Hey, I’m going to be at the Orange County Freethought Alliance conference on 8 May; how convenient that the OC Register is running a silly little poll already.
Opinion 1: Religion makes people behave better. 32 %
Opinion 2: Being religious has no effect on your behavior. 25 %
Opinon 3: Religion makes us behave worse. 43 %
It’s actually a fairly even-handed article by a rabbi starting a new weekly religion column. He even gives reasons for each of the three possibilities. For #1, he cites Rick Warren and Tom Coburn. For #3, he cites Gregory Paul, a scientist.
A statistical study by Gregory Paul shows an even more astonishing result. He reports that, in general, higher levels of religion correlate with higher rates of homicide, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies. While this does not prove religion is the cause, the link between religion and bad behavior indicates that, on average, religion makes us behave worse.
You know, even if I didn’t have a prior bias, the article would have convinced me that the evidence favors the third option.
In his follow-up article, the rabbi is surprised at the result so far. I think it’s about to get a little more surprising…for him.