Letter: Wrong on morality
Regarding Ken Else’s notes on morality.
In studying statistical correlations of criminal behavior, Mr. Else is quite frankly wrong concerning God, morality and murder/crime.
The murder rate per 100,000 of population in the United States has been fairly consistent from 1700 on. I suspect that the murders of slaves and native Americans wasn’t counted, so the rate was probably higher for a couple of hundred years. Arguably, the punishment for murder was harsher in the prior two centuries than today, and religion was also more significant then, than now.
Today the highest murder rates by state are for the most part in an area known as the bible belt. Louisiana has the highest church attendance in the nation with twice the national murder rate.
Among nations that are more secular — that is to say having less religion — the murder rate is far lower than the United States. France has 1/14th the murder rate of Louisiana.
According to a 2005 article in the Journal of Religion and Society a comparison of the top 18 democracies at the time showed a negative correlation between religious fervency and societal health. As it turns out, addiction, crime, poverty, teenage pregnancy, STDs, homicide, divorce and infant mortality all tend to go up as religious belief within a society increases.
It seems obvious that religion is not a prerequisite for a moral society. Morality is not obtained by threats of hell or incarceration but by instilling knowledge, a curiosity, an eagerness to learn, a desire to engage in a polite society and be part of that society. To suggest that a sense of basic morality is somehow the sole domain of Christianity is absurd.
Better education tends to decrease crime rates. Why then do we live in a society that incarcerates such a high percentage of our population and yet gives so little importance to education? Indeed, Trump embraces the under-educated even as the under-educated ridicule those that are educated. Sorry, conservatives, but the things you detest like abortion and crime are lower in educated, liberal strongholds.
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