This was the headline of an article in a Danish newspaper today. A researcher has compared a number of western countries. The conclusion is that religious democracies have more social problems than societies with many agnostics, atheists and other non-believers.
I have a link here to the US report
; but I have so far only perused it briefly.
But I could have told you that anyway, without doing any scientific studies on the subject... When I saw this article I thought: Obviously.
The number one cause for conflict and war has historically always been religion. Or let me paraphrase that, religion has always been an excuse for conflict and war. Truly religious people of course don't need to convince other people by killing them. And to kill in God's name is somewhat an oxymoron. Even though it is probably one of the most common causes of death in violent conflicts.
Some of the most decent and kind people I have ever met are religious. Many of them very interesting people. If they try to convince you about anything then it is by example, because they are very sure of themselves and their beliefs. And as any decent person can explain - you don't ever force beliefs on other people or try to control their thoughts.
One of the smartest men I have ever met, a religious philosopher, actually once explained to me that he thought teaching or convincing people is plainly wrong. You may only answer if asked and otherwise just try to teach people to learn. One day realization will come or not - but only this way may a perseon ever truly come to realize and eventually to believe...
Now we come back to the study. Why then have so many conflicts a religious element? Well let's jump right away to the conclusion. It is done by evil people. Evil as in bad - not good. Sick people who will use anything and anybody to cause some harm. Especially if you disagree with their narrow stupid minds. They are manipulative people who have a hidden agenda.
There is usually not much or anything religious, religious defined as holy, decent, moral and ethical, about people who consider themselves very religious. On the contrary. The next time you hear some leader speak in the name of God or according to God's will - just turn away. In best case is that you have a madman in front you. Worst and most probable case - greet evil...
Personally I do not believe much in any religion and hold the belief that societies with a high number of agnostics and atheists are a natural development of the human race. Until proven otherwise, I distinctly fail to see any need to believe in supernatural fenomena. I will not discount it absolutely and just remain very sceptical. But this is my personal belief, which I am ready to discuss anyday. I will be the first one to admit that my entire "personal belief system", if you will, of moral and ethics, is rooted in Western European Christian traditions. I may not believe in the bible but I do act and live accordingly to many of its teachings. It is very important that we live purtaining to certain moral and ethical codexes.
Conclusion: Frankly, it seems to me that agnostics and atheists on a whole are more balanced, more decent, have more character and are more intelligent than people who stand up and call themselves a moral majority. Maybe now science can prove it.