"...I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me..." [Deuteronomy 5:8-10]

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Poverty of Theistic Morality

I'd guess that Darkstar218 has no interest in continuing our discussions, but I did come across this interesting piece which is in point:

"..comparison of the crime statistics in the predominantly theist U.S.A. with the largely irreligious countries of Western Europe and Scandinavia resoundingly discredits the recurring claim that the moral conduct of theists is statistically superior to that of secularists, let alone of secular humanists. A fortiori, these statistics belie the smug thesis that the fear or love of God is motivationally necessary, in point of psychological fact, to assure such adherence to moral standards and good citizenship as there is in society at large.

Thus, the U.S.A. has by far the highest percentage of religious worshippers in its population of any Western nation, and presidents from Nixon to Clinton recurrently give prayer breakfasts. In Great Britain, for example, which has the Anglican state church, only about 3 percent of its citizens attend a place of worship, whereas in the U.S., the figure is approximately 33 percent, i.e., greater by a factor of eleven! In the U.S., about 90 percent of the population profess belief in God, whereas in Western Europe and Scandinavia the percentage is very considerably below 50 percent. Nor is the black population in the U.S., in which the crime rate is high, at all predominantly irreligious. Yet the percentage incidence of homicides and other crimes in the God-fearing U.S. is much higher than in the heavily secularized Western countries. And a corresponding disparity exists between the respective percentages of the prison populations in these societies. But the inveterate clamor for permitting prayer in the public schools of this country invokes the supposed efficacy of such devotionals in fostering 'family values.'..."

The Poverty of Theistic Morality, Adolf Gr├╝nbaum, University of Pittsburgh
The problem is, of course, that Fundamentalists don't let contrary facts get in the way of their beliefs.

On that point, I've added to my main links SpinSanity, a great website which takes aim at distortions of fact from all sides of the political spectrum.

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