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Crime and religion...

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Crime and religion...
Jim posted a blog that got us discussing crime and religion or lack thereof and the question of whether there was a correlation between the two.

So as not to detract from Jim's blog, I moved the discussion to the forums.

Here are two sites that present an interesting discussion and an article about the same issue.

Here is an interesting discussion: https://politics.stackexchange.com/questions/9552/what-are-the-crime-rates-by-religion-in-usa

And this article is interesting and makes the claim that religion does not make nations or states of less crime. There is an ad on this page for an atheist book...just FYI.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201103/misinformation-and-facts-about-secularism-and-religion

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] Crime and religion... In reply to
jeanne53: Hi

From the URL provided in your OP post:

In other words, according to Plante, if you're not religious you might be a good person, but on average you are more likely to have these undesirable characteristics. This is a bold assertion that, of course, immediately puts secular individuals on the defensive. (Just imagine if the same claims were made against any other minority group.) It is precisely claims like these that lead to many Americans having an unfavorable view of atheists and other nonbelievers.

It strikes me that certain parts of the USA are peculiar in that secular individuals actually form a 'minority' within the community.

Where I live in the UK, and in Europe generally, it is 'religious people', (and by that I simply mean non secular by virtue of claiming religious affiliation to an organized religion), who are a minority within most communities.

(Incidentally, this is the way that Jesus Christ saw the church. He referred to it as a 'little flock', as 'salt', as 'leaven in the lump', always as a 'minority'.) There is something theologically suspect about a community where 'believers' are a majority, I think.

I think this difference in numeric majority has a strong effect upon the attitudes of both the 'religious' and the 'secular' sub groups in question. It certainly is likely to have an effect upon the statistics mentioned in the URL's you have provided.

I have never, in all my 65 years of experience as a 'religious' person in the UK, ever encountered a fellow churchman having 'an unfavorable view of atheists and other nonbelievers'. We simply regard them as a plentiful harvest field where there are not enough workers employed, or a well stocked fishing pond. Wink

I realize that my lifetime experience of not meeting judgmental believers might be more to do with the type of religious persons I choose to associate with and which to steer clear of, but I can't even say I have found anyone in the faith communities I have been associated with, which I have needed to steer clear of for reasons of them holding unfavorable views of atheists and other nonbelievers.

I generally get on well with atheists and believers alike. I admit I find strident adherents of atheism such as Prof. Dawkins ilk, overbearing and arrogant, but I similarly find overbearing and arrogant, the few fervent, over enthusiastic bombastic, Bible bashing, fundyjelical, evangelisers, which seem so certain of their own salvation that they instinctively question and doubt everybody else's, (usually arrogantly assuming it vacant), unless they see evidence to the contrary.

What do you think?

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.
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Re: [rdrcofe] Crime and religion... In reply to
Hi Chris.

I didn't expect you to take that bit away from the article. Smile

I was surprised that the article cited findings that "Within the United States, we see the same pattern. Citing census data, he writes: "And within America, the states with the highest murder rates tend to be the highly religious, such as Louisiana and Alabama, but the states with the lowest murder rates tend to be the among the least religious in the country, such as Vermont and Oregon." This is a disturbing statistic and when the article continues to examine other facts, such as domestic violence, unprotected sex, outlooks and values and happiness then religious communities and nations do not fare well

There are all sorts of reasons why any of this should be true and statistics bend towards whatever truth wants to be held. Vermont and Oregon have tiny percentages of minorities, that is, they are mostly white. (racist statement) It is too cold for crime. These are rural people too busy for criminal activities. Density is low.

I know that religious leaders here are dismayed by the UK trend to secularism and fear that we are following that path.

Where I live most of my neighbors, acquaintances, friends that are not first my children's friends, business leaders, public school staff, police, and in general shop keepers, Walmart staff, check out clerks, delivery people, US mail clerks, paper delivery people, carpenters, farmers, plumbers, electricians, strangers on the street are Christian. Then there are all the churches. Our small town has in the actual town limits, eight churches, with six outlying churches a short hop away. That is just the way it is.

Most people can't imagine anyone who does not believe in God. We simply do not exist and I am not sure that there was any inkling of the presence of atheists until my kids showed up without any knowledge of Jesus or God. They responded honestly when asked by their kindergarten classmates and continued the trend through middle and high school. They did have a few high school classmates who said they were atheists, but they tended toward Goth/Pagan type.

Anyway that was not the point of this post. The point was that it doesn't seem to make any difference whether one is religious or not...or if one is a particular religion or not. Crime occurs due to a lack of ethics that is enhanced by particular circumstance. Poverty, depression, drug use, broken homes, child abuse, lack of innate intelligence, poor education. What is unthinkable to some seems like a good idea to others.

Maybe that is too simple, but either you choose to live your life behaved ethically no matter what may come or you choose to ignore ethical behavior when it suits your situation. How far into dire straits one must fall before tossing all ethics out the window, I guess might be linked to ones sense of honor. But...maybe a sense of honor is very different from person to person. I don't think a sense of honor has anything to do with religious belief.

People are just human beings or to quote from a Muppet Movie, "Peoples is peoples."

I had a friend years ago when my kids were young, who came under the power of some sort of church bent on saving her soul. She had a timetable posted in her kitchen and in her bedroom and on the bathroom mirror that she followed throughout the day. It included more than a few prayer times, making lists of her transgressions and many Bible readings and must have taken all her free time from housework and her three children. Perhaps if one obeys such direction, one has little time for crime.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] Crime and religion... In reply to
jeanne53 Hi

I didn't expect you to take that bit away from the article.

It just struck me as being relevant in a general sort of way. I didn't just skim the other points being made though and which are worthy of comment. I just didn't have time or space to go there in that particular reply.

The articles seemed to confirm, in my opinion, a theory I have held for some time; that Christian culture is originally formed and informed by Christian faith but Christian faith is then subverted and corrupted by the then evolving, (or perhaps degenerating), culture which Christian faith originally gave rise to.

I think the phenomenon is cyclic within communities, states and nations. Each new generation only partially understands how the previous generation utilized 'faith' to cope with the social problems peculiar to its own time. Each new generation chooses to 'dump' some moral values considered 'key' by previous generations, and adopts some alternative values that were previously considered anathema. Thus things go on in ANY society until things get bad enough for some individuals to revisit the age old 'faith' principles that once founded the society, and reform it, albeit in a more contemporary and useful application to the problems they are now confronting in their own generation.

A getting back to basics, and building again on the same foundations but with better and newer 'building blocks'. (I wonder if that is what you have encouraged your own children to do. Strip out the superfluous cultural superstition and get back to the basic 'faith' principle of 'loving one's neighbour as oneself').

According to my theory, the 'religious' population crime figures merely reflect the number of 'culturally reactionary' rebels from 'Christian communities' whose system of ethics had been 'imposed by circumstances of birth, parenting and culture, [even Christian culture]' rather than personally adopting a 'faith based' or even 'non-faith based', but responsible ethical system placing 'love of ones neighbour' in a prominent philosophical position.

Which is basically what happens, for all practical purposes, when a jailbird gets 'saved', (or sees the error of his/her ways), in jail, (that is, assuming the conversion or enlightenment is sincere).

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

Last edited by:

rdrcofe: Jan 13, 2018, 2:23 AM
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Re: [rdrcofe] Crime and religion... In reply to
Hi Chris.
I can see why that part would seem relevant to you, especially in light of your theory of the cyclic nature of religion versus ethics. You make a discerning point with that theory.

In a sense the basics of Christian faith straight from the words of Jesus remain pure when untainted by dogma and religion and self-righteous leaders. It is that faith I had in my youth and maintained through an understanding of Secular Humanism. It is that faith, which kept my ethical behavior on a straight and narrow path.

I was fortunate in that I was born to intelligent middle-class parents, who were young adults during the Great Depression and were the products of enlightened parents themselves. My father was second generation English and his father was of the old style English patriarch. It makes a difference. My mother's father was a farmer, but more he was an entrepreneur, who required all his children to get a higher education. It makes a difference.

You had mentioned something in your previous post, which made me wonder if our cultures surrounding religion are more than a little different. May I assume that people of the UK and most of Europe tend to mind their own business when it comes to people's choice of deity belief? Excepting the JWs, which probably go from door to door no matter where they live, is there not a preponderance of proselytizing going on in your communities? Is it not just assumed that all non-Muslims are Christians? Do school children not automatically assume that each of their peers are church going Christians?

Do Brits not look askance at a person when they find out that he or she is not Christian, does not attend church and may not even know about Jesus Christ? Do Brits not rudely deny that any person they know could be an atheist?

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] Crime and religion... In reply to
jeanne53: Hi.

One question at a time please. Laugh

Yes you may assume that apart from JW's and foreign mission Mormons we don't get many God botherers on European doorsteps. We do get the occasional street preaching Plymouth Brethren, but they are harmless enough. Also Sally Army bands around Christmas in the market place. There are plenty of churches though that preach what might be termed 'Hot Gospel', but it is rarely racist or hostile, just theologically predictable.

Proselytising is generally a much more gentle affair, with churches running Alpha Courses on the basics of Christian faith. Christian Practice would only be on the curriculum if someone decides to become a full member, be baptized and take a role in Church activities.

No assumptions are possible over here. Muslims are white, black, bearded, shaved. Christians are White, black, bearded, shaved. Mormons are identifiable by their suits. JW's by their bags of Watchtower Mags. Sikhs by their turbans. Hindus by their pyjamas. Jews by their yamaka or kippah or yarmulke and, (quite rare), sometimes more distinctive black garb. The only time some Anglicans (CofE) are identifiable is Ash Wednesday when some of us more 'catholic with a small 'c', ones', have a black cross painted on our foreheads by the priest, made of the ashes of palm crosses and olive oil. It usually wears off by mid afternoon and some churches don't impose ashes until the evening anyway and its by no means compulsory. Plus on hot summer Sunday evenings we sometimes hold outdoor public services on the green outside our 17th century church. No one ever complains and atheists would be free to walk their dogs as they please. Its a public space after all. (Open air pets blessing services are fun too).

School children are generally a pretty mixed bunch. Even Catholic and CofE state aided schools, (which are educationally usually slightly better than straight state schools), are fairly mixed. My stepson attended a CofE school and one of his friends had parents who ran a Chinese take away Restaurant. I have no idea what religion they were but they had a nice statue of a cute cat in their restaurant. The local Indian take away was run by Punjabi JW's. Made the best onion bhagis I have ever tasted. Delicious.

Look askance? Not generally no. Up until the recent Brexit debacle Britain has been very hospitable to people of other races, nations, religions and none. Particularly if they were persecuted in the place they were escaping from. Now I'm not so sure anymore. The country is turning to the dark side, lurching to the right and becoming more like the USA in many least desirable aspects.

The biggest difference over here would seem to be that Christian children in school are generally a minority. Not exactly a persecuted minority but a barely tolerated one if they try to get 'holier than thou' about it.

My schooldays were many many years ago and it was not wise to make a big thing of being a 'churchgoing Christian' even then, if you wanted to escape the attention of the school bully. I was a choir boy at age 8 but never had a problem with bullying. Our church choir had age ranges from 7 to 16 and adults. The older kids devised some unpleasant 'initiation rites' for incomers, but thereafter looked after the younger ones so if a youngster got trouble from the bully, the bully would soon get sorted out by a dozen 'older brothers'. Quite a good protection system with a choir of 16 boys, + (8 men and two women).

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

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rdrcofe: Jan 13, 2018, 3:14 PM
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Re: [rdrcofe] Crime and religion... In reply to
Well...they were all sort of the same question, just differently asked.

What you are seeing now in the UK and across Europe is the reaction of citizens of nations to the overwhelming influx of non-assimilating Islamists. Villages do not want to become Muslim territory, but want to remain as they were. Muslim anti-semitism is causing Jews to flee Europe and many of us wonder why this anti-semitism is being ignored.

Not going to continue along this line in this topic, however. Unless you want to talk about the crime in Muslim enclaves being related to that religion.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] Crime and religion... In reply to
Oh thank you a lot)