Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Who Needs God When We've Got Mammon?

The world's most prosperous (and happiest) countries are also its least religious, new research states. article link

From Dostoyevsky to right-wing commentator Ann Coulter we are warned of the perils of godlessness. "If there is no God," Dostoyevsky wrote, "everything is permitted." Coulter routinely attributes our nation's most intractable troubles to the moral vacuum of atheism.

But a growing body of research in what one sociologist describes as the "emerging field of secularity" is challenging long-held assumptions about the relationship of religion and effective governance.

In a paper posted recently on the online journal Evolutionary Psychology, independent researcher Gregory S. Paul reports a strong correlation within First World democracies between socioeconomic well-being and secularity. In short, prosperity is highest in societies where religion is practiced least.

Turning Research Into Solutions home page

Is religiosity beneficial in affluent first world nations? article link

The belief held by some scholars that strong religious belief is the universal human condition deeply rooted in our psyches, may be false. Also contradicted is the hypothesis that evolutionary selective forces have played the leading role in determining the popularity of religion. Environmental conditions appear to exert great influence on the degree to which religious beliefs are held. The popularity of religious belief may be a reflection of a psychological mechanism for coping with the high levels of stress and anxiety resulting from adverse social and economic environments.

Evolutionary Psychology home page
Evolutionary Psychology is an open-access peer-reviewed journal that aims to foster communication between experimental and theoretical work on the one hand and historical, conceptual and interdisciplinary writings across the whole range of the biological and human sciences on the other.


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