The government should study the role of religion in gun violence.

Obama laid out a plan to reduce gun violence today, which in part proposed studying the effects of violent video games on crime and lifting the CDC “ban” on gun violence studies.

I propose that since religious texts are chock full of violence, that religion has been the motivating factor in many atrocities from abortion clinic bombings to 9/11, that almost all murderers have some religious affiliation, and that many of our youngest and most impressionable children attend church services regularly; that Congress should fund research into both the role of religion in our country’s epidemic of violence, and possible steps that may be taken to reduce the violence caused by religion.

Of course, almost all people have some religious affiliation. Which wouldn’t be so bad, if only they followed the One True Faith. (Not so bad, but a whole lot more violent.)


:rolleyes: good grief :rolleyes:

My replies are directed at the OP. My first reply was lagged.

To the OP: Please cite your assertion that almost all murderers have some religious affiliation.

             Please cite your assertion that many of our youngest and most impressionable children attend church services regularly.

I generally avoid Great Debates, but your assertions are so baseless that even a casual poster like me can claim shenanigans.

Religion does seem to correlate with violence and other social problems.

You are going to find it very hard to get any such study funded however; in general it’s hard to get any funding to study the social effects of religion. Unsurprising, given how poorly religion usually looks in the few studies that have been done. For believers it’s much more important to believe that they are doing good than it is to actually do good; and for a believer nothing that casts religion in a bad light is acceptable no matter how much harm is done to people. People in the eyes of the believers exist to serve religion, not the other way around; all practical and moral considerations are secondary to the welfare of their particular One True Faith.

Most people in America have a religious affiliation, and children are regularly taken to church. Didn’t you go to Sunday School? I did. If you don’t pound religion into children’s brains when they are young and vulnerable it’s probably too late to infect them after all.

That part of the OP is likely meant to be humorous, like The Dread Tomato Addiction.

I asked for a cite concerning children and murderers. You provided a response about ‘people’. Is this what the board generally refers to as a ‘Strawman’?

No, it’s what’s called pointing out the obvious. Most murderers in America are inevitably religious primarily because an overwhelming number of people in general in America are religious; atheists would have to be pretty rabidly homicidal to catch up with our much smaller numbers.

So you are making the claim that anyone who ever attended church, whether by their own initiative, or because their parents compelled them to, is by your definition: religious.

No; I’m making the point that the great majority of Americans consider themselves religious.

A clear majority of Americans go to church – do you really have any doubt they take their children along, more’s the pity? No, you do not.

And Jesus hates religion! Just ask Jack Chick!

Cite please. And please define what you mean by religious. Do you consider someone to be religious if they have attended one church service in their lives?

Do you consider someone to be religious if they have attended two church services in their lives?

One church service in 20 years?

One church service in 10 years?

5 years? 1 year? 6 months? Once a month? Once a week?

Here. Seriously, this is getting silly; the popularity of religion among Americans is hardly some obscure factoid.

:rolleyes: I said “consider themselves” religious; it has nothing to do with what I consider religious.

Here’s a cite. Only 18.9% of people consider themselves “religiously unaffiliated” (though this is on the rise, especially among the younger demographic). Note that not all of these people are necessarily atheist or agnostic. Jack Chick may put himself in this category because he thinks “religion” is bad because it corrupts the true word of Christ. But in general, of those 80% who are self-described as religiously affiliated, 75% consider themselves a “religious person”. Also of affiliated people, 45% attend worship services “weekly or more”, and 36% say they go “monthly or yearly” with only 18% saying they “seldom or never” go.

And among the “unaffiliated” minority, 68% believe in God and 21% pray daily.

There is certainly a correlation between fundamentalist Christianity and violence, in that both tend to exist in places where the Southern honor culture has influence. That’s not to say one causes the other, but they are co-morbid. We aren’t allowed to actually look at any of the causes of violence, though; that might interfere with the gun confiscation plan and the rule that all political discussions have to be completely dominated by nonsense.

This site tells us there were 74 million children in the US in 2011. Wikipedia tells us 43% of adults attend church weekly. Assuming the rate at which children go to church is no more and no less than adults, that gives us 31.8 million children who attend church. I’d say that’s “many”.

As far as “religion”, I’m referring to any belief or faith in a deity, especially one described in thousand-year-old texts such as the Torah, Koran, New Testament, Baghavad Gita, etc. It has nothing to do with belonging to an organization.

I’m not making any claims here. I just think that if guns and video games are getting increased scrutiny, especially with an eye towards further legislation on these topics, so too should the beliefs that often motivate such violence.

An intelligent person like you is surely aware that such studies have already been done, and have found a negative relationship between religion and crime. Individuals that are religious are less likely to commit crime.
C. Simon Fan, Religious Participation and Children’s Education: A Social Capital Approach. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2006

There is substantial evidence showing that religion has a significant positive impact on children’s educational attainment and future earnings. Also, sociologists’ extensive research indicates that youth raised in religious homes are less likely to engage in criminal activity, use drugs or alcohol, and so on. Indeed, many religions emphasize hard work, honesty, seriousness, and responsibility, all of which are conducive to children’s acquisition of cognitive and non-cognitive skills.
Donahue, M. J. and Benson, P. L., Religion and the Well-Being of Adolescents. Journal of Social Issues (1995) 51: page 145–160

A literature review of the relation between religiousness and adolescent well-being is presented, along with new analyses from a large adolescent data base. … Religiousness is positively associated with prosocial values and behavior, and negatively related to suicide ideation and attempts, substance abuse, premature sexual involvement, and delinquency
Smith, C., Theorizing Religious Effects Among American Adolescents. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (2003), 42: pages 17–30

A large body of empirical studies shows that religion often serves as a factor promoting positive, healthy outcomes in the lives of American adolescents.

Regnerus, Mark. Religion and Positive Adolescent Outcomes: A Review of Research and Theory. Review of Religious Research Vol. 44, No. 4 (Jun., 2003), pp. 394-413

I review recent research published in academic journals concerning religious influences on several positive outcomes during adolescence: physical and emotional health, education, volunteering and political involvement, and family well-being. Though much less research exists on these outcomes when compared with risk behaviors such as drinking, drug use, and sexual activity, the high-quality studies that do exist point to modest positive influences of religious involvement. That is, more extensive religious involvement is generally associated with positive outcomes during adolescence.
Why should Congress pay for research that’s already been done? The results are already in. We should take steps to wipe out atheism in order to reduce crime.