Survey - Why Do Atheists Care Whether Christians Believe in Christianity or Not?

Recently, I wrote two posts indicating the relationship between the "mature social medium" in which we live, interact with, and that helps form our personal identity and self--in relation to the tragic shootings committed by James Holmes in Colorado. (Post 1; Post 2)

I argued that Christianity influences our "mature social medium" which then influences people such as James Holmes and others to act in the way they do.  The ancient Christian philosopher Pelagius also pointed this out long ago.  That is, the Christian version of salvation promoted by Augustine, leads to "moral laxity" as believers are "saved" regardless of their actions--no consequences in relation to their salvation.

New research information has just been released which also confirms my hypothesis that religions such as Christianity do have an effect on our "mature social medium," and the strong belief in a forgiving God and a "get out of hell card" rather than a punishing God, leads to a greater tendency for moral laxity. Here is a summary of it presented by Paul Williams in the following article. (You can read the research for yourself):

"A divine deterrent: Populations with a strong belief in Hell have lower crime-rates, according
to study" (

The title tells most of the story:


But the rest of the story is that you cannot have a "get out of hell card" as one of the components! Stronger belief in a forgiving God, rather than a punishing God, leads to a greater tendency for moral laxity. As Paul Williams points out:
".... when it comes to predicting criminal behavior, the specific religious beliefs one holds is the determining factor, says a University of Oregon psychologist."The study, appearing in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, found that criminal activity is lower in societies where people’s religious beliefs contain a strong punitive component than in places where religious beliefs are more benevolent.

A country where many more people believe in heaven than in hell, for example, is likely to have a much higher crime rate than one where these beliefs are about equal.The finding surfaced from a comprehensive analysis of 26 years of data involving 143,197 people in 67 countries.

‘The key finding is that, controlling for each other, a nation’s rate of belief in hell predicts lower crime rates, but the nation’s rate of belief in heaven predicts higher crime rates, and these are strong effects,’ said Azim F. Shariff, professor of psychology and director of the Culture and Morality Lab at the UO.‘I think it’s an important clue about the differential effects of supernatural punishment and supernatural benevolence. The finding is consistent with controlled research we’ve done in the lab, but here shows a powerful ‘real world’ effect on something that really affects people – crime.
’Last year, in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, Shariff reported that undergraduate students were more likely to cheat when they believe in a forgiving God than a punishing God.Religious belief generally has been viewed as ‘a monolithic construct,’ Shariff said. ‘Once you split religion into different constructs, you begin to see different relationships....

‘Supernatural punishment across nations seems to predict lower crime rates,’ Shariff said."
So we see that if you have a "get out of hell" card as one of your religious components, and it is a part of your "mature social medium" then you will have a greater tendency towards moral laxity. The findings from the above cited scientific research further supports my hypothesis and arguments.  That is:

If you promulgate the notion that people are born bad, and cannot help but to sin, but will still gain entrance into paradise as long as they "repent"-- they are more likely to sin, repent, sin, repent--and repeat when necessary. Pelagius was wise, and realized that this belief would lead to "moral laxity"--which is quite evident in our predominantly Christian society, and amongst Christians in particular. My hypothesis is that when Christians are taught they are "born sinners" and cannot help but to sin, as they are taught it is not possible for them to be perfect, and that they are nevertheless given the "free gift" of salvation, they will have more of a tendency to act immorally.

Now we see, all I need for my hypothesis and arguments to work is the "Pelagius effect" and the fact that there is a "get out of hell card" operating as components and social constructs as part of a "mature social medium," influenced by Christianity, and as I have pointed out in agreement with Pelagius, you will have more of a tendency for moral laxity.
 I found it strange that atheists argued against the idea that Christianity influenced James Holmes and his actions, so my question is this:

If atheists do not believe Christianity has a negative effect on the "mature social medium" in which we live and interact--why do they care if Christians are believers or not?

I care, because I understand the negative consequences of the Christian belief system, as I was once a Christian myself, and I want to rid the "mature social medium" of these negative influences, which affect us all. I also want to promote a better way of thinking.

So, do you care if people are Christians or not--and why?

Written by Cathy Cooper.