Tag Archives: religion promotes crime

New study raises questions about religion as deterrent against criminal behaviour

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/national/study

Interesting article about a study showing that religion might be counter-productive to crime prevention. This was posted by a reader on my 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime page. I’m glad people are finally acknowledging this, but I have a few complaints about the article, like how it implies that only criminals have distorted views on religion, as though the normal religious folks are in complete agreement. I’m sure the author and the researchers were being careful not to offend anyone, but this article tries to imply that this is not a symptom of a fundamental issue with religion, but rather a minor detail that’s not being handled properly in our prisons, but then fails to explain how religion actually has a positive effect. It quotes the study, “faith-based programs work best in reducing recidivism when done in conjunction with educational, vocational and life-skills training,” and this makes sense, much like how chicken-fried steak is great for weight loss when done in conjunction with vigorous exercise.

Religion vs Methamphetamines

Got a response on my Religion Promotes Crime page.

Hi, Folks!
We all need to be open-minded and avoid being a bigot and an attitude of a doctrinaire.
As a free-thinker, I believe it’s one’s upbringing, surroundings, mind-frame, outlook and attitude that decides and determines one’s lifestyle and future.
Any Religion, for that matter, is not at all to blamed for all the evils that exists or are committed by individuals. As such, you cannot generalize on any count.
Every Religion, without any exception, teaches and preaches humanitarian values that lead to welfare of mankind and every society.
All Religions’ teachings are ethical and spread moralism.
God’s blessings on Patriarch Abraham, Lord Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohammad, Lord Buddha, Lord Zoroaster, Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord Baha’ Ullah, Lord Nanak Devji, Lord Mahavir!
Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Bahaism, all are good Religions, leading you, ultimately, to the same God-Rabb-Elohim-Allah-Khuda-Yazdaan-Bhagwaan-Eshwar-Deo-Dei, all leading us to the same path of peace and propagating humanity.
Please don’t blame the Religions, blame your own misunderstanding and lack of awareness, your mental level, as you are unable to grasp and understand the true meaning and message of the Holy teachings of all Religions.
I shall do a treatise on this subject, later on, in more details.
Hope, for the time being, this shall be a food for thought.
God bless ye all!

And this is my reply:

Free thinkers decide their lifestyle and future based on facts, science, and real-world cause and effect, not on what they’ve been told or what makes them feel comfortable within their culture.

If I wrote an article about methamphetamine and point out that meth users statistically commit more crime, does that make me bigoted toward meth users? No. If I met a meth user and automatically assumed he was a thief, that would be bigotry on my part. I do not do that. I also do not automatically assume every religious person is a criminal. That would be bigotry. But simply pointing out logical cause-and-effect and showing statistics cannot be construed as bigotry. It’s a very manipulative argument that you’ve made, trying to paint yourself as a victim because real-world facts don’t match your world view. I am not under any obligation to ignore reality to make you feel better.

You say, “All Religions’ teachings are ethical and spread moralism.” but notice how you’ve offered not one piece of evidence to support this. Not one statistic about religious individuals, not one example of real-world cause and effect. Not even a personal anecdote. I could just as easily say “meth addiction promotes ethical behavior and moralism. Every meth lab, without exception, provides humanitarian values that lead to welfare of mankind and every society.”
That statement I just made has the exact same validity as yours because neither of us has offered a single piece of evidence.

Masturbation, Homosexuality, and Christian Impostors

Here’s another comment made on my 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime page. He also made some other comments, which I addressed in my three previous blog posts.

What you call Christians are not exactly Christians, since they have been raised by atheists in the American school systems and indoctrinated with atheistic propaganda. They are a kind of Chimera.

This can explain why especially American Christians are often not internally coherent in their moral logic. However, I must say that many things you defend are equally inconsistent with sound reasoning.

Masturbation, while enjoyable to many, is a detriment to creation of family, a biological necessity. Fertility rates decrease during a time when one masturbates regularly.

Homosexuality, while compelling for many, is likewise a detriment for similar reasons to masturbation, though without the decrease in fertility. However, if you are taking on the feminine role in the relationship the estrogen levels can be driven quite high, suppressing the testosterone and consequently diminishing the fertility – not that it matters, since it is not so likely a homosexual will take the opportunity to procreate with a woman.

The biological necessity as an organism to procreate is about as materialistic as you can get. Yet, many materialists denigrate its significance in order to protect their views that homosexuality should be protected – chiefly because it is a stand that brings in supporters against their hated opponents, Christians.

What do you think?

And my response:

I think it’s a pretty convenient argument to make whenever a Christian behaves in an immoral manner, you just say, “Oh, well that wasn’t a real Christian.” It pretty much guarantees that you can do no wrong. Too bad nobody ever points out the fake Christians before they do something awful.

Now, if you think all the immoral behavior seen in Christians is actually coming from atheist propaganda, then that’s a testable theory. If you were to analyze all the Christians who were home-schooled under a purely Christian mode of thinking, do you really think the statistics would be any different? Do you really think they’d be dramatically more moral than their atheist or fake-Christian counterparts?

And if atheist propaganda is so evil and corrupting, then why aren’t atheists committing more crime?

——————

So, masturbation and homosexuality are wrong because they diminish our ability to procreate? Are you worried that these things will take over society and everyone will stop having straight sex? Even if that were even remotely possible, what would stop people from loving babies and consciously wanting more of them or wanting to continue the species?

Are you seriously afraid human beings will stop making babies and go extinct because we’re masturbating or having too much gay sex, or are you simply grasping for straws in your argument? I mean, lets be honest, you know you first decided that homosexuality and masturbation were wrong, then you came up with these arguments to justify your opinion.

If procreation is so important, why are religions not opposed to other things that reduce procreation, such as birth control? I’m sure there’s a lot of food additives out there that reduce our fertility more than homosexuality, so why doesn’t the church ever take issue with things of that nature? Why are people who choose not to have children not considered evil too?

And why is procreation so important anyway? Are you not aware of the overpopulation issues on our planet, the fact that a billion people struggle for food every day and live packed into endless cities, or the fact that many unwanted children are roaming the streets? Why are homosexuals and masturbators so evil for not contributing to these problems?

——————-

Now, this talk about feminine relationship roles and estrogen levels kind of surprised me. Do you actually have any gay friends? Have you read about studies on homosexuality? I would be very curious to hear what you actually have to support your estrogen levels theory.

——————–

And in your last paragraph, you pull out that “materialism” word again, which seems to be a subtle way of demonizing us, implying that we don’t care about anything other than physical objects. I don’t think it’s fair to be labeled something I am not.

I’d never heard of materialism until I was accused a few months ago of believing in it, so I don’t know much about it. From what I’ve seen, however, it seems to be a simple physics theory that helps us understand how the universe works. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with moral values or what people should or shouldn’t value on a human level. You’re taking a simple theory regarding physics and blowing it up into something that tells us what values we should hold as human beings.

Now, you ended by claiming that atheists are hateful toward Christians. Admittedly there is some truth in this. You must understand that many atheists have been deeply hurt by religion, possibly because they were religious themselves, or were influenced by religion, and it drove them to make poor life choices, such as myself, or because they were hurt by someone trusted in the faith, or because someone they knew did something horrible in the name of religion, or because they watched it destroy someone’s life.

However, we don’t wish anyone to be punished for their beliefs the way many wish hell on us. Threatening someone with hell and wishing them to suffer for all eternity is deeply hurtful and can be worse than threatening someone with a knife, and if hell is actually real, then it is significantly worse. I don’t see atheists using fear in that way. We also don’t purposefully try to hurt feelings the way religious individuals call us abominations and claim we’re in league with Satan or say that love drives us insane. Some of us can be hateful toward religion, true, but for the most part, we are not hateful toward the people involved in religion. We see you as victims, not as hated enemies.

 



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
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
Crime is not Logical
About My Page, 22 Ways

Atheists Don’t Believe in Love?

The last two days I’ve posted a couple responses to comments made by the same reader, on my page, 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime. Here’s  one responding to some of the individual points I made, and then another one relating to the statistics I quoted that show prisons are incredibly packed with religious people. Here’s another of his comments, followed by my response.

The stability of a person’s personality in response to moral dilemma’s is dependent on whether they are willing and able to change their behavior to match the moral expectations.

If they cannot or are ultimately unwilling to conform to their view of moral requirements, even if the unwillingness is at a subconscious level, then they must adjust in other ways. There is contradiction, which indicates a logical adherence in the first place, and negates some of your previous arguments.

It is true that some of these people go mad. It is similarly true that many atheists have gone mad due to incoherence of their materialistic views of people and others’ persistent love towards them. Love drives atheists mad.

I’d agree with your first statement, though I don’t understand how it’s relevant. I believe religion affects a person’s willingness and ability to change their behavior.

Now, in your second paragraph, you kind of lost me. Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re trying to say. What contradiction are you talking about? Is it based on the theory you present in the third paragraph…

…and your third paragraph just blew me away. You seem to be claiming that atheists don’t believe in love. “Love drives atheists mad”, you say.

Seriously? I don’t even know how to respond to that.

But I’ll try.

You accused me of using a straw man argument in a previous comment, but take a look at your assertion of our “materialistic views” and your theory that atheists can’t understand why people feel love. I mean, talk about changing your opponent’s viewpoint to something easier to attack! I fear the real issue may be that you can’t understand or feel love without connecting it to your God, and simply assume that no one else can either.

I’ve never claimed to be a materialist. I don’t know any atheists who have claimed to be materialists. This is a term that at this point is intended to demonize a segment of the population more than it is an actual description of a viewpoint. The idea of materialism may be important when getting physics to work, but that doesn’t mean it applies to moral behavior or emotions. Don’t assume that we only care about material things and that love isn’t important to us, simply because we don’t have grand, supernatural fantasies to explain our emotions. We feel just as much as anyone else. We love just as much as anyone else. We have just as much passion, compassion, and drive for life as anyone else. Our relationships are just as successful. Our marriages last just as long (slightly longer according to some studies). We create just as amazing artwork. And we strive, just as much as anyone else, to make the world a better place.



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
Religious Criminals are Liars?
Response to 22 Ways
Even More Atheist-Theist Debate
More Atheist-Theist Debate
Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment
Crime is not Logical
About My Page, 22 Ways

Religious Criminals are Liars?

Yesterday I posted a response to a comment made by a reader on my 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime page. He made a few other comments on the page, so here they are, followed by my responses:

You also ignore the prison ministries that have tried to change prisoners’ attitudes toward life. Many of them become Christians in order to convince the parole board they have changed. They hope to be let out sooner than expected. When they poll religious views of prisoners they all say they are innocent of their crimes and they suddenly believe in God. So the point you’ve made is absurd.

Well, I think you ignored the second little statistic at the top of the page that talked about religious training. This is referring to religious training as children, before they ever became criminals.

You say that prison ministries are trying to change attitudes, but the statistics show that people are more likely to recommit after being in prison, so they’re not doing the greatest job of it, and yet churches everywhere continue to claim that religion makes you a better person.

You then say that many become Christians to appeal to the parole board, but in your previous comment you claimed that our prisons are controlled by atheists and they heavily discriminate against theists, which accounts for the statistics. If this were true, why would these prisoners be doing this?

If you talk to prisoners you find that, for many of them, religion is all they have, and it means a tremendous amount to them. It’s hard to fake that. Even if they were faking it, they would still be surrounded by religion. They’d still have to read the books and attend church to keep up the facade. If religion is really so affective at making people good, wouldn’t all that religious immersion have at least some positive affect on them?

Now, this is totally unrelated and irrelevant to this conversation, but I had to throw in the point that, for a criminal looking for parole, joining a religion and claiming innocence are two very different things. I don’t see how a parole board is going to want to parole someone who is obviously guilty, but still in denial. It seems like the prisoners would be shooting themselves in the foot by claiming innocence. I personally think it’s likely that there’s more innocent prisoners admitting guilt for the sake of the parole board than guilty people claiming innocence.

However, your point here is a real world, testable defense, and I like that. If this were true, we could confirm it scientifically with further testing.

——————————————

I think your reaction to the statistics at the top is an emotional one, so lets try looking at this in a hypothetical, less emotional context.

Let’s say you’ve got a multi-billion dollar, international company that sells nothing but products that prevent cancer. Most people in the world believe they work. The scientists that tested the products all believe they work, and they have a number of chemical and logical formulas to back up their assumptions.

But then, once deployed into the real world, a few people start doing statistical analysis of the people using these products and finds that on average, they are actually more likely to gain cancer, not less, at least from a statistical perspective.

The company would then make defenses. “The test group wasn’t large enough”, “the analysts were biased”, “those people were all living under power lines”, “they weren’t using the products properly.” They’d have explanations for these statistics, and many of them would be convincing. However, neither the company nor its loyal customers are able to provide any other statistics to counter the originals, nor can they produce any solid evidence that their explanations are correct.

Now, would it be ethical at this point to simply write off these statistical findings as irrelevant and rely on the data that came from the labs or the company’s advertising, or our inherent belief that these products work?

No. These are people’s lives we’re talking about here. If there’s any evidence that these products don’t do what they claim to, we have a moral obligation to explore more deeply, to do everything we can to produce real world, confirmable evidence, and to really address the issue, rather than just attacking people who bring it up and sweeping it under the rug.



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?
Response to 22 Ways
Even More Atheist-Theist Debate
More Atheist-Theist Debate
Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment
Crime is not Logical
About My Page, 22 Ways

Response to 22 Ways

I received a few comments the other day on my page 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime and I’d like to respond to some of this person’s points. I added the numbers to his paragraphs to more easily reference them in my response.

1) Do you know how cliche this is?

2) Your use of statistics is ridiculous. If a law is controlled by antagonists of religion then many practitioners of religion will be in prison and many who are opposed to religion (atheists) will be free.

3) Your first point shows your argument is weak by the fact that you do not accurately represent your opponent’s viewpoint. It is a straw man you are attacking, not an actual practice. Therefore, your point is empty.

4) The second point shows similar weaknesses in your argument, though you are starting to espouse your worldview at this point. We see that you are a materialist, which in itself is untenable. You must turn off your compassion switch for others to redefine such abstractions and invisibles as Love in materialist terms of chemicals and neurons firing.

5) The third point is a very good point, indeed! There are many, not only religious adherents, who believe this. Atheists have been just as guilty. Consider the Socialist Communist movements that led up to Soviet Communism. Lenin had the same feelings about a grand scheme, related to the flow of inevitable events of the universe. In his case, time proved him right, though temporarily so.

6) In point number four you return to that weakness again. You obviously have not stepped inside a church and listened to your opponent since about the 1960′s have you?

7) Point 5 is more futility based on your straw man. It also reveals your narrow definition of logic. To have prioritized dependencies on the origins of morally causal relationships does not exclude logic, but deepens it to a realistic model of the world. So having a view of a reward and a punishment from a higher being than us actually emulates the society we have built anyway. The metaphorical modeling, whether religion models our society or society models our religion, it works. What doesn’t work is the pressure put on a majority of people when the system they live in tries to ignore their practices as a legitimate expression of life. It always erupts into social upheaval.

8 ) I doubt you will approve my comment and it is probably too long to post. So this is likely a waste of time. Likewise, my experience with atheists and antagonists of religion is that they are too narrow minded to allow opposing views. It is fear that drives them to do it.

9) What do you think?

And my response:

1) I think calling this page cliche is more of an attempt to discourage people from talking about these issues than it is a real rebuttal. Being cliche isn’t relevant to whether or not these theories are true. The image of a beer drinking football fan is cliche too, but that doesn’t mean football fans don’t drink beer.

For me, however, this isn’t cliche. It’s not like I copied my theories from anywhere. I wrote this page long before I had ever read any atheist blogs, articles or books.

I was in my early twenties before I realized these statistics existed. I had always assumed prisons were full of mostly atheists, since I had always been told that religion makes you a better person. It never occurred to me that people would be so irresponsible as to claim something prevents crime without statistical or at the very least, anecdotal evidence.

2) So basically you’re saying that our laws in America are almost entirely controlled by atheists–despite the fact that the majority of the population is Christian–and that we atheists are so biased and hateful toward theists that we can somehow get away with discriminating against them to absurd levels? What about all the judges and police who are Christians? They’re incriminating the same ratios of people. You’re not going to convince me of anything by throwing out a massive, unconfirmed conspiracy theory.

3) So if I understand you, you’re saying that religions don’t teach the idea that hell is where ‘evil’ people or people of the wrong religion go to suffer? People talk about hell all the time. I see signs in front of churches threatening it. I’ve had friends tell me I was going to burn there because of my beliefs. It sounds like your church might not teach this kind of thing, as I know many do not, and I’m glad. I respect that. I’m not attacking those churches in that particular point. I’m not claiming these 22 points apply in an absolute manner to all religions, but you can’t deny that many churches do teach this concept of hell and the religious community as a whole doesn’t do much to try to convince them to stop.

4) Now, with this, I think you took issue with the fact that I mentioned neurons firing in the brain. Being aware that emotions exist as chemicals and electrical impulses in the brain does absolutely nothing to dampen those emotions. If anything it heightens human emotions and the magic of our existence because you realize it’s all born out of millions of years of the beautiful symphony that is evolution, and that it’s so fragile that we can’t afford to take it for granted. I have too much passion and compassion to be willing to dumb down this massive, mind-bogglingly amazing system of our lives, to something as simple as, “This awesome guy up in heaven made it.”

5) I don’t see how a real atheist could get caught up in any kind of great plan, unless it was something admittedly man made like a government plan. Anything “related to the flow of inevitable events of the universe” is not an atheistic belief. Thats one of the things we specifically don’t believe in is “inevitable events of the universe”, at least when it comes to human issues. It’s true that a few atheists have gotten involved in some nasty government related things, but the atheism was not a motivating factor. Just because a few people have done something wrong doesn’t excuse churches from promoting that same wrongdoing, particularly when they are claiming that they prevent said wrongdoing.

6) Again, I’m not talking about all churches here. Many don’t promote the concept of hell, and again, I respect that and this point is not directed at them. However, it’s very common to hear from people of many different religions that hell is necessary for a moral society.

7) So I’m not sure if I follow what you’re saying in this one. In paragraph 3 and 6 of your comments, you seem to be saying that I’m ignorant for thinking that religions teach that hell is a place of punishment for bad people. Then here in #7 you refer to that ignorance again, but then you tell me that a punishment in the afterlife works very well to keep society in order. You’re promoting the very thing you claim religions do not promote… unless I completely misunderstood what you were saying in 3 and 6.

So you’re saying here that the “metaphorical modeling” of heaven and hell, “works”. Unfortunately, I think the statistics at the top of the page kind of fly in the face of that statement. Admittedly, those statistics could be biased, confused, or otherwise incorrect, but you’ve offered no examples, statistics, or even anecdotal evidence to support your assertion that a religious system works. All you seem to be going on is the fact that you believe it intensely and that many others do too. Show me some real-world evidence. The proof is in the pudding.

Then your final comment in this paragraph also caught me: “…the system they live in tries to ignore their practices as a legitimate expression of life…” This reminds me very much of all the times I’ve seen atheists called abominations and the times I’ve been told I would burn in hell for what I believe.

8 ) Of course I approved your post, and thankfully the hamsters on the wheels powering the GoDaddy servers were not too tired that day and the script did not crash when you tried to post. And no, this was not a waste of time. I assure you that I’m very flattered you took so much time and effort in your response, and I do appreciate it.

I’ll also say that it’s not fear that drives me to do all this, but compassion for all the people I’ve known, including myself, who were hurt or even killed by religion. If I was afraid of something, I’d keep my mouth shut and just go with the flow.

9) I think you’re a very intelligent person and I’ve enjoyed this debate session (perhaps another will be coming tomorrow regarding another of your comments.) I think you could greatly benefit from exploring skepticism or agnosticism, perhaps even atheism, on a personal level. Get to know what it actually feels like to be one of us, in the same way that I took a couple years in my early twenties to vehemently believe in God and explore that part of me.

 



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?
Even More Atheist-Theist Debate
More Atheist-Theist Debate
Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment
Crime is not Logical
About My Page, 22 Ways

Even More Atheist-Theist Debate

This is a continuation from yesterday’s post, More Atheist – Theist Debate. Here’s what he had to say about my response:
You responded:”That’s interesting you say, “That stuff is messed up” but that kind of ‘determinism’ is a very common way that Christians see it, and it seems to me that the more devoted a Christian is, the more likely they are to see it that way. I always hear that people should ‘just have faith’ and trust in God and ‘God works in mysterious ways’. I simply took those concepts to their logical conclusion and came to what you called ‘determinism’.”

^ That view of God and “providence” is prevalent, but totally baseless. It’s often the theology of self-consumed “Christians”, who thing the world revolves around them. I find theistic determinism (i.e. classical theism/calvinism) to be even more disturbing then materialistic determinism.

You also commented:”Moral values are one of the things that motivates me to be an Atheist, because when you place all your moral willpower on an invisible Guy In The Sky, the moment you have a little doubt in His existence, your whole moral structure collapses, and you fail to recognize the myriad of biological, emotional, spiritual and logical reasons to be a good person.”
I agree with you that it is (typically) advantageous to “be good” or “do good”, both personally and societally. I believe is good because it IS good, not simply because “God” says it’s good. And I agree with you, people’s decision to do good should be based on their desire for mutual good for all (i.e. their character and compassion/love for others). And I think that many atheists know and do what is right because I think that everyone has been given the grace to discern both good and evil to a greater extent (i.e. conscience).But the flip side of this (like I was mentioning before) is that if there is no “God” and we’re not “accountable” for what we do in this life, then why not do whatever the hell ya want. Maybe Stalin and Manson have it right… Do whatever the hell you want before ya die! Cause it’s all meaningless anyways.

So I replied with:

Okay, you said “I find theistic determinism (i.e. classical theism/calvinism) to be even more disturbing then materialistic determinism.” and that’s cool, but you’re acting as though your disagreement with them somehow means that I shouldn’t be counting them as Christians. If you’re defending Christianity as a whole, you need to accept that there are many Christians who don’t see things exactly the same way you do. You can’t just say that they don’t count because you happen to disagree with some of the details. They’re still coming from the same holy book and the same network of churches.

When you mentioned Stalin, I could have used the same argument. I mean, my website clearly shows that I disagree with Stalin on a fundamental level. I believe that atheism is about (or at least should be about) more than just not believing in God. It’s about replacing your God-based decision making structure with something based on logic, reason, compassion, and of course, science, and it’s about not having blind faith in un-proven concepts. Stalin didn’t really use good psychological science in his overall policy of forcing atheism on people. I mean, you can’t use brute force to affect people’s feelings. It just doesn’t work and basic psychology would have told him that. He supposedly also rejected the theory of evolution, which seems to be a standard atheist rallying point. By this argument, I could say Stalin was not a true atheist, so he doesn’t count. But that would be unfair to the argument, and that would be me simply trying to avoid the real issue of the example of an atheist doing horrible things.

And for your comment, “if there is no “God” and we’re not “accountable” for what we do in this life, then why not do whatever the hell ya want”, I have a few responses.

First, is that this seems like a nice theory, but without real-world examples or statistics, it’s still just a theory. If it were really true, we’d be seeing it happening, and we’d see many violent criminals who don’t have any faith in God, but we don’t.

This may still be a viable theory, however, and I believe it probably is true to a certain extent, particularly with people who are raised on a God-based moral structure, then for some reason suddenly lose their faith in God when they don’t have time to re-evaluate their moral code and motivations. However, if you’ve read my page 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime, I have 22 counter-theories that I think turn the scales in the other direction.

Third is that many religions, including Christianity, don’t actually hold people accountable for their actions. I’ve had several very devoted Christians tell me that it’s really just a myth that God rewards or punishes people based on how good they are. Getting into heaven is about accepting Jesus, not about whether or not you actually do good in the world. Granted, most Christians don’t see it this way, and do equate heaven and hell with good and evil deeds, but I’ve been told by people actually quoting scripture that it’s about what you believe, not about what you do. So in a way, your argument is based on the assumption that people are not going to be absolutely true to their religion.

I also had this random comment about bees:

Have you ever watched bees coming and going from a bee hive and wondered what they’re thinking? Do they have a God that has been taught to them by the queen and they’re collecting pollen out of a desire to avoid retribution in the afterlife? I’m certainly no biologist, but I think they are just doing “whatever the hell they feel like” in a world where “everything is permitted”. It just happened that their biology tells them to support the hive and that’s what they want to do more than anything else. I believe this is inherently the same with humans. We are a hive culture. We need each other for our basic survival and comfort so we’ve been hard-wired with a desire to support the greater good, because supporting each other and helping our society grow is how we’ve survived and thrived as a species. I believe that religions and governments too often teach us to ignore these hard-wired desires.

Unfortunately I haven’t heard back from this person since I wrote this 🙁



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
More Atheist-Theist Debate
Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment
Crime is not Logical
About My Page, 22 Ways

More Atheist-Theist Debate

Yesterday I posted a video (Jeffrey Dahmer Interview: Segment 1) someone had sent me along with my response where I wandered off on a tangent about the attitudes I had back when I used to be a heavy believer in God and spirits. Here’s his response:

Sounds a little like theistic determinism as well (all ends well, because God’s in control and everything happens for a reason – ultimately a good reason). That stuff is messed up. 

I’m a freewill theist (not a Classical theist or Calvinist). And I tend to lean toward Open Theism or an open view of the future. I’m probably a year or two from working it all out and probably affirming it as part of my beliefs about reality.
It appears (from what the father was saying) they weren’t a “Christian family” (more like irreligious), at least when Dahmer was growing up. But that article’s pretty interesting, and that church obviously had affects on the family/upbringing.

And I replied with this:

That’s interesting you say, “That stuff is messed up” but that kind of ‘determinism’ is a very common way that Christians see it, and it seems to me that the more devoted a Christian is, the more likely they are to see it that way. I always hear that people should ‘just have faith’ and trust in God and ‘God works in mysterious ways’. I simply took those concepts to their logical conclusion and came to what you called ‘determinism’.

As for Jeffrey Dahmer, yes his family was not quite as religious as say, Ted Bundy’s, (his abusive father was the Deacon of their church until about age 5), but Dahmer still attended church regularly until age 5, which is when most of our world views form their foundations, and most people I know (some of whom still think I’m crazy for claiming God doesn’t exist) would never take their kids to church. And Dahmer was quite adamant at the end of the video that you can’t really care about right and wrong if you don’t have a God to hold you accountable. I have met many religious individuals, but I have never actually met, in person (that I know of), someone who was so hard-core with their belief in God that they actually felt you couldn’t be good without Him. I’ve seen this theory a number of times on the internet, of course. But it’s clearly statistically untrue. Moral values are one of the things that motivates me to be an Atheist, because when you place all your moral willpower on an invisible Guy In The Sky, the moment you have a little doubt in His existence, your whole moral structure collapses, and you fail to recognize the myriad of biological, emotional, spiritual and logical reasons to be a good person.

My next post will continue this discussion tomorrow: Even More Atheist-Theist Debate



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
Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment
Crime is not Logical
About My Page, 22 Ways

Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment

Someone sent this video to me about Jeffrey Dahmer as an example of how atheism can cause violence, since Dahmer talks about his belief that you can’t be a good person without God.

Here’s the rambling, disjointed response I sent back:

Hmmm… well, the video clearly showed that he was definitely a believer, raised in a religious household. His atheism amounted to a couple years that his father “fell away” from the idea of a creator. Jeffrey Dahmer didn’t seem to be anything close to an atheist. Are there any examples out there of murderers who were raised in non-religious households and/or chose not to believe in God for a notable portion of their lives?

According to this page:  http://www.adherents.com/people/pd/Jeffrey_Dahmer.html There’s a consensus that Dahmer had a deep hatred for homosexuals, yet he was a homosexual himself, and the video made it clear that he felt as a child it was something to repress. What could have instilled him with that attitude if not Christian anti-gay values?
He also mentioned accountability for actions, but that is exactly what motivates me and many other atheists, is accountability for actions. I recall around the turn of the century, when I became a hard-core believer in God, I felt like anything I did didn’t matter. My old desire to make the world a better place just kind of drifted away because I figured that God would take care of everything, and if I did something to hurt someone or hurt society I felt like I could just shrug it off because I had been following God (or The Great Spirit – I kinda had different names for Him), and letting Him guide my decisions, and figured any harm I did must be part of His plan. It felt absolutely wonderful, I’ll admit, but looking back I realize my main motivation was to avoid that sense of urgent responsibility I’d always had to help prevent things like global warming and nuclear war.
I remember one article I wrote during that time for my first website was about serial killers and I said, “Hey, whatever floats your boat”. I figured they’re all just a part of this big, magical experience and we should embrace the bad along with the good because it all has a purpose and it all serves to balance everything out. I wasn’t promoting serial killing for sure, but I essentially said that if you are certain it’s what’s right for you, then go for it. It’ll just help make the world more interesting in the long run, and the spirits must have some purpose for you and some reason behind it. I removed the article after a few months upon re-reading and re-thinking it, and now I can’t believe that I seriously used to think that way. That’s just one way the concept of God and spirits warped my sense of reality. I have a bunch of other examples too. It’s what was going on in my head during that time, more than anything else, that makes me such a devoted atheist now.
Tomorrow I will continue this discussion: More Atheist-Theist Debate.

Crime is not Logical

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