Correlation, Not Causation
I recently came across this Info-Graphic that compares all 50 states to each other in various areas. As you can see, the degree of ‘religiousness’ is on the left, while the various other indicators are beside it.
Just musing here, but i find it interesting that average intelligence and happiness are inversely correlated with religion, but crime rate and divorce rate are direct correlations. Probably a coincidence is the fact that intelligence is also inversely correlated with conservatism, but that is probably just my liberal bias speaking.
Now, correlation does not always imply causation, but if your population is generally more likely to accept things on faith (that is to say, in the absence of empirical evidence), I could have probably predicted most of that. However, the fact that the entire population was equally generous, but the most religious states had more impoverished people was surprising.
I’d hate to draw the conclusion that a strongly religious society will be worse off, but when I look in the world, I have a hard time refuting that conclusion. The Scandinavian countries consistently rank on the top of the Human Development Index, and they have some pretty low religiosity, especially when compared to, I don’t know, Saudi Arabia. Some studies also indicate that a higher self-described religiosity may not be great for your mental health.Whatever. Cigarettes are also mainstream, and they kill you, too, not to mention Jersey Shore.
However, with Prop 8 being pushed through with money from those super-charitable folks from Utah to hate on the gays, or people literally willing to kill for a cartoon, or those kooky Scientologists wasting time, space and effort down in Haiti, we find many examples of ‘faith-based initiatives’. I’m not saying that religions doesn’t have a prominent place in the world, but just keep it out of our f*cking government! Jesus said it himself (Mark 12:17), and I thought that would be enough for everybody.
But, of course, I’m wrong.