Does Religious Belief Hinder Social Progress: An Analysis

From the data I downloaded from Social Progress Imperative, and the data I collected myself, I plotted a graph to measure the relationship between a nations social progress, and the extent to which its populace is religious.

Once plotted, this graph produced a negative correlation, and pointed towards the fact that the higher the percentage of religious followers in a nations populace, the lower the social progress of that nation tended to be.

As I stated in my initial post, this does not show causation, but it does show a clear, albeit weak, correlation.

Following on from that initial discovery, I think it is time we analysed the graph in a little more detail.

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The Problem With New Atheism

There is an obvious problem with the social and political movement known as New Atheism, and that problem is one of hate.

Since New Atheism first reared its head in our post-9/11 world, it has sought to confront and counter religious thought, belief, and practice around the globe. Over time though, followers and leading figures in the movement have shifted away from simply religious criticism and have moved towards outright religious hatred. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the case of Islam. It seems that now Atheists use their non-belief as a shield in the hope that it will deflect accusations, and excuse them from religious hate, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia.
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Does Religious Belief Hinder Social Progress?

How can we improve the society in which we live? How can we make our lives measurably better? Such questions have been asked for hundreds of years, and unfortunately for those hundreds of years, people have been delivering the wrong answer.

As Michael Green says in his exquisite TED Talk, we have been obsessed with the “fetish” we call Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for far too long. Rather than measuring real developments which improve real peoples lives, we instead choose to focus our attention on wealth creation. Rather than measuring our society on how many children we have helped to educate, or how many nurses have saved lives, we instead look at how much money we have made.

If this money is not going to be invested in worthwhile causes, it is money for the sake of money. “Progress” for the sake of progress. A society going nowhere fast.

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Football As A Religion

I have often noticed the commonality between religion and football, and I have not been alone in doing this. Peter Evans, from the National Football Museum, once called football “the religion of the masses”, and it is not hard to see why.

My holy day is a Saturday, the service starts at 3pm, and I make sure I am in suitable attire for it. The gods of Rodgers, Gerrard and Suarez are worshipped, the hymns of Anfield Road and You’ll Never Walk Alone are sang, and I gather with my brothers as our icons attempt to create more legendary tales and stories.

Our football clubs are considered sacred to us. When we see somebody sporting one of their kits, we consider them a friend, when we contemplate a tattoo, our mind turns to our team, and when someone bad-mouths one of our teams players, we defend them to the hilt, despite having never even met them.

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Is There A Person…

Is there a person living who advocates the deaths of others? Would they stand on high and proclaim to others that the killing of people is not only justified but welcomed? Guns, bombs and more sinister methods of slaughter are essential to a thriving society and a joyous life. The task to take human life is a decision we are allowed to take ourselves, it is a decision without consequence and a decision without impact. Is there a person who can honestly say that there is nothing immoral and unethical about preventing another human being continuing their life? A person who can make the choice, and take the decision to permanently extinguish the fire of existence. To halt the candle before it had run its natural course and burned out of its own accord. Is there a person living who can look another in the eye and say to them with all honesty and conviction “I posses a right to take your life from you, and I will act upon that right if I see fit”? The person gazes upon the other in full knowledge that the same sentence can be repeated back, and both are fine with it. Is there a person who advocates this?

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