For this post, again, the word ‘crime’ is loosely defined to include obvious crimes, and does not include things like marijuana, j-walking or software piracy.
Someone pointed out about my recent article, 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime, that I am making an unfair assumption that crime doesn’t pay, therefore assuming that crime is not logical and that logical-minded individuals are less likely to commit it. I’d like to take this opportunity to present my evidence that, with a few exceptions, crimes like murder, rape, burglary and assault, are not logical and are rarely the actions of a logically thinking individual.
First, the vast majority of the population from the western world to African tribes agrees that rape, murder, assault and burglary (or similar forms of personal-property violations depending on their culture) are morally wrong. All these different people from wildly different cultures all came to the same conclusions. This indicates either that non-violence is inherently logical, or that we have a genetic predisposition to viewing these things as immoral. Personally I believe it’s a little of both. Even rapists and murderers tend to agree that rape and murder is morally wrong, as they most likely formed their moral beliefs while thinking logically, but committed their crimes while following their passion, or what some might call ‘faith’.
Some might argue that crime really does pay. Perhaps in some cases, white collar crime does pay, but for the majority of crimes for which people are sent to prison, no they certainly do not pay. I did a blog post a few months ago on a video about crack capitalism that presented some statistics showing that not only do crack dealers on average make less than minimum wage, they also have a shorter life expectancy than people on death row. Considering the sacrifices they’re making, I wouldn’t say it’s paying off for them. The profit/danger ratio is probably a little better for a car thief or something, but it’s still not nearly as good as someone working in an office or even someone working the McDonald’s drive-through. People may be caught up in the fantasy of becoming a rich gangster, but I think the more someone is devoted to logic, the more likely they are to see that they have a significantly better chance at becoming rich and successful in the legitimate world than they do at becoming a rich, successful criminal.
And that’s just talking about the logical profit-danger ratio. The true fighter of crime in our society is guilt. Guilt may be an emotion, but if we look at it logically, we know that we either can’t escape it or we’ll spend precious mental energy trying to escape it. Either way, a life of crime is not going to pay off in an emotionally and spiritually satisfying life.
Then there’s the social aspect of being a criminal. If you look at it logically, being a criminal will not get you as much respect in society, will add stresses between friends and family, unwanted drama, etc.
So if our ultimate goal is happiness and a fulfilling life, crime just does not pay on a purely logical basis.
Here are a few more blog posts about my theory that religion promotes crime:
New study raises questions about religion as deterrent against criminal behaviour
Religion vs Methamphetamines
Masturbation, Homosexuality, and Christian Impostors
Atheists Don't Believe in Love?
Religious Criminals are Liars?
Response to 22 Ways
Even More Atheist-Theist Debate
More Atheist-Theist Debate
Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment
About My Page, 22 Ways