teasing a few cells out of a blastocyst is such a murderously immoral concept that they would rather hundreds of thousands of people die instead of one blastocyst destined for the bio incinerator anyway.

I think our morality is qualitatively fairer and better.

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FreedomAngel82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #11
19. You just stated it all in a sentence
THEIR world view. They live in their little bubble and probably never known someone who didn't have religion etc.
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hyphenate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
5. My only comment
is why the heck spend money for researching something like this when it's essentially stating the obvious?

Yes, there are good people with religious beliefs, but hell, there are that many more who use their religion to get what they want, to exploit their own intolerances and hatred, and to wage war against those of different faith. It's one of those situations where religion does hamper one's ability to see from an objective point of view.

Religion should not, and even our founding fathers extrapolated on the subject, interfere with government. It should take a back seat to the governmental process, and should not in any way come into consideration when making laws for that country. I really wish the assholes on the RRR would stop trying to convert us all, and leave the country the way that the Bill of Rights intended.
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dhinojosa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. Yeah, obvious, yet somehow we have "moral values" Bush in the WH.
I agree with everything else you said, but it is far from obvious to many people
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hyphenate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. I guess I have a beef about spending
money when common sense will suffice!

It's like all those food surveys, "new rules" and other stuff. How many different diets, for example have been created to help people lose weight? And in the background, all along, there are teeny voices saying, "Eat a balanced diet, exercise, and you will be healthier." But these voices get drowned out by the gurus of the diet world, whether it's Atkins, Dr. Phil, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, or anyone of a hundred different "lose weight in one day" mavens. People are lazy--they don't want to see the obvious, the truth or listen to common sense.

And yes, people are ignorant. I see it more and more every single day. I picked up a menu at my local Papa Ginos yesterday, and right on the front of it, it said, "It's heritage" for the possessive. I simply shook my head, and wondered when our country turned into a bunch of uneducated idiots.

I have begun to reverse my thinking....I once thought we would continue on a wondrous course to a future that espoused great advances in science, an untold peace of several hundred years, and people who were getting high enough on the evolutionary ladder that we were able to help others gain that same goal. Now, the more I watch, the more I listen, I see it ain't gonna happen....at least not in the foreseeable future. And what that means to me, personally, is that Blade Runner or Escape from New York are closer to us than Star Trek in the future. It's sad, but perhaps sometime around 2025, I will be heading into the Euthanasia center, crying and watching pictures of beautiful nature and listening to Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. It's the one Charlton Heston movie which I have learned to heed more and more each day.
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FreedomAngel82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #5
20. James Madison said it best
"Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."~ James Madison
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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
13. Thomas Paine would surely agree.
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StellaBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
14. Having lived in the UK for four years
:D :D :D

I wholeheartedly agree. Europe is far more advanced that we are in just about any way you can measure. Unless of course you measure the success of a society by the size of its cars or number of missiles. Those are about the only areas that we lead in , IMHO.
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electropop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
15. That's what I've always suspected.
Religion is a tool of control, used by the unscrupulous powerful for their own selfish ends. Society would be better off making decisions for its own welfare, rather than that of the theocratic hierarchy. Religion is a substitute for thinking, at a time when we desperately need as many smart thinkers as possible, to address our many problems. Religion promotes adherence to arbitrary rules over decent treatment of those around us, to the detriment of all.
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FreedomAngel82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #15
22. Exactly
While religion itself can be positive towards someone's life but when mixed with the government, as you stated, religious leaders can use it for their own purposes. See Hitler and Bush. The republicans use religion when they aren't winning in polls (see Richards, McCain and Kerry). In reality they don't really care about religion either way but they use and manipulate it to stay in power.
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FreedomAngel82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
16. Of course
I think when a country has a national religion and all their friends and co-workers etc. are all apart of it and constantly talk about it etc. it and you're not apart of it of course you're going to have problems. And of course problems with those who are apart of the religion. Look at preacher kids. Sometimes they go in the opposite direction. Look at Randall Terry's family. Having religion is fine but you should also keep in mind every one else's religion(s) and those who don't have religion. I don't think we want the Salem "witch" trials to come back although I'm sure the fundies wouldn't care and just follow their "leaders". Someone made a post I read yesterday about how they had a relative (I think brother?) who used to be a fundamentalist and went to Britian and they talked and the brother was totally different after being over there.
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tinrobot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
23. Religion is the culprit, not god.
I'm an atheist but I have no problem with god, faith, and all that. Some people who believe in god are incredibly good and moral and do the right thing for themselves and society. Those people, however, have usually done some searching to find a belief system that works for them. They have thought about who they are and their place in the world.

Problems arise, however, when people don't think for themselves and let a preacher or minister tell them how to live their lives. Religion can easily turn people into sheep. That is not good for society, and religion certainly has no place in government, as our founding fathers were wise to see.
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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
24. thanks for posting this article! I always knew it.
I'm spreading it around to my friends.
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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:36 PM
Response to Original message
25. How come
people of a religion CANNOT and WILL NOT keep it to themselves? Why do they broadcast advertise and sell it?

Converting the world is nothing but bullying and coercion. In the dark ages it was convert or die.

Religion sucks

Why should we spend a lifetime worrying about after death,there's enough hell right here right now going on and the religious act all confused about it because these jackasses in power wave the christian card.

Time for religion to take a back seat to real ethical human conduct.Either you are ethical or not as in a sociopath a narcissist or authoritarian persona..If you are any combo of those three nasty personality problems you are morally handicapped by your personality flaws and no religion will make you become a decent person even though narcissists authoritarians and sociopaths really believe nothing is wrong with them ever..These flawed personalities cannot feel shame guilt or remorse when they hurt others abuse trust or violate others consent, nor can they introspect.So they are morally inferior to anyone with a conscience who is NOT a narcissist,authoritarian or sociopath personality.And you don't need religion to have a conscience.You need a conscience to live and let live with others in a way that promotes peace and a heart to feel why hurting others is wrong, and you gotta care for someione besides yourself or'winning' to care about others difgfferent from yourself and desire to stop their suffering.
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indepat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:05 PM
Response to Original message
26. All those eaten up with sanctimony, hypocrisy, and reichousness make for a
worse society.
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toey Donating Member (568 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 05:02 PM
Response to Original message
27. hot damn!i just wrote about this in a paper i submitted for an Islam class
My prof commented (in the cocky way he knows how) saying "I think not" in response to a paragraph where I stated it seems nations would be better off if they left the religion out. Pffft, what does he know anyway. I have half a mind to forward the link to this article to him, just out of spite...on second thought, maybe I'll wait until he submits my grade next tuesday. :)
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mom cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 02:56 AM
Response to Original message
28. But then there is Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Archbishop Romero, The
Berri gan brothers, etc. The good elements of religion and spirituality have been the soul of many progressive social movements. The real killer is fundamentalism in all of its varieties from christofacism to Hindu extremist, to fanatic Islamist and ...you name it.It is the fervent narrow belief that one is right and everyone else is wrong that fuels the hatred.
And yet nearly everyone I hear from on this board and the larger progressive community have values consistent with the best of religious teachings about love, real compassion, tolerance, caring for the poor, and a profound sense that we are all in this together. These values are not limited in any way to those who profess some sort of religious belief. They are broadly shared by pagans, atheists, agnostics and many others.


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