The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby MikeN » 06 Jun 2012, 16:56

sandman wrote:
MikeN wrote:How many of those studies cover the United States only, where religion is the default position in society, and irreligious people tend to be outside the norm?

International comparisons clearly show the nations which are least religious have higher longevity, better health, lower poverty, less crime, more equality for women, higher educational standards etc.

I would dearly like to believe this, being as how I'm one of them godless heathens. But Fortigurn provided citations, so really, you need to do the same if you want to be taken seriously (well, if you take those mealy-mouthed academics seriously at all, that is). EYE believe you, because its in my best interests to do so, but others...


Sorry,thought that was one of those things so wellknownthat it didn't have to be shown.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/114211/alaba ... ommon.aspx

http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.ph ... erman_26_5

http://pocketcultures.com/2009/06/15/wh ... countries/

One point: there are two kinds of irreligious countries- ex-communist states, who had atheism thrust upon them, and "organically-grown" less-religious ones.

The latter group is basically Western Europe; the Old Commonwealth (Aus, NZ, Canada) ; East Asia (Japan, South Korea, Singapore, HK- Taiwan is quite religious, hard as that may be to believe)

Note the correlation also holds for US states; there's a reason Alabama and Mississippi are the buckles on the Bible Belt.

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com ... -s-states/

It would appear that one of the main correspondences is the amount on inequality in a society.

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com ... ligiosity/
http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com ... f-america/

which helps explain why the US is such an outlier.
Of course, there are historical factors that have to be included too. Just looking at Wiki, it suggests that one of the reasons why Estonia is the least religious country is that under domination by Germany in the 18th and 19th Century religion came to be associated with the German Lutheranism imposed on them.

Poland is so Catholic (though dropping) because Catholicism was associated with Polish national resistance to Germany (Lutheran) and Russia (Orthodox).

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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby Fortigurn » 06 Jun 2012, 17:32

Teddoman wrote:Yes but aren't a lot of those benefits attributable to:
1) participation in a social support group and the ongoing connectedness that it provides
2) having any strong coherent belief at all that guides one's life

Joining a religion to achieve all these benefits is like becoming a double marathon runner, even if it'll ruin one's knees hips and other joints before one turns 50, in order to achieve cardiovascular benefits, when one could easier achieve 75% of the same cardiovascular benefits by doing a short 30 minute daily gym workout.

Instead of becoming religious, maybe all you need to do is:
1) become close with your neighbors
2) volunteer for a cause, any cause


Please read the footnotes. You'll see comments such as these.


[7] ‘Overall, we find strong evidence that youth with religiously active parents are less affected later in life by childhood disadvantage than youth whose parents did not frequently attend religious services. These buffering effects of religious organizations are most pronounced when outcomes are measured by high school graduation or non-smoking and when disadvantage is measured by family resources or maternal education, but we also find buffering effects for a number of other outcome-disadvantage pairs. We generally find much weaker buffering effects for other social organizations.’, Dehejia et al., ‘The Role of Religious and Social Organizations in the Lives of Disadvantaged Youth’, NBER Working Paper No. 13369 (2007).


The fact is that religious groups tend to promote closer, deeper, longer, and more robust social ties than other social organizations. This is hardly surprising given the typical concerns and aims of religious groups and those who join them. People don't join chess clubs for spiritual and emotional fulfillment. Religion is a better social adhesive than other social bonding motives.

MikeN wrote:How many of those studies cover the United States only, where religion is the default position in society, and irreligious people tend to be outside the norm?


Many studies cover the US. Many other studies cover other countries. The consistency of the result is not debated in the scholarly literature; the correlation is cross-cultural.

International comparisons clearly show the nations which are least religious have higher longevity, better health, lower poverty, less crime, more equality for women, higher educational standards etc.


This is not surprising; there is plenty of evidence showing that devotion to specific forms of religiosity decline when specific quality of life criteria increase, and conversely devotion to specific forms of religiosity is higher among third world nations. This is completely different to saying (or implying), that standards of living decline as religiosity increases, or that decreasing levels of religiosity produces higher standards of living.

The fact is that none of the studies to which you linked actually contradict anything I wrote; the fine grained studies I cited are sound indicators of the favourable impact of religiosity on the individual and general society. By the way, Zuckerman writes for an agenda and typically does not provide fine grained data. For example, he'll tell you that Sweden has a very high percentage of non-believers and a very high standard of living, and will allow you to draw the apparently obvious conclusion; reducing national religiosity causes an increase in the standard of living (which isn't actually true).

He does tell you this, however.

A country's suicide rate stands out as the one indicator of societal health in which religious nations fare much better than secular nations. According to the 2003 World Health Organization's report on international male suicide rates (http://www.who.int/en/), the nations with the lowest rates of suicide were all highly religious, characterized by extremely high levels of theism (usually of the Muslim and Catholic varieties). Of the ten nations with the highest male suicide rates, five were distinctly irreligious nations ranked among the top twenty-five nations listed earlier. These five are Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Russia, and Slovenia. It is interesting to note that of the nations currently experiencing the highest rates of suicide-including the five just mentioned-nearly all are former Soviet/communist-dominated societies. (The nations of Scandinavia, where organic atheism is strongest, do not have the highest suicide rates in the world, as is widely thought to be the case.)


Naturally he skips over this point without further comment, despite the wealth of literature written on this particular subject.
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby Huseng » 06 Jun 2012, 19:52

Teddoman wrote:Instead of becoming religious, maybe all you need to do is:
1) become close with your neighbors
2) volunteer for a cause, any cause


Religions offer distilled wisdom, mystical yet rewarding experiences, deep-rooted communities that transcend ties and reliable fellowship.

In the case of religious traditions that provide meditation, there is the opportunity to cultivate mental stamina and address suffering at its root: the mind. This is perhaps the practical and experiential side to both Buddhism and to some degree Daoism that enables an individual to find relief from the pains of life in a way mundane life could never.
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby jimipresley » 06 Jun 2012, 20:00

Huseng wrote:
Religions offer distilled wisdom, mystical yet rewarding experiences, deep-rooted communities that transcend ties and reliable fellowship.

In the case of religious traditions that provide meditation, there is the opportunity to cultivate mental stamina and address suffering at its root: the mind. This is perhaps the practical and experiential side to both Buddhism and to some degree Daoism that enables an individual to find relief from the pains of life in a way mundane life could never.

Hogwash. You don't need religion to do that. :roll:
You can live here and have a great life and not be the least bit into living the local life. Clowns will try to diss you for it saying you gotta get down with the program, but fuck em, treat this place like a buffet and yous be on a diet. Take what you want and nothing extra, slam those oysters, but leave the bread sticks and dinner rolls behind. - Deuce Dropper

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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby Huseng » 06 Jun 2012, 20:11

jimipresley wrote:Hogwash. You don't need religion to do that. :roll:


To each their own.

In my experience here in Taiwan the Buddhists are some of the nicest and most generous people I've ever met. If I ever need anything, they'll damn near run to help me out. They even let me stay in their temple for months on end, eating three square meals a day, all without charge. If I ever became severely ill, I'm sure my fellow sangha members would be the first to assist me.

That kind of fellowship is worth a lot. I've never seen any other kind of community provide such loyal friendship and support. Greenpeace for example is a noble organization, but I don't think it does what a religious community can do.
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby jimipresley » 06 Jun 2012, 20:30

Huseng wrote:
In my experience here in Taiwan the Buddhists are some of the nicest and most generous people I've ever met. If I ever need anything, they'll damn near run to help me out. They even let me stay in their temple for months on end, eating three square meals a day, all without charge. If I ever became severely ill, I'm sure my fellow sangha members would be the first to assist me.


All cults/religions do that. It bolsters their numbers and gives them personal legitimacy.

Huseng wrote:That kind of fellowship is worth a lot. I've never seen any other kind of community provide such loyal friendship and support.


Um. Friends and family?

Maybe I'm just lucky that I don't need to run to metaphysics and dogma to find loyal friendship, support and community.
You can live here and have a great life and not be the least bit into living the local life. Clowns will try to diss you for it saying you gotta get down with the program, but fuck em, treat this place like a buffet and yous be on a diet. Take what you want and nothing extra, slam those oysters, but leave the bread sticks and dinner rolls behind. - Deuce Dropper

I'm much more of a nasty rotter in real life, especially with vapid or vacuous verbiage from the ill read & intellectually challenged. - TheGingerMan

Don't be a cheap cunt. - Deuce Dropper

People are stupid everywhere, but there's something childlike and adorable about Taiwanese stupidity. - rowland
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby divea » 06 Jun 2012, 20:42

jimipresley wrote:
Maybe I'm just lucky that I don't need to run to metaphysics and dogma to find loyal friendship, support and community.

Yeah a bottle of whiskey gets you all that easily and tomato soup gets you sex. Not everyone is THAT blessed!
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby Huseng » 06 Jun 2012, 20:54

jimipresley wrote:Maybe I'm just lucky that I don't need to run to metaphysics and dogma to find loyal friendship, support and community.


I rejoice in your happiness. Not all of us are so blessed with wisdom.
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby jimipresley » 06 Jun 2012, 21:11

Huseng wrote:
jimipresley wrote:Maybe I'm just lucky that I don't need to run to metaphysics and dogma to find loyal friendship, support and community.


I rejoice in your happiness. Not all of us are so blessed with wisdom.

Nobody/nothing "blessed" me, mate. And I'm certainly not wise. I simply don't need blokes in orange robes waking up at 4 in the morning to chant obscure mantras guiding me towards friendship, loyalty and community.

But I can understand how some people feel the need to gravitate towards that.
You can live here and have a great life and not be the least bit into living the local life. Clowns will try to diss you for it saying you gotta get down with the program, but fuck em, treat this place like a buffet and yous be on a diet. Take what you want and nothing extra, slam those oysters, but leave the bread sticks and dinner rolls behind. - Deuce Dropper

I'm much more of a nasty rotter in real life, especially with vapid or vacuous verbiage from the ill read & intellectually challenged. - TheGingerMan

Don't be a cheap cunt. - Deuce Dropper

People are stupid everywhere, but there's something childlike and adorable about Taiwanese stupidity. - rowland
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby Huseng » 06 Jun 2012, 21:15

jimipresley wrote:
Huseng wrote:
jimipresley wrote:Maybe I'm just lucky that I don't need to run to metaphysics and dogma to find loyal friendship, support and community.


I rejoice in your happiness. Not all of us are so blessed with wisdom.

Nobody/nothing "blessed" me, mate. And I'm certainly not wise. I simply don't need blokes in orange robes waking up at 4 in the morning to chant obscure mantras guiding me towards friendship, loyalty and community.

But I can understand how some people feel the need to gravitate towards that.


Ultimately the whole point of people in orange robes waking up at four in the morning is identifying the causes of suffering and eradicating them.

Individual mileage will vary.
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