Study In "Journal of Religion and Society" Finds Societies Worse Off With Religion.

More morality news (albeit from Sep. 2005!), thanks to recent commenter "The Alpha".
"Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'" from the online edition of The Times.
The original study is here. Thanks Prup!.



Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

That study is a good one, but it would have been better to link to the original, as has been done several times in various comments. I'll have to look for it myself for the full cite, but it is the one that starts
and maybe someone else has it closer to hand.

Benny said...

This might be the study mentioned in the article:

Another study, which suggests strong belief in both God and the Devil, such as espoused by Evangelicals, is correlated with high homicide rates:

Joel said...

The person who wrote that article is a persuasive writer. She puts a certain spin on the issue of crime and violence and tells us that America has more crime and violence because we are more religious than England. But what she is really doing is comparing two different countries where there are many differences such as culture, population, government, ehtnicity and so on. She takes one difference being religiousness of the citizens and assumes that this must be the reason. However I questin these facts because I am aware that in the last decade the religiousness of England is growing with The Church of England. It is a biased article poorly written, any one with an English degree and who has themselves studied persuasive writting can see right through it. You should have cited a better article and a less biased study. A study whose aim from the get go was not to discredit religion would have been better if there is such a one. This is an industry and Ruth Geldhill is profiting off of it as a so called Religion Corespondant. What does that mean? That she knows more about religion than everyone else? No she doesn't. Like I said, there is a difference between knowing about someone and actually knowing them. And I really doubt if Ruth really knows that much about religion. She is just in it for the money. She got paid to write that article to keep the fire burning, and somewhere someone will write an article refuting it and get paid, and then someone else will write a book about religion and crime, probably Ruth herself and she will get paid and on and on. Its like wrestle mania, and in this corner!

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Joel,
Do you know where I can some information on Ruth Geldhill?

Did you read the original? I just recently added it to the article.

And can you site a source for your claim about England? Thats not what I'm hearing.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Joel,
I found her blog!
But I haven't read enough to tell if she's biased or not.

Joel said...

There are many think tanks, organizations and publications that claim to understand a religion or a faith better than its adherents, they claim to be unbiased so when the results of their research casts a negative shadow on a particular religion or faith people will believe that is the way it really is. I read the study and though Ruth is a trained professional persuasive writer who is not without bias whatever that may be, the study did do the things I claimed that it did. It compared countries that were different in many ways but blamed only one difference being the religiousness of the people for the differences. Anyone willing to discredit Christianity would not question this study. I learned of growing Church attendance from a Minister in England who said that attendance in his church was growing though this is in no way a reflection of England as a whole I must admit. So perhaps England is not as religious as I thought, you have me there, but I don't believe that America is sincerely, well. "religious" as you all may believe. Figures lie and liars figure. I am a Christian but not a neo-con. The fact that Ruth is getting paid is proof of a certain amount of biased, she represents her publication or The Times. Show me media that is not biased. And I will show you how to lose weight by eating nothing but bacon cheese burgers.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

If you'd check the original study, you'd see that your description of the newspaper accounts is far from a good description of it -- yes, Benny, I believe that is the study referred to. The comparison is NOT just between England and America, but compares America to a large group of Western European countries -- as well as to Japan, and I believe, Canada. (And Ms. Geldhill was not connected with the original study, she is merely reporting on it, so your comments about her motives are, to say the least, dubious.) The polling done was contemporaneous with the statistics cited, and in almost every case, the countries with the higher belief in God have worse statistics. (If you check the article, realize you have to click on the list "Figure 1, Figure 2, ..." to get the different charts.)

I agree with Lee that your statement about England seems highly unlikely. (I believe that the believers are tending more fundamentalist than in the past, but the percentage of overall believers continues to drop.)

One thing that should be pointed out is that the surveys were taken of the population as a whole, and most of the EU countries have a much higher proportion of Muslim immigrants and their first- and second- generation descendants. If they were included in the study, this would skew the numbers for them towards a higher proportion of believers and church attendees (and disbelievers in evolution). The proportion of Christians might even be lower than the numbers suggest -- or believers among the non-Muslim part of the populace.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Joel,
thanks for your thoughtful contribution.

But if you only eat one bacon cheesburger a day and drink water I bet you could lose weight!

Seriously, I agree to the extent that this area of research needs more independent study to be more meaningful.

Macht said...

"It is the opinion of the authors that once all of the methodological issues are considered, Paul’s findings and conclusions are rendered ineffectual."


Benny said...

Good find, sir. Have you found anything similar for Jensen's paper ( As I mentioned before, it suggests that a strong belief in both God and Devil, such as espoused by the Evangelical movement, is correlated with high homicide rates.

Another paper by Ellison, Burr, and McCall (“The Enduring Puzzle of Southern Homicide: Is Regional Religious Culture the Missing Piece?”) found that the percent of evangelical Protestants is a positive correlate of homicide rates in southern US cities, but I haven't been able to find the full text of this paper yet.

Anonymous said...

Joel you make an interesting point. Even if your English Minister was thinking wishfully or maybe embellishing. What is that saying "As deceivers yet true"? However, Joel, I think you are the one who may be getting ahead of yourself. Your quick judgment of Geldhill shows that you need to take more time to read these articles. Geldhill is biased as you say. Who in the media is not? It is up to the reader to use their minds and investigate the truth. But the type of bias or her methods need to be understood. Her writing is not so much biased per say, it is her choice of what stories to cover. She chooses stories that paint a certain picture. She controls her media by only showing certain situations in the world of religion. Often she focuses on the controversial which is sensational and sells. This is her job, no one wants to read about good things that happen in churches everyday. It does not sell. A minister embellishing or a priest molesting, that sells magazines. If this is all people see of religion then they can easily get the wrong idea. Do you understand Joel? It is not so much her writing that is biased but her selectiveness.

Blair in KC said...

This is laughable.

Every officially atheistic government has been a bloody totalitarian atrocity.

Who ya kiddin, folks?

Anonymous said...

How about another spin on these findings: That the high rate of religious people in these countries is not the cause of crime, but the effect of crime. Oh yeah baby.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Blair,
there is a distinction. Openly atheistic governments, versus secular with religious freedom. I don't think any of us here at DC would promote the restriction of religious freedoms.

On the other hand, if everyone had a more empirical requirement for the existence of a god or the validity of their chosen scripture, I don't think theist vs atheist would much of a big deal. The point being that there wouldn't be so many theists.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anon at 1154,
you really should flush that claim some more. Just because you can think it up doesn't make it viable.

Some grounds, and some principles/warrants to link your grounds to your conclusion would be nice.

Anon the Great and Powerful said...

Hey Randolf, the study that you are all quoting is the basis and grounds for my for my claim. I just took another spin on the facts. That's all the study shows is some facts and figures, those facts and figures can be interpreted in either way. Either religion causes crime and social disorder or crime and social disorder cause religion baby. Here is the premise for the study: That countries where people are more religious have more crime. You all jump to the conclusion that this is because of religion and there for religion is bad for society and societies are better with out it. I see where this is going. Out law religion because it is bad for us. Baloney Mahoney! The study does not directly tie religion to any of the crimes or social disorders. Any assumption that it does is groundless. When looking at the bare bones facts, a person can just as easily come to the conclusion that people who live in societies that have more crime and social disorder become more religious as a consequence because they have more reason to look for the security and peace of mind and also guidance that religion offers.
Do a study on inmates in Americas prsion and find out how many of them attended church regularly (that means at least 3 times a month) before they committed their crimes and where put in prison for them. Do that study baby! You won't because it will tear to shreds your jumped to conclusions bay. Oh yeah! Go ahead do the study. Go on. I challenge you to go to your local prison or jail and find out baby.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Anon t GaP:
I've never been in prison, or worked on either side of law enforcement, but I have lived among a large number of people who had -- or deserved to -- be in prison, most particularly in one hotel and during a six month period when I lived in a homeless shelter. I won't discuss how many people had actually attended church recently, because I don't know the answer.

I do, however, know that a larger proportion of those people who lived there professed themselves as being Christians, and had strpngly religious upbringings than would be true of the populace at large -- and that there was one period at the homeless shelter where my life was threatened becaise 'I didn't believe in Jesus Christ.'

In general, in fact, two things are true -- and have always been true -- that criminals are, to a great extent, from the poorest part of society, and that this society is also disproportionately religious. If someone did that survey, they would find a larger than average number of criminals who were both raised religiously and who were still profesing Christians (or Muslims, or members of other religions).

Anon the Great said...

Hey if a Christian had the same type of story and claims you would not accept it. You would tell him to back it up with evidence baby. Back it up baby, back that thing up baby. Oh yeah. You also made a mistake. You said that most people who commit crimes come from poor backgrounds. Oh yeah baby, that's a three pointer for me! Also another study challenge, go into the the churches in your area and poll there income. And also poll how many of them have been to prsion. That's were you will find the sort of Christians you try and debunk. Perhaps poverty has a thing or to to do with these issues. Hey, I just cast doubt on your jive talk. What-cha gonna do now?