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« FLASHBACK: Ronnie Earle & Tom DeLay. | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 180 -- Best Places To Do Business. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 179 -- Religion.

Religion, It's A Good Thing-

Whether you are Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, atheist, agnostic, or anything else at all, everyone should respect your right to worship or not worship as you please. That's what America is all about.

Some Americans on all parts of the political spectrum (but mostly on the left) are increasingly hostile toward religion. They want it entirely removed from the public square. Religion is just inherently offensive to some Americans.

Many religion-skeptics in this country make blanket statements about religion being at the root of the world's problems. If only we could take away religion, organized or otherwise, people would all just get along. There would be no war, no strife, and so on.

Well, they may have a point about some world religions (you know which one I mean) being more inherently resistant to modernity than others. And some religions may have been abused by elites for nefarious and violent purposes throughout history.

But even if you are not at all religious, it is important to acknowledge the impact of religion on modern society. One can be ethical and moral without religion, and religious people can be unethical and immoral, but it is hard to deny that religion is responsible for a net positive in character development for young people. And religious individuals make a disproportionately positive and important contribution to the fabric of American society.

So let's look at the role of religion in America. How does "being religious" affect the behavior of Americans? What impact does it have on our society?

Heritage relays the results of a University of Chicago study on the matter:

Of those who report having compassionate feelings for the disadvantaged, religious respondents were 23 percentage points more likely to donate to charities at least once a year than were their secular counterparts (89 vs. 66 percent) and 32 points more likely to donate every month (50 vs. 18 percent).
Likewise, they were 34 percentage points more likely to volunteer at least once a year (63 vs. 29 percent) and 22 points more likely to volunteer each month (28 percent vs. 6 percent).

Civic involvement by individuals is the key to healthy and productive communities, and it is necessary for the functioning of any democracy.


And it cuts across party lines.

After controlling for demographic variables, religious people who expressed compassion were 12 percentage points more likely to donate to charity each year and 35 points more likely to volunteer than were their secular counterparts.

What's more:

In the year 2000, on average, religious people in this sample donated $2,210 and served as volunteers 12 times annually; making up 33 percent of the sample population, they accounted for 52 percent of the charitable donations and 45 percent of the times volunteered. On average, secular individuals in this sample gave annual charitable donations of $642 and volunteered 5.8 times annually; While making up 26 percent of the sample population, they contributed 13 percent of the money given to charity and accounted for 17 percent of the times volunteered.

Now, it does not make someone a better person for donating time and money to charity, nor is someone a bad person if they do not donate time and money to charity.

But if I were down on my luck, I would clearly prefer the help of a faith-based organization to that of a bureacratic government program. And let's not forget that religious folks are happier than secular people.

Religion, it would seem, is a force for good. The "Armies of Compassion" should be unleashed, not maligned or marginalized.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: U.S. Refineries.

Posted by Will Franklin · 28 September 2005 03:47 PM


That’s not entirely true. If you are a society that just throws its hands up and says, “Well it’s all in God’s Hands,” then you’re bound to have people who don’t take responsibility for their actions because “it was God’s will.” People need to find strength and responsibility WITHIN themselves, not from myth that they think exists and can blame for all the ills in the world. As for secular people being less happy than religious people, that may be true, after all, ignorance is bliss.

The Times
September 27, 2005

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

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 enjoy 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.”

Posted by: david at September 28, 2005 04:23 PM

The real question should be why do they so hate a God that is the source of all goodness and love. Just what do they so fear about goodness?

"The beginning of all wisdom is fear of the Lord"

Posted by: DL at September 28, 2005 05:39 PM

It amazes me that people who say they don't believe in GOD are so opposed to those of us who do!... Why is that?

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at September 28, 2005 08:09 PM

I don't know if "ignorance is bliss" holds true any more. I mean just look at how pissed off Democrats are these days...

Posted by: Hoodlumman at September 28, 2005 09:31 PM

Hoodlumman, If in fact ignorance is bliss? Perhaps the ignorant Democrats enjoy being "pissed off" if you will pardon the expression?... Maybe they are happy being so angry, bitter and hateful?

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at September 29, 2005 06:15 AM

Hoodlumman, If in fact ignorance is bliss? Perhaps the ignorant Democrats enjoy being "pissed off" if you will pardon the expression?... Maybe they are happy being so angry, bitter and hateful?

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at September 29, 2005 06:16 AM

david: That article is a lot of bad science.

Posted by: Jody at September 29, 2005 08:21 AM

Faith is the active substitution of belief for knowledge. Evil is that which contravenes individuation. I began my existence, in this universe, in a state of total dependence. If any at all, my first decisions were about what noise to make in order to get food or a diaper change. I made an ever increasing number of decisions and the proportion and sophistication of those decisions increased as I established independence. Then it was possible for me to individuate. Then it was possible to claim sovereignty. This entire enterprise of personal development has but one method: juxtapose known with unknown, formulate belief, test belief, store knowledge, base decisions upon that knowledge, claim responsiblity, correct errors, cover cost, store wisdom. Faith contravenes this method at the outset. It substitutes belief for knowledge. It presents the unknown as known without trial. Nothing is learned. Responsibility cannot be claimed. Correction cannot be made. Cost cannot be covered. Wisdom cannot be earned. Independence cannot be established. Individuation cannot be accomplished. Sovereignty becomes a reserve for a self selected few who take advantage. A preponderance of evidence, presented by this humble universe itself, indicts faith as evil to that which is created.

Posted by: Steve Brungard at September 30, 2005 03:42 AM