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An Interesting Survey

February 11, 2009

I found this article on PZ Myers’s blog and couldn’t pass up posting it here –  Recent world-wide Gallup survey on importance of religion in different countries [Link from Gallup] and the correlation between poverty and religious fervor.

(Disclaimer: I always take these surveys with a grain of salt and do not always believe their conclusions)



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9 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2009 8:12 pm

    That survey is interesting. As you said, there is obvious -ve correlation between material well-being and religiosity.

    but that begs the question.

    It is quite obvious that desperate life situations draw people to religion. Although religion does not solve the problem, it provides much needed validation and comfort by acting as a support group. So is it fair enough to say that unless we find something else to replace religion in its function as a support group, some people are better of having a religion than having nothing?
    In other words, irreligion may not be a prescription for all?

    What do you think?

    • nitwitnastik permalink
      February 11, 2009 9:41 pm


      I must admit that I have thought about this question before but I realized that the problem with this line of thinking is that we are assuming that people will be better off being superstitous than logically trying to solve their problems. When we depend on an invisible friend in the sky, we depend on him/her to solve our problems and the vicious cycle perpetuates.

      Moreover, just as religion provides comfort it also breeds hatred, sexism, racism and other pernicious idealogies and since everything is so closely intertwined if we condone religion we have to condone these ‘evils’ along with it. How would we cull out the bad in religion and keep only the good without first getting rid of the basic assumptions of religion – that of God ordaining everything? A better solution is to encourage logical thinking and dispel the darkness of religion (although I agree that it’s easier said than done and I have my doubts if we will ever be successful in it).

      Anyway I guess we can talk more about it. Let me know what you think.

  2. February 12, 2009 4:48 pm

    I absolutely agree that religion has many undesirable effects. On the whole, it perhaps causes more harm than good.

    But in such cases of extreme struggle for existence, if religion is gone, something else has to replace religion in the function of affectionate support group. Otherwise, the void created by absence of religion could prove fatal to the society.

    I’m still very divided on this issue.

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      February 12, 2009 7:53 pm

      Aniket, I think you are assuming that religious belief, if ever it disappears, it will disappear suddenly leaving a catastrophic void. Contrary to that, I think, that if ever something like that happens it will be very gradual and people will find their own answers to fill that void. People just don’t give up something (a belief especially) when they are uncertain about the alternative or do not have a replacement.

      In fact, I think as long as people believe in invisible friends and need an emotional crutch as a means of support we cannot replace religion. People have to make that conscious choice. And, the people who will consciously make that decision to not follow a deity will find something to replace it anyway in which case we don’t need to worry about finding a replacement as there won’t be any voids to begin with. 🙂 Frankly no matter how much we try we cannot take these decisions for others. They will have to take it themselves and find something to fill the voids.

      As for us, the best we can do is continue writing , debating and trying to develop awarenes about the silliness of believing in fairies.

  3. February 14, 2009 12:48 am


    Just change the color from green to red and you will end up with a map looking like this one here:

    How about that?

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      February 14, 2009 7:05 am

      poverty, corruption and religious fervour does have a +ve correlation after all !!

  4. February 14, 2009 11:56 am

    that’s an interesting find HA.

    Agree with you that change will not happen in the form of atheist revolution or something. I just sometimes fear that alcohol, marijuana and violence do not become the substitute for religion.

    That is why I think, this change has to happen top-down in the society – and I guess it is happening in that way.

    Well, I think, what I am saying is,
    Nobody needs religion, but some people don’t need it more than some others.

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      February 15, 2009 9:45 am


      I don’t see how alcohol, marijuana and violence can be an alternative to religion. Also since religion itself hasn’t been able to prevent it I don’t see how atheism will. I think these vices will be there irrespective of religion. Whether the degree of these vices will increase or not in the absence of religion is anybody’s guess. As for me I don’t see how. Since non-belief often makes people mentally stronger and more reasonable, probably people will be more willing to consult psychiatrists/doctors than pastors when they have a problem

  5. Aniket Kanade permalink
    February 16, 2009 11:18 am

    When life is painful and you don’t see a way out, people seek refuge in something that can make them forget their painful present.Organized religion, superstition, alcohol, opium, violence are all ways of living in denial. They all co-exist and in more the miseries, more is the propensity to turn to one of them. When any one of them is gone, others become automatic substitute.

    Therefor, karl marx hath sayeth that religion is opium for masses.

    I see non-belief more as a heavy cardio work-out in gym. It is desirable, but not everybody can stand that.

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