Brits: religion causes more harm than good.

December 25, 2006 | By | Reply More

You can read about it here.

An excerpt from the article:

More people in Britain think religion causes harm than believe it does good, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today. It shows that an overwhelming majority see religion as a cause of division and tension – greatly outnumbering the smaller majority who also believe that it can be a force for good.

The poll also reveals that non-believers outnumber believers in Britain by almost two to one. It paints a picture of a sceptical nation with massive doubts about the effect religion has on society: 82% of those questioned say they see religion as a cause of division and tension between people. Only 16% disagree.

I offer these statistics with a caveat.  These numbers appear to reflect British attitudes toward social organizations that are based on supernatural beliefs.   In other words, the poll dealt with social attitudes regarding “social systems whose participants avow belief in a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is sought.” [Daniel Dennett’s definition from Breaking the Spell].  The study did not measure public attitudes regarding privately held supernatural beliefs.  There is a huge difference between the two. 

Beliefs that are private cannot cause the great mischief (nor the benefits) often caused by coordinated social groups. Privately held beliefs, not celebrated under the direction of institutions, don’t often threaten political liberties and lives.

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Category: Culture, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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