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Are Believers Better Citizens?

Here is a Piece from Psychology Today.

Plante casually claims that religious people are "better citizens" and "behave better." And without citing any sources, he tells us: "Research has consistently found that religious people are less likely to engage in criminal behavior, marital infidelity, alcoholism, unprotected sexual activity. . ."

In other words, according to Plante, if you're not religious you might be a good person, but on average you are more likely to have these undesirable characteristics. This is a bold assertion that, of course, immediately puts secular individuals on the defensive. (Just imagine if the same claims were made against any other minority group.) It is precisely claims like these that lead to many Americans having an unfavorable view of atheists and other nonbelievers.

alon 6 Nov 24

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actual sources prove otherwise which doesn't surprise most of us.


Bullshit. How many atheists/agnostics are shooting up schools and committing general mayhem?


And yet Christians make up the largest population in the prison system with Atheists among the lowest. Ask him to explain that.

He won't reply he is a doofus editors love to publish for idiot religious readers


From Plante's article: "So, to answer the question, "do we need religion to be ethical?" The answer appears to be no but it could be helpful under the right circumstances." []

Here's a Psychology Today article countering Plante's article that nonreligious are more likely to have these undesirable characteristics: []

Here's a study published in the journal Science (2014), which found that religious people aren't more likely to do good than their nonreligious counterparts. []



Ignorance is not funny

@GreenAtheist I find it very, very funny. It is my coping mechanism. You deal with it your way and l will deal with it my way. 🙂

@Sticks48 cope ....good for you

@GreenAtheist That is all you can do. As the great Ron White put it, "You can't fix stupid." It took me decades to figure that out. Stupid people do not know they are stupid because they are stupid. That part of our national problem is not fixable

@Sticks48 wrong....we fixers have shamed the kkk xians into the shadows of ineptitude so they burn their crosses up in the hills away from real humans.... they shave their heads so you can see them without their white hoods....the national problem is duopoly blueREDS redBLUES calling each other black while bankrupting the nation for zionist polluter oil war crime profiteering banksters 22 trillion dollars worth since 1982.....Forest Gump applies: stupid is as stupid does.....keep murdering muslims for oil and and weapons profits is staying inside the burning White House fighting to win with blue matches saying red matches are worse

@GreenAtheist I think you just like to be angry all of the time. I don't know what you have seen in the history of humanity to make you think it is ever going to change.

@Sticks48 how could I possibly be hopeful and angry at the same time ????? Perhaps if you reconsider my words to be truth telling rather than anger, you might learn from this old axiom: nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come......and revolution happens when it seems most impossible by sheer necessity

@GreenAtheist The last half of the 60's and first half of the 70's were filled with people who were pissed about the present and hopeful of the future. Revolution seldom turns out that good. after a revolution you just end up with another government, which as often as not is as bad or worse than what you had. I really don't see how a revolution can happen here. Our society is to large, to diverse in race and culture to get enough people together to pull one off. That is one of our strengths. If you think there is or ever has been a government that is or was not corrupt especially in any large country, I would like you to name them. I have noticed you don't answer questions when I ask them. I can only surmise you don't have answers.

@Sticks48 stupid questions and false assumptions are not worth my time and my generation won the sexual revolution and and the fundamentalists have lost 1865 1920 Roe v Wade and a rapist living pope....your knowledge of violence and fascism makes you a good check&balance against the election boycotters and war borrowers running Congress....give up your negativity and work with visionary ethical practical leaders like

@GreenAtheist The questions are definitely not stupid, but you obviously are. You don't have a fucking answer on how to fix anything. You're just a whiner and complainer. What is your magic solution or solutions to make the the world what YOU think it should be? You are so fucking smart, give me ideas. Give me solutions.

@Sticks48 fuck you fool....Howie Hawkins and thousands of us have been fixing things in real time all our described yourself very well; "whine and complain " Amory Lovins published the econometrics for a Green economy 2005 and Howie ran on it for Governor 2006 and thereafter in every race, stopped fracking cold state wide protecting drinking water shipped across the nation....Wall Street can be taxed under existing law slowing down speculators who cause crashes to fund Green local economies that are currently enriching billionaires you give up and yield to

@GreenAtheist Until you get the money out of politics you are pissing in the wind. The most important thing in this country is money. The most danger to this democracy is greed. Over 95% of lobbyists in Washington are there to get changes in the tax code, and over time they have been quite successful at doing just that. Until we get corporate money out of our elections and drastically change our tax code, all of these changes you and I would like to see happen will go absolutely nowhere. As long as less than 30% of Americans vote, that is our power, they will win.

@Sticks48 until you learn how to count votes and register voters to outvote ignorant sheep like you, the fed will keep printing money for tombstones for your victims.....a Green economy will grow 158% by 2050 while the war economy will grind along 3% a year and spurt up on borrowed cash from probably cannot count to 12 and read the BILL OF RIGHTS.....ratify the first Amendment in 27 more states then you can send 6000+ honest locals to outvote the bribed 435 incumbents you fear

@Sticks48 I doubt you have read a single fix I posted and you are drowning in your own echoes of lecture platitudes.....send Howie Hawkins 20 dollars and watch it double by Presidential Matching Funds.....mobilizing 3 million new Greens by next July can defeat Republican idiots hired for 20 dollars an hour to sell MAGA hats on the phone ....Labor has been betrayed by corrupt Democrats this week in Virginia and Wisconsin so they will cry in their beer like you and do nothing to help Greens either


Psychology Today isn't an academic journal and apparently sometimes publishes bullshit.


Oh so that's why the prisons are full of them


Religious fanatics Killing people in the name of religion what can be more vile than this .


That’s an absurd claim not worth debating.


Definitely not. Sometimes, they are worst humans. How many of us in this forum need to subscribe to a deity before we know the right from wrong?
I don't.


So....all Plante has truly "proven" is that he's biased, opinionated asshat with no scientific data, but a with a public platform that kind of lessens the credence of Psychology Today overall, no?

It is a shit rag with religious advertisers... .incompetent businesses subscribe to this worthless magazine for victims to read while in waiting rooms


Anyone who looks at the stats for prison inmates will find that in terms of incarceration, if we assume everyone inside is guilty and ignore racial lmbalance that is unrelated to actual guilt, will find that Christians make up by far the largest number of criminals. I think if we adjust for the aforementioned factors, Christians will still be in the majority of, let's call them misbehavers, shall we? And let's ask, of those who say the religious are better people, whether they think their judgment applies to only one religion. I don't think we need to ask them which one.



Ken, a 66-year-old psychologist from Portland, Oregon. His first message to me:

"I really like your playful, creative, giving being. You're more "spiritual" than most religious people. I'm curious how an "atheist" can live that way."

My response after Skyping with him:


Yesterday a man I used to date, Rich, dropped by as I was kneading four loaves of bread. With a master degree, Rich is highly intelligent and an atheist. Unlike you, Rich immediately saw the insult in your message.

I told Rich you could not understand how I can have loving kindness without attending church and believing in a god. "I get asked that by Christians all the time," Rich replied.

Treating people with kindness and respect is a series of daily choices. I don't need a book or fear of an invisible deity to teach me to behave. At age four, I realized when I am nice to people, they are nice in return.

I would never corner Christians and demand that they explain themselves. Yet you and your compatriots think this is acceptable behavior.

Christians who don't know me often demand, as you did, that I explain:

  1. Why I am an atheist.

  2. How the universe began (as if being an atheist automatically makes me an astrophysicist). "Nobody knows," I reply. "Science is advancing every year."

  3. What happens when people die. "Nobody knows," I reply.

  4. What is "spirituality."

You may think your questions were unique. They were not. Rich and I both find being grilled by Christians rude and tiresome.


Low life Mafia dimwits tended to be very religious and go to church the same week after rubbing someone out .Talk about sociopathic,hypocrisy and sadistic all rolled up into one bunch of religious scumbags.


Most of the respectable studies I have seen have proved just the opposite. Certainly on an international scale, there is a direct link between nearly all factors of social health, such as crime, to the degree to which a country is secular.


NO.I would like to think that believers and non believers are about equal in regards to this .


I haven’t read the other responses, but I’m sure “This is a crock of shit” is somewhere among them. Is there even a need to explain that religious folk including Catholic priests and Orthodox Jewish-Israeli Settlers commit heinous crimes? I’m not the least defensive about my non religiously.


If I believe that a green leprechaun looking alien took a giant crap and thus created the universe. Is that belief enough to make me a better citizen. That is unsubstantiated bullcrap.


My purely unscientific and probably biased survey based on 20 years working in prisons tells me that "believers" are certainly no more law-abiding than atheists; indeed, markedly less so. I have never, to my knowledge, encountered an atheist behind bars, and only 5 or 6 Buddhists in that time; whereas I've known countless, extremely devout Christians, Jews, and Muslims, along with several Wiccans, Odinists, and Satanists for good measure.

Whether they were religious prior to committing their particular crimes, or became religious in prison, is a factor that no doubt varies from one to another. But as far as their behavior as "citizens" in the prison environment, I've seen no difference between those who go to the chapel every chance they get, participate in religious groups, and get bible publications in the mail, and those who don't. In fact, some of the most religious are also the worst to deal with, since they seem to feel they're "above man's law" and the rules of the prison because God has forgiven them. And I wager they felt that way before they broke the law, too.



bobwjr Level 10 Nov 24, 2019

I believe that atheists and agnostics are better citizens. They are free from the bonds of religious ideology, and many of us are also free of doctrinaire political ideologies. That makes more critical and rational thinkers. Also, knowing that we will be scrutinized much more heavily by religious believers, more of us take care that our decisions and actions are more truly moral and democratic.


Bah, Humbug!


Unconscionable claptrap.


Believers and nonbelievers are equal in this regard . To say otherwise is ridiculous.

fedup Level 5 Nov 28, 2019

Christians, as all religionists, commit more crimes, rape more, steal more, beat wives more,...than non-believers.

At least for now. Non-belief is not a basis for good behavior. Yet, it does seem jail/prison inmates are more likely believers, even the 30 percent who are most likely psychopaths.

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