Fresh research has demonstrated that, contrary to the claims of religious organisations and individuals, religion has a negative effect on society.
Many liberal Christians and believers of other faiths hold that religious belief is socially beneficial, believing that it helps to lower rates of violent crime, murder, suicide, sexual promiscuity and abortion. The benefits of religious belief to a society have been described as itsspiritual capital. But the study claims that the devotion of many in the US may actually contribute to its ills.
Gregory Paul's research has been published in Journal of Religion and Society, and draws from data collected by Gallup, the International Social Survey Programme and other sources. He compared the rates of murder, abortion and sexually-transmitted infections in several
The study concluded that the US was the world's only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. Mr Paul said that rates of gonorrhoea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries. The US also suffered fromuniquely highadolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates, the study suggested...
...[Paul said}The non-religious, proevolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator.
The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted.
Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'—The Times, 27th September 2005.