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SnakebyteXX
09-27-2005, 07:14 PM
Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'

By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

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.”

web page (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1798944,00.html)

Chopstick
09-28-2005, 03:41 AM
Snake, your posts are too long. Why not get right to the point?

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Give a man religion and he'll starve to death praying for a fish. /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

eg8r
09-28-2005, 05:19 AM
What happened when the Praying stopped... [ QUOTE ]
ALEDO, TX (FR) - How did the removal of voluntary prayer from the schools of the United States affect our nation as a whole? That question has been answered in detail by a research company in Texas which has gathered and tabulated statistics from hundreds of sources relating to the rates of moral decline in America.

Specialty Research Associates, under the direction of David Barton, has released a report entitled America: To Pray or Not to Pray which uses over 100 pages of graphs and statistical analysis to prove that crime, venereal disease, premarital sex, illiteracy, suicide, drug use, public corruption, and other social ills began a dramatic increase after the Engel vs. Vitale Supreme Court decision was made in 1962 which banned school prayer.

Prayer in schools prior to 1962 was utilized in school districts all over the U.S. in many varieties. Some teachers used extemporaneous prayers, simply expressing their thoughts and desires; others implemented structured prayers, such as the Lord's Prayer or the 23rd Psalm, or others approved by local school boards. New York students prayed each day: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee and beg Thy blessing over us, our parents, our teachers, and our nation." It was this simple prayer which came under fire and went to the Supreme Court for the landmark decision.

Says David Barton, "It is impossible to know how many of the 39 million children were involved in daily verbal prayers, but most accounts indicate that a clear majority of the students voluntarily participated in daily school prayer. Is it possible that the prayers that were being offered by these children and their teachers across the nation actually had any measurable, tangible effect?"

It was this question that led Barton to uncover the statistical proof that the removal of prayer did indeed take its toll on America. Below are just a few of the charts featured in Barton's report, with a brief explanation of each:

Figure 1: The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is an academic test that measures the developed verbal and math reasoning of a student exiting from high school or some similar type of learning facility. The results of these tests are commonly used by colleges and universities to indicate the strength of a student's academic preparation and his potential for success on the college level.

Figure 1 shows how drastically the actual knowledge of high school students began to drop at an accelerating rate after 1962. Barton notes in his report that the upturn in SAT scores since 1981 is due to the increase in private Christian educational facilities which began to flourish at that time. Statistics have proven that students from private Christian schools showed higher academic achievement and higher test scores.

Figure 2: This graph shows the increase in sexual activity in unmarried teen-age girls after the 1962 Supreme Court decision. It is evident from the figures provided that in the years previous to the removal of prayer the rates remained stable and relatively unchanged. In the post- prayer years the numbers immediately began to soar. The sudden increase on the graph appears as if a great restraining force had suddenly been removed.

Figure 3: Unwed women 15-19 years of age showed a phenomenal increase in the rate of pregnancies after the School Prayer decision. Note that the figure jumps drastically after the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision which made abortion legal in the U.S. The United States now has the highest incidence of teen-age motherhood in any Western country.

Figure 4: For the 15-19 and 20-24 age group, the rates of youth suicide remained relatively unchanged during the years from 1946 to the School Prayer decision in 1962. But in the years since, suicides among the same group have increased 253 percent, or an average of 10.5 percent per year.

Figure 5: Stability in the family has also been affected since the 1962 decision. Divorce, single parent families, couples living together but not married, and adultery are areas of family breakdown which have experienced radical growth in recent years. In the graph above, the increase in single parent families (households with only a mother and children) are detailed. Note the dotted line at the bottom, which shows the rate of growth prior to the 1962 decision.

Figure 6: Crime, productivity, and national morality had been on a fairly stable level prior to the 1962 decision, but that is no longer the case. It is obvious that such a quantity of students praying for their nation had a very positive effect on the course that this nation had taken. The rate of violent crime, as shown above, has risen over 330 percent.

If you would like a copy of America: To Pray or Not to Pray?, send $7.95 to Specialty Research Associates, P.O. Box 397, Aledo, TX 76008. All of the figures and statistics compiled in this book are taken from data made available by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control, Statistical Abstracts of the United States, Vital Statistics of the United States, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other official sources.

<hr /></blockquote> Here is the link (http://www.forerunner.com/forerunner/X0124_When_America_stopped.html) to what is quoted above, and you can find the graphs here. (http://www.linda.net/graphs.html)(These graphs are not in the same order as the quoted text above) The graphs state where the data came from, Dept of Health, Dept of Commerce, Census Bureau, Center for Disease Control, etc. There are also other sources that I am not familiar with. Needless to say, they are a bit different than Gallup and International Social Survey Programme. Those are both surveys, which means their data comes from carefully worded questions with intent to lead someone down a specific path or to answer a certain way.

eg8r

catscradle
09-28-2005, 05:24 AM
Religion may or may not be "good for society", I happen to think it's kind of neutral hurting as much in some areas as it helps in others. But that "study" was a crock of bull, totally meaningless.