Monday, February 13, 2017

Secular nations-better, happier.

We think godless societies will be rudderless and immoral. Many Americans do so even today. Edmund Burke says in his work, Reflections on the French revolution, ‘religions are the underlying basis of civil social order.’ Newt Gingrich: 'any country that attempts to drive god out of public life will surely face all kinds of problems and a secular country would be frankly a nightmare.’  Thomas Plante, in one of his recent posts says ‘religious people behave better and are less criminal.’

Are all these true?   Are gods needed for moral behavior or civil order? Are secular nations a nightmare?  Charles Selengut  acknowledges that 'history and scriptures of religions tell us stories of violence and and war even as they speak of peace and love.' Some critics such as Jack Nelson Pallimeyer  argues that all monotheistic religions are inherently violent.  Judaic, Christian and Islamic societies had  more wars, religious violence and human rights violations.

In Global Peace Index rankings for 2009 (assessing 23 criteria, including foreign wars, internal conflicts, human rights, number of murders, number of people in jail, arms trade, and degrees of democracy) all the top countries -Iceland, Japan, Austria, Norway, Ireland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Finland, Sweden and  New Zealand are all pretty non-religious. The bottom ten: Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, Georgia, Chad and Congo are all deeply religious!   

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has found, taking into account indicators of societal well-being, that the most religious US states like Mississippi and Alabama have the worst quality of life.  Vermont and New Hampshire, the least religious states, have the best quality of life. The Pew Forum’s Religious landscape survey also finds that the least religious states - with the lowest level of faith in god and Church attendance -are better than the more religious in measures including homicide, violent crimes, poverty, obesity, diabetes, sex-diseases and teen pregnancy!

In its 21014 Human Rights Risks Atlas global analytics firm Maplecroft placed US 139th among 197 countries it ranked. Not so good a standing. The countries with a highest risk of violations like Syria, Egypt, Libya, Mali, are all deeply religious nations.                                                                                                                         
In Pew Study says over 60% Americans are firm in their faith. And the overall health of Americans is worsening: about six in 10 people are either overweight or obese and large numbers engage in smoking and heavy drinking. The U.S. has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy. Homicide rates are at least five times greater than in Europe and ten times higher than in Japan.

Religious belief seems to do more harm than good.                                                                             Religions preach non-violence and sexual restraint. But does faith weaken people’s ability to participate in society and respect social customs and laws?  Even if one  commits a rape  a contrition at the confessional with an “I am sorry attitude” is enough to wash off all his sin. He can go in full steam to commit such crimes again.

In atheistic nations, sex education includes contraceptive methods to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancies. It recognizes young people have the right to make  own choices and help them make decisions that help them and their society at large. In America perhaps, faith-driven abstinence programs deny them that right and unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases soar up. 

UK Guardian columnist George Monbiot says, "if you want people to behave as Christians advocate, you should tell them God does not exist.” Paul Zukerman’s detailed research shows: violent crime and murder rates are lower in secular and higher in religious societies.  A 1999 US Barna study had  shown that atheist and agnostics have lower divorce rates than religious Americans. and conservative religious women experienced higher rates of domestic violence than  non-affiliated.
  
Most atheistic nations like the top ten mentioned above, report the highest levels of happiness. They are more developed with excellent education and egalitarian policies. They also give more support and money to the poorer nations. 

How do atheists cope with death and after life? Not worried at all. They go happy after having lived here fully.  The world is actually becoming a more peaceful place. The mysterious force sowing peace among mankind is atheism. Poll after poll has shown that the non-religious become more progressive, good and helpful. 

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