Saturday, February 11, 2006


Why Religion is Not Always A Great Thing

"According the United Nations’ Human Development Report (2005), the most atheistic societies--countries like Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom—are actually the healthiest, as indicated by measures of life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality. Conversely, the 50 nations now ranked lowest by the U.N. in terms of human development are unwaveringly religious." -- Sam Harris

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Correlation does not imply causation. I would hazard that being some of the nations with the best standards of living would be what is causing their "atheistic" attitudes more so than the other way around.

It's not so much that people concerned about God don't get rich, it's that rich people are not concerned about God.
And a consideration, a slight one, with regards to religion and morality and such decisions.

Religion provides (or can provide, at least) a mollifying influence on matters addressed by game theory, like the Prisoner's Dilemma applied to all of life. You can be honest at life, or you can "cheat" when you can get away with it: lying or stealing or other bad stuff that builds you up and puts others in society down a little. Rationally speaking there is no reason you should not cheat. But if you're religious, then you risk retribution from some sort of cosmic justice system, even if you are fully safe from an earthly one.

I don't think any purely secular value system can provide the world with this sort of a notion. It shifts the weights of the options of the decision- so that lying/cheating/stealing will always harm you more than they help you.

Now, this isn't meant to demonstrate unequivocal religious superiority of some sort- it's just a little consideration.
That would be "Religion", Cliff,...
not "Relgion"

(Or is there a relgion I've not heard about)?
That's because God gives atheist the possibility to live a good life, because when they die they'll go to hell.

Just kidding...!!
One of Jane Goodall's discoveries in watching chimps up close for a lifetime, was that the males had no internal cohesiveness within the pack. Females ruled, forming matriarchal alliances, and the males were nobodies, who bickered with each other constantly. There was one, and only one instance, in which males acted cohesively, and that was on what Goodall called "border patrols". Groups of pack males would walk the outskirts of the pack territory, attacking, even killing, any individual males from neighboring packs that they encountered. This caused great joy, and bonding, and a period free of bickering for several days afterwards. Thus we see the model for war, as a social drug, the archtype of sports, and the archtype of the christ figure, the victim killed to bring peace to the remaining monkeys. So religion, hard as it is on the christs, the random victims, and the unbelievers, is a great bonding, uplifting and ecstasy-producing phenomenon to the participants. I know we are not lineally related to chimps, but similar situations in baboons and other primates show that this is a generalized primate hardwiring scheme. It is what we are. ... Sorry, Cliff.
For some reason, the title of this article reminded me of this infamous video. In a nutshell, this is a prime example of why religion does not (or should not) work for some people.
And we are surprised by this information?
I betcha most wars find their source in religious intolerance or the proselytizing sword of righteousness. Every Christian nation and culture other than the Irish were initially brought to Christianity by the sword. And now we of 'dar al harb' (the territory of war )are visited with 'gihad' (never ending koranic war of proselytization), a not so unpredictable gift from 'dar al islam'.

Give me that old time religion old time religion!!!
Noam Chomsky stated that the most violent area on earth throughout history, or at least the last many centuries, is Western Europe. Its difficult to disagree with that.

So where does that leave most of the countries you named? I would guess the reasons for their status are quite complicated & "most atheistic" is not necessarily the primary component.

A large percentage of these nation's people are religious, and that probably doesn't represent the prime component either.

If I was to venture a guess as to what might be one of the deciding factors of these countries status, it would be WW1 & WW11. How Australia & Iceland fit in, don't have the foggiest.
Note: The original post does not list the US. Why do Americans presume to spread their way of life and version of militant christianity on a global scale when they don't even make the U.N. list of "healthiest" nations?
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