from Govt Slaves:
JOE JARVIS–“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people” -Karl Marx
A group of researchers agrees. They think they have proven that if you have a government you don’t need religion. They concluded that “religiosity” wanes as people get more help from government programs. They think that people replace spiritual help from God with tangible help from the government.
Researchers call it an exchange model of religion: If people can get what they need from the government (be it health care, education or welfare) they’re less likely to turn to a divine power for help, according to the theory.
But are people actually more likely to drop religion in places where governments provide more services and stability? In a new paper, psychology researchers crunched the numbers — and found that better government services were in fact linked to lower levels of strong religious beliefs.
Those findings held true in states across the U.S. and in countries around the world, researchers said.
The article, “Religion as an Exchange System: The Interchangeability of God and Government in a Provider Role,” was published April 12 in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
What they are really highlighting is how the government undermines traditional community institutions. The church has been one of the most important neighborhood safety nets for centuries, possibly millennia. But these warm, personal institutions are being replaced by cold government programs. People are treated like numbers, not neighbors. People are provided help not from the charity of others, but from the forced redistribution of wealth.
This tears apart the foundation of why churches have always worked so well as a safety net. And it really doesn’t have much to do with religion. It has much more to do with community and strong neighborhood social ties.
I am not convinced that the researchers were measuring what they thought they were measuring. Going to church and participating in a religious community is not so clearly a deeply religious experience for all attendees. Community and social ties are likely the main reason most people gravitate towards religion.