We have to defeat secularism or else society will crumble! Without god all kinds of terrible things will happen! If we don’t make gays second class citizens and replace arithmetic with the 10 commandments everybody’s going to be miserable! How can we have a cohesive society if we let women run marrying other women all willy nilly?
Except society is not crumbling. In fact, according to a recent article in Psychology Today, secularism seems to be an indicator of societal success:
Religion – or so the age-old hypothesis goes – is therefor a necessary glue for keeping society together. And conversely, secularism is a danger to societal well-being. For if people turn away from God and stop being religious, then crime will go up, corruption will increase, perversion will percolate, decency will diminish, and all manifestations of misery and malfeasance will predominate.
It is an interesting hypothesis. Perpetually-touted. And wrong.
Consider, for instance, the latest special report just put out by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (and recently summarized on the website 24/7wallstreet.com), which lists the ten states with the worst/best quality of life. According to this multivariate analysis which takes into account a plethora of indicators of societal well-being, those states in America with the worst quality of life tend to be among the most God-loving/most religious (such as Mississippi and Alabama), while those states with the best quality of life tend to among the least God-loving/least religious (such as Vermont and New Hampshire).
If you are curious as to which states are the most/least religious, simply check out the Pew Forum’s Religious Landscape Survey. It’s all there. And then you can go ahead and check out how the various states are faring in terms of societal well-being. The correlation is clear and strong: the more secular tend to fare better than the more religious on a vast host of measures, including homicide and violent crime rates, poverty rates, obesity and diabetes rates, child abuse rates, educational attainment levels, income levels, unemployment rates, rates of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy, etc. You name it: on nearly every sociological measure of well-being, you’re most likely to find the more secular states with the lowest levels of faith in God and the lowest rates of church attendance faring the best and the most religious states with the highest levels of faith in God and rates of church attendance faring the worst.
And guess what? The correlation holds internationally, as well.
As I’ve discussed in my book Society Without God, and as I extensively elaborate on in my newest book Living the Secular Life, those democratic nations today that are the most secular, such as Scandinavia, Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, etc., are faring much better on nearly every single indicator of well-being imaginable than the most religious nations on earth today, such as Colombia, Jamaica, El Salvador, Yemen, Malawi, Pakistan, the Philippines, etc.
As University of London professor Stephen Law has observed, “if declining levels of religiosity were the main cause of…social ills, we should expect those countries that are now the least religious to have the greatest problems. The reverse is true.”
Wait, you mean fixing problems ourselves instead of relying on god to do it actually works? You mean trying to figure out what really makes hurricanes strike instead of just ascribing it to the gays or whatever other group we don’t like works better? Clearly this is just another case of scientists overstepping their bounds.
Mind blown. Stand aside Voltaire, Burke and de Tocqueville!