Imagine a world with no religion, no set of laws and morals set by a religious sect, set in place to give people a path in life to help themselves or others, and to achieve happiness.
Would the world burn without this path?
Probably not. In fact, religious influence may be diminishing across the western world, including the surprisingly Christian United States.
Yet many fight this fall in religion, by stating rising statistics of incarceration due to the lack of Christian belief and a strong belief in the “rise of drug use.”
The evidence says otherwise – usage of drugs with the exception of marijuana (due to legalization) has steadily declined since the 1970s. However, the large jump of incarcerated people did have a major and steady increase between 1980s and 2000. That increase suddenly halted, remaining the same until 2010, and then slightly dropping the last six years.
So, is the drop in the number of believers due to the rise of criminals? In a graph, the conclusion would be most definitely not. Other variables had far more influence on the rise of incarceration, such as longer jail time, better criminal investigation, and stricter laws. The infamous drug war also had an effect on drug use, though only for a proportion of the population. Today it’s become a black hole of federal spending which will be touched on in another blog.
Actually, it is just a coincidence – just because there’s a drop in religion doesn’t mean it’s directly affecting the safety of the world. Funny enough, nuclear weapons have a far larger statistical influence on world peace.
George Carlin famously said, “More people have been killed in the name of God than for any other reason.” This popular quote used across the world is completely untrue, only 7% of all war has been caused by religion and only 2% of all casualties were because of religion. In fact, religion plays as big of a role in our lives as the average person or government. The lack or abundance of faith has little to no influence – bad people are still bad, and good people stay good, with or without religion.
Statistically, religion is an independent variable with little influence except to the ones who preserve it and try to broaden its influence. So whether god is real or not, should all people of the planet were to lose their faith, there’s little evidence of any possible retaliation from the big man himself. Instead, maybe a few more progressive laws could be passed and there will be a drop in hate crimes. Or maybe numbers be damned, and tomorrow the second coming will happen.