RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.Maybe if we had more of the kind of Christians who actually listened to Christ's crystal-clear message of peace, brotherhood and understanding instead of ones who spent all their time on the list of 6th-century BC "abominations" in the Book of Deuteronomy -- like, oh, this and this and of course this -- then we'd see the true benefits of religion. But as long as "Christianity" is interpreted as "God loves guns and hates your peepee," I doubt we'll see the benefits anytime soon.
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.”
As Woody Allen once said, if Jesus returned to earth today and saw all that's going on in His name, He'd never stop throwing up.