Living in the United States, it seems easy to assume that the entire world is filled with religious ultra-conservatives. We see faith-based hypocrisy influencing politics almost every day on the news. We actually have Creation Museum and people actively debate the value of stem cell research and abortions. Therefore, it was refreshing to read this article on the Least Religious Countries. An interesting excerpt:
The survey concluded that “high levels of organic atheism are strongly correlated with high levels of societal health, such as low homicide rates, low poverty rates, low infant mortality rates, and low illiteracy rates, as well as high levels of educational attainment, per capita income, and gender equality. Most nations characterized by high degrees of individual and societal security have the highest rates of organic atheism, and conversely, nations characterized by low degrees of individual and societal security have the lowest rates of organic atheism. In some societies, particularly Europe , atheism is growing. However, throughout much of the world – particularly nations with high birth rates – atheism is barely discernable.”
I’m not at all surprised with these results and am happy to see them posted. There are several studies that have shown that these is a strong positive correlation between violence, crime, and religiosity. The opposite also seems to be true (as stated above). In fact, as Richard Dawkins points out in The God Delusion, even within the United States, the most religious states are also the most violent. The U.S. could learn a lot for the more peaceful countries on the list. I, for one, won’t be praying for that (or anything else).