Religion and Society

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Though, when a society is thought about it’s usually about the government, population, schools, and the people who live there. Religion is not usually the first thing on a mind of a person looking at a society or how that society is affected by the religion the country worships. Studies have shown that a secular nation, or a nation with a higher population of atheists than religious peoples have resulted in being a more peaceful nation. However, it has been said that a religious nation has higher rates of murder, teen pregnancy, abortion, sexual promiscuity and war. The things just listed are things that religious nations try so hard to prove are sin. If a religious nation says these things are a sin, then why do they have higher numbers of the societal ills than a nation with a higher number of Atheists? Religion may play a role in peoples’ lives, but religion should not be a part of our growing modern society.
In 2009, the Global Peace Index did a study that compares our worlds countries by using six different sections concluding which countries are the most peaceful to the least peaceful. The sections of this study are: foreign war, internal conflicts, human rights, murders, prison population, and democracy. When the study came out, it was said that New Zealand was considered the most peaceful nation of our world. New Zealand is a mostly secular nation and the study shows that is why New Zealand is rated number one in the Global Peace Index’s study. While still talking about these ratings, the United States was rated eighty-third in this study (Cline 1).
The Global Peace Index’s study also shows that New Zealand is a mostly secular nation, which is why the study shows they are the most peaceful. This difference of populations is determined by an equation p=0.001 or less making the study face and not just chance. After the study’s results, the Global Peace Index cannot argue that secularism leads to peace and religion leads to turmoil. The Index’s study does not show that religion causes turmoil and secularism causes peace, the only thing being able to argue about is how religious countries do not have anything to prove the point that religion causes peace. All the Global Peace Index is showing how a secular nation can get along better with other countries along with the population of the country better than countries, like the United States, who are reliant on religion (Cline 1).

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Looking at the divide between secular nations versus religious nations, you find that the murder rate is significantly different between the two. The study before with the Global Peace Index, learning that most religious nations have a higher murder rate; Louisiana has one of the highest church going populations of our nation but also has a murder rate twice the national average. However, going down the list of the murder rates relation to religion you see that the list goes Louisiana, The Bible Belt, United States, Britain, France, Australia, Sweden, and Japan ("Christanity and the Murder Rate" 1). If the list states that Louisiana has the largest murder rates, but also has the largest church going population, what does that say about religion, when the bible states, “Thou Shall Not Kill Thy Neighbor.”? If killing neighbors is wrong, according to the bible, then why do church going states or countries have some of the highest murder rates we have seen?
Religion says that the benefits it gives to people are life changing. However, another study done by a man named Gregory Paul tells that benefits religion is said to have are actually providing fuel for our societal ills His study compared people who were atheist and people who believe in God as our savoir. Many different studies proved that believing in God is not essential and can actually contribute to social problems in people. Gregory Paul took this study taking social indicators like murder rates; abortion, suicide and teen pregnancy to find that the United States had the high numbers, by comparing these numbers to less devout nations were not as dysfunctional. Paul stated that “Most Western states would become more religious if evolution was over turned and the presences of God was scientifically proven theory, majority support in the United States unless there was marked decline in religious belief.” He goes on to say, “I suspect that Europeans are increasingly repelled by the societal performance of the Christian states (Gledhill 1).” A paper published by the Journal of Religion and Society says: “Many Americans believe their church going nation is an exceptional God-blessed shining city on a hill that is and as impressive example for increasingly skeptical world. In general, high rates of belief in and worship a creator correlate with a high rate of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infections rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies’. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so (Gledhill).”
Religion today is very different from the religion we had back when the bible was written and supposedly a man named Jesus was alive. Today, religion plays a large role in the way society is run, even though the separation between Church and State should be enforced. Religion may play a large role in our lives should not affect the way our government runs ("What Effect Has Religion Had on Society" 1).
Science is greatly affected by the way religion is run. Doctors’ everyday that preforms ‘sinful’ operations are exclusively pointed out and harassed by religious people for giving woman the choice of abortion. Stem cell research from these women’s aborted children is a large part of the religious debate about how this life-saving research is sinful. Since religion is so obstruction with medical science progression, approximately 18 people die every day from waiting for an organ transplant (Rowden 1); these people would not have died if the stem cell research from the women’s aborted children had been practiced to the full potential. Many people at the top of the waiting list still die from rejection or tissue issues after the transplant is over, being able to do this research could produce exact matches to the tissue of the person needing the transplant ("What Effect Has Religion Had on Society").
People seem to think that churches are very selfless when actually they are the most effective way to exploit commoners to the people higher up as well as the cheapest way to control people. How can a religious country exploit and control the people who are following the religion? If the churches are supposedly selfless they should not be controlling their congregation for their own personal gain ("What Effect Has Religion Had on Society").
Religious figures often say they are tolerable with other people and the diverse ways of our society in the modern world along with the diverse ways of religion. Though according to an article called “What Effect Has Religion on Society, “ religion is often used for intolerance of diversity of other beliefs since the beginning of America this has caused prejudice that leads to war ("What Effect Has Religion Had on Society").
In our modern civilization, many current events are fueled by religion. September 11, 2001, a terrible day on American soil, can be directly linked to religion. The Muslim people hijacked American and United airplanes because the people involved were in the midst of a holy war. The strike of this Holy War against Americans succeeded, and now America is left with tons of dead, innocent people along with an ongoing war with the Middle East. The Taliban, or Muslim extremists, are people who take the holy book called the Koran to the absolute edge. In doing so, these Muslim people are murdering people left and right including themselves in their attempts to be accepted into the Holy Land of Mohammed.
For years religion has made it known how they feel about some of the modern health issues being dealt with in the twenty-first century. First off, Catholics not believing in birth control is outrageous. A woman has a right to protect and do what she wants with her body, and birth control has some good effects on a woman like helping with the stresses of a period, or even treating very heavy bleeding. Dealing with the non-belief in birth control, the pope, leader of the Catholic Church, went to Africa and told those people not to use condoms. Africa is one of the highest populated continents with HIV/AIDS and not teaching them about safer sex practices will kill the people of this continent. Religion, in this case, Catholicism are telling people who are less aware of safer sex that these practices are wrong against the word of God.
Scientology, a religion that does not have an exact way to run their church, believes that diseases are all in your head. Cancer, Diabetes, or any other physical disease is considered to be a part of your minds way of fooling you. Even though doctors know that is not true, Scientologists believe differently. Doctors treat the sick, but a religion that does not believe that medical attention is required for underlying medical conditions in order to embrace your spiritual self is a little out there. If people are sick, they go to a doctor, simple as that.
In school systems we have a moment of silence every morning in order to reflect on the day ahead, or for some religious peoples’ to pray before the day even starts. If Church and State are supposedly separate, then why do we have a moment of silence in public school systems? Public schools are a part of the state, and the constitution clearly states that these two things should never cross paths. So why do schools still have that moment of silence? Should we not take it out at the beginning of the day no matter the religion of the population going to the school? This beginning of the day ‘prayer’ can be done by the children who are religious, but those who are not should not have to be subjected to do the same as those children who are church going children.
Secular nations are fairly different from those who are religious. They’re said to be a more peaceful nation because they have nothing to fight over. These nations have nothing to fight over because they are not wasting their time on who is right and who is wrong. Secular nations seem to use more logic than religion to make executive decisions about how to run the country they are living in. It has been said in many different studies like in the Global Peace Index or Gregory Paul’s study that these nations are also not as dysfunctional. Secular nations do not have a ton of war crime since they have nothing to make a war over. These nations are better off without the wars being fought and should keep their peace with the division they had made.
From the crusades to the war in Afghanistan, we see that religion plays a huge role in the war we fight and how we fight it. ‘In God We Trust” is written on our currency, but if we are trusting in God why do we need to fight wars in order to make sure that we are right and everyone else is wrong? It seems like a cycle that will never be broken until we all decided that being secular nations will be the best for the population.
During the entire time humans have been here we have believed in religion. Now, in the twenty-first century we are now learning how to divide ourselves to see what is true to believe in and what we should put in the fiction box. Though this fight will never be won, we can always prove the facts that are there. Religion has its place, and it is not in the public schools or in the research of science and not even in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Religion may be the way to spiritual release, but it is not the way to grow a society.



Works Cited

"Christanity and the Murder Rate".Google. n.d. Web. 4 May 2011.
"What Effect Has Religion Had on Society". Google. n.d. Web. 6 May 2011.
Cline, Austin. Global Peace Index: Atheist, Ireeligous Nations More Peaceful. Google. 20 June 2009. Web. 4 May 2011.
Gledhill, Ruth. Societies Worse Off "When god Is on Their Side.Google. 27 Steptember 2005. Web. 4 May 2011.
Rowden, Mandie. "Organ Donations: Statistics, Myths, and Facts." Google. Web. n.d. 12 May 2011.


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