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Religion correlation with poverty


swansont
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A comment in another thread:

 

Wanted to comment on this without hijacking the thread in which it appeared

 

Some of the best societies on earth are irreligious as measured by the quality of life index and the human development reports. In fact, societies which are the most religious tend to have the worst poverty and the worst living conditions.

 

http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=3189

http://www.gallup.com/poll/142727/religiosity-highest-world-poorest-nations.aspx

 

 

From the second link: One theory is that religion plays a more functional role in the world's poorest countries, helping many residents cope with a daily struggle to provide for themselves and their families.

 

I think that's true. If your life is hard, you can lean on religion and the thought that a better life awaits you.

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I have to say that the evidence I've observed much of my life confirms this, areas that are poverty "stricken" tend toward more, in numbers, and more influential churches. Interestingly enough crime is also high in these areas as well even though the churches maintain a high profile and do a lot of community out reach to help their members. I would draw the conclusion that poverty breeds both crime and religiosity...

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I agree that the relationship goes both ways, but the data is quite strong, too, that when a society is more secular, free, and open to scientific inquiry it tends to do better financially and economically. Good ideas are allowed to prosper without being batted down by powerful clergy.

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I agree that the relationship goes both ways, but the data is quite strong, too, that when a society is more secular, free, and open to scientific inquiry it tends to do better financially and economically. Good ideas are allowed to prosper without being batted down by powerful clergy.

 

Um, how do you come to this conclusion? It seems more one that is aligned with your preconceived notions. I can understand that religion is more prevalent amongst lower-income people, but what in the world does that have to do with good ideas?

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I can understand that religion is more prevalent amongst lower-income people, but what in the world does that have to do with good ideas?

 

The idea that the earth orbits the sun, and that species evolve via natural selection are both good ideas who's prevalence was hampered by religious dogma of the time, as was pointed out by iNow.

In modern times; the use of contraception to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is - in my opinion - a good idea. But the church discourages it's use, especially among poorer communities.

It would be a causative fallacy to say the 'Religion equals poverty'. More likely it is the case, that wealth enables people to educate themselves in a broader view of the world which leads to a disbelief in religious ideas.

However, the religious dogma which is imposed on the poor and blamelessly illiterate peoples of the world, demonstratively serves to keep them in such a state... For purposes one can only guess at.

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Um, how do you come to this conclusion?

It's based on several books and papers I've read over the past two decades. Right now, I'm in the middle of another called "The Science of Liberty" that quite articulately and convincingly (at least, according to my "preconceived notions" :rolleyes: ) makes the case that it was scientific thinking which preceded and led to thriving democracies. It makes the case that democracy and science are symbiotic... and that it is the anti-authoritarian and egalitarian nature of science that leads to the most successful societies where citizens are educated and more often than not fed and and healthy. Further, these societies which are themselves stifled and have their progress retarded when free inquiry is thwarted.

 

 

I can understand that religion is more prevalent amongst lower-income people, but what in the world does that have to do with good ideas?

Tom already made more explicit in his post what I only alluded to in mine. If you'd like me to elaborate further on anything specific, please just ask.

Edited by iNow
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Um, how do you come to this conclusion? It seems more one that is aligned with your preconceived notions. I can understand that religion is more prevalent amongst lower-income people, but what in the world does that have to do with good ideas?

 

There's a difference in organized religion when viewed from the POV of the masses vs those in power. Poor people embrace religion because (in part) of the reasons I already mentioned. But from the position of those running it, religion is a lot more involved in politics, controlling the people and perpetuating the power structure. Good ideas (from the perspective of the masses) can be suppressed if they challenge the hierarchy.

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A comment in another thread:

 

Wanted to comment on this without hijacking the thread in which it appeared

 

 

 

From the second link: One theory is that religion plays a more functional role in the world's poorest countries, helping many residents cope with a daily struggle to provide for themselves and their families.

 

I think that's true. If your life is hard, you can lean on religion and the thought that a better life awaits you.

Well, I wouldn't say so. A religion is for the afterlife, not our life here. Yeah, it's kind of true, but we should be religious no matter what kind of life we have.

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Well, I wouldn't say so. A religion is for the afterlife, not our life here. Yeah, it's kind of true, but we should be religious no matter what kind of life we have.

 

Doesn't the promise of an afterlife — if you're good, that is — affect out current existence? Does there actually have to be an afterlife for this to happen?

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Doesn't the promise of an afterlife — if you're good, that is — affect out current existence? Does there actually have to be an afterlife for this to happen?

I wouldn't say so. Not at all, all those questions answer false.

 

Why?

Because a religion is for the afterlife. If you're not religious, you burn for eturnity in the afterlife.

 

 

It would be a causative fallacy to say the 'Religion equals poverty'. More likely it is the case, that wealth enables people to educate themselves in a broader view of the world which leads to a disbelief in religious ideas.

No. If you educated your self consistantly, and constantly looked things trying to figure out if you should be a Christian, or not, you would turn to Christianity. So go ahead, if you wish, and see what I mean.

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Because a religion is for the afterlife. If you're not religious, you burn for eturnity in the afterlife.

I know that's what you believe, but there is zero evidence that an afterlife exists. Why should I bother with it? How is this comment from you any different than if I say, "If you don't believe that the farts of pink unicorns cause erections in leprechauns, you will burn for eternity?" It's not...

 

Also, you say that if I'm not religious I will burn for eternity. What if I'm buddhist? That's a religion. What about muslims? That's a religion. What if I'm shinto, or jainist, or any of the countless other religions? I suspect you think they'll all burn for eternity, too, simply because they've been born in a different part of the world than you, and simply because they were raised with different parents with different beliefs. When viewed in this way, it becomes clear that it is completely silly, and that anyone with any degree of self-respect would reject it for the ridiculous nonsense it is.

 

I wonder... Why would you intentionally choose to believe such a hateful set of fairy tales written thousands of years ago by some desert dwellers in the bronze age?

 

You say the bible is absolute truth, but others say their holy books are absolute truths. Clearly, one or both of you are wrong. The logical position, I'm afraid to say, is that you are both quite wrong, and neither are absolute truths.

 

Have you ever seen a list of the inconsistencies and falsehoods in the bible? There are quite a lot, and it's worth knowing about them before you surrender your freewill, your intellectual freedom, and your ability to reason like a mature human being.

 

If you're going to subject yourself to the fictional writings of a death cult who is obsessed with the end of the world, childrens genitals, and the ability to eat fish on Fridays or wear clothes made of different threads... a cult who claims you're living under the control of a cosmic dictator who says you're born evil and must beg forgiveness simply for existing... a magic sky pixie who convicts you of thought crimes and is responsible for enormous violence and division amongst humanity... You ought to AT LEAST spend some time learning about the problems in your magical book to ensure it's worth it.

 

 

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/abs/long.htm

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html

 

If you educated your self consistantly, and constantly looked things trying to figure out if you should be a Christian, or not, you would turn to Christianity. So go ahead, if you wish, and see what I mean.

What makes you think that I have not done this already, and as a result of that study found the christian set of beliefs to be absurd and a complete waste of my time?

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There's a difference in organized religion when viewed from the POV of the masses vs those in power. Poor people embrace religion because (in part) of the reasons I already mentioned. But from the position of those running it, religion is a lot more involved in politics, controlling the people and perpetuating the power structure. Good ideas (from the perspective of the masses) can be suppressed if they challenge the hierarchy.

 

Yes, I agree with your second sentence.

 

I disagree with your last sentence. I, and many other theists, do not care if a good idea challenges this magical hierarchy that you speak of. A good idea is a good idea, regardless of its origin or ramification on those who believe they are fit to lead.

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It's based on several books and papers I've read over the past two decades. Right now, I'm in the middle of another called "The Science of Liberty" that quite articulately and convincingly (at least, according to my "preconceived notions" :rolleyes: ) makes the case that it was scientific thinking which preceded and led to thriving democracies. It makes the case that democracy and science are symbiotic... and that it is the anti-authoritarian and egalitarian nature of science that leads to the most successful societies where citizens are educated and more often than not fed and and healthy. Further, these societies which are themselves stifled and have their progress retarded when free inquiry is thwarted.

 

...so why do you believe that modern Christianity stifles free inquiry?

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I think the scientific method is inherently dismissive of authority, quite anti-authoritarian actually. It relies on freedom to explore any idea, and requires authenticity and openness. It is itself a democratic process, wherein religion is often dictatorial and hierarchical... and even if it's not... it's most certainly not democratic and free.

 

Belief in the manner prescribed by most religions (my point was not specific to christianity) reduces and minimizes that freedom of exploration... and requires followers to submit to specific rules, guidelines and alignment with a prescribed set of beliefs. It rejects ideas that conflict with scripture, and suppresses work that implies flaws or contradicts the preacher.

Edited by iNow
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The idea that the earth orbits the sun, and that species evolve via natural selection are both good ideas who's prevalence was hampered by religious dogma of the time, as was pointed out by iNow.

In modern times; the use of contraception to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is - in my opinion - a good idea. But the church discourages it's use, especially among poorer communities.

Assuming we are talking about the Catholic church, its use is discouraged equally amongst the poor and the rich. There may be more poor who are affected by it, but not because of selective discouragement by the church.

 

It would be a causative fallacy to say the 'Religion equals poverty'. More likely it is the case, that wealth enables people to educate themselves in a broader view of the world which leads to a disbelief in religious ideas.

However, the religious dogma which is imposed on the poor and blamelessly illiterate peoples of the world, demonstratively serves to keep them in such a state... For purposes one can only guess at.

Well, the purpose is to save their souls of course. (whether or not that is the actual result)

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Religion is anathema to the heart of science... Free inquiry and openness to any idea. As I said initially, too often religious leaders bat down that which reduces their power.

 

There are numerous examples of this happening throughout history. Are you genuinely unaware of these?

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Yes, I agree with your second sentence.

 

I disagree with your last sentence. I, and many other theists, do not care if a good idea challenges this magical hierarchy that you speak of. A good idea is a good idea, regardless of its origin or ramification on those who believe they are fit to lead.

 

But those in the hierarchy care, even if it's something the masses consider good.

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Religion is anathema to the heart of science... Free inquiry and openness to any idea. As I said initially, too often religious leaders bat down that which reduces their power.

 

There are numerous examples of this happening throughout history. Are you genuinely unaware of these?

 

No. Which is why I said MODERN Christianity.

 

But those in the hierarchy care, even if it's something the masses consider good.

 

Can you please give me an example of this? I am unaware of any.

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No. Which is why I said MODERN Christianity.

Of course... It's that OTHER form of religion that does this. Yours does not... at least... not your personal interpretation of it, and that's all that matters. This is your argument? You personally don't feel that way, nor do those you happen to know, so religion as a whole does not? Seriously?

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Of course... It's that OTHER form of religion that does this. Yours does not... at least... not your personal interpretation of it, and that's all that matters. This is your argument? You personally don't feel that way, nor do those you happen to know, so religion as a whole does not? Seriously?

 

Yes. I am not aware of an outcry against scientific inquiry. Most everyone uses modern medicine, computers, and accept the discoveries of science.

 

Contraception involving chemistry or physics? The Catholic church only allows you to use math or Boolean logic.

 

It's a personal choice to use contraception. It's not a mandate made by the church. And some do not consider it a good idea. There are far more effective methods of population control. I'm not inclined to put contraceptions on the same level as evolution and the big bang theory.

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