Saturday, December 22, 2012

Atheist countries more peaceful


Epiphenom is a great blog.  This post is is fascinating:  Atheist countries more peaceful.

It's well established that education and religiousness are inversely correlated.  The trick, of course, is figuring out what the cause is.  Does education cause religiousness to fall off?

And this is my 300th post!

3 comments:

Westley said...

Merry Christmas Obi Wan! And Happy New Year!

Ron Cram said...

I have not read the study in depth. Have you?

My first guess is the study has methodological errors. For one thing, it completely ignores history. Historically, governments with government-imposed atheism have been the most violent. Just look at the USSR under Stalin or China under Mao or the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Hundreds of millions of people died under these atheistic governments.

Knowbody said...

There's the key: government-imposed.
The USSR in particular could almost be described as a religion in itself.

However:
• Atheism is not a belief system. It is by definition the absence of god belief, and nothing more. Atheism does not imply communism.

• Secular values are by far more common among atheists than communistic ideals, and I would say much more naturally occurs alongside atheism than communism. Furthermore, theistic communism is not at all impossible.

• Secular values are certainly not the result of religious belief. They occurred despite religious belief.

• the genocides under Stalin and Mao still do not count for nearly as much as genocides under religions for thousands of years. The USSR and Mao's regime are exceptions, not the rule.
When you compare atheistic countries against religious countries, even including the USSR and China (and to make things fair, the crusades, the dark age, the Spanish Inquisition etc), on average atheistic countries are still much more peaceful.
And, when you exclude things like the crusades etc, and look purely at modern secular countries with various levels of religious belief, there is a clear inverse correlation between religious belief and violence.

• People use religions in order to justify violence all the time (Islam being probably the worst offender today).
Whereas since atheism is not a belief in itself, it doesn't provide such motivation.