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5/01/2008                                                                                       View Comments

What Does Crime and Religion Have In Common?

By Bill Jeffreys

Every criminal act committed was done so for emotional reasons. No one acts rational and logical and then goes out and commits a crime. Yes, even serial killers have emotional reasons for the crimes they commit. They just don’t have guilt. It never is, "I just realized how logical it is for me to murder". It’s always some underlying emotionally based dysfunctional belief that they are acting upon.

Religion is very similar. No one goes out and follows god for reasonable and logical reasons because the foundation of religion isn’t based on accurate evidence, reason or logic. People don’t convert because of the supposed evidence. They convert for emotional reasons. They convert because it's supposed to make them feel better and give them hope.

If I remember my Christian stats correctly (when I was a Christian) most people convert in their childhood or youth when the brain is most susceptible to fantastical thinking. That was why we always targeted young people. They were more impressionable.

Why do ex-Christians practice morals and ethics if they don’t do so out of fear of hell or love of God? Because it is reasonable and logical to do so if you want to have friends and a good quality of life.

How many religious people are in jail or prison at any given moment vs. non-believers? Statistically, there are far more religious people in jail then atheists. I work with corrections clients, and I can tell you that many offenders, I speak with, have some sort of religious belief. Many of them are Christian beliefs. In my 12 years of working in the corrections field, I have only had one offender tell me that he didn’t believe in spiritual things. Do you know that the profile is for a sex offender? It’s a 40 something white educated male who attends church regularly.That should tell us something about the ability of spiritual beliefs to change people.

Does having a belief in a god make us a better person? Does going to church make us moral? Does following the Bible give us ethics? Not if you look at the statistics of people in church who commit crimes verses people who don't attend church or believe in a god.

Religion is mostly an emotional ride. It is a pseudo system that seeks to comfort people with false hope and control them with false guilt. In my experience, criminals and religious people do have something in common; their tendency to believe that just because they feel something that makes it true.

29 comments:

chuckyjesus said...

Thoughtful post! Thank you!

20somethinggirl said...

Great post. RAMEN!

Astreja said...

Thanks for a great article, Bill! I'd like to comment on this part:

"...their tendency to believe that just because they feel something that makes it true."

This is a critical factor that suggests a possible explanation for the believers-in-prison phenomenon:

First of all, feelings are subjective and personal. We can't directly experience someone else's emotions. At best we can emphasize, revisiting our own emotions in similar situations and thereby having an idea of what the other person might be feeling.

If someone allows their internal emotional experiences to be a factor in determining their perception of "truth", that truth becomes subordinate to the person's emotions.

This isn't generally a problem if someone has been brought up in a healthy emotional environment, because they may also possess well-developed empathy and will, as a rule, be compassionate and responsible members of society.

However, if empathy is lacking and religious indoctrination has implanted a false sense of entitlement ('Saved', 'Forgiven', 'True Believer', 'One of the Chosen'), it becomes easier to commit self-serving criminal acts.

Why is this?

Because the emotional rush from the crime closely resembles the emotional rush from the religious experience, and controls such as reason and empathy have been short-circuited.

Scott Lee said...

One thought and one question.

First, I thought the idea that nobody chooses religion after examining the evidence using logic is ridiculous. There are many biographies of people who grew up athiest or went through an athiest phase, looked at the evidence, and chose one religion or another. C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, and Lee Strobel are just a few that come to mind. Now, their logic may be weak and they may have misinterpreted the evidence, but to say that nobody has ever converted based on logic and evidence is an overgeneralization.

My question relates to the statement that their are far more religious people in correctional facilities than non religious people. My job takes me into correctional facilities all the time and I know this is true. Is the ratio in prison any different than in society at large? Do a higher ratio of religious people commit crimes? Is this based on statistical evidence or just anecdotal evidence? If there is a study out there, I would love to see the link here.

ryan said...

One can go from atheism to some form of theism or deism, but one cannot go from atheism to xristianity and call it logic.

Tell me that it is logical for god to pick out an obscure band of sand-rabbits to be his "chosen". He only chose one, and then told them to exterminate the rest? Logic? And dont tell me about god's mysterious will or his mysterious ways. We are talking about logic. If you want to sound mystical, fine, but dont call it logic.

Then god gave his guys savage and barbaric laws: you must cut off part of your son's dick; do not eat certain foods; a menstruating woman is unclean. These laws were not made by god's people; they were made by ignorant and superstitious people. And again, do not tell me about god's ways. Stick to logic, or nothing.

Going back to the "war stories".......when did god start loving the world (john 3:16) He commanded the slaughter of whole ethnic groups, and then he starts to love the world?

Is it logical for god to require that someone be butchered in a Roman execution before he can forgive the smallest of our sins? And is it logical to burn in hell if we dont believe all this? I think not. Mr Lee, I suggest you go to the nearest college library and find out what logic is.

And by the way, your authors--Mcdowell, Lewis and Strobel--are poor choices. If you read them carefully, you will see that they use christianity to prove christianity. This is called circularity. There is no such thing as "apologetics". All you can do is simply quote what your religion says in the first place.

billybee said...

Mr. Bill,

Great post!! Allow me to share a side story of my experience in Believing.

I came to Jesus because I wanted the emotional experience that was promised to me by his promoters. They assured me that I would "know" his grace and presence if only I would allow him to come into my heart.

I submitted myself to be the conduit of this supernatural power but I never got the feeling that I was plugged into the source. Instead I spent years telling myself that the feelings were there when in fact I was lying to myself and every one else.

After a time, I finally got sick of having to continually work my fucking ass off to lather up my emotions in order to keep going down the road. All the while being told to 'rest' in his love....

I don't miss the 'revivals'. And I sure as hell don't miss having to sit next to some blubbering idiot in the pew every week.

Free at last, free at last. Thank god-doh-mighty I'm free at last!

ps - thanks ryan, good one!

AtheistToothFairy said...

Scott Lee wrote:
My question relates to the statement that their are far more religious people in correctional facilities than non religious people.......Do a higher ratio of religious people commit crimes? Is this based on statistical evidence or just anecdotal evidence? If there is a study out there, I would love to see the link here.
----
Scott,

How about this one....
http://www.holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm


Response Number %
---------------------------- --------
Catholic 29267 39.164%
Protestant 26162 35.008%
Muslim 5435 7.273%
American Indian 2408 3.222%
Nation 1734 2.320%
Rasta 1485 1.987%
Jewish 1325 1.773%
Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
Moorish 1066 1.426%
Buddhist 882 1.180%
Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%
Adventist 621 0.831%
Orthodox 375 0.502%
Mormon 298 0.399%
Scientology 190 0.254%
Atheist 156 0.209%
Hindu 119 0.159%
Santeria 117 0.157%
Sikh 14 0.019%
Bahai 9 0.012%
Krishna 7 0.009%

Not unexpected as a result. Note that atheists, being a moderate proportion of the USA population (about 8-16%) are disproportionately less in the prison populations (0.21%)



ATF (Who has seen these same typical statistics, from many sources)

Bill said...

Scott,

In a way you have already answered your own question. You said that you know it to be true that there are more religious people in prison than not. As far as a study...there are a few. Try a google search. The real way to do it is to go to a university library and use their research databases. I don't have the link for the ones I've read so long ago and I don't care to debate you on it. My article is food for thought. You will have to disprove my idea for yourself.

Logic is these things....
Consistency, which means that none of the theorems of the system contradict one another.

Soundness, which means that the system's rules of proof will never allow a false inference from a true premise. If a system is sound and its axioms are true then its theorems are also guaranteed to be true.

Completeness, which means that there are no true sentences in the system that cannot, at least in principle, be proved in the system.

Religion is not any of these. As I infered in my article, people who believe are doing so for emotional reasons.

Your comment is emotional. One has to look at the source of one's own thoughts, feelings and actions to determine why one believes the way they do.

You will feel based on what you believe and you will act accordingly.

Good Luck!

ryan said...

billy, I am often startled by the similarity of experience here.

When I was "saved", my head was filled with this shit about "what the lord was going to do for me". I was depressed and pathetically unhappy, and I bought it. Nothing happened.

Then came several years of going from church to church. I have been inside more churches than I care to admit. I am ashamed of it. I endured the humiliation of xristian counseling: "You dont have enough faith; you are hanging on to sin; you are too proud". But here was the big one: "You are too smart; think too much; read too much".

So when did xristianity become logical, as Mr Lee seems to insist? Now god wants me to think? Since when? If the supreme being wants me to think, I would be delighted to comply. Let him go off and haunt a house.

billybee said...

to ryan; ".... Let him go off and haunt a house." - That's funny my friend!

to mr.scott; maybe you are confusing logic with rationalization...?

ryan said...

We understand logic when we see it put to a real-life situation. Let us look at the Problem of Evil.

The problem is usually badly stated. The problem is not that there are bad things in the world. The problem--the issue--is that the innocent suffer. Children. A just god would not allow the innocent to suffer, not if he had the power to stop.

The objection will be that god uses pain to accomplish his ends; that in god's plan suffering has a meaning. Let it be explained, then, why an all-powerful god cannot reach his goals without inflicting or allowing pain.

If the objection is that god's justice is not our justice, or is beyond our merely human conception of justice, then god becomes incomprehensible and we might as well stop talking about him. If god's justice means nothing that we can grasp, then neither does god's love.

This argument, so far as I can tell, is as tight as a rat's ass.

Hope Mr Lee comes back.

Boe said...

Bill,
Just as an interesting little diversion, regarding the requirments for a logical system; The mathematician Kurt Godel actually proved that any reasonably complex logical system is essentially incomplete, in that there are true statements that cannot be proved within the system. An interesting linguistic illustration of this is perhaps the self referential statement: 'The truth of this statement cannot be verified.' If it's true then it's true - if it's false then it's true - and if you consider it to be meaningless then of course its truth cannot be verified... so it's true! I just thought I'd throw this in, Not much to do with god or the debunking of god, but fun I think.

freedy said...

Once the the Judeo/Christian myth is proven to be false, will televangelists be considered criminals?

*As an ex christian minister,I must be considered an ex-con also.
With Two and a half million behind bars in god bless America,I think it's safe to say,"Christianity Does Not Work!"

Trancelation said...

Scott Lee:

I know it's been said before, but conversions to Christianity are ALWAYS emotional experiences, having nothing to do whatsoever with logic. Any famous Christian you mention (and you mention a few) using flawed logic and misunderstanding the evidence (which you admit they do) comes to the conclusion that Christianity is true because of emotional reasons, never logical ones, no matter what form of thought they hop from in order to get to Christianity. The (inherently) flawed logic and (intentional) misunderstanding of evidence are buffers for the ultimate act of conversion, either to appeal to the insecurities and doubts of the converted, or to the insecurities and doubts of other converted.

The only time 'converting' to Christianity is a logical choice is when the Christians put the proverbial gun to your head, as they are wont to do, and thretaen to kill you unless you convert.

webmdave said...

Poor ex-"Christians". It seems that by renouncing Christianity you have abandoned all logic and discernment. Now that you are grown up, perhaps you should educate yourself in basic logic (inductive reasoning, say). As for the true Christianity, I surmise that you have not even come in contact with it. May the God through his overabundant mercy open your spiritual eyes to see the truth. Only then you may enter the field of struggle with your own fallen nature for the salvation of the soul in the life to come...

webmdave said...

Scott Lee:

I know it's been said before, but conversions to Christianity are ALWAYS emotional experiences, having nothing to do whatsoever with logic. Any famous Christian you mention (and you mention a few) using flawed logic and misunderstanding the evidence (which you admit they do) comes to the conclusion that Christianity is true because of emotional reasons, never logical ones, no matter what form of thought they hop from in order to get to Christianity. The (inherently) flawed logic and (intentional) misunderstanding of evidence are buffers for the ultimate act of conversion, either to appeal to the insecurities and doubts of the converted, or to the insecurities and doubts of other converted.

The only time 'converting' to Christianity is a logical choice is when the Christians put the proverbial gun to your head, as they are wont to do, and thretaen to kill you unless you convert.

webmdave said...

I mostly agree with what you said. The part I don't quite agree with is where you assert that all criminal acts are commited for emotional reasons. My counter example would be the killing of the Doctor who was killed due to his clinic providing abortion. The killer was most likely mentally ill so that could be his reason and not emotion. If we assume he was not mentally ill, his other motive for killing could be to "right" a wrong. in other words he believed killing this person would be more beneficial than to let him live. His sense of morality, according to the societies morality, was wacked out. Killing in most cases, self defense being the only exception I can think of, is wrong.

webmdave said...

Once the the Judeo/Christian myth is proven to be false, will televangelists be considered criminals?

*As an ex christian minister,I must be considered an ex-con also.
With Two and a half million behind bars in god bless America,I think it's safe to say,"Christianity Does Not Work!"

webmdave said...

Bill,
Just as an interesting little diversion, regarding the requirments for a logical system; The mathematician Kurt Godel actually proved that any reasonably complex logical system is essentially incomplete, in that there are true statements that cannot be proved within the system. An interesting linguistic illustration of this is perhaps the self referential statement: 'The truth of this statement cannot be verified.' If it's true then it's true - if it's false then it's true - and if you consider it to be meaningless then of course its truth cannot be verified... so it's true! I just thought I'd throw this in, Not much to do with god or the debunking of god, but fun I think.

webmdave said...

We understand logic when we see it put to a real-life situation. Let us look at the Problem of Evil.

The problem is usually badly stated. The problem is not that there are bad things in the world. The problem--the issue--is that the innocent suffer. Children. A just god would not allow the innocent to suffer, not if he had the power to stop.

The objection will be that god uses pain to accomplish his ends; that in god's plan suffering has a meaning. Let it be explained, then, why an all-powerful god cannot reach his goals without inflicting or allowing pain.

If the objection is that god's justice is not our justice, or is beyond our merely human conception of justice, then god becomes incomprehensible and we might as well stop talking about him. If god's justice means nothing that we can grasp, then neither does god's love.

This argument, so far as I can tell, is as tight as a rat's ass.

Hope Mr Lee comes back.

webmdave said...

We understand logic when we see it put to a real-life situation. Let us look at the Problem of Evil.

The problem is usually badly stated. The problem is not that there are bad things in the world. The problem--the issue--is that the innocent suffer. Children. A just god would not allow the innocent to suffer, not if he had the power to stop.

The objection will be that god uses pain to accomplish his ends; that in god's plan suffering has a meaning. Let it be explained, then, why an all-powerful god cannot reach his goals without inflicting or allowing pain.

If the objection is that god's justice is not our justice, or is beyond our merely human conception of justice, then god becomes incomprehensible and we might as well stop talking about him. If god's justice means nothing that we can grasp, then neither does god's love.

This argument, so far as I can tell, is as tight as a rat's ass.

Hope Mr Lee comes back.

webmdave said...

to ryan; ".... Let him go off and haunt a house." - That's funny my friend!

to mr.scott; maybe you are confusing logic with rationalization...?

webmdave said...

billy, I am often startled by the similarity of experience here.

When I was "saved", my head was filled with this shit about "what the lord was going to do for me". I was depressed and pathetically unhappy, and I bought it. Nothing happened.

Then came several years of going from church to church. I have been inside more churches than I care to admit. I am ashamed of it. I endured the humiliation of xristian counseling: "You dont have enough faith; you are hanging on to sin; you are too proud". But here was the big one: "You are too smart; think too much; read too much".

So when did xristianity become logical, as Mr Lee seems to insist? Now god wants me to think? Since when? If the supreme being wants me to think, I would be delighted to comply. Let him go off and haunt a house.

webmdave said...

Scott,

In a way you have already answered your own question. You said that you know it to be true that there are more religious people in prison than not. As far as a study...there are a few. Try a google search. The real way to do it is to go to a university library and use their research databases. I don't have the link for the ones I've read so long ago and I don't care to debate you on it. My article is food for thought. You will have to disprove my idea for yourself.

Logic is these things....
Consistency, which means that none of the theorems of the system contradict one another.

Soundness, which means that the system's rules of proof will never allow a false inference from a true premise. If a system is sound and its axioms are true then its theorems are also guaranteed to be true.

Completeness, which means that there are no true sentences in the system that cannot, at least in principle, be proved in the system.

Religion is not any of these. As I infered in my article, people who believe are doing so for emotional reasons.

Your comment is emotional. One has to look at the source of one's own thoughts, feelings and actions to determine why one believes the way they do.

You will feel based on what you believe and you will act accordingly.

Good Luck!

webmdave said...

Scott,

In a way you have already answered your own question. You said that you know it to be true that there are more religious people in prison than not. As far as a study...there are a few. Try a google search. The real way to do it is to go to a university library and use their research databases. I don't have the link for the ones I've read so long ago and I don't care to debate you on it. My article is food for thought. You will have to disprove my idea for yourself.

Logic is these things....
Consistency, which means that none of the theorems of the system contradict one another.

Soundness, which means that the system's rules of proof will never allow a false inference from a true premise. If a system is sound and its axioms are true then its theorems are also guaranteed to be true.

Completeness, which means that there are no true sentences in the system that cannot, at least in principle, be proved in the system.

Religion is not any of these. As I infered in my article, people who believe are doing so for emotional reasons.

Your comment is emotional. One has to look at the source of one's own thoughts, feelings and actions to determine why one believes the way they do.

You will feel based on what you believe and you will act accordingly.

Good Luck!

webmdave said...

Scott Lee wrote:
My question relates to the statement that their are far more religious people in correctional facilities than non religious people.......Do a higher ratio of religious people commit crimes? Is this based on statistical evidence or just anecdotal evidence? If there is a study out there, I would love to see the link here.
----
Scott,

How about this one....
http://www.holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm


Response Number %
---------------------------- --------
Catholic 29267 39.164%
Protestant 26162 35.008%
Muslim 5435 7.273%
American Indian 2408 3.222%
Nation 1734 2.320%
Rasta 1485 1.987%
Jewish 1325 1.773%
Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
Moorish 1066 1.426%
Buddhist 882 1.180%
Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%
Adventist 621 0.831%
Orthodox 375 0.502%
Mormon 298 0.399%
Scientology 190 0.254%
Atheist 156 0.209%
Hindu 119 0.159%
Santeria 117 0.157%
Sikh 14 0.019%
Bahai 9 0.012%
Krishna 7 0.009%

Not unexpected as a result. Note that atheists, being a moderate proportion of the USA population (about 8-16%) are disproportionately less in the prison populations (0.21%)



ATF (Who has seen these same typical statistics, from many sources)

webmdave said...

Scott Lee wrote:
My question relates to the statement that their are far more religious people in correctional facilities than non religious people.......Do a higher ratio of religious people commit crimes? Is this based on statistical evidence or just anecdotal evidence? If there is a study out there, I would love to see the link here.
----
Scott,

How about this one....
http://www.holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm


Response Number %
---------------------------- --------
Catholic 29267 39.164%
Protestant 26162 35.008%
Muslim 5435 7.273%
American Indian 2408 3.222%
Nation 1734 2.320%
Rasta 1485 1.987%
Jewish 1325 1.773%
Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
Moorish 1066 1.426%
Buddhist 882 1.180%
Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%
Adventist 621 0.831%
Orthodox 375 0.502%
Mormon 298 0.399%
Scientology 190 0.254%
Atheist 156 0.209%
Hindu 119 0.159%
Santeria 117 0.157%
Sikh 14 0.019%
Bahai 9 0.012%
Krishna 7 0.009%

Not unexpected as a result. Note that atheists, being a moderate proportion of the USA population (about 8-16%) are disproportionately less in the prison populations (0.21%)



ATF (Who has seen these same typical statistics, from many sources)

webmdave said...

Mr. Bill,

Great post!! Allow me to share a side story of my experience in Believing.

I came to Jesus because I wanted the emotional experience that was promised to me by his promoters. They assured me that I would "know" his grace and presence if only I would allow him to come into my heart.

I submitted myself to be the conduit of this supernatural power but I never got the feeling that I was plugged into the source. Instead I spent years telling myself that the feelings were there when in fact I was lying to myself and every one else.

After a time, I finally got sick of having to continually work my fucking ass off to lather up my emotions in order to keep going down the road. All the while being told to 'rest' in his love....

I don't miss the 'revivals'. And I sure as hell don't miss having to sit next to some blubbering idiot in the pew every week.

Free at last, free at last. Thank god-doh-mighty I'm free at last!

ps - thanks ryan, good one!

webmdave said...

Mr. Bill,

Great post!! Allow me to share a side story of my experience in Believing.

I came to Jesus because I wanted the emotional experience that was promised to me by his promoters. They assured me that I would "know" his grace and presence if only I would allow him to come into my heart.

I submitted myself to be the conduit of this supernatural power but I never got the feeling that I was plugged into the source. Instead I spent years telling myself that the feelings were there when in fact I was lying to myself and every one else.

After a time, I finally got sick of having to continually work my fucking ass off to lather up my emotions in order to keep going down the road. All the while being told to 'rest' in his love....

I don't miss the 'revivals'. And I sure as hell don't miss having to sit next to some blubbering idiot in the pew every week.

Free at last, free at last. Thank god-doh-mighty I'm free at last!

ps - thanks ryan, good one!