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wilbur
11-22-2008, 01:55 PM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article571206.ece



Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'

...

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.”
...

“The non-religious, proevolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator.

“The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted.”


The article starts off a bit strong, going a bit overboard claiming causality instead of just correlation as the study says... it also throws around the all to common fallacy that evolution is mutually exclusive with religion (only certain forms, which happen to be popular in the US), but it kind of gets better about it at the end....

You can read the full study here: http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/pdf/2005-11.pdf

megimoo
11-22-2008, 02:41 PM
A little backfround on Mr.Gregory S. Paul :

Gregory S. Paul (born 1954) is a freelance paleontologist, author and illustrator. He is best known for his work and research on theropod dinosaurs, and his detailed illustrations, both live and skeletal.
http://www.angelfire.com/super/gspgallery/

Paul authored a paper in 2005 entitled "Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies: A First Look".

He states in the introduction that the paper is "not an attempt to present a definitive study that establishes cause versus effect between religiosity, secularism and societal health".

This paper has been criticized on statistical grounds, for conceptual ambiguity , its indirect measure of "religiosity" (the author's term) and its "chi-by-eye" interpretation of scatterplots rather than quantified measures.

Summing up in a published article in the same journal, Moreno-Riaño, Smith, and Mach wrote that "[Paul's] methodological problems do not allow for any conclusive statement to be advanced regarding the various hypotheses Paul seeks to demonstrate or falsify.

" Note: Moreno-Riaño, Smith, and Mach, were, at the time of their paper, from Cedarville University, OH. This Christian University requests adhesion to a binding Doctrine Statement that constrains the freedom of what a member of the faculty or a student could conclude in matters touching the University religious tenets.

Gary F. Jensen of Vanderbilt University is one of the scientists who criticizes the methods used by Paul, including that "Paul’s analysis generates the 'desired results' by selectively choosing the set of social problems to include to highlight the negative consequences of religion".

In a response to the study by Paul, he builds on and refines Paul's analysis. His conclusion, that focus only in the crime of homicide, is that there is a correlation (and perhaps a causal relationship) of higher homicide rates, not with Christianity, but with dualistic Christian beliefs, something Jensen defines as the strong belief in all of the following : God, heaven, devil and hell. Excerpt: "A multiple regression analysis reveals a complex relationship with some dimensions of religiosity encouraging homicide and other dimensions discouraging it."

Molon Labe
11-22-2008, 02:42 PM
Wilbur..
What about the studies that show that prayer is effective in things like personal sickness?

Gingersnap
11-22-2008, 02:46 PM
Gosh! That is bad news for Christians.

I guess soon we can look forward to the type of rational and secular society that brought us Pol Pot, Stalin, Castro, and others.

Why, soon we'll be nipple deep in puppies and rainbows just like Venezuela, North Korea, and Tibet! :)

megimoo
11-22-2008, 02:46 PM
snip

"In the mind of Gregory S. Paul, nothing good can come out of Christianity and religious faith.

He has believed this for many years and has done his best to make his ideas available for public consumption. In this regard, bloggers who contacted The Journal of Religion and Society where Mr. Paul’s opus was published learned that the original draft made even greater claims for the data and had to be toned down."

"We can’t fault him for his desire to share his ideas, that is after all the reason we blog and the essence of the blogoshpere,

but we think it’s important to point when something is a conclusion based on scientific principles and methodologies and when it is part of a campaign (he would dislike the term crusade). Mr. Paul is a gifted illustrator but he is not a sociologist. His study is not a dispassionate product of science but an ugly exercise in anti-theist propaganda."

Category: Atheism |

http://www.verumserum.com/?p=25

FlaGator
11-22-2008, 02:48 PM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article571206.ece



The article starts off a bit strong, going a bit overboard claiming causality instead of just correlation as the study says... it also throws around the all to common fallacy that evolution is mutually exclusive with religion (only certain forms, which happen to be popular in the US), but it kind of gets better about it at the end....

You can read the full study here: http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/pdf/2005-11.pdf


Actually societies are worse of when they have God on their side and the defy him by doing what is counter to his will. Just read the Old Testament. As long as the Israelites where living as God has wanted them to live they had no problems. Once they turned away from God, He gave them plenty of opportunity to repent (sometimes generations) and when they didn't he removed his veil of protection and bad things happened.

FlaGator
11-22-2008, 02:51 PM
Gosh! That is bad news for Christians.

I guess soon we can look forward to the type of rational and secular society that brought us Pol Pot, Stalin, Castro, and others.

Why, soon we'll be nipple deep in puppies and rainbows just like Venezuela, North Korea, and Tibet! :)

When you outlaw God, outlaws become god.

wilbur
11-22-2008, 02:58 PM
Wilbur..
What about the studies that show that prayer is effective in things like personal sickness?

I havent seen any such studies.... I have seen many that prayer is only sometimes beneficial in an interpersonal way.. the same way doing relaxing, self-affirming meditation or similar exercise can be. Its power to effect external change has been shown to be zero, time and time again. (ie, praying for someone else to heal from an injury or sickness, etc).

Molon Labe
11-22-2008, 03:05 PM
When you outlaw God, outlaws become god.

And thats the crux of the lefts wisdom.....the "annihilation of the convictions and circumstances that have made possible a liberal democratic society" - Russell Kirk.
Which in this case is Western Christian culture. You do that by outlawing God.

FlaGator
11-22-2008, 03:07 PM
I havent seen any such studies.... I have seen many that prayer is only sometimes beneficial in an interpersonal way.. the same way doing relaxing, self-affirming meditation or similar exercise can be. Its power to effect external change has been shown to be zero, time and time again. (ie, praying for someone else to heal from an injury or sickness, etc).

Prayer healed me of my alcoholism and drug abuse. I had a physical addition to alcohol. Everytime I quit I went through withdrawl and DTs. This last time I plead my case in prayer to God and He took it from me. I had no withdrawl, no DTs and no further desire ever to drink or do drugs again. My Dr. was amazed that I didn't require hospitalization but God healed me. That is why I know the Lord God is real and I don't doubt His existence. In prayer He told me that I would be healed and I was.

Molon Labe
11-22-2008, 03:09 PM
I havent seen any such studies.... I have seen many that prayer is only sometimes beneficial in an interpersonal way.. the same way doing relaxing, self-affirming meditation or similar exercise can be. Its power to effect external change has been shown to be zero, time and time again. (ie, praying for someone else to heal from an injury or sickness, etc).

I'm talking about the last part you mention. Something that is entirely seperate from what a person could do for themselves.
I don't have a link, but I have read about this phenomena in several journals both Christian and secular. My spouse works in therapy field and she has come across it. I have read just the opposite that it is shown to be effective. That has been my experience as well

wilbur
11-22-2008, 03:11 PM
Gosh! That is bad news for Christians.

I guess soon we can look forward to the type of rational and secular society that brought us Pol Pot, Stalin, Castro, and others.

Why, soon we'll be nipple deep in puppies and rainbows just like Venezuela, North Korea, and Tibet! :)

Cmon... this much belabored canard about atheistic regimes has been so well refuted...

Just look at North Korea... as Hitchens calls it... a necrocracy. The dead father of Kim IS considered the leader of North Korea and basically is a deity who the entire nation is forced to worship. There's nothing secular about that. Its a religious regime. The same types of patterns emerge in other totalitarian regimes.

In contrast, the US was a nation built on secular principles.

Anyways... back to the study.. this study looked at the very social ills which many religious claim their presence and culture cures. Then it compared statistics to similar countries where there was less religious influence. What this study shows is that religiousness has no bearing on how much a western democracy suffers from social ills like murder, abortion etc.. and actually has a reverse correlation.

It looked at other democracies, who are less religious (or even largely atheistic), who despite not being as religious... have managed to hold onto democracy.... they arent totalitarian, so this fear mongering point about totalitarian regimes just isnt relevant at all.

Molon Labe
11-22-2008, 03:16 PM
Cmon... this much belabored canard about atheistic regimes has been so well refuted...

Just look at North Korea... as Hitchens calls it... a necrocracy. The dead father of Kim IS considered the leader of North Korea and basically is a deity who the entire nation is forced to worship. There's nothing secular about that. Its a religious regime. The same types of patterns emerge in other totalitarian regimes.

In contrast, the US was a nation built on secular principles.

Anyways... back to the study.. this study looked at the very social ills which many religious claim their presence and culture cures. Then it compared statistics to similar countries where there was less religious influence. What this study shows is that religiousness has no bearing on how much a western democracy suffers from social ills like murder, abortion etc.. and actually has a reverse correlation.

It looked at other democracies, who are less religious (or even largely atheistic), who despite not being as religious... have managed to hold onto democracy.... they arent totalitarian, so this fear mongering point about totalitarian regimes just isnt relevant at all.

Everybody worships something. That doesn't make one a member of a religion. It's just Human nature.

Money, sex, booze, leisure......a mass movement....like N.K. Worshiping Kim Jong il is this phenomena

FlaGator
11-22-2008, 03:21 PM
Everybody worships something. That doesn't make one a member of a religion. It's just Human nature.

Money, sex, booze, leisure......a mass movement....like N.K. Worshiping Kim Jong il is this phenomena

Everyone has an idol whether the recognize it as an idol or not. Some people's idol is science because it fills the role that religion fills for others. Anything that someone uses to provide purpose and direction in their life becomes their idol to which they bow to even if they don't think they are subservient to it.

Gingersnap
11-22-2008, 03:27 PM
It looked at other democracies, who are less religious (or even largely atheistic), who despite not being as religious... have managed to hold onto democracy.... they arent totalitarian, so this fear mongering point about totalitarian regimes just isnt relevant at all.

Well, we could debate what constitutes "Western" and what people mean by "democracy".

The upshot here that I always consider is the lag effect. Most people over 50 in most "Western democracies" still have some sense of a moral and ethical framework that is distinctly Christian in character.

Their offspring have much less of that sense and the offspring of those people are pretty much just making it up as they go along.

When you think about it from a purely rational point of view, there is no particular reason to restrain impulses, foster charity, or obey any laws other than the immediate downside. You murder someone and you might spend a few months or a few years in jail (in the U.K.). You forget charity and your government will institute some highly intrusive state welfare on your behalf. You want to get barfing drunk and pull a train on your 15th birthday? The local health clinic will cure those diseases they can, abort any unwanted offspring, and give you a little pep talk about "choices".

None of this feeds the soul or makes us better neighbors. As we move away from traditional values and there are fewer and fewer people who hold them, we become more self-interested, less neighborly, and more hedonistic as a people.

I get that you want to live in a world where your value is dictated by the State. I just don't want to go there with you.

FlaGator
11-22-2008, 03:29 PM
Cmon... this much belabored canard about atheistic regimes has been so well refuted...

Just look at North Korea... as Hitchens calls it... a necrocracy. The dead father of Kim IS considered the leader of North Korea and basically is a deity who the entire nation is forced to worship. There's nothing secular about that. Its a religious regime. The same types of patterns emerge in other totalitarian regimes.

In contrast, the US was a nation built on secular principles.

Anyways... back to the study.. this study looked at the very social ills which many religious claim their presence and culture cures. Then it compared statistics to similar countries where there was less religious influence. What this study shows is that religiousness has no bearing on how much a western democracy suffers from social ills like murder, abortion etc.. and actually has a reverse correlation.

It looked at other democracies, who are less religious (or even largely atheistic), who despite not being as religious... have managed to hold onto democracy.... they arent totalitarian, so this fear mongering point about totalitarian regimes just isnt relevant at all.

Can you show me a major atheistic culture that did not develop in to a dictatorship and lead to the massive execution of those who the ruling body determined were unworthy of the civilization that the dictatorship was providing? That is what I would call refuting. No one has every refuted the fact that the atheist societies of the 20th century were not the biggest, most murderous, societies in the history of the world. The religious societies pale in comparision.

Also the "secular principles" that the US adopted where religious morals before it was determined that they were really "secular principles" rather than "religious morality".

wilbur
11-22-2008, 03:46 PM
Can you show me a major atheistic culture that did not develop in to a dictatorship and lead to the massive execution of those who the ruling body determined were unworthy of the civilization that the dictatorship was providing? That is what I would call refuting. No one has every refuted the fact that the atheist societies of the 20th century were not the biggest, most murderous, societies in the history of the world. The religious societies pale in comparision.

Simply look at the less religious western democracies that were cited in the study. An atheistic regime designed for the sake of being atheist, I don't see as desirable. Societies that place high value on evidence based rational thought and reason would be desirable... less religiousness would simply be a side effect. None of those two things were in large supply in any of the supposedly totalitarian atheist regimes. They 'succeeded' because of patterns of thinking and devotion typically found in religious beliefs.

I should also note, that I don't think atheism is a 'cure' for anything... but I will say quite strongly that religion isnt a solution either... and this is what this particular study shows...



Also the "secular principles" that the US adopted where religious morals before it was determined that they were really "secular principles" rather than "religious morality".

What came first? Religion or morals? Morality is adopted by religion, not the other way around.

What uniquely Christian morals, as allegedly fostered and championed throughout the history of Christianity, became the morals of the US?

FlaGator
11-22-2008, 05:49 PM
Simply look at the less religious western democracies that were cited in the study. An atheistic regime designed for the sake of being atheist, I don't see as desirable. Societies that place high value on evidence based rational thought and reason would be desirable... less religiousness would simply be a side effect. None of those two things were in large supply in any of the supposedly totalitarian atheist regimes. They 'succeeded' because of patterns of thinking and devotion typically found in religious beliefs.

I should also note, that I don't think atheism is a 'cure' for anything... but I will say quite strongly that religion isnt a solution either... and this is what this particular study shows...



What came first? Religion or morals? Morality is adopted by religion, not the other way around.

What uniquely Christian morals, as allegedly fostered and championed throughout the history of Christianity, became the morals of the US?

Nice answer. To bad its not the one to the question I asked. I asked for you to provide for me that name of a major atheistic society that was successful and has not murdered large numbers of it's society because it deemed their deaths necessary for the survival of their rule.

As to your assumption that Religion adopted a societies pre-existing morals I would like some proof of that. As best as I've been able to assertain the oldest writings on religion and morality comes from Sumerian society in ancient Babylon. Hammurabi documented the first known set of laws based upon his religious beliefs. Hammurabi though the had be selected by the Babylonian gods to deliver the law of the gods to his people. The laws he delivered on behalf of the gods is known as the Hammurabi Code. This sounds a lot like the Sumerian laws and morals came from their religious beliefs and not the other way around.

If morality was "borrowed" by religion then why aren't their any non religious societies that have a valid set of moral laws?

wilbur
11-22-2008, 06:16 PM
Nice answer. To bad its not the one to the question I asked. I asked for you to provide for me that name of a major atheistic society that was successful and has not murdered large numbers of it's society because it deemed their deaths necessary for the survival of their rule.


The question is irrelevant. I never claimed I want to base a society off of atheism (doesnt even make sense). But I'll bite anyways... top 10 least religious countries in the world, that exist right now.

1. Sweden
2. Vietnam
3. Denmark
4. Norway
5. Japan
6. Czech Republic
7. Finland
8. France
9. South Korea
10. Estonia

But its really irrelevant. The claim is that the presence of religion doesn't improve many of the social ills people claim it does.



As to your assumption that Religion adopted a societies pre-existing morals I would like some proof of that. As best as I've been able to assertain the oldest writings on religion and morality comes from Sumerian society in ancient Babylon. Hammurabi documented the first known set of laws based upon his religious beliefs. Hammurabi though the had be selected by the Babylonian gods to deliver the law of the gods to his people. The laws he delivered on behalf of the gods is known as the Hammurabi Code. This sounds a lot like the Sumerian laws and morals came from their religious beliefs and not the other way around.


You do not believe in these gods correct, or that they could be handing morals to these people? Then you have no choice than to acknowledge that these morals (Hammurabi Code etc) were devised by humans, and incorporated into a religion.



If morality was "borrowed" by religion then why aren't their any non religious societies that have a valid set of moral laws?

See the top 10 list above.

And what uniquely Christian morals was the US founded on?

wilbur
11-22-2008, 06:51 PM
When you think about it from a purely rational point of view, there is no particular reason to restrain impulses, foster charity, or obey any laws other than the immediate downside. You murder someone and you might spend a few months or a few years in jail (in the U.K.). You forget charity and your government will institute some highly intrusive state welfare on your behalf. You want to get barfing drunk and pull a train on your 15th birthday? The local health clinic will cure those diseases they can, abort any unwanted offspring, and give you a little pep talk about "choices".


All that is equally permissable if you can be forgiven later, given you feel bad enough. I'm reminded of the quote thats attributed to Augustine... "Lord make me chaste- but not yet'.



None of this feeds the soul or makes us better neighbors. As we move away from traditional values and there are fewer and fewer people who hold them, we become more self-interested, less neighborly, and more hedonistic as a people.

I get that you want to live in a world where your value is dictated by the State. I just don't want to go there with you.

I really don't. Despite how a few posters choose to label me, I'm more small government, individual liberty minded than most people on this board. Definately moreso than ANY social conservative.

FlaGator
11-22-2008, 07:01 PM
The question is irrelevant. I never claimed I want to base a society off of atheism (doesnt even make sense). But I'll bite anyways... top 10 least religious countries in the world, that exist right now.

1. Sweden
2. Vietnam
3. Denmark
4. Norway
5. Japan
6. Czech Republic
7. Finland
8. France
9. South Korea
10. Estonia

But its really irrelevant. The claim is that the presence of religion doesn't improve many of the social ills people claim it does.



You do not believe in these gods correct, or that they could be handing morals to these people? Then you have no choice than to acknowledge that these morals (Hammurabi Code etc) were devised by humans, and incorporated into a religion.

BTW all but of those countries exception the Asian ones were profoundly Christian in the recent past and much of their Christian ethics still survives because it is now ingrained in the nature and culture. The Asian nations listed were also, until recently, very devout Buddhist and Shinto nations and their religious morality is still strong in their cultures as well.
The whether I believe in these gods or not is irrelevant. You said religion got it morals from somewhere else first. I ask you to provide proof of that. The first written laws and morals were based on somebody's religion whether that religion was false or not. In other discussions that we have had I have stated the all morals come from God and man's interpretation of that moral code is in fact flawed. This also means that man may not be sure of who gave him the law and he attributed it to a diety that does not exist. At any rate they still comes from God.

Again I ask for proof that religion got its morals from society first.



See the top 10 list above.

And what uniquely Christian morals was the US founded on?

First of all I never stated that American was founded on Christian morals so I don't know why you find the question relevant to the conversation. At any rate I'll attempt answer. Later please explain to me why you asked it.

That is difficult to give a definite yes or no answer because many of the founding fathers where theists and many were deists and a few where probably atheist. The first people in make a home in the America were religious exiles from England and France (Puritans and Huegonauts). Because of this, a profound Christian ethic was infused in to the original laws of the colonies. Later, when the colonies revolted and later established a new government many of the original laws and policies where incorporated in to the government because they made sense and the protected society and nurtured a society that would be kind to the less privileged. Jefferson even stated that although he didn't believe in Christianity he accepted the fact that Christian morality was good for any society in that it strived to provide real justice and real charity.

Christianity as a religion and belief is not concerned with establishment of government. It is concerned with providing a framework that allows people to get along and encourages people to treat each other with kindness. Sometimes it fails at this and sometimes it succeeds. Some so called Christian leaders past and present have perverted the faith for their own ends and God will judge them rather harshly when the time comes. However, don't criticize the principles of the faith because of the faulty implementation by man.

I wouldn't want to see a government established totally on Christian rules because some of the rules apply only to Christian and non Christians can't be expected to follow them. To hold all people's behavior to the standards that one group that expects of itself is wrong and unjust. God hates injustice.

America may not have been founded as a Christian nation but it was founded by a nation of Christians.

Gingersnap
11-22-2008, 07:05 PM
All that is equally permissable if you can be forgiven later, given you feel bad enough. I'm reminded of the quote thats attributed to Augustine... "Lord make me chaste- but not yet'.

LOL! That's a good quote, however it doesn't reflect traditional Christian views to any degree. You are much mistaken if you believe that we go around sinning with some kind of assurance that we will be redeemed. That is what's called Arminianism. A few of us believe that but most of do not.

marinejcksn
11-22-2008, 07:13 PM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article571206.ece

The article starts off a bit strong, going a bit overboard claiming causality instead of just correlation as the study says... it also throws around the all to common fallacy that evolution is mutually exclusive with religion (only certain forms, which happen to be popular in the US), but it kind of gets better about it at the end....

You can read the full study here: http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/pdf/2005-11.pdf

Wow....another bashing from some douchebag. Explain to me again the myriad of reasons why we're just so hoggish here in America and the UK is the best nation on the planet? :rolleyes:

wilbur
11-22-2008, 07:31 PM
Wow....another bashing from some douchebag. Explain to me again the myriad of reasons why we're just so hoggish here in America and the UK is the best nation on the planet? :rolleyes:

Read the study?

marinejcksn
11-22-2008, 07:55 PM
Read the study?

“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."

You mean those incredibly high AIDS rates out there in widely Christian Africa? :rolleyes:

“The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.”

This sentance here describes enough for me. Eurotrash bashing our democracy, that's good for a laugh.

Molon Labe
11-22-2008, 09:05 PM
BTW all but of those countries exception the Asian ones were profoundly Christian in the recent past and much of their Christian ethics still survives because it is now ingrained in the nature and culture. The Asian nations listed were also, until recently, very devout Buddhist and Shinto nations and their religious morality is still strong in their cultures as well.

Exactly. That's where this breaks down for an argument for places like Sweeden etc as examples.
It's a benighted understanding and unwilling acceptance that their very own thought process, beliefs and culture are the by product of hundreds of years of the Christian religion on the foundations of their own society.

wilbur
11-23-2008, 12:27 PM
Exactly. That's where this breaks down for an argument for places like Sweeden etc as examples.


I'll rephrase the same question of you that I'll ask of FlaGator....

Specifically... articulate what these uniquely Christian morals are that allowed places like Sweden to thrive?



It's a benighted understanding and unwilling acceptance that their very own thought process, beliefs and culture are the by product of hundreds of years of the Christian religion on the foundations of their own society.

I imagine a Christian from ancient times would look at the typical believer today with little or no recognition at all to his value system and cherished beliefs. When speaking of many of the values that shaped the philosophies behind modern democracy, we cannot find their source in any holy text, of any of the big 3 monotheist religions. They simply are not there. The values of freedom, liberty, autonomy, equality, limited powers of government are all things that did not come about as a result of religious ethics, and perhaps even in spite of. They were lessons that were slowly and painfully learned, sometimes by Christians, sometimes by victims of Christians... shaped by ages of doing things the most dreadfully and painfully wrong way.. through brutal rulers and regimes, lack of regard for life, murderous totalitarians all throughout history, slavery, death, societies plagued with superstition famine, disease, serfs slaving away for their masters, brutal and unjust justice systems, and it goes on and on..

In many cases Christianity was part and parcel in perpetrating these things upon man.. in many cases they fought against. In any case, we can certainly see that the lessons of such experience were in no way divined by reading the texts of ancient superstitions... they were learned by hard, brutal, miserable and terrible experience.. and if one human, or even a society simply happened to be Christian while recognizing the depravity of these things.... that does not make Christianity the source of these values and philosophies... not one bit. But thats exactly what gets thrown around as if its an unassailable fact of the cosmos.... and its wrong.

Goldwater
11-23-2008, 01:03 PM
I think both atheism and religion technically have neither to do with being a law abiding nation. Yes there are laws which are followed based on religion, but atheists obey them too.

In fact I think believers of both overstate their beliefs importance in society today. There are examples of both being used to kill many.

FlaGator
11-23-2008, 03:39 PM
I'll rephrase the same question of you that I'll ask of FlaGator....

Specifically... articulate what these uniquely Christian morals are that allowed places like Sweden to thrive?



I imagine a Christian from ancient times would look at the typical believer today with little or no recognition at all to his value system and cherished beliefs. When speaking of many of the values that shaped the philosophies behind modern democracy, we cannot find their source in any holy text, of any of the big 3 monotheist religions. They simply are not there. The values of freedom, liberty, autonomy, equality, limited powers of government are all things that did not come about as a result of religious ethics, and perhaps even in spite of. They were lessons that were slowly and painfully learned, sometimes by Christians, sometimes by victims of Christians... shaped by ages of doing things the most dreadfully and painfully wrong way.. through brutal rulers and regimes, lack of regard for life, murderous totalitarians all throughout history, slavery, death, societies plagued with superstition famine, disease, serfs slaving away for their masters, brutal and unjust justice systems, and it goes on and on..

In many cases Christianity was part and parcel in perpetrating these things upon man.. in many cases they fought against. In any case, we can certainly see that the lessons of such experience were in no way divined by reading the texts of ancient superstitions... they were learned by hard, brutal, miserable and terrible experience.. and if one human, or even a society simply happened to be Christian while recognizing the depravity of these things.... that does not make Christianity the source of these values and philosophies... not one bit. But thats exactly what gets thrown around as if its an unassailable fact of the cosmos.... and its wrong.

This one is easy. It's the entire Christian Ethos that was adopted by these countries, including Sweden, that made them a success. It gave them a foundation that allowed different barbarian and pagan cultures to unite under a common Christian leader and government. Charlemagne is a first example of many. Also because divine nature could only be ascribed to Christ, God and the Holy Spirit a king or ruler could not establish himself a divinity or god made incarnate. He could only claim the divine right to rule based on Romans 13. If the "Uniquely Christian" morals, values and tenets had not been used to unite these diverse groups then the European countries would have been formed a lot later and much of history and science would not have been developed. Admittedly some groups where force to join but most became Christianized by their own choice for various reaons including some that accepted the message of the Cross as the only way to salvation.

A lot of things have been done in the name of Christianity that are decidely not Christian. Like wise a lot of horrible things have been done in the name of love but I don't hear a lot of cries to disregard love as a usful emotion. Also for all the evil that has been done in the name of Christianity over the last 2000 years, it pales in comparision to the evil that has been done by atheistic societies over the last 100 years.

Goldwater
11-23-2008, 05:36 PM
A lot of things have been done in the name of Christianity that are decidely not Christian. Like wise a lot of horrible things have been done in the name of love but I don't hear a lot of cries to disregard love as a usful emotion. Also for all the evil that has been done in the name of Christianity over the last 2000 years, it pales in comparision to the evil that has been done by atheistic societies over the last 100 years.

Yeah but you can argue we just got better at killing each other lately.

FlaGator
11-23-2008, 07:18 PM
Yeah but you can argue we just got better at killing each other lately.

We'll, the Chinese who make up the largest contributor to the atheist society death count used a method that is as old as society itself... stavation. Mao introduced his own concepts of community farming and dispite the fact that yields were grew lower each year he refused to admit his concepts were wrong. Although no one knows the exact figure of the total number of people who starved, conservative estimates suggest it was around 60 million.

wilbur
11-23-2008, 07:33 PM
We'll, the Chinese who make up the largest contributor to the atheist society death count used a method that is as old as society itself... stavation. Mao introduced his own concepts of community farming and dispite the fact that yields were grew lower each year he refused to admit his concepts were wrong. Although no one knows the exact figure of the total number of people who starved, conservative estimates suggest it was around 60 million.

Thats quite a stretch to link the failed economic policies of communist china to atheism.

But non-the less Interesting you should bring up the Chinese... if you go back to the late 1800's (not in the past 100 years, but hey) we can look at the Taiping Rebellion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiping_Rebellion). One of the bloodiest conflicts in history... all for the cause of Christianity. Estimated 20,000,000-30,000,000 dead. Can hold its own when compared with any modern 'atheist' regime. It's ranked as the 4th deadliest war of all time, here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_and_disasters_by_death_toll)


And it is, as goldwater suggested, it would be remiss not to take into account the role that modern technology has had in the death tolls of modern wars. I'm sure the inquisition, or the crusades could have been just as bloody had they happened today. Our Islamic extremist brothers may yet set a new record, should things continue to escalate.

Celtic Rose
11-23-2008, 07:38 PM
An interesting comparison might be modern Sweden to the Sweden of 50 or 100 years ago when it was significantly more religious. Has it become a better society as it lost it's religion, or worse?

In the US, for example, STD's, Teenage pregnancies, and Abortions, three items mentioned in the article, have gone up significantly in the US over the past 50 years, and the US has become less religious.

FlaGator
11-23-2008, 07:51 PM
Thats quite a stretch to link the failed economic policies of communist china to atheism.

But non-the less Interesting you should bring up the Chinese... if you go back to the late 1800's (not in the past 100 years, but hey) we can look at the Taiping Rebellion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiping_Rebellion). One of the bloodiest conflicts in history... all for the cause of Christianity. Estimated 20,000,000-30,000,000 dead. Can hold its own when compared with any modern 'atheist' regime. It's ranked as the 4th deadliest war of all time, here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_and_disasters_by_death_toll)


And it is, as goldwater suggested, it would be remiss not to take into account the role that modern technology has had in the death tolls of modern wars. I'm sure the inquisition, or the crusades could have been just as bloody had they happened today. Our Islamic extremist brothers may yet set a new record, should things continue to escalate.

They are going to have to try really hard to beat the atheists. For the record, Mao considered his method of farming as "Communist Farming" and communist societies are atheistic societies.


Oh nice try with the Taiping Rebellion but you are way off base. An unorthodox Christian Mystic (now there is an oximoron for you) claims to be the younger bother of Christ and leads a rebellion against government authority. This "bloodest rebellion" had less to do with Christianity and more to do with the rantings of a mad man.

wilbur
11-23-2008, 08:01 PM
They are going to have to try really hard to beat the atheists. For the record, Mao considered his method of farming as "Communist Farming" and communist societies are atheistic societies.


No they really arent. The state is elevated to deity like status. It replaces one God with another. And as we see in societies like Nazi Germany, elevatng the leaders and the state to deity like status can easily coexist and thrive under Christianity.



Oh nice try with the Taiping Rebellion but you are way off base. An unorthodox Christian Mystic (now there is an oximoron for you) claims to be the younger bother of Christ and leads a rebellion against government authority. This "bloodest rebellion" had less to do with Christianity and more to do with the rantings of a mad man.

No true scottsman fallacy. This war was still the result of Christianity existing in the world. You can't disavow it just because their particular theology happens to disagree with your particular brand. You have no recourse to claim your theology is any more correct than his. As long as it continues to exist, these types of situations will not only be possible, they will be inevitable.

FlaGator
11-23-2008, 08:13 PM
No they really arent. The state is elevated to deity like status. It replaces one God with another. And as we see in societies like Nazi Germany, elevatng the leaders and the state to deity like status can easily coexist and thrive under Christianity.



No true scottsman fallacy. This war was still the result of Christianity existing in the world. You can't disavow it just because their particular theology happens to disagree with your particular brand. You have no recourse to claim your theology is any more correct than his. As long as it continues to exist, these types of situations will not only be possible, they will be inevitable.

Actually the war was more the result of madness existing in the world. If it hadn't have been Christianity it would have been another religion upon which Hong Xiuquan would have hung his claim to divinity. Actually I can disavow it. To hang the label of murderer and social revolutionary upon a Christian you must prove in fact that the individual or group is truly Christian. Say a white guy kills my mom and claims that he did it because he was black and he hates whites. By your thinking once he is convicted of the crime the murder statistic will be tallied in the black column because the perp claimed to be black.

I can claim that one Christian theology is correct and the other is false by examining the tenets of Christianty and determining who is closer to the true. I since I don't recall reading a chapter that said Jesus was sending his brother to Earth to help usher in the Kingdom of God I think it is safe to say that Hong Xiuquan was not a Christian.

FlaGator
11-23-2008, 08:19 PM
No they really arent. The state is elevated to deity like status. It replaces one God with another. And as we see in societies like Nazi Germany, elevatng the leaders and the state to deity like status can easily coexist and thrive under Christianity.


Oh, I forgot this. Communism rejects god in any form. Nazi's however did see their leader as god. In fact Hitler saw himself as god's emmissary on Earth. Mao and Stalin weren't under such a delusion. So it is true that Communism = Atheist because they both reject a Creator. I'm sorry you don't like this, but it is a logical reality.

wilbur
11-23-2008, 09:02 PM
An interesting comparison might be modern Sweden to the Sweden of 50 or 100 years ago when it was significantly more religious. Has it become a better society as it lost it's religion, or worse?

In the US, for example, STD's, Teenage pregnancies, and Abortions, three items mentioned in the article, have gone up significantly in the US over the past 50 years, and the US has become less religious.

Have we really become less and less religious in the past 50 years?

Church membership has increased since the 50's and outpaced growth in population.

wilbur
11-23-2008, 09:22 PM
Oh, I forgot this. Communism rejects god in any form. Nazi's however did see their leader as god. In fact Hitler saw himself as god's emmissary on Earth. Mao and Stalin weren't under such a delusion. So it is true that Communism = Atheist because they both reject a Creator. I'm sorry you don't like this, but it is a logical reality.

Either way, we have diverged greatly from the point of this thread... and I really hate getting into these 'atheist/religious' regime body count contests, because they are quite petty, and impossible to discuss fairly.

On top of it all, its not a proper comparison. What is the body count for regimes that are non-astrologists? Non-astrology doesn't define a particular belief system, political system or code of ethics. Just as it wouldn't be right to judge a regime by its non-astrology, it doesn't make sense to judge it by atheism. It makes sense to judge it by the beliefs systems it operates with (atheism is not a belief system). Compare communism to democracy, not democracy to atheism. Brutal regimes, as in the case of Hitler as you acknowledge above, can easily thrive with a strong belief in God. So we cannot look at lack of belief in God as an exceptional causal factor or necessary (or even helpful) characteristic for the birth of evil murderous regimes.

There is no foundation with which to say democracy operates or was made possible Christian Ethos... democracy predates Christianity for goodness sakes.... and was something humanity had not seen for most of our recent Christian dominated history. Where the heck was democracy in the past 2000 years if Christianity is its natural well-spring?

What would be your explanation for the stats in the study that seem to show that societies with less Christian influence seem to suffer less from many of the social ills that Christians claim their belief system is the cure for?

MrsSmith
11-23-2008, 10:31 PM
Have we really become less and less religious in the past 50 years?

Church membership has increased since the 50's and outpaced growth in population.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_tren.htm

The percentage of American adults who identify themselves as Christians dropped from 86% in 1990 to 77% in 2001. This is an unprecedented drop of almost 1 percentage point per year.

The percentage of American adults who identify themselves as Protestants dropped below 50% about the year 2005.

The numbers of "unchurched" people has increased rapidly in the U.S. These are individuals who have not attended church in recent months.

MrsSmith
11-23-2008, 10:42 PM
Interesting:


On June 25, 1962, 39 million students were forbidden to do what they and their predecessors had been doing since the founding of our nation – publicly calling upon the name of the Lord at the beginning of each school day.”In the Supreme Court Cast Engel v. Vitale, p 422-436 the “’act of leading students in prayer was ruled unconstitutional, even if the prayer was denominationally neutral and pupils who wish to do so may remain silent or be excused from the room while the prayer is being recited’”

snip

September 12, 1990, 45,000 teenagers gathered at the flagpole in four different states to pray before school started that morning.One year later one million students from Boston to Californiagathered at 7:00 a.m. to pray prior to the start of school.This ministry has continued to grow over the last 10 years.'


LINK (http://www.public.asu.edu/~noah4tda/PrayerInSchool.htm)

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/totalcounts.png

Homicide statistics from Bureau of Justice Statistics (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/hmrt.htm)

Immediately after prayer was banned in public schools, homicide rates skyrocketed. In 1990, Pray at the Pole was begun. One day a year, school students meet to pray before school. Within a couple years, the homicide rates started to plunge dramatically. These statistics appear far more closely related than the ones in the OP.

wilbur
11-23-2008, 11:45 PM
Interesting:




LINK (http://www.public.asu.edu/~noah4tda/PrayerInSchool.htm)

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/totalcounts.png

Homicide statistics from Bureau of Justice Statistics (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/hmrt.htm)

Immediately after prayer was banned in public schools, homicide rates skyrocketed. In 1990, Pray at the Pole was begun. One day a year, school students meet to pray before school. Within a couple years, the homicide rates started to plunge dramatically. These statistics appear far more closely related than the ones in the OP.

Prayer has never been banned in public schools for one...

Your stats seem interesting at first, until we see an entire study, as discussed in the OP, that seems to contradict your conclusions when looking at worldwide trends. The drug war can be blamed for much of the homicide rates... although I'm sure you can find a way to pin that one on school prayer too.

I do thank you for this post though, because it has spurred me to look more deeply into homicide rates.. here is another interesting graph (although this is all veering way off topic)... unless you can somehow find more correlations between school prayer and the homicide rates of the 20's and 30's, I think we can say the school prayer theory is bunk;)

http://www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/library/graphs/10.GIF

FlaGator
11-24-2008, 10:49 AM
Either way, we have diverged greatly from the point of this thread... and I really hate getting into these 'atheist/religious' regime body count contests, because they are quite petty, and impossible to discuss fairly.
You hate getting in to them because they are hard for you to refute.



On top of it all, its not a proper comparison. What is the body count for regimes that are non-astrologists? Non-astrology doesn't define a particular belief system, political system or code of ethics. Just as it wouldn't be right to judge a regime by its non-astrology, it doesn't make sense to judge it by atheism. It makes sense to judge it by the beliefs systems it operates with (atheism is not a belief system). Compare communism to democracy, not democracy to atheism. Brutal regimes, as in the case of Hitler as you acknowledge above, can easily thrive with a strong belief in God. So we cannot look at lack of belief in God as an exceptional causal factor or necessary (or even helpful) characteristic for the birth of evil murderous regimes.

Now your stretching again and setting up a straw man because you can't refute the fact that atheist regimes are horribly immoral and murderous. Here is why it is valid to make the comparision and it is because atheists have opened the door. You and other atheists make the claim that moral societies are not dependent about a moral belief system that involves a Creator. You claim that atheist values have just the same morals as religious ones. That my be true but with no enforcing aspect to the atheistic views, societies founded upon atheism degrade in to murderous amoral conglomeration of might makes right. Atheistic belief states that an individual get's his morals either internally or from society but doesn't not to account for changes in those morals. How can a society if it's moral code as the potential to be in a state of flux? What is immoral to day is moral tomorrow. Makes no sense.



There is no foundation with which to say democracy operates or was made possible Christian Ethos... democracy predates Christianity for goodness sakes.... and was something humanity had not seen for most of our recent Christian dominated history. Where the heck was democracy in the past 2000 years if Christianity is its natural well-spring?

I never said that democracy was made possible by a Christian Ethos. Please show me where I stated that. I said the the Christian Ethos was inherent in government because of the founders lived as part of the colonies which at their heart were founded because of religious persecution and constructed their governments based on Biblical laws. When the American government was formed the better of these various colonial laws where incorporated in the Constitution. This is why there is a Freedom of Religion Amendment. The founders remembered that one of the reasons that the colonies were populated was to escape persecution by another religious group or government. Many states has Sunday Laws be prohibited stores from being open and work being performed on the Christian Sabbath.



What would be your explanation for the stats in the study that seem to show that societies with less Christian influence seem to suffer less from many of the social ills that Christians claim their belief system is the cure for?

They have dumbed down what a sociel ill is. Some of those countries have legalized drug use and prostitution. Many of those countries don't have the same freedoms that we do in America. Still, the better parts of their societies are Christian based. Charity to the poor and equal justice are decidedly Christian morals. I'm not saying that they are entirely Christian in origination. Judaism is the first example of these morals being codified, but Christianity get's most of it's moral views from Judaism.

Molon Labe
11-24-2008, 10:53 AM
http://www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/library/graphs/10.GIF

Not to distract from topic, but you won't get any argument from me about how worthless the drug war has been.

FlaGator
11-24-2008, 10:56 AM
Prayer has never been banned in public schools for one...

Your stats seem interesting at first, until we see an entire study, as discussed in the OP, that seems to contradict your conclusions when looking at worldwide trends. The drug war can be blamed for much of the homicide rates... although I'm sure you can find a way to pin that one on school prayer too.

I do thank you for this post though, because it has spurred me to look more deeply into homicide rates.. here is another interesting graph (although this is all veering way off topic)... unless you can somehow find more correlations between school prayer and the homicide rates of the 20's and 30's, I think we can say the school prayer theory is bunk;)

http://www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/library/graphs/10.GIF

C'mom now. That deep plung in the murder rate was due to most able bodied men being overseas and involved in WWII. You should have made that association. Its hard to have a high murder rate when most of the people who migh get involved in these types of activities are overseas killing facsists. Between '45 and '50 the economy was roaring and crimes are alway down in a good economy. Around 1950 is when the moral standards went in to decline and immoral behavior when up.

linda22003
11-24-2008, 11:00 AM
Immediately after prayer was banned in public schools, homicide rates skyrocketed.

Ah, the old post hoc, ergo propter hoc argument. I remember praying in school, and I remember not praying in school. I don't recall anyone going out and stabbing anyone because of it.

wilbur
11-24-2008, 11:01 AM
C'mom now. That deep plung in the murder rate was due to most able bodied men being overseas and involved in WWII. You should have made that association. Its hard to have a high murder rate when most of the people who migh get involved in these types of activities are overseas killing facsists. Between '45 and '50 the economy was roaring and crimes are alway down in a good economy. Around 1950 is when the moral standards went in to decline and immoral behavior when up.

And there is another correlation... the chart was meant more to show the unsoundness of MrsSmith's conclusion... not to prove the prohibition correlation... although it still fits better than WWII examples... why does the decline persist so long afte the war, and still continue to rise during vietnam when our boys were off to war again?

FlaGator
11-24-2008, 11:18 AM
And there is another correlation... the chart was meant more to show the unsoundness of MrsSmith's conclusion... not to prove the prohibition correlation... although it still fits better than WWII examples... why does the decline persist so long afte the war, and still continue to rise during vietnam when our boys were off to war again?

You're lobbing me softballs today :D The economy was on a major upswing after the war do to the creation of jobs and the growth of manufacturing during the war. Crime is aways down when the economy is up. Mrs. Smith's diagram is relevent to the decline in morality in the US and the increase in crime. The economy was still good in the 50's, 60s and the start of the 70s but crime had begun to rise. This corresponds to the removal of pray from school, but more importantly to me it matches the decay in morality of American society. The more the immoral became tolerated the higher the rates of crime.

wilbur
11-24-2008, 11:27 AM
You're lobbing me softballs today :D The economy was on a major upswing after the war do to the creation of jobs and the growth of manufacturing during the war. Crime is aways down when the economy is up. Mrs. Smith's diagram is relevent to the decline in morality in the US and the increase in crime. The economy was still good in the 50's, 60s and the start of the 70s but crime had begun to rise. This corresponds to the removal of pray from school, but more importantly to me it matches the decay in morality of American society. The more the immoral became tolerated the higher the rates of crime.

Well no, there's been a hell of a lot of study that contradicts the widely held assumption that economic downturns spur crimewaves... the opposite happens in some cases. What I will say is that neither of us are giving justice to a very complicated situation.

We can also look at the civil rights movement... there is another correlation there between increased homicide.... was that part of the moral decline that made God angry?

jinxmchue
11-24-2008, 02:51 PM
Ah, the old post hoc, ergo propter hoc argument. I remember praying in school, and I remember not praying in school. I don't recall anyone going out and stabbing anyone because of it.

Do you remember anyone having their constitutional rights violated by people praying in school?

jinxmchue
11-24-2008, 03:09 PM
In contrast, the US was a nation built on secular principles.

No, it actually wasn't. Only ignorant atheists relying on nothing more than the expurgated version of U.S. history learned in atheistic American public schools make such a claim. If you would bothered to do even a little independent research, you'd find that even the Deists and atheists of the time relied heavily on Christian principles.

Odysseus
11-24-2008, 03:16 PM
Either way, we have diverged greatly from the point of this thread... and I really hate getting into these 'atheist/religious' regime body count contests, because they are quite petty, and impossible to discuss fairly.

The point of the thread was the contention by the author of the "study" that “The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so,” and that the piety of Americans is either to blame, or, at best, not a mitigating factor. Did you expect that this would not become a comparison of the religious/secular regimes and the effects of their policies?

FlaGator
11-24-2008, 07:49 PM
Well no, there's been a hell of a lot of study that contradicts the widely held assumption that economic downturns spur crimewaves... the opposite happens in some cases. What I will say is that neither of us are giving justice to a very complicated situation.

We can also look at the civil rights movement... there is another correlation there between increased homicide.... was that part of the moral decline that made God angry?

And there are a hell of a lot that prove economic conditions have a direct correlation with crime rates. The civil rights movement? How many people were actually killed during the civil rights movement? I guarantee you it wasn't enough effect the national murder rate. The increase in murders was do to the lack of respect for human life due to moral decline in America. Also, I'm not saying God had anything to do with the rise in murders. He doesn't need to get involved with this. It's is the natural response to the lowering of societal morality. For example, sexual morality declined and the response was an increase in out of marriage births, teen pregnancy, STD, abortions, single parent homes, homosexuality, divorce and adultery. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. God didn't have to do anything. People do this to themselves for rejecting the morals God wants us to live by.

FlaGator
11-24-2008, 07:52 PM
Originally Posted by wilbur
In contrast, the US was a nation built on secular principles.

No, it actually wasn't. Only ignorant atheists relying on nothing more than the expurgated version of U.S. history learned in atheistic American public schools make such a claim. If you would bothered to do even a little independent research, you'd find that even the Deists and atheists of the time relied heavily on Christian principles.

His mistake has been explained to him. I don't think that he believed it regardless of the evidence.

Odysseus
11-25-2008, 10:10 AM
And there is another correlation... the chart was meant more to show the unsoundness of MrsSmith's conclusion... not to prove the prohibition correlation... although it still fits better than WWII examples... why does the decline persist so long afte the war, and still continue to rise during vietnam when our boys were off to war again?
Too easy. First, the continued peacetime draft kept most young men off the streets during those years, and young men tend to be the group that commits the highest percentage of crimes. Second, the returning WWII vets had their hands full raising the baby boomers.

His mistake has been explained to him. I don't think that he believed it regardless of the evidence.
Funny how militant atheists believe what they choose to believe, then demand that no one else believe anything...:rolleyes:

FlaGator
11-25-2008, 12:07 PM
Too easy. First, the continued peacetime draft kept most young men off the streets during those years, and young men tend to be the group that commits the highest percentage of crimes. Second, the returning WWII vets had their hands full raising the baby boomers.

Funny how militant atheists believe what they choose to believe, then demand that no one else believe anything...:rolleyes:

As I once said, I admire their faith for it is truly greater than mine.

wilbur
11-25-2008, 08:06 PM
Too easy. First, the continued peacetime draft kept most young men off the streets during those years, and young men tend to be the group that commits the highest percentage of crimes. Second, the returning WWII vets had their hands full raising the baby boomers.


Ok, so you don't think that creating laws against instructor/teacher led school prayer was the cause of the increased murder rate from the 60's onward? Thanks for the support!


Funny how militant atheists believe what they choose to believe, then demand that no one else believe anything...:rolleyes:

You really just supported my point!

Odysseus
11-25-2008, 08:41 PM
As I once said, I admire their faith for it is truly greater than mine.
Yes, and like the jihadis, they cannot accept yours.

Ok, so you don't think that creating laws against instructor/teacher led school prayer was the cause of the increased murder rate from the 60's onward? Thanks for the support!
You really just supported my point!
Even a broken clock is right twice a day, but that doesn't mean much in this case, because the homicide rates that you cited are national and you don't provide dates for the exclusion of school prayer in each school district. In order to disprove a corelation between school prayer and homicide rates, you'd have to have your statistics broken down for districts that permitted school prayer vs. those that didn't, and the dates that the bans went into effect. Then, having done that, you'd have to make another adjustment, since school prayer would effect kids in the K-12 range, while homicide rates would be highest among males ages 16-30, so any ban on school prayer wouldn't have an effect for several years. To prove or disprove the corelation, you'd have to show the crime rate in a school district for about ten years after that district ceased school prayer. Then, of course, you'd have to factor out the other issues that impact on crime rates, such as out of wedlock birth rates (in the previous decade), changes in law enforcement procedures and changes in sentencing procedures, just to name a few. Now, if you want to take the time compile that data and do that statistical analysis, I'd be very interested in the results, but until then, the argument that you are making is neither supported by, or undermined by, the statistical data that you've provided, and cannot be. You've managed to waste your time and ours without resolving anything.

wilbur
11-25-2008, 09:36 PM
Yes, and like the jihadis, they cannot accept yours.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day, but that doesn't mean much in this case, because the homicide rates that you cited are national and you don't provide dates for the exclusion of school prayer in each school district. In order to disprove a corelation between school prayer and homicide rates, you'd have to have your statistics broken down for districts that permitted school prayer vs. those that didn't, and the dates that the bans went into effect. Then, having done that, you'd have to make another adjustment, since school prayer would effect kids in the K-12 range, while homicide rates would be highest among males ages 16-30, so any ban on school prayer wouldn't have an effect for several years. To prove or disprove the corelation, you'd have to show the crime rate in a school district for about ten years after that district ceased school prayer. Then, of course, you'd have to factor out the other issues that impact on crime rates, such as out of wedlock birth rates (in the previous decade), changes in law enforcement procedures and changes in sentencing procedures, just to name a few. Now, if you want to take the time compile that data and do that statistical analysis, I'd be very interested in the results, but until then, the argument that you are making is neither supported by, or undermined by, the statistical data that you've provided, and cannot be. You've managed to waste your time and ours without resolving anything.

Its embarrassing anyone would actually engage in this little farce of intellectual dishonesty that you do right here. The murder rates in early 20th century certainly show that whatever extant factors cause increases in murder rates, school prayer aint it.

We can also see that in 1954, also extremely close to the time murder rates started to really go on the upswing, we added the words "under God" to the pledge of allegiance. Wonder if that had anything to do with the murder rates. Perhaps national recognition of such a concept encourages irrational thought and dogmatism which hastened our 'moral decline'. I can pull stuff out of thin air all day and show correlations and make them just as or more plausible than the school prayer example.

You need to posit some plausible mechanism for a causal relationship.... I don't go as far as the article suggests, but I do say studies like the one in the OP show there is no causal relationship between the amount of religion and the social ills that it claims to be the cure for. We find the opposite of the pattern we would expect to find if the theists proposition were indeed true.

wilbur
11-25-2008, 10:00 PM
And there are a hell of a lot that prove economic conditions have a direct correlation with crime rates.

And we have the largest prison population out of any nation on the planet... because of drug related crime. Something that is with us no matter the economic condition.



The civil rights movement? How many people were actually killed during the civil rights movement? I guarantee you it wasn't enough effect the national murder rate. The increase in murders was do to the lack of respect for human life due to moral decline in America.


You misunderstood my statement. It was really a challenge to your assumption that we have been undergoing a 'moral decline'. I find it really funny that we look with such rose colored glasses towards America's past, almost precisely because sexuality and related issues were more taboo and hush hush than they are today.

I don't know about you, but I would consider the civil rights movement a pretty damn big net increase in the 'quality of our morality as a nation'.. yet it coincides with the increased homicide rates which you and MrsSmith want to partially blame on our 'moral decline'.



Also, I'm not saying God had anything to do with the rise in murders. He doesn't need to get involved with this.


Off topic, but I do love it when a theist undercuts their own arguments that God is a necassary executioner of moral justice. By arguing for objective, natural consequences of certain actions you disprove the necessity of God belief for moral obedience/compliance and the existence of a moral order.



It's is the natural response to the lowering of societal morality. For example, sexual morality declined and the response was an increase in out of marriage births, teen pregnancy, STD, abortions, single parent homes, homosexuality, divorce and adultery. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. God didn't have to do anything. People do this to themselves for rejecting the morals God wants us to live by.

While there have been certain consequences to moral shifts, I think you have a long row to hoe as far as actually establishing that we have actually suffered an overall moral decline... that our nation is somehow more evil today than it was back then. Certainly attitudes towards sex have reshaped some aspects of society for the worse.. but we can also see that in doing so, we shed and outgrew some particularly nasty and I dare say, evil consequences of our old ways.... people entering into unstable and wrong marriages before they were ready because of a desire to have sex, enduring abusive relationships because of taboo against divorce... I thank the FSM that we no longer live in a society where a person may feel the need to choose between their safety and losing friends and family because of a perfectly justified divorce. I cringe to think we are still in a world where religionists do their best to make sure those sorts of consequences are the norm again. Instead of helping us find a way out of our current dysfunctional state, they want to regress us back to a previous, even more dysfunctional state. Personally, I think its immoral to browbeat and threaten people with eternal suffering for engaging in a healthy, but responsible sex life prior to marriage. So again.. change in sexual outlook replaced some negative consequences with others... but we also saw great things like equality for women and blacks.... so what moral decline are we talking about here?

Odysseus
11-26-2008, 10:33 AM
Its embarrassing anyone would actually engage in this little farce of intellectual dishonesty that you do right here. The murder rates in early 20th century certainly show that whatever extant factors cause increases in murder rates, school prayer aint it.
You need to posit some plausible mechanism for a causal relationship.... I don't go as far as the article suggests, but I do say studies like the one in the OP show there is no causal relationship between the amount of religion and the social ills that it claims to be the cure for. We find the opposite of the pattern we would expect to find if the theists proposition were indeed true.
Like most people, you confuse causation, the relationship between cause and effect, and corelation, which simply shows that certain data effects occur simultaneously. The latter can imply the former, but it doesn't have to. There used to be a corelation between hemlines on women's skirts and economic growth, but nobody suggested that one caused the other. OTOH, it is possible that a single cause accounted for both effects, but again, that would have required research into other corelations, followed by the development of a theory that unified the causes and effects. To my knowledge, nobody did that study, so we'll never know if the sight of a woman's knees had an effect on the Dow. Having said that, I will point out that I didn't posit a causal relationship between school prayer or its absence and crime rates, you did. I pointed out that you hadn't established a corelation of data, either positively or negatively, between school prayer and crime rates, without which, causation cannot be extrapolated. That's not intellectually dishonest, it's simply the truth. Now, it doesn't do your position a whole lot of good, but from what I've seen of your posts, the truth usually doesn't help you.

And we have the largest prison population out of any nation on the planet... because of drug related crime. Something that is with us no matter the economic condition.
I'm reminded of the NY Times headline that stated "Prison Population Growing, Although Crime Rate Drops."


You misunderstood my statement. It was really a challenge to your assumption that we have been undergoing a 'moral decline'. I find it really funny that we look with such rose colored glasses towards America's past, almost precisely because sexuality and related issues were more taboo and hush hush than they are today.
It's pretty obvious that America's public morality has declined over the last century. The most critical example of this is something that I noticed a while back, when the movie Apollo 13 came out. Jim Lovell, who was played by Tom Hanks in the movie, is still alive. He was a genuine hero, but I didn't see him on a single talk show. Meanwhile, Hanks was everywhere. This isn't an attack on Hanks, but rather a culture that is more concerned with the actor who plays a hero than the actual hero. Our decline is manifested in an inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy, with the result that significant percentages of the population prefer fantasy. How does that translate into increased crime rates? Simple: People who cannot distinguish between the real and the fake cannot make a distinction between good and evil. Consequences are irrelevent to such persons and longterm concerns are subordinated to the immediate gratification of one's desires. The result of this is a culture in which commitment, discipline and integrity are preplaced by convenience, pleasure and cynicism.

I don't know about you, but I would consider the civil rights movement a pretty damn big net increase in the 'quality of our morality as a nation'.. yet it coincides with the increased homicide rates which you and MrsSmith want to partially blame on our 'moral decline'.
Again, you confuse causation and corelation, and you don't even have the corelation correct. The Civil Rights movement pretty much ended with the 1964 passage of the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act. After that, MLK was assassinated and the movement devolved into the Black Power movement, in which groups like the Black Panthers came to the forefront. The elevation of these thugs to prominence was a symptom of a moral decline among the civil rights leadership, which lost its way when Dr. King, who was the movement's moral compass, died. By the same token, the changes in the law enforcement culture, due to court decisions that increased the difficulty of capturing and convicting criminals, were a huge factor in the crime rate increase, and the decisions of the courts, which elevated the rights of criminals over the rights of their victims, both actual and potential, was as morally obtuse as it was logically flawed.

Goldwater
11-26-2008, 10:44 AM
Our decline is manifested in an inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy, with the result that significant percentages of the population prefer fantasy. How does that translate into increased crime rates? Simple: People who cannot distinguish between the real and the fake cannot make a distinction between good and evil. Consequences are irrelevent to such persons and longterm concerns are subordinated to the immediate gratification of one's desires. The result of this is a culture in which commitment, discipline and integrity are preplaced by convenience, pleasure and cynicism.

People don't commit crimes because they can't tell if something is good or bad, they do it depending on their needs or surroundings. The really messed up ones, well there can be a variety of reasons, like the one you listed, but that is one amongst many.

wilbur
11-26-2008, 11:36 AM
Like most people, you confuse causation, the relationship between cause and effect, and corelation, which simply shows that certain data effects occur simultaneously. The latter can imply the former, but it doesn't have to. There used to be a corelation between hemlines on women's skirts and economic growth, but nobody suggested that one caused the other. OTOH, it is possible that a single cause accounted for both effects, but again, that would have required research into other corelations, followed by the development of a theory that unified the causes and effects. To my knowledge, nobody did that study, so we'll never know if the sight of a woman's knees had an effect on the Dow. Having said that, I will point out that I didn't posit a causal relationship between school prayer or its absence and crime rates, you did. I pointed out that you hadn't established a corelation of data, either positively or negatively, between school prayer and crime rates, without which, causation cannot be extrapolated. That's not intellectually dishonest, it's simply the truth. Now, it doesn't do your position a whole lot of good, but from what I've seen of your posts, the truth usually doesn't help you.


I did not posit a correlation, positive or negative in regards to school prayer and homicide, yet you are trying to hold my feet to the fire for it, while ignoring those who seriously did. And you have provided many an explanation to account for homicide rates. If you expand the slice of time for tracking homicide rates and school prayer restrictions, as I did with the little graph I posted, we see there isn't a really correlation at all. I, as did you, and as did others suggest there are other strong correlations between other events and the homicide rates.



I'm reminded of the NY Times headline that stated "Prison Population Growing, Although Crime Rate Drops."

It's pretty obvious that America's public morality has declined over the last century. The most critical example of this is something that I noticed a while back, when the movie Apollo 13 came out. Jim Lovell, who was played by Tom Hanks in the movie, is still alive. He was a genuine hero, but I didn't see him on a single talk show. Meanwhile, Hanks was everywhere. This isn't an attack on Hanks, but rather a culture that is more concerned with the actor who plays a hero than the actual hero. Our decline is manifested in an inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy, with the result that significant percentages of the population prefer fantasy. How does that translate into increased crime rates? Simple: People who cannot distinguish between the real and the fake cannot make a distinction between good and evil. Consequences are irrelevent to such persons and longterm concerns are subordinated to the immediate gratification of one's desires. The result of this is a culture in which commitment, discipline and integrity are preplaced by convenience, pleasure and cynicism.


After that long diatribe of cause, effect, causation you are going to posit that Tom Hanks doing talk shows is proof positive of moral decline?



Again, you confuse causation and corelation, and you don't even have the corelation correct. The Civil Rights movement pretty much ended with the 1964 passage of the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act. After that, MLK was assassinated and the movement devolved into the Black Power movement, in which groups like the Black Panthers came to the forefront. The elevation of these thugs to prominence was a symptom of a moral decline among the civil rights leadership, which lost its way when Dr. King, who was the movement's moral compass, died. By the same token, the changes in the law enforcement culture, due to court decisions that increased the difficulty of capturing and convicting criminals, were a huge factor in the crime rate increase, and the decisions of the courts, which elevated the rights of criminals over the rights of their victims, both actual and potential, was as morally obtuse as it was logically flawed.

That's not really the point either, Odysseus...

Before the success of the civil rights movement we had segregation, institutionalized racism... basically you were fucked if you were black (or non-white, really), and there was no escaping it. Our transition from this reality to a post civil rights world occurred just when the others here seem to say we that we began our moral decline. I'm making the case that the often unchallenged and accepted assumption that everything was pretty much downhill since the 50's-60's isnt so ironclad... in fact it has some very big obvious problems. In my opinion, the biggest contributor to this facade of rampant 'moral decline' is a shift away from the dysfunctional religious sexual ethics of the past... which as I pointed out earlier, cause a hell of a lot of social ills themselves. We have different problems to deal with now as a result of the shifts, but it's very debatable as to whether it overall has made us less moral people. On the other hand, I think we can say with certainty that our post-civil rights movement country was a more moral place than the pre-civil rights country, despite the short-lived prominence of a few radical groups. You are painting this rosey picture (and indeed it was) of MLK at the height of the civil rights movement, but leaving out of the equation the years and years of oppression and racial immorality that lead to it.

They say the moral decline started in the 60's... but if you look to any time earlier than that, we can find the pre-civil rights movement racism... no matter what you think of the various minority group movements today I think we can all agree that it was a very evil stain on our history (I hope)... a very significant notable evil that cannot be glossed over when making broad generalizations about the past and present moral status of this nation. So on those grounds alone, yes, work is cut out for those who would say we have suffered overall moral decline since the 60's.

So, if one wants to make the case that less religion (prayer in school etc) is the cause of (or cure for) our moral decline, one first has to prove that there was in fact an overall moral decline... which is not so self-evident. One would also have to show that more religion cures those moral problems. That again brings us back to the study in the OP which counters that notion.

If we are to arbitrarily look to the past for magical events which caused our disfavor with God (allegedly around the time of the 60's) then one would have to conclude God simply hates civil rights... and we are seeing the results of our new equality valuing ways. In fact, MLK was killed because of thoughts just like that.

Constitutionally Speaking
11-26-2008, 11:47 AM
In contrast, the US was a nation built on secular principles.




This is an absolute falsehood.

I would LOVE a dome thread mano-y-mano on this if you like. Not a flame fest, but a one on one conversation on why this is simply a fallacy promoted by the left.


Would you like to participate???

wilbur
11-26-2008, 11:57 AM
This is an absolute falsehood.

I would LOVE a dome thread mano-y-mano on this if you like. Not a flame fest, but a one on one conversation on why this is simply a fallacy promoted by the left.


Would you like to participate???

If you don't mind intermittent inattentiveness, go for it... we'll go mano-y-mano.

wilbur
11-26-2008, 02:21 PM
Forgot this post in the shuffle


You hate getting in to them because they are hard for you to refute.

No the topic has simply been done to death.... it gets frustrating because there are mountains of dishonest premises embedded in this whole discussion that well.. just get tiring. It was my fault for letting the thread take that direction in the first place... but oh well.

Nazi Germany is quite a big anomaly for the argument... and the typical theist escape clause here is simply the 'no true scotsman' fallacy. The only thing that stopped Hitler from continued genocide was simply the fact that he was defeated... not because of some less genocidal ethic when compared to atheistic regimes. So the fact remains... Christian totalitarians can also result in atrocities on scale with any of the worst.

Lets not forget that Stalin, Pol Pot etc all basically came from the same school of communism.... their actions were motivated by the same sources of political ambition, megalomania... but nothing specifically that can be attributed to non-belief.



Now your stretching again and setting up a straw man because you can't refute the fact that atheist regimes are horribly immoral and murderous. Here is why it is valid to make the comparision and it is because atheists have opened the door. You and other atheists make the claim that moral societies are not dependent about a moral belief system that involves a Creator.


Absolutely. See the study.... but its a neat trick to give Christianity credit for all societies wich have some measures of success and blame atheism for simply the evil ones ;)



You claim that atheist values have just the same morals as religious ones. That my be true but with no enforcing aspect to the atheistic views, societies founded upon atheism degrade in to murderous amoral conglomeration of might makes right.


Atheism does not imply any value system. That's why one must look to the actual value system of the people/regimes in question. You might be able to say that when there is a vacancy left from the removal of a value system, a worse one can take its place... but a better one also can. Perhaps that is what we are seeing in the largely atheist countries today. I've never argued that we all should be atheists for the sake of being atheists.



Atheistic belief states that an individual get's his morals either internally or from society but doesn't not to account for changes in those morals. How can a society if it's moral code as the potential to be in a state of flux? What is immoral to day is moral tomorrow. Makes no sense.


Religious morals are in a state of flux all the time. Two people can read the Bible and come up with entirely different moral frameworks based on the book. An atheist might get his morals from those sources, but society's morals could be just as arbitrary as divinely revealed morals... objective morals come from consequences and our innate orientations towards certain qualities (ie love, pleasure, empathy, survival, freedom from coercion, avoidance of suffering etc). We can begin to build a common set of moral principles from these commonalities we all generally share... but no two people can even really think of God the same, so its puzzling why theists think their morals are somehow 'objective'. They arent.



I never said that democracy was made possible by a Christian Ethos. Please show me where I stated that. I said the the Christian Ethos was inherent in government because of the founders lived as part of the colonies which at their heart were founded because of religious persecution and constructed their governments based on Biblical laws. When the American government was formed the better of these various colonial laws where incorporated in the Constitution. This is why there is a Freedom of Religion Amendment. The founders remembered that one of the reasons that the colonies were populated was to escape persecution by another religious group or government. Many states has Sunday Laws be prohibited stores from being open and work being performed on the Christian Sabbath.


"This one is easy. It's the entire Christian Ethos that was adopted by these countries, including Sweden, that made them a success. It gave them a foundation that allowed different barbarian and pagan cultures to unite under a common Christian leader and government."

Pretty close ;)

What you say above really ties into some points I made earlier.... there is nothing inherently Christian about establishing a nation that makes a core value out of freedom of religion and freedom from persecution. Where was this ethic for the nearly 2k years between Jesus and the founding of our modern democracies? This ethic was developed from direct experience of actual persecution, not from Biblical ethics or laws. Many of our deist founders had extreme distaste for Christianity and its institutions.



They have dumbed down what a sociel ill is. Some of those countries have legalized drug use and prostitution. Many of those countries don't have the same freedoms that we do in America.

The US ranks right up there with those nations with legalized drug use.

Molon Labe
11-26-2008, 03:24 PM
I'll rephrase the same question of you that I'll ask of FlaGator....

Specifically... articulate what these uniquely Christian morals are that allowed places like Sweden to thrive?


First off, the very concept of "equality" is Christian in nature.
I don't have the time to go into this as in depth as i would like....but I think anyone can look at documents like the Magna Carta and see the links to Democracy. Francis Fukuyama's book "The end of history" has one of the best detailed explanations of how formative Christianity was to Democratic principles in the West. Although I disagree with him on a number of other issues.

Christianity being a religion of slaves... it was inevitable that what would come out of it would be principles of "equality" rather than Master and servant.

from Fukuyama


Samuel P. Huntington argues, that we in the West tend to underestimate the degree to which modern democracy was born in the cradle of a Christian culture, and that the latter culture was one source of both Western universalism and Western egalitarianism. 1 With its origins in individual conscience and revolt against established authority, the Reformation also had a major impact on the development of Western notions of individualism. It was very different from both premodern Western traditions and Asian ethical traditions like Confucianism, which hold that individuals are born into the world not free but encumbered by a host of social duties and obligations


The March of Equality Francis Fukuyama :
Alexis de Tocqueville virtually begins his Democracy in America with the apparently unqualified assertion that the advance of democracy is inevitable. This striking passage from the Introduction is worth quoting at length: The various occurrences of national existence have everywhere turned to the advantage of democracy: all men have aided it by their exertions, both those who have intentionally labored in its cause and those who have served it unwillingly; those who have fought for it and even those who have declared themselves its opponents have all been driven along in the same direction, have all labored to one end; some unknowingly and some despite themselves, all have been blind instruments in the hands of God. The gradual development of the principle of equality is, therefore, a providential fact. It has all the characteristics of such a fact: it is universal, it is lasting, it constantly eludes all human interference, and all events as well as all men contribute to its progress (I, 6). Tocqueville notes that his book has been written "under the influence of a kind of religious awe produced in the author's mind by the view of that irresistible revolution." Thus "to attempt to check democracy would be . . . to resist the will of God;

Constitutionally Speaking
11-26-2008, 08:14 PM
If you don't mind intermittent inattentiveness, go for it... we'll go mano-y-mano.


I understand that we are not likely to be on the board at the same time all of the time so that is a given.

Thank you for accepting.

I have started the 'dome thread

Odysseus
12-01-2008, 01:24 PM
I did not posit a correlation, positive or negative in regards to school prayer and homicide, yet you are trying to hold my feet to the fire for it, while ignoring those who seriously did. And you have provided many an explanation to account for homicide rates. If you expand the slice of time for tracking homicide rates and school prayer restrictions, as I did with the little graph I posted, we see there isn't a really correlation at all. I, as did you, and as did others suggest there are other strong correlations between other events and the homicide rates.
You posited that societies are worse off when they are religiously oriented. Those who argue the contrary used school prayer as one indicator of their premise.


After that long diatribe of cause, effect, causation you are going to posit that Tom Hanks doing talk shows is proof positive of moral decline?
No, my point was that the real hero, Jim Lovell, was not invited onto the talk shows while the actor who played him in the movie was, and that this indicated an unhealthy inversion of fantasy and reality. Got it? The increased crime rates and the decline of the values of the Civil Rights movement (the decline from a non-violent, pro-American movement rooted in shared political values to a violent, anti-American separatist movement) are both indicators of the decline of American moral values that coincided with them. Trying to make the case that the national confrontation and abrogation of racism that began in the 50s and which had pretty much run its course by the 60s, was considered a declining moral value by conservatives is simply specious.


People don't commit crimes because they can't tell if something is good or bad, they do it depending on their needs or surroundings. The really messed up ones, well there can be a variety of reasons, like the one you listed, but that is one amongst many.
Agreed, but it is certainly a factor. Here's a great article on the subject. (http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_4_otbie-british_character.html) It applies to Britain, but it makes the point that culture, and the morality of that culture, is the critical factor in public behavior, which includes crime. http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_4_otbie-british_character.html

Goldwater
12-01-2008, 02:08 PM
Agreed, but it is certainly a factor. Here's a great article on the subject. (http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_4_otbie-british_character.html) It applies to Britain, but it makes the point that culture, and the morality of that culture, is the critical factor in public behavior, which includes crime. http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_4_otbie-british_character.html

Well of course "the morality of the culture" is a huge factor in what defines how moral a country is. What the issue here is whether or not religion is the factor that has to be there to introduce that morality or if it comes from another place. ;)

By the way, Earl Kitchener was the original Uncle Sam, we owe a lot to him.

FlaGator
12-01-2008, 02:23 PM
Well of course "the morality of the culture" is a huge factor in what defines how moral a country is. What the issue here is whether or not religion is the factor that has to be there to introduce that morality or if it comes from another place. ;)

By the way, Earl Kitchener was the original Uncle Sam, we owe a lot to him.

I would like to see some examples of atheistic societies that had a positive effect on their populations. I don't want the "less-religious" societies because they still have the influence of a previous piety in their cultures. I want examples of societies that did away with God and the population enjoyed a better standard of living because of it.

wilbur
12-01-2008, 02:25 PM
You posited that societies are worse off when they are religiously oriented. Those who argue the contrary used school prayer as one indicator of their premise.


I didnt actually claim that... I departed somewhat from the conclusions of the author of the study and simply claimed that this is good evidence religion doesn't cure many of the social ills that it claims too... not that it causes them or encourages them.





No, my point was that the real hero, Jim Lovell, was not invited onto the talk shows while the actor who played him in the movie was, and that this indicated an unhealthy inversion of fantasy and reality. Got it? The increased crime rates and the decline of the values of the Civil Rights movement (the decline from a non-violent, pro-American movement rooted in shared political values to a violent, anti-American separatist movement) are both indicators of the decline of American moral values that coincided with them. Trying to make the case that the national confrontation and abrogation of racism that began in the 50s and which had pretty much run its course by the 60s, was considered a declining moral value by conservatives is simply specious.


Your still missing the point here. By what measurements and metrics do you measure the "moral decline"? Think about what you are suggesting here... that it would be a sign of moral improvement if we returned to the pre-civil rights era in order to eradicate a few of those short-lived violent separatists groups. You want to say that the spawn of a few of these groups in the post civil rights world was a sign that the country was a less moral place than it was with the institutionalized racism of the pre-civil rights world?

Its thrown around very authoritatively that there has been a moral decline. That may actually be true, but I am challenging that claim because it is not so obvious as people like to think and by no means a certain truth.. I think people tend to believe it at face value mostly I would say, because society at large has discarded the old notions that lifelong celibate clergymen should be the ultimate authority on healthy sexual practices.... and their dysfunctional rules were tossed out along with them. Not that our present situation is really any better, but different doesn't necessarily mean worse. The whole notion of 'moral decline' seems to me to directly linked with the perception that Christianity losing its influence in certain areas of our society... but not linked at all to actual consequences or any real objective measurement of reality. In other words all this talk about 'moral decline' is generally much ado about the church losing relevance... as per usual, the churches are concerned about their own health, while the health of society is secondary.

In a perfectly moral society, religion would be immoral.

Goldwater
12-01-2008, 03:12 PM
I would like to see some examples of atheistic societies that had a positive effect on their populations. I don't want the "less-religious" societies because they still have the influence of a previous piety in their cultures. I want examples of societies that did away with God and the population enjoyed a better standard of living because of it.

I'm not saying atheistic socieites are more moral. I merely say that religion does not have a monopoly on the word moral. I'm more of a spectator in this debate.

FlaGator
12-01-2008, 03:19 PM
I'm not saying atheistic socieites are more moral. I merely say that religion does not have a monopoly on the word moral. I'm more of a spectator in this debate.

My question wasn't so much aimed at you as it was to the general readership who may have interest in this topic.

That being said, where do you believe human morality comes from?

Molon Labe
12-03-2008, 03:09 PM
Ok.....I found and interesting site and study that I think is excellent rebuttal for some of this nonsense about society being worse off with religion.
In The Blue zone study, Dan Buetner studied societies where people tend to live to be Centenarians.



The Science Behind Blue Zones
For the past five years, I’ve been taking teams of scientists to five pockets around the world where people live the longest, healthiest lives. These are called the Blue Zones.

Our work has been funded by National Geographic and the National Institutes on Aging, and our findings have appeared on Good Morning America, Anderson Cooper 360 and the ABC Nightly News.

They studied areas conducive to longevity of these centenarians and he compiled it into something he calls the "Power 9".

http://www.bluezones.com/about/19-the-power9-secrets-to-living-longer-better


and guess what....#5 on the list was - Beliefs (spiritual or religious participation

YupItsMe
12-03-2008, 03:37 PM
Gosh! That is bad news for Christians.

I guess soon we can look forward to the type of rational and secular society that brought us Pol Pot, Stalin, Castro, and others.

Why, soon we'll be nipple deep in puppies and rainbows just like Venezuela, North Korea, and Tibet! :)



Hey don't knock Venezuela. Did you see the latest Miss World or Universe?? Smokin! ;)

FlaGator
12-03-2008, 03:42 PM
Ok.....I found and interesting site and study that I think is excellent rebuttal for some of this nonsense about society being worse off with religion.
In The Blue zone study, Dan Buetner studied societies where people tend to live to be Centenarians.




They studied areas conducive to longevity of these centenarians and he compiled it into something he calls the "Power 9".

http://www.bluezones.com/about/19-the-power9-secrets-to-living-longer-better


and guess what....#5 on the list was - Beliefs (spiritual or religious participation

Don't worry, some one or another will produce another web site that complete invalidates the one you cite because their facts are always truer than your facts. Funny how that works out.

Molon Labe
12-03-2008, 03:47 PM
Don't worry, some one or another will produce another web site that complete invalidates the one you cite because their facts are always truer than your facts. Funny how that works out.

Fact is from the study that most people that live to be 100+ still believe in God.
Kinda hard to deny empirical evidence like that.

One of the strongest communities he found was a group of Seventh Day adventists. ;)

I have yet to read of the atheistic communities where this occurs.

YupItsMe
12-03-2008, 03:48 PM
The question is irrelevant. I never claimed I want to base a society off of atheism (doesnt even make sense). But I'll bite anyways... top 10 least religious countries in the world, that exist right now.

1. Sweden
2. Vietnam
3. Denmark
4. Norway
5. Japan
6. Czech Republic
7. Finland
8. France
9. South Korea
10. Estonia

But its really irrelevant. The claim is that the presence of religion doesn't improve many of the social ills people claim it does.



You do not believe in these gods correct, or that they could be handing morals to these people? Then you have no choice than to acknowledge that these morals (Hammurabi Code etc) were devised by humans, and incorporated into a religion.



See the top 10 list above.

And what uniquely Christian morals was the US founded on?

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.