CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

That is the conclusion of a Canadian study performed by the University of Lethbridge. Here is a description of the methodology:


The survey of 1,600 Canadian adults, led by University of Lethbridge professor Reginald Bibby, gave a list of 12 values - from honesty to family life to politeness to generosity - and asked the participants if they found each "very important." In each case, theists ranked the values as more important than atheists.

Professor Bibby concludes that religion plays an important role in the transmission and reinforcement of these values. As religious influence diminishes in Canada, no apparent alternative source has come forward.

He said people who are believers are encouraged ­- whether by a desire to please God, or because of a fear of God - to adopt these values. "If you don't have that as a major source in the culture then what will be the source? I think that's where we've been really superficial ... we've really been underestimating the contribution religious groups can make."

Although Professor Bibby admits theists do not always translate their values into actions, "at least they are inclined to hold the values" and that atheists "do not have as many explicit support groups that are committed to intentionally promoting [a] positive interpersonal life."

Too true.

And, I believe, more support for the idea that atheist morality is borrowing capital from the Christian bank they seek to undermine.

20 comments:

What did Stalin used to say? He'd hang the last capitalist with the rope the fool would sell him? {s}

JRP

Link to the original study (pdf) Good Without God, But Better With God?.

According to the Christian study, Christians are better that atheist. Hmmmmmmmm...

This does not explain why these immoral atheists are 40 times less likely than the Christians to end up in a prison or why the least religious western countriesdonate the most to the foreign countries.

And the first comment is a Stalin quote, Jesus would be proud of this blog.

Anon,

Thanks for posting the link. But I do not think that is the test itself. It seems more like a summary or a press release regarding the study’s conclusion. Still, it is more information than we had before.

According to the Christian study, Christians are better that atheist.

The study does not purport to show that “Christians are better than atheists.” It gauges the self-reported value that theists and atheists place on certain characteristics. It was the atheist who chose to report lower regard for generosity, patience, friendliness, politeness, concern for others, etc.

Nor was this a “Christian study.”

This does not explain why these immoral atheists are 40 times less likely than the Christians to end up in a prison

There are several problems with this assertion.

First, I note that when atheists are trying to emphasize their numbers, they include agnostics and nonbelievers and skeptics among their ranks. But when they want to deemphasize their involvement in negative social characteristics, they take a more limited approach to the data. This study only mentions atheists, not unbelievers, irreligious, unbelievers, skeptics, etc. So, you may think there are more “atheists” in the United States than the data supports. Most stats at Adherents.com, for example, puts the number of “atheists” at less than 1%.

Second, atheists tend to be more privileged than the rest of the population, especially the prison population. They are predominatly white, more educated, and middle class. These are typically the result of birth, which is not something for which their atheism can claim credit.

Third, the study tells us nothing about the timing or strength of religious identification. There is a strong motive to “clean up your act” in prison, complete with visits by prison chaplains and evangelists working to reform the inmates. Add to this the fact that religious conversion may be a good way to signal to others—such as the warden or parole board—that the inmate has reformed, there are ample reasons to find increased religious identification among inmates.

Fourth, your review of the data is oversimplistic. For example, you ignore the fact that Protestants make up a much smaller percentage of the prison population (35%) than they do the population at large (53%). Mormons make up about 2% of the population, but are a negligible portion of the prison population. Now, this may also be linked to other issues such as income, race, or education levels.



or why the least religious western countriesdonate the most to the foreign countries.

A more simplistic approach to the issue I cannot imagine. You are trying to gauge personal character by how much of other people’s money a government decides to give to others? It does not take generosity or charity or love to vote to give someone else’s money away. Let us look closer.

First, it seems you simply misread the data. The majority of highest per-capita giving countries are not in your list of top 10 atheist/unbelieving/skeptical countries. When you include the top 20 most giving countries, the ration plummets further.

Second, you have to keep in mind the point above about atheism being more prominent among the affluent than the poor.

Third, of those unbelieving countries that give a lot per capita, they tend to be socialist countries that emphasize governmental action over individual action. Thus, whatever charitable impulse exists will be funneled into government giving and not individual giving. Conveniently for your point, you ignore personal giving altogether and focus on governmental foreign aid.

Fourth, when you look at individual giving, the more religious United States exceeds by far the less religious countries. What’s more, we have a good idea of who is giving privately in the United States and those people tend to be more religious. So once again, religion’s affect on giving is high. I delve into this topic in a previous post.

Fifth, the definitions used for “foreign aid” tend to be underinclusive on just those benefits Americans provide. I already discussed the omission of private, personal giving. But there is more, as I discussed in my previous article.

>>>>>the definition of “foreign aid” is underinclusive and especially slanted against real U.S. contributions to combating poverty and international lawlessness. For example, when the tsunami in the Indian Ocean killed hundreds of thousands and left millions homeless and vulnerable, the United States provided the most immediate practical assistance of any nation by sending more than 20,000 soldiers and sailors, including a Naval fleet, to help. That fleet included(s) the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln (a nuclear-powered Nimitz Class aircraft carrier), the hospital ship U.S.S. Mercy, and the U.S.S. Essex (a helicopter aircraft carrier). The U.S. Pacific Command delivered over 24 million pounds of relief supplies, flew almost 4,000 missions including delivery of supplies and damage assessment recon, provided thousands of gallons of drinking water, thousands of tons of food, and medical care for thousands of victims. How much does this assistance add to the off-cited calculations of of U.S. foreign aid? Not a dime. And when the United States under President Clinton’s leadership lead NATO in its military intervention to stop genocide in the former Yugoslavia at a cost of billions, how much of that counted as foreign aid? Not a dime. In fact, whatever one may think of the U.S. intervention in Iraq, the fact is that the U.S. uses its military, at a high cost of treasure and lives, in peacekeeping and nation building efforts throughout the world.<<<<<<<

Finally, the top nations you point to have a strong Christian heritage and a tradition of giving. That the population has skewed towards unbelief of late is hardly the explanation for why they tend to give more of their governmental assistant per capita than other nations. It is more likely that this too is a vestige of the Christian tradition in these nations. Unless, of course, you can show that these nations were stingy until their ranks of atheists grew.

This was just off the top of my head, so I am sure there is more to be said.

Layman,

You should post your comments as a separate blog entry. The comments themselves are worthy of note (and will appear more readily in search engines as part of the original post and not just in the comments).

I agree with Bill about the recommendatin of a followup. (Good job Chris.)

I suppose I ought to explain that the Stalin quote was purely a humorous parallel observation to the end of Chris' original entry. (i.e. "atheist morality is borrowing capital from the Christian bank they seek to undermine.")

JRP

Layman,

That was a lot of backpeddling... Image if there were more Mormons and atheist in the prison what kind of flag waving CADRE would be doing. The prison study did not have a group for agnostics, are you asserting that all agnostics identified themselves as Christians? Now Christians use these studies to re-enforce their "borrowed capital" myth.

result of birth, which is not something for which their atheism can claim credit

Are you implying that better of people become atheist and causality can not be other way around? Why is that?

religious conversion may be a good way to signal to others

Most people in the prisons are re-offenders; their Christianity did not help them. Maybe they should try that Mormon belief. That seems to be giving people better chance in life.

The majority of highest per-capita giving countries are not in your list of top 10 atheist/unbelieving/skeptical countries

You should read the linked articles

atheism being more prominent among the affluent than the poor

Are you implying that once people have money, time and opportunity to study and understand the nature, they are more likely to abandon superstitions?

unbelieving countries that give a lot per capita, they tend to be socialist countries

You clearly have never been in Europe, nor understand the political environment there.

“foreign aid” is underinclusive and especially slanted against real U.S. contributions

Please state some sources. I believe Australia was the first to provide immediate tsunami relief also with their military. You should also read about Swedes' response. UN peace keeping missions are not considered in foreign and Scandinavian countries are per capita very large contributors.

When Christianity was still strong in northern Europe in the 50's and 60's, they did not contribute to the foreign aid. You can check from the UN reports the increasing contribution trends from the 80's to the 90's and 00's.

whatever one may think of the U.S. intervention in Iraq, the fact is that the U.S. uses its military, at a high cost of treasure and lives, in peacekeeping and nation building efforts throughout the world.

Have you heard about UN peace keeping forces? They don't go in to overthrow governments.

tradition of giving ... Christian tradition in these nations

Nice how Christians try to take credit from secular actions! Let's make sure atheists do not get credit for anything positive. Let's not forget Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot.

Please post entries on this subject and individual donations, but read about the subjects first.

PS. the Stalin humor is almost as funny as some calling a non-believer a fool in a holy book.

Anon,

I must say that you have ignored almost everything I wrote and when you did respond tended to raise red herrings. Anyway, here goes.

That was a lot of backpeddling...

This does not make sense. Almost all I wrote was about your assertion on another issue. We really did not even revisit the validity of the Canadian study. How is that backpeddling?

Image if there were more Mormons and atheist in the prison what kind of flag waving CADRE would be doing.

More than what? That is the operative question. This is not argument, it is speculation. And irrelevant speculation at that. Even if true, it does not invalidate the point.

The prison study did not have a group for agnostics, are you asserting that all agnostics identified themselves as Christians?

Nope. I was noting how when atheists want to inflate their numbers they include all kinds of categories (such as agnostics, unbelievers, irreligious, nonreligious, secular) but when they want to shield themselves they define it very narrowly. The link only referred to atheists, it did not provide data on other, related categories. I merely pointed out that when it comes to “atheists” per se the numbers are very low in society and very low in prison. Therefore, there is little to be extrapolated from that fact. With Protestants, however, there is a significantly lower representation in prison than in the population at large.

Now Christians use these studies to re-enforce their "borrowed capital" myth.

So what moral bank do atheists keep their moral capital in?

Are you implying that better of people become atheist and causality can not be other way around? Why is that?

I was pointing to factors that were not due to a person’s atheism, in most cases. Race, for example. Obviously converting to atheism does not change a person’s race. And socio-economic status—being middle-class to upper-middle-class. I have yet to see any data showing that conversion to atheism vaulted someone from poverty to middle-class. These are specific points, not a general statement that there can be no causality one way or the other.

Most people in the prisons are re-offenders; their Christianity did not help them. Maybe they should try that Mormon belief. That seems to be giving people better chance in life.

Even if true that does not affect my point, which is that there are strong motives for inmates to claim religious identity even if they are not genuinely religious.

You should read the linked articles

I did. But you again avoid the point.

Are you implying that once people have money, time and opportunity to study and understand the nature, they are more likely to abandon superstitions?

Not in my case. But atheism is more common—though still not common—in the U.S. among the more educated than among those in poverty.

You clearly have never been in Europe, nor understand the political environment there.

Sheer assertion will get you nowhere. And yes, I have been in Europe.

Please state some sources. I believe Australia was the first to provide immediate tsunami relief also with their military. You should also read about Swedes' response. UN peace keeping missions are not considered in foreign and Scandinavian countries are per capita very large contributors.

Umm. Sources? Like all the ones you have provided in this response?

Yes, Australia was magnificent in their response. Who said otherwise? I did not see Australia on your atheist nation list. They have a strong Christian tradition and still about 70% of them identify themselves with a theist religion.

But Australia does not have super-carriers. We do, and we sent them, as well as other massive relief forces. You honestly do not remember pictures of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln delivering aid and conducting relief flight operations? You need a source? There are plenty, this one gives a run down of the forces involved.

One graphic example, in addition to all the food and relief flights, is the water delivered by the Lincoln alone:

The Lincoln, for instance, is taking raw seawater and reprocessing it into some 400,000 gallons of fresh water for the victims ashore every day. In Michelle Malkin's recent tribute to the Lincoln, she writes, "Sailors aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln have reportedly even stopped taking showers to make every last drop of fresh water available to tsunami survivors for drinking.”

As for peacekeepers, many of them do—or try do do—good work. But many of them are also paid for that work. Setting aside some first-world contributors of troops, nations are paid per soldier for their peacekeepers. As Strategypage notes, “Because the UN pays more per peacekeeper than these troops earn back in South Asian or any African countries, these jobs are quite lucrative for the troops and the countries they come from.” In other words, the U.S. may very well be footing much of that bill as well.

When Christianity was still strong in northern Europe in the 50's and 60's, they did not contribute to the foreign aid. You can check from the UN reports the increasing contribution trends from the 80's to the 90's and 00's.

Well, in the 50s I suspect most of Europe was still getting over the war and were on the receiving end of foreign aid or just coming off of it. In the 60s things were getting better but still recovering. But if you could show a correlation between the growth of atheism and the increase in giving you might have a point. And you showed it was atheist activism or activists that promoted these policies. You have not done so.

Have you heard about UN peace keeping forces?

Yes, as I said, first world nations aside, the governments who contribute UN peace keeping forces are generally reimbursed over and above the costs of their troops.

In other words, the countries who contribute them usually make money of the effort.

They don't go in to overthrow governments.

Yes, that is a limitation. Some governments need to be overthrown.

But what does any of this have to do with my point? Which is that much of what the US contributes to peace, stability, and security around the world does not fit your definition of foreign aid.

Nice how Christians try to take credit from secular actions! Let's make sure atheists do not get credit for anything positive. Let's not forget Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot.

Not sure what your point is here. If a Christian tradition is responsible for the charitable impulse of a nation that influences their government to donate and you label that as a secular activity, so what?

Please post entries on this subject and individual donations, but read about the subjects first.

More vague generalities.

Hi layman,

So, you have been in Europe and still believe that those countries are "socialist". Then share your wisdom and please let us know your views about what type of governments should be overthrown, how, who should rule those countries and who gets to choose which countries will be overthrown.

Considering that the Psalm reference isn't supposed to be funny, and there are no topical parallels at all aside from 'nonbelievers' factoring into all three statements somehow, the comparison isn't very apt. But thanks for trying anyway.

The Stalin remark was entirely limited to one parallel with something Chris wrote:

"atheist morality is borrowing capital from the Christian bank they seek to undermine."

That's a whole other debate (to which Chris provided a link); but the phrasing reminded me of the famous quote from Stalin. Certainly I read enough indictments against theists in general and Christians in particular, which involve appeals to moral judgment; but then when I look around to find a specifically athestic ground for moral judgment, I come up with grounds that are avowedly not moral. E.g. non-rational, non-moral reactions to micro-and-macro-environmental stimulus; or overt pragmatism playing mere language games in order to achieve results by capitalizing on other people's mistaken belief in a real shared overarching and actually moral standard. (I wrote an extended series on this, including an analysis of fatal problems theistic ethical grounding too, starting here.)

Even the most overtly ethical attempt at secular moral grounding (which I recognize and avow plenty of credit to here) ultimately runs into crippling problems based on legitimate criticisms, not from theists per se, but from the other secular theories.

There actually are parallels, then, in my experience, between atheists trying to undermine and eliminate Christian belief by moral appeal, and Stalin's own wryly humorous remark about how he expected his opponents to be beaten. (Ironically his remark turned out to be too true--they couldn't supply enough of their own rope, so to speak, to last.)

This should not be considered the same thing as saying that atheists have no morality, though. On the contrary, one of the key reasons I believe Christianity to be true, is because I believe in the rationality and morality of nonbelievers--including against Christians sometimes. {s} I have no particular animus against nonbelievers; I love one of them more than anyone else in the world.

(And part of the Christian gospel is that God does the same for us, going the farthest distance in loving us first whether or not we know or love Him. Indeed, that God loves and acts to save even His own bitterest enemies, is itself the gospel.)

JRP

Anon,

You are the gift that keeps on giving. Not only do you utterly fail to defend any of your initial statements, you offer up yet more softballs.

Hmm. What would make me think that Sweden is a socialist country? Perhaps the same thing that makes so many others think the same thing. People who write articles like,The Swedish Model--Socialism, Education, and Failure and The New Face of Swedish Socialism. Perhaps it is the fact that in Sweden, "the government grabs more than 52% of the country's GDP—the highest percentage of any industrial country." If the highest total of government ownership and intervention in the economy does not give reason to call Sweden socialist, then what does?

Then there is Norway, whose economic policies have spawned similar descriptions and articles. Indeed, check out the blog, . The socialist magazine The New Statesman describes Norway as "last surviving socialist country." It then describes, with admittedly some concern, the socialist paradise of Norway:

Almost half of Norway's GDP is produced by the public sector, the highest proportion in western Europe. The state owns majority shareholdings in the two largest companies - Norsk Hydro and Statoil. A universal, tax-financed health service is used by almost all Norway's 4.5 million people. The welfare system provides peace of mind from cradle to grave: not for Norwegian pensioners the indignity of having to surrender a lifetime's savings to get into a privately owned old people's home. State education is excellent; only a small minority are educated privately. Nearly a quarter of the adult population takes advantage of the numerous continuing education courses offered by the local authorities, among others.

Taxation is steeply and heroically progressive. Marginal tax rates on wages rise to 64.7 per cent (or 55.3 per cent, excluding social security contributions). Other sources of income, from capital, shares and so on, are taxed at a standard 28 per cent, with surtaxes of 13.5 per cent on incomes above roughly £29,000 and 19.5 per cent on those above roughly £74,000.

Public rights of access to some of the most beautiful landscape in the world is enshrined in law - so Norwegians can wander anywhere in their own country without fearing the approach of a shotgun-bearing gamekeeper.


But surely Finland is the epitome of capitalism? That would be news to many, as socialists offer it up as an example of socialist triumph, with this site referring to Socialism 101: Finland. The New American asks, Finland as global socialist model?.

As for overthrowing governments, I think a number of precise, historical examples are in order. The following regimes should have been overthrown: Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, Fascist Italy, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein. As for deciding when a government should be overthrown depends on the justification for doing it, the cost-benefit-analysis of actually doing it, and the ability to actually do it.

layman,

"Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that envisage a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community" -Wikipedia

The list of socialist countries. Note that Norway, Sweden and Finland are not in the list.

Those countries operate like USA; have multi party system, stock market, government owns key infrastructure; roads, some ports, couple of natural resource companies, welfare and health system (along with a private one), most schools, pension system (along with a private one), etc. High tax rate or high government ownership in companies does not make a country a socialist country. The implementation of Marxist socioeconomic system does.

Your link about Sweden and the election win of Social Democratic Party (aka Socialists), shows that you do not understand politics nor what they stand for.

A very rough debatable guide to western political party ideologies:

Swedes Social Democratic Party ~ Finnish Social Democratic Party ~ UK Labour ~ Australian Labor ~ USA Democrats

Swedes Moderate Party ~ Finnish National Coalition Party ~ UK Conservative Party ~ Australian Liberals ~ USA Republicans

Finland actually fought in the 2nd world war against the Marxist ideas (USA supported Soviets, who fought Finns). So only members of the socialist and maybe communist party(s) would ever claim that Finland is socialist country. Your linked article claimed that Finland has free university, it's actually government subsidized (quite cheap to attend, but not free).

Internet is full of all kinds of claims to grab reader’s attention and Socialists parties push their agendas. But you still need to understand the context and meaning of the words.

Your last paragraph avoided the questions and seems to imply that your criteria is fuzzy and very subjective. Would George III be included in the list of tyrants worth fighting for/against?

Anon,

You keep on giving, and giving, and giving. You castigate me for relying on internet sources and then you rely on the epitome of internet sources: wikipedia. First one to rely on wikipedia for its definition in a contested discussion loses! :)

The wiki entry you rely on equates socialist with what most people consider to be communist. Thus, the list includes China, North Korea, Cuba, the old Soviet Union, etc. You may not like how people use the terms, but widespread and common usage is how most people use terms. Obviously.

If it helps you understand better, I distinguish between communists and socialists, with many of the countries in that wiki entry being communists and countries with massive government control over the economy, but still allowing for private property and production and usually free political systems, being socialist. You can have your own definition of course, but that just means we're using the words differently, not that my ultimate point was wrong.

Speaking of which, let us step back for a minute. You have been so demolished on the substantive points related to religion that you have chosen two battlefields that have nothing to do it. These are interesting enough, but frankly the proper definition of socialist vs. communist has nothing to do with my post or your initial response. Whether properly called socialist or not, my point is that the countries on your list rely much more heavily on government action vs. private action. That is undisputed and that is the point that supports my argument. So we can continue down these irrelevant rabbit trials so you can try and save face, but you have abandoned your initial arguments.

That being said, I provided facts, not just conclusions, about why Norway, Finland, and Sweden are considered socialist countries. These three countries have overwhelming governmental control of the economy. Half of all economic output in one comes from the government. In the other more than half of output is confiscated by the government. Both are the highest levels in Western Europe. Yet for some reason you ignore the facts and depend entirely on the wikipedia entry of the day (who knows what it will say tomorrow).

Do you really think that in the US the government is responsible for half of all economic output?

As for the Finns, Finland fought the Soviets in WWII because the Soviets invaded them. They did not pick a fight with the soviets because they were commies. And the U.S. did not back the Soviets against Finland. When the Soviets invaded Finland the U.S. extended millions of dollars in emergency aid to the Finnish struggle against the Soviets. The U.S. also strongly condemned the Soviet invasion of Finland. Unfortunately, Finnish resistance collapsed and the Soviet's were successful.

U.S. "support" for the Soviets did not begin until after the Finnish-Soviet War was over. And that support was a result of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. By your logic, this means that the U.S. fought WWII to advance "Marxist ideas."

As for the criteria for overthrowing governments, I did not know you were asking for a lengthy exposition of my just war theory. I do not think that is necessary and it not part of my online time budget. In any event, my point that regime change is often justified and the right thing to do is established (or at least not disputed by you). Unless you opposed regime change for Nazi Germany, for example. Which may be the case since by your logic they fought WWII against Marxist ideas!

Anon,

Read the discussion page on Wikipedia to see how stable a source is considered:

Right from the top: "I agree this is a rather useless page and misleading!" [italics mine] Someone else wanted to propose this page for deletion.

Wikipedia is a rather good technical source. It's horrid on politics and social issues, though. They often come no where near their stated goal of "NPOV". Check on the discussion pages on Alan Turing or Amortization (business) for example. Even the discussion on Universal Turing Machine only contains the suspicion that somebody plagiarized the entire article. That's bad, but it doesn't play into unreliability or arbitrariness.

jc,

I understand Wikipedia has some issues, as has any random Internet link/page/site.

But if you really think the Wikipedia page got it wrong about Norway, Sweden or Finland not being a socialist countries, please find a encyclopedia, reputable history book or quote a historian/economist/subjec matter expert who describes those countries a socialist. I don't think I lived in a socialist country over 30 years and I have visited a lot of socialist countries.

layman,

you are clearly wrong about Norway, Sweden and Finland being socialist countries. Bottom line: Those countries do not donate to foreign aid because they are "Socialist". Accept it, learn from it an move on.

It seems that almost everything you write has wrong information and maybe your world view has completely wrongly grounding. Let me demonstrate that by commenting what you wrote about the history of Finland:

As for the Finns, Finland fought the Soviets in WWII because the Soviets invaded them. They did not pick a fight with the soviets because they were commies.
Not so simple. Please go to the library and read about Finnish war 1918, Finnish-Soviet relationship in the 1930s and about the Finnish home guards (Suojeluskunta).

And the U.S. did not back the Soviets against Finland.
Wrong. Google Arctic convoys of World War II and Murmansk

When the Soviets invaded Finland the U.S. extended millions of dollars in emergency aid to the Finnish struggle against the Soviets.
Really? During the short winter war, French and Brits offered troops and later some foreign aid came in. USA as a part of the League of Nation condemn Soviet attack. Most of the aid (also some from the USA) arrived after the 3.5 month war was over. No such thing happened during the war 1941-44 and Lapland war 1944-45.

The U.S. also strongly condemned the Soviet invasion of Finland.
Not Quite US condemned Soviet aggression against Finland in 1939 (Winter War). At the start of the long war 1941 USA and British align themselves with Stalin and did not condemn Soviet attack.

Unfortunately, Finnish resistance collapsed and the Soviet's were successful.
Wrong again. Finnish defended against Soviets in 1939-40 and 1941-44, Finland was not occupied and kept it's independence unlike many other Eastern Europe satellite countries.

U.S. "support" for the Soviets did not begin until after the Finnish-Soviet War was over. And that support was a result of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.
"Hmmm...". U.S. support for Stalin started after the 3.5 months Winter War once Hitler went against Stalin 1941. The support was real. Google Arctic convoys of World War II and Murmansk.

Every single sentence in you Finnish history is not right and now you make your final statement:
By your logic, this means that the U.S. fought WWII to advance "Marxist ideas."
Wrong again.

Do you see my dilemma?

But let's not side track here. One of the issues you wrote a lengthy answer was the atheist in the USA prisons.

http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/tables/07s0073.xls

US Census website has "atheist and agnostics" combined as about 1 percent and 13 percent of the people as "No religion". My guess is that some of the 13% people with "No religion" might be atheists or agnostics. You comment does not really explain why 75% of non-believers would lie in the census and all the 13% "No religion" people would identify themselves as "religious". You partly defend christianity partly state that other income, race, or education levels are more important indicators to people's behavour than which god(s) one believes in. Looking at the stats, Mormons seem to have their morals right.

Like bk wrote You should post your comments as a separate blog entry.

you are clearly wrong about Norway, Sweden and Finland being socialist countries. Bottom line: Those countries do not donate to foreign aid because they are "Socialist". Accept it, learn from it an move on.

You have yet to demonstrate I am wrong. It seems you (and a few wikiphiles) are the only ones who deny that they are socialists countries. Their government involvement in the economy and means of production is the highest of the Western world. That fact alone supports my point—that they are more likely to channel whatever charitable impulse they may have through government action. Whereas other western nations, especially the United States, has a population that expresses their charitable impulse by giving of their own time and money to others.

Not so simple. Please go to the library and read about Finnish war 1918, Finnish-Soviet relationship in the 1930s and about the Finnish home guards (Suojeluskunta).

Telling someone to “go to the library” is hardly a response, by is typical of your argument style. If you are claiming that the Finns picked a fight with the Soviets because they were anti-socialist then please provide information to that effect. And then prove that after the war the Fins never drifted into Socialism. Again, you seem to be picking fights about things you think you know about because you’ve lost all the relevant arguments.

Google Arctic convoys of World War II and Murmansk

Why don’t you google it and give us links? Which would be ironic since you were so upset that I cited so many sources via internet link that squarely stated that Norway, Finland, and Sweden were socialist countries.

During the short winter war, French and Brits offered troops and later some foreign aid came in. USA as a part of the League of Nation condemn Soviet attack. Most of the aid (also some from the USA) arrived after the 3.5 month war was over. No such thing happened during the war 1941-44 and Lapland war 1944-45.

Yes really. The U.S. made about $10 million available in aid and Roosevelt personally condemned the invasion. The U.S. did NOT back the Soviets against Finland.

I never claimed we sent troops.

And you really hurt your credibility on historical matters when you claim that the U.S. was a part of the League of Nations. The United States never joined the League of Nations.

My understanding of the Lapland War was that it was the Finns fighting Germans, not Soviets. So what is the point? Are you just whining that the U.S. could have done more to help Finland in WW II? What does that have to do with any of the points in my post or your initial response? Where did I deny that?

You also seem to refer to the Continuation War, which I admit I don’t know much about. From what I have read, it involved ongoing hostilities between the Finns and the Soviets, with the Finns allied with Nazi Germany. That alliance actually caused Great Britain to declare war on Finland, but the U.S. never did and all U.S. aid was sent to aid the war effort against the Nazis.

Finnish defended against Soviets in 1939-40 and 1941-44, Finland was not occupied and kept it's independence unlike many other Eastern Europe satellite countries.

I never said Finland became a Soviet satellite like other Eastern European nations. After a valiant defense, Finnish resistance did collapse. There was no way they could have held off the Soviets. The signed a treaty ceding much of their land, population, and even more of their industry over to the Soviets. What they ceded was close to the Soviet demands that precipitated the war.

U.S. support for Stalin started after the 3.5 months Winter War once Hitler went against Stalin 1941.

Yes, I know. Which is why I said that the U.S. began backing the Soviets after the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

The support was real. Google Arctic convoys of World War II and Murmansk.

Yes, I know. I played Axis and Allies. I also am well aware of the Arctic Convoys and tons of supplies the U.S. provided to the Soviets because the Soviets were fighting the Nazis.

Do you see my dilemma?

Yes, you seem intent on trying to play games of gotcha about tangential issues.

But let's not side track here. One of the issues you wrote a lengthy answer was the atheist in the USA prisons.

Let’s not get side tracked? Very funny.

US Census website has "atheist and agnostics" combined as about 1 percent and 13 percent of the people as "No religion". My guess is that some of the 13% people with "No religion" might be atheists or agnostics. You comment does not really explain why 75% of non-believers would lie in the census and all the 13% "No religion" people would identify themselves as "religious". You partly defend christianity partly state that other income, race, or education levels are more important indicators to people's behavour than which god(s) one believes in. Looking at the stats, Mormons seem to have their morals right.

US Census website has "atheist and agnostics" combined as about 1 percent and 13 percent of the people as "No religion". My guess is that some of the 13% people with "No religion" might be atheists or agnostics.

Well as long as we are guessing, that may not be an outrageous guess.

You comment does not really explain why 75% of non-believers would lie in the census and all the 13% "No religion" people would identify themselves as "religious".

I do not mean this as an insult by any means, but is English your second language? Because I am not seeing your points. So feel free to take the time to explain them

When did I say anyone lied in the census? Who are the 75% of non-believers you are talking about? When did I say 13% would identify themselves as “No religion”?

You partly defend christianity partly state that other income, race, or education levels are more important indicators to people's behavour than which god(s) one believes in. Looking at the stats, Mormons seem to have their morals right.

I do not recall defending Christianity on that basis. I do remember saying that since atheists tend to be born in more privileged circumstances than many Christians, it is not logical to claim that atheism, rather than their more privileged circumstances, explains why fewer of them may be in prison. But the statistics you provided about prison populations said 1% of less than prison inmates were “atheists.” Now you admit that “atheists” and “agnostics” combine for “about” 1% of the population at large. So what you have proven is that atheists are represented in prison at about the same level as they are in society. How does that prove anything for you? Especially given the fact that atheists tend to be white, have more money, and have received more education than the average among prisoners?

Like bk wrote You should post your comments as a separate blog entry.

I doubt our readers care that much about Finnish history.

please find a encyclopedia, reputable history book or quote a historian/economist/subjec matter expert who describes those countries a socialist.

socialism
From: Britannica Concise Encyclopedia | Date: 2007
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

System of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control; also, the political movements aimed at putting that system into practice. Because “social control” may be interpreted in widely diverging ways, socialism ranges from statist to libertarian, from Marxist to liberal. The term was first used to describe the doctrines of Charles Fourier, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Robert Owen, who emphasized noncoercive communities of people working noncompetitively for the spiritual and physical well-being of all ( utopian socialism). Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, seeing socialism as a transition state between capitalism and communism, appropriated what they found useful in socialist movements to develop their “scientific socialism.” In the 20th century, the Soviet Union was the principal model of strictly centralized socialism, while Sweden and Denmark were well-known for their noncommunist socialism.


Copyright 1994-2007 Britannica Concise Encyclopedia.

In an article entitled "The State of Socialism: A Note on Terminology," Andrew Roberts speaks to the very fallacy you engage in--dispensing with the label communist and calling all those oppressive regimes in Eastern Europe, "socialists." As he notes, the term socialist is widely used for Western Scandanavian nations and the two should not be confused.

I want to propose dispensing with variants of the term socialism to describe the former regimes in eastern Europe. Such usage create unnecessary for scholars and readers.... [W]e also use one term, socialism, to refer to very different regimes--both liberal democratic regimes in western Europe authoritarian ones in eastern Europe. These regimes have little in common except their name.

The State of Socialism: A Note on Terminology
Andrew Roberts
Slavic Review, Vol. 63, No. 2 (Summer, 2004), pp. 349-366.

I don't think I lived in a socialist country over 30 years and I have visited a lot of socialist countries.

We don't think the problem is with your life experience, but with your definition.

Sweden and Denmark were well-known for their non-communist socialism
I stand corrected. Socialism seems to have now wider range of meaning. The term I find more often used to describe Nordic economy model is "mixed economy" (combines elements of capitalism and socialism) as the idea of companies on a freely traded stock market is completely opposite to Marxist ideas.

Andrew Roberts speaks to the very fallacy you engage in--dispensing with the label communist and calling all those oppressive regimes in Eastern Europe, "socialists."
You quoted Encyclopedia that "the Soviet Union was the principal model of strictly centralized socialism" opposite to what Andrew Roberts wants to propose. Hungary is also described as former socialist country. Note that communism advocates state ownership of all property, where former Eastern Europe countries allowed small scale private ownership and small enterprises.

they are more likely to channel whatever charitable impulse they may have through government action.
Eastern Europe countries (even with their Christian background) did not contribute much to foreign aid. Their thinking was that they were not imperialist before...

is English your second language?
No, it is my third language. Sorry about the poorly written paragraph. Let me try to rephrase it:

- Christians Adherents.com puts the number of “atheists” at less than 1%.
- US Atheist groups estimate that non-believers are about 5%-8% of the population.
- US Census estimates that the atheists/agnostics are about 1% and people with no religion about 14%
- In US prisons there are 0.2% atheists and so 99.8% of people in the prisons believe in god. (Buddhists are counter separately and Universalists are a mixed group)

People with no religion are up to 70 times less likely to end up in prisons or most of them are not telling their religion correctly. Even people who claim to be atheist/agnostics are about 5 times less likely to end up in prison. (Buddhist are counted separately and Unitarian are smaller that atheist group). Northern Europe's secular countries have way lower prison population and the crime rate that the USA.


If you claim that people from more privileged circumstances commit less crime. Would it them be better for the Church to give money (rather that take) to people and give them a good secular education to improve their moral. Preaching the Christian values seem to have failed to improve the morality. Can you demonstrate that the Christian values are benefiting people/society more that non-Christian values? That would be a good blog post. Christian values would also be a good topic to defend the issue.

BTW bk asked you to write about the atheist in prisons...

I stand corrected. Socialism seems to have now wider range of meaning. The term I find more often used to describe Nordic economy model is "mixed economy" (combines elements of capitalism and socialism) as the idea of companies on a freely traded stock market is completely opposite to Marxist ideas.

Like I said, I thought the problem was definitional rather than life-experience or knowledge about any country in particular.

Eastern Europe countries (even with their Christian background) did not contribute much to foreign aid. Their thinking was that they were not imperialist before...

Well, I'd have to go through the data again, but most Eastern European countries are still coming out of decades of Soviet oppression and command economies that left little to export except Warsaw Pact weapons.

- Christians Adherents.com puts the number of “atheists” at less than 1%.
- US Atheist groups estimate that non-believers are about 5%-8% of the population.
- US Census estimates that the atheists/agnostics are about 1% and people with no religion about 14%
- In US prisons there are 0.2% atheists and so 99.8% of people in the prisons believe in god. (Buddhists are counter separately and Universalists are a mixed group).


You are crunching the data wrong. And is adherents.com a Christian site? And even if it was, my recollection is that its sources for these numbers was not Christian.

More to the point, you are comparing apples and oranges. The prison population is less than 1% atheist. The U.S. population in general is less than 1% atheist according to adherents.com's sources and the survey data you supplied. So it appears that atheists go to prison in about the same numbers as they appear in general society.

Your numbers from the US Atheist groups (which are unsourced in any event) combine all "non-believers" into one category. Since that is a different subset of society than "atheists" you cannot use that as a point of comparison. Further, it does not follow that simply because less than 1% of the prison population are atheists that the rests believe in god. They may be agnostics or skeptics who would not call themselves atheists but who do not affirmatively accept that God exists. They may also be people who believe that some sort of deity exists but who have are not believers in any sort of religion or creed.

People with no religion are up to 70 times less likely to end up in prisons or most of them are not telling their religion correctly

I do not think you've given us the numbers of the prison population that has "no religion." You have given us numbers that show that atheists "end up" in prison in roughly the same numbers they appear in the general population.

Even people who claim to be atheist/agnostics are about 5 times less likely to end up in prison.

Have you given us numbers for agnostics in prison? I thought it was just atheists.

Northern Europe's secular countries have way lower prison population and the crime rate that the USA.

So do you claim that Northern Europe's prisons are filled with the remaining Christians in those cultures?

And has Northern Europe's prison populations been lower than that of the U.S. only since secularization?

If you claim that people from more privileged circumstances commit less crime. Would it them be better for the Church to give money (rather that take) to people and give them a good secular education to improve their moral.

You are making unsupported leaps. Churches and parachurch organizations accept money offered to them and use them for various purposes, including feeding the poor and education. People who attend church do far more than atheists and agnostics in donating money to the poor and uneducated to try and help their plights. So you have no place to criticize the religious in these matters.

And who said only a secular education helps? I would bet good money that Biola students have lower crime rates than Cal State Northridge students, for example.

Violent crime is rising in Western Europe and dropping in the United States. Further, America’s increase in violent crime in the 60s and 70s came about as religion was losing ground and secularism increasing. In other words, the less Christian America has become, the more violent it has become.


Preaching the Christian values seem to have failed to improve the morality.

Actually, if you compare church attendance (and thus exposure to the preaching of Christian values) you get plenty of improved morality. This article by a self-styled "secular liberal" who is also an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia admits that "surveys have long shown that religious believers in the United States are happier, healthier, longer-lived, and more generous to charity and to each other than are secular people."

That would be a good blog post.

I am sure it would be. Perhaps in the future I will have time to turn to it. Perhaps you can launch a blog and offer such a post and let me know about it.

Christian values would also be a good topic to defend the issue.

Sure. But Christian values are more than believing there is a deity.

Ohhh_Heresy! said...

Correlations sure are fun! :-D

First year Psychology teaches us that tests that show correlations between certain variables (for example, atheists care less about moral values than Christians) does not, as this blog would like to have us believe, show cause-and-effect.

For those of you playing at home, what this means is that the study can best be described as, in internet jargon, FAIL.

For example, during a particularly warm summer an increase in ice creams were sold, as were an increase in shark attacks. Should we therefore stop selling ice creams to curb the trend in shark attacks? Of course not.

So to anyone in this forum with the nerve to say that atheists are less caring then Christians (by the way, love the Christian love(!)), all I can say to you is "good day to you sir".

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