Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Religion, it does a country good bad

Despite the beliefs of the religious right that atheism and moral decay go hand-in-hand, data from a recent study published in the Journal of Religion and Society indicates that religion itself may be positively correlated with immoral behavior.

“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.” [Times Online]

Based on social markers, the rates of murders, STDs & abortions are higher in the US despite the prevalence of religious belief and observance in this country. The religious right has been saying for some time that it's the forced absence of faith in the public square and that the country needs to not only make religion prominent in all public forums (including schools and government agencies/buildings) but to enact legislation based on scripture to stem the tide of immorality that is "destroying this country." Ironically, those one would think most devout are the ones with the most lurid and outlandish of scandals, porn addiction, and have as big a problem with divorce as those they frown upon for being immoral.

The problem with immorality isn't religion, faith or lack thereof, the problem is the hypocrisy of those who insist their way is the only way to be a good, decent, moral being. Sadly, these people frequently fail to adhere to the dictates of their own religious beliefs and their inability to take responsibility for their own actions leads them to insist on imposing their views on others as it is their only chance for self-control.

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