Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Religiosity vs Societal Health

Many religious people claim that having no belief in god or the supernatural relinquishes them from following any sort of societal moral boundary. That if everyone were atheistic or agnostic, people would be running around killing each other, raping each other, stealing each other's possessions. Humans as a species have created consistent boundaries based on shared interests that promote the prosperity and future of the group as a whole. Couple this with the golden rule (don't do anything to someone you wouldn't want done to yourself or yours) and you get a pretty solid basis for rules of law that can be found across all societies and cultures, regardless of religion. It's pretty obvious that because of our tribal instincts as primates, group success based on moral boundaries was a prerequisite for the success of the species. Working together to achieve common goals forces us to rely on one another to succeed. You can only rely on people willing to follow basic boundaries for the group's survival or it wouldn't survive.

Not only is this innate in all of us, but many recent studies have shown that lack of religiosity in a country or culture actually leads to better societal health than ones with more strict religious considerations and undertones.

Religious Belief and Societal Health - Study in Journal of Religion and Society

Religiosity Highest in World's Poorest Nations - Gallup Poll

The Chronic Dependence of Popular Religiosity Upon Dysfunctional Psychosociological Conditions - Evolutionary Psychology 2009

Suicide, Religion and Socioeconomic Conditions: An Ecological Study in 26 Countries, 1990

I love how this caller gets stuck in his own logic, you can literally hear his heart breaking from 5:03 to 5:16...

Here's another well thought-out take on the justice/mercy loophole paradigm:

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