Sep 282005

The London Times has an interesting story about an article published in an academic journal. According to the study, belief in and worship of God may actually contribute to social ills.

The paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Society, reports that most Americans believe, “that their church-going nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shinining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example of an increasingly skeptical world.” However, according to this study comparing the social performance of relatively secular countries such as Britain with the U.S., “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.”

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.

The researchers took a macro of view of the U.S. as a whole compared with other developed nations. The results of this study come as no surprise when one takes a more micro view within the U.S. The “red” states, generally considered to have higher rates of religious belief and church membership, show much higher rates of “social ills” than the “blue” states. According to a CDC Study, the red states have a higher teen pregnancy rate than blue states.

The murder rate is higher in red states than blue states. The red state divorce rate is 4.5 per 1000 Residents, while its only 3.6 per 1000 Residents in blue states. Abortion rates are higher in red states. Illiteracy rates are also higher in red states.

So I have to agree with the study’s findings. Statistics in this country bear out the study’s findings. But the real question is, what causes this?

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