Evidence that secular democracies have lower violence and sexual crime:
Two centuries ago there was little dispute over the existence of God, or the social benefits of a popular belief in a creator. In the twentieth century western nations became increasingly secular, along with higher levels of education, advances in science and a wider regard for analysis and critical thinking.
People of faith often assert that popular belief in God is instrumental in providing the moral and ethical basis for a healthy, cohesive society. The countervailing view contends that widespread acceptance of evolution, embracing science, and the denial of a creator, is contrary to these goals.
The issue now appears to be resolved. An extensive review of data — across 18 western democracies — correlated levels of health and social dysfunction and compared the findings to the religious profile of each country. The survey of over 800 million people acted as a substantial epidemiological experiment, on an international scale.
The conclusion was that countries with high rates of violent crime, rape and murder are in direct proportion to those countries with the highest levels religious conviction — with the USA rating most strongly on both counts. Secular countries in Europe, with low religious affiliation, have the lowest crime rates — particularly for sexual crime.
The study was conducted by Gregory S Paul, scientist, palaeontologist and author, and published in the Journal of Religion and Society, at Creighton University, Nebraska. The full title of the study is: Cross-national correlations of quantifiable societal health with popular religiosity and secularism in the prosperous democracies: available on line.
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