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Archive for October 5th, 2008

Does religion foster bad behavior, or does faith really strengthen society?

http://www.godwouldbeanatheist.com/cols2005/051113.htm

Why can’t we all be Japanese?


Religion fosters bad behavior

By © Martin Foreman
Word Count: 795 words
Publication date: November 13, 2005

Several weeks ago, a ground-breaking study on religious belief and social well-being was published in the Journal of Religion & Society. Comparing eighteen prosperous democracies from the US to New Zealand, author Gregory S Paul quietly demolished the myth that faith strengthens society.

Drawing on a wide range of studies to cross-match faith – measured by belief in God and acceptance of evolution – with homicide and sexual behavior, Paul found that secular societies have lower rates of violence and teenage pregnancy than societies where many people profess belief in God.

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This is a nice article. Some doctors and nurses have actually said that sometimes patients who have come back have actually described what had happened when they (the patients) were in an out-of-body experience. For me out-of-body experiences are one of the only proofs that consciousness does not only reside in the human brain. To extrapolate even a little further, it might even someday prove life after death.

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This is new, Richard Dawkins seems to be more open to the idea of aliens than the idea of God. One idea which he said is that if modern man went back in time and met earlier men, they would have been worshiped as gods. He further added, that these modern men, would be perceived as god but are not gods since these men would of course have to undergo evolution just the same.

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This article written by Rev. Dr. Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs, is illuminating in how seeks an intersection between Darwinism and Christianity. This excerpt, found in the end, is an effective apology :


“Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practice the old virtues of ‘faith seeking understanding’ and hope that makes some amends. But the struggle for your reputation is not over yet, and the problem is not just your religious opponents but those who falsely claim you in support of their own interests. Good religion needs to work constructively with good science – and I dare to suggest that the opposite may be true as well.”

It’s worth reading the rest of the article to see Rev. Dr. Brown’s views on how Darwin’s theory of natural selection is consistent with Christian teachings (which sounds a bit of a stretch to me). Still, I like how he points out that even Darwinism isn’t the be-all and end-all explanation of our earthly existence, and that  further inquiry is required.  Moreover, while the apology came more than 100 years late, it still bears saying. Though gone, Darwin bears a great legacy on the world today. The acknowledgment and acceptance of his ideas vindicates him, and paves the way for the kind of open-minded approach we need to provide an antidote against religious bigotry and fanaticism.
The entire article may be found here: http://www.cofe.anglican.org/darwin/malcolmbrown.html

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