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December 18, 2011


Paolo Siciliani

Religion is the surrugate of authority, not to be challanged, don't ask, it's a matter of belief, just carry on doing what I tell you it's good for you.
You can see how it works for economic growth, can't you? Being docile and predictable works magic for capitalism because it reduces fundamental uncertainty.


Religion means regular practice of something - normally something that involves reflection, and contemplation. That's it. The dogma and political power that derive from books is something else entirely. Good that Cameron reminds us of an historical fact - that we are a Christian country, that after the dark ages it was only a tiny slither of religious devotees that enabled reading and writing to resume again. The light of civilisation very nearly went completely out.

Chris Purnell

Maybe religious people do hypocrisy better than liberal atheists & therefore can make the necessary social elisions for success?

Ralph Musgrave

Divorce rates are lower amongst athiests:

Plus I think there is a study showing that religious countries tend to be more politically corrupt than relatively atheist/agnostic ones. But I can’t remember the source for that.


Who cares about the effects? The only question worth asking is whether or not a religion is true. Now, there may be no definitive answer to that question, but the point still stands.

Philip Walker

Ralph: I would guess that there may be a covariation in the rates of cohabitation which could dent the figures for divorce quite significantly. Did the Barna study control for those?


It is characteristically absurd to base the evaluation of religious faith on supposed social effects. Is it true? Telling lies about your immaginary friend based on the supposed utility of your made up deiety for society is contradictory. It also seems very difficult to believe that you can in fact control for all the contingent aspects affecting humman behaviour aside from religion and superstition. So the social effects are difficult to determine. We might also want to ask if a given set of ethical ideas are correct rather than asking if they are useful in some utilitarian way; since religious morality usually explicitly rejects this interpretation of why you should follow the faith based ethical code. Namely Utilitarian results are in admissable as a teason for holding them.


And what gender equality does? And tolerance?

When you speak of moral effects 'to be regretted in many ways', is that implicitly stated moral to be questioned in the same way as religion?

How to Start a Small Business

For me religion is only a guide, so that you can think of something that may lead you of what you really want to do. But, the last say will still up to you and your disposition in life.

Stuart Haigh

"Christians are more likely than atheists to trust other Christians".

Is this limited to Christians, or would the same findings be demonstrated between people of any self-identifying group. I would guess that a liberal would be more likely than a conservative to trust other liberals.


@Stuart Haigh - in the linked paper they appear to have statistically checked for ingroup discrimination and found it insignificant.

It seems to be a stereotype effect.

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