Does religion cause or prevent crime? (1 Viewer)

Jon

Access World Site Owner
Staff member
Local time
Today, 00:10
Joined
Sep 28, 1999
Messages
3,864
I just read a post by Doc where he referred to the "armour of God". I thought that was such a wonderful turn of phrase. He states you shouldn't walk through a bad neighbourhood and rely on that armour. Then I was thinking that bad neighbourhoods are poor neighbourhoods, that poverty and religion often go together, i.e. the more poor you are, the more likely you are to be religious. Poor areas have high crime. So that led to the question in this thread. Does one lead to the other, i.e. casual. Or are they just correlated. What about Islamist terrorism? Or other wars and violence due to religion?

Does religion cause crime or does it prevent crime through its teachings?
 
Last edited:

Pat Hartman

Super Moderator
Staff member
Local time
Yesterday, 19:10
Joined
Feb 19, 2002
Messages
30,159
With few exceptions, the worst crimes against humanity have been conducted in the name of "God". Look at the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, the persecution of Protestants by the Catholics in France, the persecution of the Catholics by the Church of England in England. The persecution of both the Jews and Catholics in the Middle East, Bosnia and kosoval, Lebanon, and the terrorism of Islam, for starters.

For individuals, religion gives people something to believe in and aspire to and prevents crime. How it translates in groups is horrific.
 
Last edited:

The_Doc_Man

Immoderate Moderator, Former MVP, Retired SysAdmin
Staff member
Local time
Yesterday, 18:10
Joined
Feb 28, 2001
Messages
18,386
First, just to clear the air, I used that phrase in response to a wall of text by Adam (neuroman9999), who used a longer variant of that concept buried in his text wall. Didn't originate with me.

According to Ambrose Bierce, noted USA journalist and satirist, taken from his work The Devil's Unabridged Dictionary:

Religion, n, the daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable

Faith, n, belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

Religion has been called "the opiate of the masses" because it gives hope of a better afterlife to those who have no hope of their current existence ever getting better. In the sense that it can be a spiritual placebo for those whose lives are not happy, it can reduce their desire to create or indulge in various types of anarchy. To the extent that it offers some comfort to the masses to quiet them, religion will prevent crimes of violence.

Sadly, it has less effect on theft, robbery, burglary, and similar "deprivation of property" crimes because religion won't help most of the drug victims of the world. Their craving will consume all of their money and more than all of it, leading to desperation to obtain money to get the next "fix" - and by the time the person gets there, religion won't help. Their personal inner demons have already taken over inside them, far closer than any distant and aloof father figure.

The bigger problem comes in when religion starts down the "exclusion" road and names groups that are anathema to the current tenets of the religion. Hate crimes abound that were based on religious rhetoric.

For one egregious example, the way that Matthew Shepard was killed was brought on by religious anti-gay rhetoric. The murders of Drs. George Tiller and and David Gunn and at least nine others in the past two decades were caused by them being abortion providers. That was also indirectly brought on by anti-abortion rhetoric. We don't even need to discuss the atrocities in Kosovo in an "ethnic cleansing" brought about by religious differences but a lot of fatal assaults, arson, maiming, and other criminal atrocities can be laid at the feet of religion.

When religion introduces a "them vs. us" mentality, it invites conflict. The Wahabbi sect of Islam is not at all tolerant of the other sects and thus engages in bombings of other Muslims as well as their non-Muslim targets. The Branch Davidian cult and their "us vs. them" viewpoint led to the Waco tragedy. The Rev. Jim Jones down in Guyana used religion to induce people to drink Kool-Aid laced with cyanide.

I cannot say with any honesty that I feel religion is a force of good in the world. It induces people to believe in impossibilities when a hard dose of reality is what is really needed to have folks focus on what they must do to survive in the world that we have now. And that is to look within themselves for self-improvement, self-reliance, and self-motivation.
 

Jon

Access World Site Owner
Staff member
Local time
Today, 00:10
Joined
Sep 28, 1999
Messages
3,864
Could religion be viewed in the same way you can view a knife? It can help you dice your onion, but it can also be used to kill. You cannot blame the knife itself, only the person who wields it in the way of their choosing?
 

The_Doc_Man

Immoderate Moderator, Former MVP, Retired SysAdmin
Staff member
Local time
Yesterday, 18:10
Joined
Feb 28, 2001
Messages
18,386
Perhaps in a limited sense, but remember that the person also chooses his own religion just as the chef selects his blade. After all, we have a bunch of basic religions for which we have considerably MORE than a bunch of variations (a.k.a. "denominations" or "sects").

You are correct that not all blame falls to religion. The weaker-minded members of any group (religious or otherwise, consider Antifa as an example) can do terrible things that should not be allowed. However, if religion implicitly starts the divisiveness, human nature will take over to follow that evolutionary imperative, "the ascendancy of me and mine over thee and thine." We are competitive creatures on the best days of our lives and we are positively bloodthirsty on our bad days. To the extent that religion CAN help us to control that tendency, it is a good thing. It is when it tacitly or explicitly promotes the difference as a cause for some action that we have a problem.
 

Jon

Access World Site Owner
Staff member
Local time
Today, 00:10
Joined
Sep 28, 1999
Messages
3,864
Does the person choose their own religion? In Pakistan, 98% are Muslim. So I think there is an argument that the religion chooses them, based on location. Same for the US, mostly Christian.

Also, the chef selects his blade. But it is what he intends to do with that blade is the issue, not so much which knife, since most knifes can kill. Same for religion.
 

The_Doc_Man

Immoderate Moderator, Former MVP, Retired SysAdmin
Staff member
Local time
Yesterday, 18:10
Joined
Feb 28, 2001
Messages
18,386
In the USA, it is not totally unheard of for a person to convert to a different religion. In fact, when the American colonies were founded, it was because people "voted with their feet" to escape religious persecution caused by exclusionary practices among UK religions at the time. The Anglican religion was pretty strict about such things. One would hope it has mellowed by now, but I must admit to not caring enough to follow up on that idea. The point is, people can and do change religions, sects, denominations, ... you name it.
 

Jon

Access World Site Owner
Staff member
Local time
Today, 00:10
Joined
Sep 28, 1999
Messages
3,864
Except in Pakistan where apostasy has the death penalty.
 

The_Doc_Man

Immoderate Moderator, Former MVP, Retired SysAdmin
Staff member
Local time
Yesterday, 18:10
Joined
Feb 28, 2001
Messages
18,386
That is the fault of the Pakistani people for accepting such atrocities.

They've made their bed. Now they have to lie in it.
 

Dick7Access

Dick S
Local time
Yesterday, 19:10
Joined
Jun 9, 2009
Messages
3,826
Could religion be viewed in the same way you can view a knife? It can help you dice your onion, but it can also be used to kill. You cannot blame the knife itself, only the person who wields it in the way of their choosing?
My whole life is tied up in helping people in the name of God (not religion) big difference. If somebody doesn't accept what I preach, that's their choice, and it's ok with me. Many have been helped, that's their choice, again. I am in Jackson, MS at this time and have helped many here. To address the wealth/poverty question. Wealth is a relative thing. Next to Bill G. I am poor. Next to foreign places I have preached I am wealthy. I am satisfied with what I have.
 

Jon

Access World Site Owner
Staff member
Local time
Today, 00:10
Joined
Sep 28, 1999
Messages
3,864
To address the wealth/poverty question. Wealth is a relative thing. Next to Bill G. I am poor. Next to foreign places I have preached I am wealthy. I am satisfied with what I have.

Interesting comment there. There is research that shows that the influence of money on happiness is more about your relative wealth rather than absolute. So if you are poor and your neighbour is very poor, you are relatively happy (however sick that sounds!!). By adopting your way of thinking, you can ignore the boundaries of your own country or neighbourhood and look around the world. That comparison may indeed make you more happy, despite poverty.
 

Dick7Access

Dick S
Local time
Yesterday, 19:10
Joined
Jun 9, 2009
Messages
3,826
Interesting comment there. There is research that shows that the influence of money on happiness is more about your relative wealth rather than absolute. So if you are poor and your neighbour is very poor, you are relatively happy (however sick that sounds!!). By adopting your way of thinking, you can ignore the boundaries of your own country or neighbourhood and look around the world. That comparison may indeed make you more happy, despite poverty.
The richest person in the world is a five years old on a 25 cent allowance that somebody gives him a 10 dollar bill. In his world it will last a lifetime. In my world it's a meal tip.
 

The_Doc_Man

Immoderate Moderator, Former MVP, Retired SysAdmin
Staff member
Local time
Yesterday, 18:10
Joined
Feb 28, 2001
Messages
18,386
Very good perspective, Dick7Access.

But then, I knew you were level-headed when I met you.
 

Sameh101

New member
Local time
Yesterday, 16:10
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
3

Does religion cause or prevent crime?​

It really depends on the religion, and there are a lot of religions out there, and each religion owned by a "God". I would like to share my thoughts, I grew up in Egypt a majority Muslim country, and I understand and speak the native Quran language much better than many Muslims in Asia and even Africa who do not speak Arabic, this religion has commands like any other religion, the commander (God) name is "Allah", he commands his people while they are weak or poor to love and peace but he also commands Muslims while they are strong and rich to kill anyone who is not Muslim, not only that but also to kill Muslims who do not have the same beliefs, and there are many different Islamic beliefs out there in Iran, Iraq, etc.
For that I would say religion cause crime.
comparing to other religions;
Jewish commands are very clear, love God "Yahweh", love your brother, other good commands and DO NOT kill.
Christianity which belongs to "Yahweh" in flesh as "Jesus Christ" exercise full love and showing it by his redemption on the cross to save who believes in him from eternal destruction and he commanded to love all, even the enemy.
I don't think these two religions would cause any harm, if believers understood it correctly.
 

Pat Hartman

Super Moderator
Staff member
Local time
Yesterday, 19:10
Joined
Feb 19, 2002
Messages
30,159
Islam is the only major religion I know of that actually instructs the "faithful" to kill others in its name. That doesn't stop the followers of Christianity from coming up with reasons to kill non-believers even though both the old and the new testaments specifically forbid killing except in self defense.. The Jews take the admonition against killing more seriously and don't persecute people for not believing.
 

The_Doc_Man

Immoderate Moderator, Former MVP, Retired SysAdmin
Staff member
Local time
Yesterday, 18:10
Joined
Feb 28, 2001
Messages
18,386
Thank you for your perspective, Sameh101. Sometimes some of us have to guess at religious attitudes because we don't know that many people of a given religion, perhaps because our home area is demographically unbalanced towards a particular group. I live in southern Louisiana where the prevailing religions are Catholic and several Protestant denominations. Other religions are not that extensive here, so our opportunities to meet and interact with some religions are limited.
 

Sameh101

New member
Local time
Yesterday, 16:10
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
3
You are welcome, Mr. The_Doc_Man, in the USA they do not like to talk about religions in general, freedom of religion as per the constitution, and that impaired their knowledge of knowing THE creator, if they want to believe that there is a creator. I will respect any belief even if that person would worship a stone as long as he would not hit me with it.
 

Isaac

Lifelong Learner
Local time
Yesterday, 16:10
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
2,838
Interesting comment there. There is research that shows that the influence of money on happiness is more about your relative wealth rather than absolute. So if you are poor and your neighbour is very poor, you are relatively happy (however sick that sounds!!). By adopting your way of thinking, you can ignore the boundaries of your own country or neighbourhood and look around the world. That comparison may indeed make you more happy, despite poverty.
Just recently finished a study of the Positive Psychology portion of the Psychology field. Many researchers agree that money does lead to happiness, but only up to the point where basic needs are met. After that point, it levels of and has virtually no effect. So in the US, money led to increased happiness up to somewhere between 40,000 and 70,000 $$. After that money was a moot point.

While I totally agree that religions have been used to 'promote' all kinds and sorts of awful things, I do think sometimes the events that people pick to demonstrate their assertion are a bit misguided. For example, religion is often cited as synonymous with hatred and distrust, and the Salem Witch Trials & Spanish Inquisition are the oft-cited "proofs" of this.

Decide for yourself how much sense that makes:

1. # of people died from Salem Witch Trials: 25
2. # of people died from Spanish Inquisition: Somewhere in the 10's of thousands. (It would appear widespread disagreement exists here).

Now let's change gears and mention notable historical figures on the SECULAR side...that is, groups that were explicitly and adamantly anti-God.

1. # of people killed by Stalin: 20 million
2. # of people killed by Lenin: 3-4 million
3. # of people killed by Holocaust period: 6 million + many uncounted non-Jew deaths

Finally, any time you are measuring net harm done, it only makes sense to take into account net benefits, too.
How often is religion a driving force behind benevolence? Reasonable people can disagree on the answer to that, (of course), but it's certainly not nothing, or anywhere close to it.

Don't get me wrong. I agree with many previous commenters. Just throwing this in.
 

Isaac

Lifelong Learner
Local time
Yesterday, 16:10
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
2,838

Does religion cause or prevent crime?​

It really depends on the religion, and there are a lot of religions out there, and each religion owned by a "God". I would like to share my thoughts, I grew up in Egypt a majority Muslim country, and I understand and speak the native Quran language much better than many Muslims in Asia and even Africa who do not speak Arabic, this religion has commands like any other religion, the commander (God) name is "Allah", he commands his people while they are weak or poor to love and peace but he also commands Muslims while they are strong and rich to kill anyone who is not Muslim, not only that but also to kill Muslims who do not have the same beliefs, and there are many different Islamic beliefs out there in Iran, Iraq, etc.
For that I would say religion cause crime.
comparing to other religions;
Jewish commands are very clear, love God "Yahweh", love your brother, other good commands and DO NOT kill.
Christianity which belongs to "Yahweh" in flesh as "Jesus Christ" exercise full love and showing it by his redemption on the cross to save who believes in him from eternal destruction and he commanded to love all, even the enemy.
I don't think these two religions would cause any harm, if believers understood it correctly.
Great summary, thanks for contributing.
Reminds me how utterly absurd it is for our society to have grown so politically correct that we are sometimes afraid to state the obvious, and rather are encouraged to pretend it doesn't exist. DJT is not wrong in this. His push to limit the migration-based influence of Islam in our society is well warranted, and very rational. Frankly, I don't ever want the makeup of our nation to look like London. Religious tolerance is definitely the ideal, yes, but there are exceptions to every rule. Some religions have well earned their reputation as "violent". Progressives try to make us feel bad for stating the obvious, but somebody has to.
 

The_Doc_Man

Immoderate Moderator, Former MVP, Retired SysAdmin
Staff member
Local time
Yesterday, 18:10
Joined
Feb 28, 2001
Messages
18,386
@Isaac: Just to be complete in your post #18, throw in the Kosovo atrocities, which were religious and ethnic cleansing examples. And throw in the Crusades, which were religiously based attempts to recapture the Holy Land. Let's not forget that the Darfur tragedies involved religious differences as a component of the greater atrocities happening there.

And one other minor correction: The WWII Holocaust was NOT AT ALL by a group that was anti-God. The soldiers all wore belt buckles stamped with "Gott mitt uns" - "God with us." Hitler was a practicing Roman Catholic. Go figure.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom