Saturday, June 21, 2008

Atheism better for America


Occasionally we non-believers have our suspicions about the negative impact of religion on modern societies confirmed with statistical data and hard evidence; and when we do, we ought to shout it from the rooftops. However, this time the ring of truth for our oh-so-religious country has a decidedly dissonant tone.

It’s kind of hard to celebrate the fact that the U.S. has higher rates of murder, suicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, STD infection, and infant and juvenile mortality than other more secular nations like the U.K., France, Japan, and the Scandinavian countries. But those are the cold hard factoids according to a paper published in the Journal of Religion and Society based on several studies which have shown that “the least religious countries are the least dysfunctional,” based on the measuring sticks mentioned above.

So, essentially, it’s safe to conclude that despite the highly religious nature of this nation, such an atmosphere does not appear to be conducive to fostering the moral and ethical basis for a healthy society. And what a blow this ought to be for the godlovers across this land. But they will of course either choose to ignore or just happen to remain blissfully ignorant of these findings.

Social scientist and author of the paper Gregory Paul used a wide range of surveys including data from Gallup polls, the International Social Survey Program, and other research sources to obtain his conclusions.

It’s perhaps a good idea to close this post concerning the information presented in said study with some words from a related article in The Times UK and directly from the author himself of these conclusions:

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 enjoy majority support in the US unless there was a marked decline in religious belief, Mr Paul said.

“The non-religious, pro-evolution 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.”

These conclusions and the conditions which led to them can, no doubt, be interpreted as a Pyrrhic victory for atheists in this country. One can hope, though, that the tide is turning in favor of secularism.

How do you think atheists should react to this information?


Aaron said...

How do you think atheists should react to this information?

Well, I reacted by shedding my untenable beliefs, and I keep reacting by never shying away from a debate when it comes up, answering intuition and superstition with facts and figures. Any other ways that we should react?