Yussel

The Jewish Journalism of Joel Shurkin

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Religion is the opiate of the sociology class




If this country turned itself to God the whole damn place would burn down—America is a God-fearing country, probably the most religious developed country in the world, and the more religious we get the safer, healthier we all will be, we are told. You may well have heard that in a political speech or two, or from one of those screamers on Fox or the sanctimonious ranting of a preacher or two. Is it true? Is religion associated with lower rates of “lethal violence, suicide, non-monogomous sexual activity and abortion?” Will be we a better country if we get even more religious?

Enter an independent scientist named Gregory S. Paul here in Baltimore, who has actually done a study of this notion and published it in the recent issue of the Journal of Religion and Society. Paul points out that until the 20th century, most western nations were fairly religious, some more than others, but as the century progressed, most of those countries became secularized—with the exception of the U.S. While church attendance in France, Britain, Italy and most of the European countries shrank in the 20th century, the U.S. became far more church-going. Whereas in Britain, until Tony Blair, any prime minister referencing his or her religious belief quickly apologized for the gaffe, we have a president who ran on his evangelical beliefs and even, apparently, nominates Supreme Court judges on that basis. The Elmer Gantry set—has taken a prominent place in political discourse. Are we better off? Paul says no.

In the U.S., many of the religious right attack evolution because if evolution is true, they maintain, there is no need for a Creator, and without a Creator we will sink into anarchy and chaos. Evolution is, they assert, a leading contributor to social dysfunction because it is amoral.

OK, but the least religious developed country in the world is Japan, the country where evolution is least controversial is Japan, and guess which country has among the lowest crime rates and most stable societies in the world? The country with the lowest level of acceptance? Do I have to say? Evolution is not an issue in Europe either, and their societies are far safer and more stable than ours.

The homicide rates in Christian Europe and the Americas were once astronomical. While it has decreased dramatically all over, guess which country has by far the highest. It’s true of most major crimes as well.

How about sex? (How about sex?). The U.S. has a sexually transmitted disease rate six times higher than the secular developed, pro-evolution countries, Paul writes. In the totally secular Scandinavian countries, it has been virtually eradicated.

The rate in the U.S., of youth suicide and juvenile mortality is far higher. “Life spans tend to decrease as rates of religiosity rise, especially as a function of absolute belief,” he adds, with Denmark being the only exception. There are fewer abortions in the secular countries, as well as fewer teenaged pregnancies. The age when kids first get laid is the same all over, religious or otherwise. It's too early everywhere.

Paul is not alone. A recent U.S. Census Bureau report showed that teenage pregnancies in the more religious red states are twice what they are in the blue states where manners of morality are closer to European standards than say those of Dallas. According to FBI statistics, the more religious red states have higher murder rates than the blue states (one reason most states without the death penalty are not in the South). The divorce rate is 50% higher there as well. And would you believe that those states that most talk about self-reliance and cut-backs in social programs get far more money from Washington then they send there, in other words, living off the dole.

As far as hypocrisy goes, we are unmatched.

Paul admits his study has weaknesses, mostly in working poverty into the equations. But we are the richest country in the world, so why do we have that poverty in the first place. Oh, never mind.

22 Comments:

  • At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was just browsing and found your blog. Very Nice! I
    have a deer hunting supplies site. You can find everything about deer hunting supplies as well as info hunting rifles, scopes, bows, feeders, stands and more. Please visit, check it out and enjoy!
    Rod

     
  • At 1:53 AM, Blogger TheDevilIsInTheDetails said…

    Another death innocent penalty Resource... LifeLaw.org . A discussion forum for all that deals with such hot-button issues as death innocent penalty .

     
  • At 4:25 AM, Blogger Girly Girl said…

    If you want over 18 adults only dating then Swinger Dating is the site for you. Totally free too :)

     
  • At 7:14 PM, Anonymous deer hunting supplies said…

    Hi there Joel Shurkin, I was just browsing, looking for deer hunting supplies related information and found your blog. Very Nice! I have a deer hunting supplies site. You can find info on everything about hunting rifles, scopes, bows, feeders, stands, guides for trips and more. Please visit, check it out and enjoy!

     
  • At 12:58 PM, Anonymous deer hunting equipment said…

    Nice blog Joel Shurkin. Your posts were interesting reading. I was looking for deer hunting supplies related information and found your site. I have a deer hunting supplies site. You can find info on everything about hunting rifles, scopes, bows, feeders, stands, guides for trips and more. Please try and visit it, see what you think and enjoy!

     
  • At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Joel,
    I have long been fascinated by the role that religion plays in our country, so thank you for the attention you give to this new study. A slightly different, ranting and off colored humor version of the differences between blue (secular) and red (religious) states comparing divorce rates, murder rates, etc. (with links to the actual statistics and studies the author cites) can be found at the very un-PC f**kthesouth.com. Its good for a laugh.

     
  • At 11:34 AM, Anonymous deer hunting equipment said…

    Hi Joel Shurkin. I was looking for deer hunting supplies related information and came across your blog. Very good reading! I have a deer hunting supplies site. You can find info on everything about hunting rifles, scopes, bows, feeders, stands, guides for trips and more. Check it out when you can :)

     
  • At 6:57 AM, Anonymous hunting blinds said…

    Nice blog Joel Shurkin. Your posts were interesting reading. I was looking for white tail deer related information and found your site. I have a white tail deer site. You can find info on everything about hunting rifles, scopes, bows, feeders, stands, guides for trips and more. Please try and visit it, see what you think and enjoy!

     
  • At 8:19 AM, Anonymous hunting said…

    I enjoyed reading some of your posts Joel Shurkin. I was looking for hunting related information and found your blog. I have a hunting site. You can find info on everything about hunting rifles, scopes, bows, feeders, stands, guides for trips and more. Come and check it out if you get time :-)

     
  • At 8:42 PM, Anonymous deer hunting equipment said…

    Fantastic blog you've got here Joel Shurkin, I was looking for hunting related information and found your site. I have a hunting site. You can find info on everything about hunting rifles, scopes, bows, feeders, stands, guides for trips and more. Stop by and check it out when you can. Enjoy!

     
  • At 2:35 PM, Anonymous deer hunting said…

    Hi Joel Shurkin, very unique blog you have! I was looking for deer hunting equipment related information and came across your site. Very good info, I'm definitely going to bookmark you! I have a deer hunting equipment site. You can find info on everything about hunting rifles, scopes, bows, feeders, stands, guides for trips and more. Please visit and enjoy!

     
  • At 11:23 PM, Anonymous deer hunting supplies said…

    Hi Joel Shurkin. I was looking for deer hunting equipment related information and came across your blog. Very good reading! I have a deer hunting equipment site. You can find info on everything about hunting rifles, scopes, bows, feeders, stands, guides for trips and more. Check it out when you can :)

     
  • At 6:08 PM, Anonymous scopes said…

    Hi Joel Shurkin. I was looking for texas turkey hunting related information and came across your blog. Very good reading! I have a texas turkey hunting site. You can find info on everything about hunting rifles, scopes, bows, feeders, stands, guides for trips and more. Check it out when you can :)
    If you have a site similar to mine and would like to exchange links, please contact me through my website.

     
  • At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Any post you make on deer hunting in the future will be well received.

     
  • At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Painted Pony said…

    Good job! Don't stop to develop your blog. I'll visit it later. ___ Painted Pony___

     
  • At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

  • At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    while i do believe there is a link between religious v. secular countries/populations and things like violence, the comparisons are way over simplified. Comparing the US to most European countries fails for a number of reasons. Comparing Scandinavia to any other part of the world also fails. Would you want to compare the rates of crime/abortion/poverty in Vatican City to those of secular Bulgaria?

     
  • At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

  • At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

  • At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great site

    http://arthritis-relief.lysog.info arthritis relief
    http://leather-chair.lysog.info leather chair
    http://lucchese-boot.malig.info lucchese boot
    http://toshiba-part.malig.info toshiba part
    http://home-treadmill.malig.info home treadmill
    http://turbo-tax.malig.info turbo tax
    http://born-shoe.asapdeals.com born shoe
    http://stretch-film.bucksathome.com stretch film
    http://tv-stand.asapdeals.com tv stand
    http://jet-pump.casinogamefactory.com jet pump
    http://nfl-jerseys.1timesex.com nfl jerseys
    http://party-poker-online.boulevardprivates.com party poker online
    http://charlotte-job.asapdeals.com charlotte job
    http://porch-swing.eurocarexpert.com porch swing
    http://kohler-plumbing.1timesex.com kohler plumbing

    Thanks.

     
  • At 4:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey
    Companies House Webcheck
    Webcheck Companies House
    Company House Webcheck
    Companies House Webcheck Service

    [url=http://perosnalbinking.v3host.be/companies-house-webcheck.html]companies house webcheck service[/url]

     
  • At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    [url=http://www.facebook.com/pages/weathercom/298713874092l]www.weather.com[/url]

     

Post a Comment

<< Home