The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby jimipresley » 06 Jun 2012, 21:20

Huseng wrote:
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.

Pray tell: why can't people in jeans and bomber jackets wake up at one in the afternoon and identify the causes of suffering and eradicate them?
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby finley » 06 Jun 2012, 21:24

identifying the causes of suffering and eradicating them.

Problem there is, that the main cause of suffering in the world is usually other people wearing silly clothes - typically epaulettes, ray-bans, and (optionally) enormous hats. I suggest the most likely people to eradicate them wouldn't be wearing orange robes.
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby Huseng » 06 Jun 2012, 22:10

jimipresley wrote:
Huseng wrote:
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.

Pray tell: why can't people in jeans and bomber jackets wake up at one in the afternoon and identify the causes of suffering and eradicate them?


It requires dissatisfaction with ordinary life, which is why renunciation from ordinary life and all the obstructions and problems that come with it is necessary. The ordinary way of life perpetuates suffering and plants further seeds for it.

If you have no interest in such things, that's your right, but then many many individuals find deep satisfaction and liberation in religious practice (the robes, stoic lifestyles and meditation) as well as meditation. This has been the case historically as well. If it wasn't traditions like Buddhism, Jainism and some forms of Daoism for example wouldn't exist anymore.

You might think it all nonsense, but plenty of people clearly see value in such practices and derive great satisfaction from it.
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby jimipresley » 06 Jun 2012, 22:16

Huseng wrote:
It requires dissatisfaction with ordinary life, which is why renunciation from ordinary life and all the obstructions and problems that come with it is necessary. The ordinary way of life perpetuates suffering and plants further seeds for it.

Oh. Epiphany! :bravo:

Is that why when the young buddhist monks get on an MRT, all of the old people stand up for them and they graciously take those seats with their charming, unordinary unobstructed renunciation and proceed to play on their smart phones while the old people stand? Utter brilliance! :notworthy:

"Renunciation", my big, fat bum-bum! :roflmao:
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby Huseng » 06 Jun 2012, 22:25

jimipresley wrote:Is that why when the young buddhist monks get on an MRT, all of the old people stand up for them and they graciously take those seats with their charming, unordinary unobstructed renunciation and proceed to play on their smart phones while the old people stand? Utter brilliance! :notworthy:

"Renunciation", my big, fat bum-bum! :roflmao:


That's institutionalized monasticism, not renunciation.
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby MikeN » 06 Jun 2012, 23:27

Fortigurn wrote:
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.

]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.


Which ones? Facts, please. Evidence, not empty assertions

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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby MikeN » 06 Jun 2012, 23:35

I know this is something you don't like to do, but a simple answer to what I asked would be nice, since you don't provide links: how many of those studies are from the US only, how many are from other countries?

If that's too difficult, please say so.
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby Teddoman » 06 Jun 2012, 23:52

Fortigurn wrote:
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.

Well, I see your point. Religion certainly seems to be a major adhesive, I can see it even in my own neighborhood where I can see how my religious friends seem to have such warm connections with their own religious community. And that's certainly been my impression over the years. In fact, I've often heard of people just joining churches so they can belong to the social group, even if they don't really take the religion stuff all that seriously.

I guess the question is why does do a bunch of people have to start believing in some diety and get together in a big room and chant and read from an old book in order to have supportive and fulfilling friendships? I wonder if groups like the Society for Ethical Culture have been able to replicate the community aspect without taking on the religious baggage. Maybe someone needs to form a Society for Fulfilling Secular Friendships and see if that catches on. :)
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby Fortigurn » 07 Jun 2012, 10:10

MikeN wrote:I know this is something you don't like to do,


That is a lie.

...but a simple answer to what I asked would be nice, since you don't provide links: how many of those studies are from the US only, how many are from other countries?

If that's too difficult, please say so.


I answered your original question as I understood it. Are you now saying your original question was intended to mean 'How many of the studies cited in that post of yours are from the US only'? Can I be clear on whether or not you're disputing the scholarly consensus on this topic? If you aren't, your question is irrelevant. If you are, then you need to start providing evidence for your assertions. I have provided abundant evidence for everything I have written. If you had bothered to read the footnotes as I asked you to, your question would have been unnecessary.

Edit: Why don't I just cut to the chase and do the reading for you?

Studies cited in my post which were conducted using US data:

* Zuckerman et al. (1984)
* Freeman (1986)
* Ellison & George (1994)
* Strawbridge et al. (1997)
* Pearse & Axinn (1998)
* Hummer et al. (1999)
* Regnerus (2000, 2003)
* Bartowski et al. (2000)
* Muller & Ellison (2001)
* Waite & Lehrer (2003)
* Dehejia et al. (2007)
* Mochon, Norton, & Ariely (2011)

Studies cited in my post which were conducted using international data:

* Barro & McLeary (2002); cross-country analysis
* Baier & Wright (2001); meta-analysis of 60 studies in different countries
* Ruiter and De Graaf (2006); analysis of data from 53 countries
* Shariff & Norenzayan (2007); analysis of data from over 100 countries
* Mochon, Norton, & Ariel (2010); conducted a US based study but cite corroborative international studiesd Ellison (2001)

Teddoman wrote:I guess the question is why does do a bunch of people have to start believing in some diety and get together in a big room and chant and read from an old book in order to have supportive and fulfilling friendships?


They don't. However, the social benefits of doing so are significantly greater for religious groups than for other social groups. The reasons for this are manifold, and the literature on the subject is vast. A few key points commonly agreed on, such as that religious groups typically promote risk minimization behaviours to an extent secular counterparts do not.

I wonder if groups like the Society for Ethical Culture have been able to replicate the community aspect without taking on the religious baggage. Maybe someone needs to form a Society for Fulfilling Secular Friendships and see if that catches on. :)


People have been trying this since at least the community based secular clubs of the Greeks and Romans. I recommend yet again 'Religion for Atheists' by de Botton.
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Re: The 'Benefits of Religion' Thread

Postby Teddoman » 07 Jun 2012, 21:52

Fortigurn wrote:They don't. However, the social benefits of doing so are significantly greater for religious groups than for other social groups. The reasons for this are manifold, and the literature on the subject is vast. A few key points commonly agreed on, such as that religious groups typically promote risk minimization behaviours to an extent secular counterparts do not.

Risk minimization behaviors, such as abstinence until marriage? I don't understand how that promotes group cohesiveness.
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