unmoral behaviour

Let’s get rid of Heaven, Hell is what we need! (?)

In the beginning of this week, PLoS ONE published an interesting article suggesting that a country’s crime rates depend on the religious believes its population holds: Societies that believe in heaven are more criminal than societies that believe in hell.

For this study, Azim Shariff (director of the Culture and Morality Lab of the University of Oregon) and Mijke Rhemtulla analysed data on people’s beliefs the World Values Surveys collected over 26 years on 143 197 participants from 67 countries. In these surveys, participants were presented a list of concepts – including “heaven” and “hell” – and asked to indicate whether or not they believed in each of them. Shariff & Rhemtulla compared these belief data (using a series of linear regression equations) to standardised crime rates which they derived from statistics the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime collected on crimes like homicide, robbery, and burglary.

 

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