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December 20th, 2010
11:27 AM ET

My Take: Religious Cities are Among the Most Violent

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

In one of the more jarring passages in God is Not Great, the celebrated atheist Christopher Hitchens writes of being asked a “straight yes/no question” by the conservative Jewish broadcaster Dennis Prager. Hitchens was to imagine seeing a large group of men approaching him in a strange city at dusk: “Now - would I feel safer, or less safe, if I was to learn that they were just coming from a prayer meeting?”

Hitchens' answer, of course, is that he would feel less safe. And the rest of his polemic, which is subtitled “How Religion Poisons Everything,” is an extended attempt to explain why.

Whether religious people are more prone to criminality than unreligious people is, of course, an empirical question. So in some sense it doesn’t make all that much sense to argue about it. Just go instead and look at the data.

In a 1996 study, called “Crime and Religion: An International Comparison among Thirteen Industrial Nations,” Lee Ellis and James Peterson found that “more religious countries have lower crime rates than less religious countries, at least regarding property crimes.” Apparently, "thou shalt not steal" has some persuasive power. But what about "thou shalt not murder"?

A study released in late November by CQ Press, based on FBI crime data, lists 400 U.S. cities in terms of violent crimes per 100,000 residents. St. Louis was the most dangerous cities, and Colonie, New York, was the safest.

Another study,  released in November by Men’s Health magazine, lists the most religious cities in America, according to a variety of criteria, including places of worship per capita and levels of donations to religious organizations.

In an effort to see how these two lists correlated, I took the 10 most religious cities, as listed by Men’s Health and located them on the FBI crime data list, as follows:

CITY          RANKING (out of 400)

Little Rock 15
Charlotte 118
Birmingham 10
Portland 174
Jacksonville 80
Indianapolis 29
Wichita 94
Oklahoma City 50
Greensboro 85
Colorado Springs 175

As these numbers indicate, every one of America's “holy hometowns" had a crime rate above the national average, and each was ranked among the most dangerous half of American cities.

There are problems with all studies, of course, and problems aplenty with each of these. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, critics of the CQ Press study abound. And I can't for the life of me figure out why Grand Rapids, which seems to have a church on every street corner, didn't make even the top 25 of America's "most religious cities." Moreover, as any social scientist can tell you, correlations of this sort do not "prove" a causal connection.

Nonetheless, there is at least some data here to support Hitchens’ skepticism about godliness always being for the good.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Atheism • Opinion • United States • Violence

soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. Doc Vestibule

    So these cities that are identified as being more strongly religious have a higher crime rate...
    Are those numbers based on conviction rates, or those simply charged with crimes?
    I would conjecture that a possible mitigating factor would be that those who are strongly religious tend to wag their condemning fingers from a fiery pulpit, thereby increasing the proportion of those convicted and incarcerated.

    December 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  2. TDJ

    @Bob: "You say that God created the universe. Fine. I say that a giant pink unicorn created the universe. Both have the same amount of evidence to support them. That is none. Given that both of these cannot be correct, one must be wrong. And if one can be wrong with the same amount of evidence, then both can be wrong."

    But I've met God. I eat Him every Sunday. I think that the evidence is conclusive, that the only giant pink unicorn in this conversation is you.

    December 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
    • Bob

      So, because you claim you've met God, that should be good enough for me? I suppose the end of the world is coming because a homeless bum says he saw it in a dream.

      As for your own perceptions of what has occured, what is more likely. That a God who impregnated a virgin woman to give birth to his son so that God could sacrifice his son to himself to create a loophole for a rule that he created when a snake convinced the first woman and man to eat an apple is directly talking to you. Or, is it more likely that based on your own beliefs your mind is helping you along.

      Because clearly the guy screaming that he's Napoleon is actually correct.

      PS; Who's to say God isn't a giant pink unicorn.

      December 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  3. TDJ

    So, how many of these criminals were regular churchgoers? What's the crime-rate among practicing religious people?

    Duh. What a brainless piece.

    December 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • Bob

      Let's shift the bar. Because obviously if they don't fit your definition of religious then they're clearly not.

      December 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
    • thorrsman

      @Bob
      Quite valid questions, actually. Merely living in a city that has a high population of religious people does not MAKE you religious. Indeed, criminals might think religious people are LESS likely to shoot them in the spleen when they are caught stealing their television, thus causing criminals to concentrate their activities where they feel there is less a risk to themselves.

      December 21, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
  4. Bob

    @Mike not me...
    > You said "My arguments are based on logic, which is based on how the universe acts. It's not subjective and not based on someone else's perceptions." (2 post up from the link) But then go on to use an example of Mexican lemons production... whether you believe it or not, you cannot even make the reference to Mexican lemon production in anything you state because this violates your (added by me for context) statement above.

    No it doesn't. You can't pick and choose segments of an argument and then say "This is not logical, so therefore you violate your own statement". Let me show you what you are doing because obviously you don't see how moronic it is.

    You say that God created the universe. Fine. I say that a giant pink unicorn created the universe. Both have the same amount of evidence to support them. That is none. Given that both of these cannot be correct, one must be wrong. And if one can be wrong with the same amount of evidence, then both can be wrong.

    That's a logical statement. What you're doing is saying.

    AHA, you're talking about pink unicorns so your arguments AREN'T about logic.

    Competing with you intellectually is akin to beating up a blind and deaf child who has downs syndrome and a large target on their forehead.

    December 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  5. ighands

    faith and determination

    http://www.turningleaf.vpweb.com

    December 21, 2010 at 9:06 am |
  6. Logic

    JPopNC

    I've seen classic examples from the religious on making up explanations "on the fly" .. and you're not very good at it.

    December 21, 2010 at 5:01 am |
  7. NL

    I'll play the god's advocate here for a second and throw out a believer's possible explanation; that these cities with high violence rates are amongst the most religious possibly because they have more victims who need religious comfort?

    December 20, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
    • Jebus Christ

      Low socioeconomic status, high crime, less education and religion are all correlated because less education leads to having faith, being poor and committing crime.

      December 21, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  8. JohnQuest

    This almost makes sense, consider the following: if a religious person (read Christians) commits a crime, they just have to ask "God" for forgiveness and all is right in the world again.

    But, the main flaw I see in this, is that none of the polls indicate if crimes are committed more by the religious or non religious.

    December 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • JPopNC

      Again......if someone professes they're a Christian and continue to sin, they are NOT Christian. All the claiming in the world doesn't make them so, they have to truly live it.

      December 20, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
    • Jebus Christ

      So since all Christians sin i guess there are no Christians. Correct me if im wrong, but doesnt the church teach that Jesus came to save everyone from their lives of sin? Otherwise whats the purpose of eating Jesus? There are no Christians in the world then. Not even the pope.

      December 20, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @JPopNC

      I'd like to find out if I'm a true chistrian – where do I go to get tested to see if I "truly live it"?

      December 20, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
    • NL

      JPopNC-
      Is being a Christian more like being an alcoholic between drinks, then? Periods of being 'Christian' then are like sobriety from sin, with periods of 'backsliding' tantamount to falling off the spiritual wagon, eh?

      December 20, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
    • JPopNC

      Sorry...maybe my reply wasn't that clear. Yes, Christians do sin...I myself sin everyday (just like everyone else), but it's the approach to that sin that helps define our goal to be more like Christ. But I do pray everyday that God would expose that sin to me so that I can improve myself and strive not to repeat it. Then, much like an onion, continually peel away the layers and address each flaw as they're revealed. A continual work in progress.

      However, if someone is just giving lip service to being a Christian and they're not what some would call a "practicing Christian", then it is my belief they were never truly saved to begin with.

      Romans 10:9,10: "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved".

      So...your mouth can say it, but your heart has to really mean it.

      December 21, 2010 at 9:42 am |
    • JPopNC

      HotAirAce....where do you go to see if you truly live it? The Bible. And if you want to get more specific, you could weigh yourself against the Ten Commandments. Although they are impossible to keep, they do represent a great guideline to living a long and fruitful life.

      December 21, 2010 at 9:59 am |
    • NL

      JPopNC-
      "Yes, Christians do sin...I myself sin everyday (just like everyone else), but it's the approach to that sin that helps define our goal to be more like Christ."

      So, being a practicing Christian doesn't make a person any more moral, or less a sinner than anybody else, right? Is there a social good to aiming to be more like Christ then, or is it just a personal benefit centered around imporving entry into the proposed afterlife?

      December 21, 2010 at 10:55 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @JPopNC

      So it *is* a self-as-sessment, and if any christian believes they are living according to the bible and/or the 10 commandments, they are a christian, by your own answer!

      December 21, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  9. Graeme

    Creationism isn't only about denying science. It's about wanting to be special, about feeling lost without the notion that some external hand guides their lives. The problem is not only that evolution conflicts with their bible: the problem is that it makes them just another animal lifeform. Like us ALL.

    Religion is a delusion cooked up in the stone age time of profound ignorance.

    Have you ever seen a creationist pick up a rock and say "do you think this is a natural formation or a designed object?

    If you are in possession of this revolutionary secret of science i.e."GOD DID IT" why not prove it and be hailed as the new Newton?
    Claim your Nobel Prize and a 6 million crowns pay day. Of course, we know the answer. You can't do it. You are a faker.

    I don't have a neurotic need to have a specific false purpose for life.

    December 20, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • JPopNC

      Just because Creationist don't swallow the evolution THEORY doesn't mean it doesn't embrace science. God created science and all the great scientists were Christian or Jewish.

      Albert Einstein
      Neils Bohr
      Louis Pasteur
      Galileo Galilei
      Antoine Laurent Lavoisier
      Johannes Kepler
      Nicolaus Copernicus
      James Clerk Maxwell
      Werner Heisenberg
      Linus Pauling
      Etc...etc...etc

      December 20, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • Bob

      You don't know what THEORY means in science. Go ahead and jump from a bridge. It's only the THEORY of gravity. Don't worry about taking vaccines, it's only cell THEORY. Radiation? Pfft. It's only atomic THEORY.

      December 20, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
    • Jake

      JPopNC – note to you, following on Bob's. Making the "Evolution is just a theory" argument does nothing but show that the speaker does not understand science, scientific theories, the scientific method, or anything else necessaray to take part in an informed debate about evolution.

      December 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      JPopNC

      Just finished a biography of Einstein. He was jewish by birth. He most often described his religious beliefs as "none." He only claimed a religion to get a job. At the very best you could claim he was a deist, but he was not a practicing jew.

      December 20, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
    • Reality

      " Just because Creationist don't swallow the evolution THEORY doesn't mean it doesn't embrace science. God created science and all the great scientists were Christian or Jewish.

      Albert Einstein
      Neils Bohr
      Louis Pasteur
      Galileo Galilei
      Antoine Laurent Lavoisier
      Johannes Kepler
      Nicolaus Copernicus
      James Clerk Maxwell
      Werner Heisenberg
      Linus Pauling"

      Hmmm, not so fast. Read the following and see the real reason:

      "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

      The Situation Today

      Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed."- J. Somerville

      December 20, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
    • Q

      The Theory of Evolution is built upon facts and evidence from every relevant scientific discipline: astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, paleontology, biology, ecology, etc. Together, they provide a concordant picture of an ancient universe, an ancient earth and chemical/biological evolution. To deny evolution is to assert that all of these contributing disciplines are somehow equally and synchronously flawed.

      December 21, 2010 at 12:58 am |
    • JPopNC

      Q...."evidence of evolution".....what evidence?

      Reality...."95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth". You just made my point in that this whole article is a misrepresentation of facts because those claiming to be religious are only relating to their family affiliations.

      As for " conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often"...According to the website Islam Watch, in Russia, some two million ethnic Muslims converted to Christianity. Ten thousand French Muslims converted, as did 35,000 Turkish Muslims. In India, approximately 10,000 people abandoned Islam for Christianity. These were all in a single year. Then these people tell two people, who in turn tell two people.

      December 21, 2010 at 9:26 am |
    • JPopNC

      Bob,
      It is a LAW of gravity that if you drop an object, it will fall to the ground, but it is gravitational THEORY that explains how and why this occurs. Gravity is a law that is explained through a theory. This theory is something that can be proven over and over again. What goes up, must come down.

      December 21, 2010 at 9:54 am |
    • Bob

      > It is a LAW of gravity that if you drop an object, it will fall to the ground, but it is gravitational THEORY that explains how and why this occurs.

      Yes, and evolutionary theroy explains the laws of biological reproduction with variation.

      You're obviously a troll.

      December 21, 2010 at 10:25 am |
    • Reality

      JPopNC

      Specific references to the conversion of Muslims to Christianity? One way or another both religions need signficant "deflawing" or maybe a complete deletion from the human experience as noted below:

      Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will quickly converge these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired. Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues no matter how one views their " beauty and awe".

      December 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @JPopNC,

      "Q....'evidence of evolution'.....what evidence? "

      Fossils, genetics, biological distribution, etc.

      December 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @JPopNC,

      Here's a good start: evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/search/topicbrowse2.php?topic_id=46
      or here: ncse.com/evolution

      December 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @JPopNC

      That there is 1 (or more) god(s) is a theory. By wait! It's never been proven!! So it must not be true.

      December 22, 2010 at 1:01 am |
  10. Bob

    > When you want me to be "broad minded" you are asking me to acceptly tolerate something.

    No, I'm asking you to consider it and make judgement before you actually deny it or reject it. Open mindedness and broad mindedness does not mean the accptance of any idea that crosses your plate. In fact, I don't think it's possible to be "broad minded" as you say because your brain will automatically judge the merits of the claim the moment you hear it.

    > There is another way to tolerate and that is with patience and nonbigotry.

    Yes, not being a bigot is overall a good idea. I personally call people names to snap them out of a mindest usually, but that's not bigotry. I'll accept any idea that has sufficient evidence to convince me. I won't accept any idea that doesn't have sufficient evidence because it could be wrong. I may be able to guess about certain things, but I won't claim them as absolute when they're not.

    > Not accepting one thing someone else believes in or does, but holding to what I believe as an individule as strongly as I want without forcing it down your throat.

    But that's the thing. I don't have beliefs. I don't reject your beliefs because I choose not to believe as you do, that'd be stupid. I don't accept your beliefs at face value. That's all. No more, no less.

    > What is carnal is exactly that and when you try to describe spiritual things with carnal results we are not speaking the same language.

    No, what I'm saying to you is that you are making a special set of rules for religion and in virtually every aspect of your life you exercise critical thinking. Telemarketer asking for credit card, you don't take that on faith.

    What I am saying to you is that with all the religions out there, some have to be wrong. They call can't be wildly different and correct at the same time. Therefore, don't you owe it to your creator to intelligently figure out what religion he wants you to belong to? And given that faith has led people do different conclusions, don't you have to rely on something that has a track record of providing real answers, like logic?

    December 20, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • Bruce

      Bob,

      Your statement:
      > What I am saying to you is that with all the religions out there, some have to be wrong. They call can't be wildly different and correct at the same time. Therefore, don't you owe it to your creator to intelligently figure out what religion he wants you to belong to? And given that faith has led people do different conclusions, don't you have to rely on something that has a track record of providing real answers, like logic?

      I have found that there are two (2) different concepts in all religions: 1) Good works merit heaven. 2) The works of Someone else (Christ) merits heaven.

      Basically, Christianity is based upon the second concept. You do not go through a Priest or Mary, I do not know of any others. Someone else completed what I could not and that was Christ. Our faith is not our own, it is provided to us through His Grace. If you have not been provided the Grace to trust in his finished work you could not see it. What you say proves that you do not see it. You have to allow that concept to stand as it cannot be disproved or proven, yet, many many people adhere to that for some reason.

      December 20, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
    • silvius

      Hi, define "real answers" please.

      December 20, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • Bob

      > Hi, define "real answers" please.

      Real answers are answers that are consistent with the way we percieve the universe to operate. While "REAL" is not representi-tive of what might actually be going on, it's our best effort based on the information we have available.

      December 21, 2010 at 10:31 am |
    • Bob

      @Bruce
      > I have found that there are two (2) different concepts in all religions: 1) Good works merit heaven. 2) The works of Someone else (Christ) merits heaven.

      So what? You also forgot about buddism which believes in re-incarnation and karma.

      > Our faith is not our own, it is provided to us through His Grace. If you have not been provided the Grace to trust in his finished work you could not see it. What you say proves that you do not see it. You have to allow that concept to stand as it cannot be disproved or proven, yet, many many people adhere to that for some reason.

      So, what you're saying is that if you don't believe, you won't see the light. If you do believe, you will see the light. Sort of a self-fulfilling sort of thing isn't it. It's like saying "To believe in leprechauns is easy. All you need to do is believe in them and they'll then make themselves known."

      > Basically, Christianity is based upon the second concept. You do not go through a Priest or Mary, I do not know of any others. Someone else completed what I could not and that was Christ.

      Assuming Christ was the son of God, I think that I could honestly go through the days of torture knowing that I'd have eternity in heaven. Jesus' sacrifice was minimal, I dare say inconsequential given the reward offered. And that's me right now with enough food, clothes and a happy lifestyle. I'd wager anyone living back then who was constantly hungry, beaten repeatedly for what little they had and sick would jump at the concept.

      December 21, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  11. JPopNC

    In looking up some information on this (and to show how stats can lie), do the stats here state those listed here under "religious" indicate they are the perpatrators or victims? I believe if it was really boiled down, you would see religious people are usually the victims, even evidenced here on these blogs where Christianity and other faiths are constantly attacked.

    On another website that reflects breakdowns in violence, it states:
    It appears that Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, Secularists, Ethical Culturalists, and those not identifying with any religion may be the safest from victimization. This may be mainly because they are not easily recognized; they don't tend to wear a Star of David, cross, crucifix or hijab.

    So...in the editorial above, maybe that "group of people returning from the prayer meeting" should fear Christopher Hitchens because he may see their religious symbols and want to taunt, and maybe even attack, them.

    December 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bob

      While it is true that people with religious symbols may be attacked in places like the middle east or Israel, the statistics provided by the author refer to the US, where religious hate crime is very, very low. So low it may be a non factor.

      Perhaps applying your skepticism evenly will allow you to make more intelligent conclusions on the information you're presented. It seems that you're grasping at straws to prove that somehow my statistics are wrong and therefore, dismissable.

      Perhaps because they don't agree with your worldview...

      December 20, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • JPopNC

      Nope...the statistics I've shown are in regards to the US. "Data based on the FBI hate crime report and assumes a adult population of 217.8 million"

      So...where are you pulling your information from?

      December 20, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • Bob

      What statistics, where? I'm starting to think you're a troll.

      December 20, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • NL

      JPopNC-
      Yeah, anybody looking at Hitchens and Dawkins will just shiver in their boots at how tough and dangerous they appear! Rough characters all right. You can tell be the elbow patches on their tweed jackets.

      December 20, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  12. Bob

    > You are right. No one understands but atheist. Atheist have their own language and view of things. They want to argue with their definition of things with others that do not define words the same.

    Definitions are located in the dictionary It's only when people seek to change the definitions to prop up their failing arguments that we call them out on it. Remember how you wrote that tolerance means accepting any idea? Yeah, that's nonsense and I'll call you on it.

    > No wonder you guys always come back with "you don't make sense" or "you don't know what you're talking about".

    That's not true. I meet many Christians who understand what I'm asking. For example, if a telemarketer calls you up and says "I can build a life protection plan for you, so that nothing will happen to you unless it's planned." and asks for a t-ithe of your income to make it happen, you'd be skeptical. If it's religion, you're happy with it.

    > Keep in mind that athesist came after man was created.

    So did God. Good logic there brainiac.

    December 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • Bruce

      Bob,

      When you want me to be "broad minded" you are asking me to acceptly tolerate something. There is another way to tolerate and that is with patience and nonbigotry. Not accepting one thing someone else believes in or does, but holding to what I believe as an individule as strongly as I want without forcing it down your throat. This is not forcing anything against your will.

      Again, a senseless approach to religion and I do not mean that derogitory (sp). What I have been saying in so many different ways is that what I believe is not common to what hypocrites believe, if they call themselves Christian. What is carnal is exactly that and when you try to describe spiritual things with carnal results we are not speaking the same language.

      December 20, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
    • Bob

      Again with the reply not working correctly. I'm sorry Bruce, my reply is below.

      December 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  13. JPopNC

    How can statistics be manipulated??? Are you kidding? Haven't you ever heard the saying, "Trying to convince the public of something? Use statistics. You can make them say anything you want"? I never put any stock into statistics because by the simple addition/omission of a single qualifier you can make them reflect whatever you want them to do.

    December 20, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
    • Bob

      Numbers can't be manipulated, they are what they are unless you're going to lie. They can, however, alter the situations to make one side have more counted for it then the other side.

      However, total population and being present in jail at the time of the survey can't really be manipulated. Either you're in jail or you're not. I don't think these numbers are manipulated, although the method does leave wiggle room for people to make complaints.

      December 20, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • Jake

      JPopNC – I was more poking fun of your statement that statistics can be "MANIPULATIVE." Statistics are numbers. They don't have the capacity to be manipulative.

      December 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • JPopNC

      Okay...are they counting EVERYBODY in prison and getting an EXACT response to their religious beliefs? Or....are they getting a sampling of the prison population and deriving their stats from that? I'd think the latter is more likely wouldn't you?

      But, for arguments sake, let's just say they did the entire prison population, are those who profess their faith speaking from their personal conversion, or are they simply going by their historical association? Historically Catholics claim to be Christians based on their family's faith, not by their own experience.

      If someone made a personal decision to follow Christ, and sincerely made that decision, then that person truly is a Christian. They do not attain that status simply because their parents were/are Christian, but a huge majority of "Christians" feel they can inherit their faith.

      December 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • Bob

      JPopNC, you do realize whether people are religious is up to them and not your definition of what is and isn't religious right?

      Let me show you what you're doing...
      "Clearly anyone who commits a crime isn't religious enough and therefore isn't a true Christian. Therefore the numbers don't reflect correctly."

      You're artificially moving the bar based on your subjective analysis. Which isn't valid.

      December 20, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  14. Jake

    JPopNC – Please explain how statistics can be manipulative. Also, instead of resorting to name-calling (e.g., "moron, "manipulaative, "fact-twisting"), please provide one or more good reasons why the comparison is problematic.

    December 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  15. JPopNC

    This is probably the most moronic comparison I've ever seen and just goes to show how manipulative both statistics and atheists can be, twist the facts to make them display whatever you want.

    December 20, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • Bob

      There is no twisting of the facts. There are people in jail who are either christian or they are atheist. Given the numbers, the ratio of the total population is what it is.

      The numbers can't be manipulated. They CAN be lied about (and I may have been duped). But I consider that highly unlikely.

      To suggest I have alterior motives from reading all of what, maybe 3 posts on this thread is moronic. You should be ashamed of yourself for throwing out such accusations so callously.

      December 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  16. Bruce

    Boy, Bob is full of it.

    In any religion you have hypocrites. You have more in Christianity because everyone wants to be associated with Mercy, Grace and Love than any others. A hypocrite is a play actor, not the genuie article. Therefore, the numbers a skewed quite a bit. Birds of a feather flock together and those who committ the crimes noted above flock together in jail or other places other than church. The paperwork they fill out for the crime report has them check some religion they are apparently connected to help the system rehabilitate them.

    December 20, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
    • Jake

      The fact that you think your argument refutes anything that Bob said only goes to show that you don't understand what Bob said at all.

      December 20, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • Bruce

      Jake,

      You are right. Atheist have their own language and view of things. They want to argue with their definition of things with others that do not define words the same. No wonder you guys always come back with "you don't make sense" or "you don't know what you're talking about". Keep in mind that athesist came after man was created.

      December 20, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
    • Bruce

      Jake,

      You are right. No one understands but atheist. Atheist have their own language and view of things. They want to argue with their definition of things with others that do not define words the same. No wonder you guys always come back with "you don't make sense" or "you don't know what you're talking about". Keep in mind that athesist came after man was created.

      December 20, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • Bob

      Sorry, reply issue again, it's located below. But good news Bruce! I called you a brainiac so you can use your find function to go right to my post!

      December 20, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
    • William

      Bruce –
      While your underlying point that in general, the claims of those in prison about themselves, as well as the manner and intent of their classification by prison authorities are both suspect is well made. I would point out though that starting your comment with a personal attack undermines your position. I often simply skip over posts that begin with an ad hominem taking the position that if the first response the poster has to a statement they disagree with is to demean the person of the speaker rather than address the content of the statement then nothing else they have to say, right or wrong, will be well considered and as such is generally not worth responding to.
      This issue is important though. The Misuse, distortion. and fabrication of statistics in Atheist/Theist discourse as well as many other public conversations is chronic. This is not a falsity restricted to any one side but personally I feel as an atheist that it is even more unfortunate when an atheist distorts the facts and compromises the integrity and rationality of their argument. A non theistic sin if you will.
      Additionally Bruce, your resort to the hypocrites and not real Christians argument rings hollow generally. While i do not know your personal standards so am not accusing you personally of hypocrisy, those self same hypocritical not real Christians you are dismissing as skewing the numbers are most often gleefully accepted as Christians by Christians and Christian organizations when claiming cultural dominance and special status.
      Frankly the widespread willingness of Christians of otherwise good character and integrity to stand arm and arm with those who represent their values in word only ( and often not even that ) is unfortunate.
      The means never justify the end, they determine it. We all need to look more closely at what we are doing and if it leads to where we want to go.

      December 20, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • claybigsby

      @ BRUCE: "Keep in mind that athesist came after man was created."

      Bruce, keep in mind that the bible cam after man was created as well.

      December 20, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  17. Bob

    In America, there's about 15% of the pop-ulation that lists itself as "no faith" according to the cen-sus. That means, that if we look at the atheist ratio of 0.209% in prison vs the 15% population, you get a factor of approx 75 to 1.

    If we look at the "Christ" religions, we get a total of 74%. Even if we assume that 85% of the population are believers in Christ, we're still at a ratio of 1.1 to 1.

    That is to say, the pop-ulation of christers in jail is somewhat representi-tive of the overall population. However, the number of atheists in jail in jail by way of population are far less.

    I thought Jesus made you good?

    December 20, 2010 at 11:53 am |
    • Reality

      Don't many criminals with little or no faith find Jesus or Mohammed once they are in jail? Looks good on their "please pardon me" resumes!!!

      And maybe there should be a "severity" factor added to the statistics? i.e. Bernie Madoff's crime would make NYC the crime capital of the world?

      December 20, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
    • Bob

      Well, I can discount the severity problem, because as long as you ask for forgiveness, the severity of the crime doesn't matter. 🙂

      However, the conversion part is a definite point against the fact. That would in fact skew the numbers.

      December 20, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  18. Mike Gantt

    The biggest problem with studies such as these is that they only measure religiousity and not sincere faith. Many people sincerely trust in God but do not participate in religious community. Conversely, there are many religious people whose don't trust God for a minute – even though many of them would say that they trust God. There is no study that could measure true faith, however, because faith resides where only God can see it. http://blogforthelordjesuscurrentevents.wordpress.com

    December 20, 2010 at 11:53 am |
    • ASSASSINews

      Sincere faith? Give me a break. I think Sam Harris put it best:

      "In the year 2006, a person can have sufficient intellectual and material resources to build a nuclear bomb and still believe that he will get seventy-two virgins in Paradise. Western secularists, liberals, and moderates have been very slow to understand this. The cause of their confusion is simple: they don’t know what is like to really believe in God."

      Fanatics are about as "sincere" as faith gets. Faith is not a virtue and its time to stop pretending that it is. You don't need faith to be a good person and authors like Hitchens are arguing with clarity that faith is actually a moral hindrance.

      December 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  19. Bob

    If one needs to draw any conclusions about crimes committed by religious vs. non-religious, you only need to look at these numbers...

    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%

    December 20, 2010 at 11:51 am |
    • Bob

      In America, there's about 15% of the pop-ulation that lists itself as "no faith" according to the cen-sus. That means, that if we look at the atheist ratio of 0.209% in prison vs the 15% population, you get a factor of approx 75 to 1.

      If we look at the "Christ" religions, we get a total of 74%. Even if we assume that 85% of the population are believers in Christ, we're still at a ratio of 1.1 to 1.

      That is to say, the pop-ulation of christers in jail is somewhat representi-tive of the overall population. However, the number of atheists in jail in jail by way of population are far less.

      I thought Jesus had a positive influence on people's actions...

      December 20, 2010 at 11:54 am |
    • pete

      So what you're saying is that we should worship Bob because he is atheist and by the numbers you put out atheists don't commit crimes?

      December 20, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • Jake

      pete – where on earth do you get that Bob believes he should be worshipped? He neither says nor implies such. He merely suggests that the numbers he provides do not seem consistent with the notion that being Christian or reliigious make one a more moral/less criminal person. Try not to put words in people's mouth in an effort to avoid confronting the issue at hand.

      December 20, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • Something

      @pete,

      What is it anyway with you people and your 'worship' cr@p?! It is not necessary to 'worship' anything or anyone. One can encourage beneficence and discourage maleficence without any act of 'worship'.

      December 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Bob, to quote well, you, what is the correlation of this list and lets say the importing of mexican lemons to car crashes.

      December 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
    • Bob

      @Mike, not Me What is the correlation of this list and lets say the importing of mexican lemons to car crashes.

      It shows strongly that you still haven't understood what causation and correlation is, despite me explaining it in terms a 14 year old could understand. Cudos on your track record of ignorance.

      If you had a clue on what a correlation was, you'd understand that you cannot draw one from a single fact. That is to say, this list doesn't change, so even inferring how it affects something else isn't possible.

      I would suggest remedial highschool to help you with your current comprehension problem. Thanks for writing and may God bless you. You'll need it.

      December 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
    • Jay

      Eh.. nobody is perfect. And when were speaking of crimes... you cant just think jail time. crimes range from possessing a tiny amount of weed. To an illegal u turn to breaking and entering all the way up to capital murder....

      I think the study should be on SPECIFICALLY, Felony charges and grand larceny. Minor misdemeanors in which no one is hurt is something 99% of all the population does ALL THE TIME. There is NO ONE on this board who hasnt broken the law im SOME WAY.

      December 20, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
    • Bob

      I have never committed a crime that is jail time worthy. And yes, I'm an atheist. I don't even think I've directly harmed someone by an illegal action. Sure there were a few pranks in highschool, but those were in good fun.

      The issues you have with the statistic are legitimate. Someone also pointed out that often there are "jailhouse conversions" for purposes of parole. This is another problem for the measurement.

      However, it's still a data point and should be considered with all the other data out there. It may be off base, it may be dead on. We won't know until more studies are done and it's looked at legitimately.

      That being said, I think the metric is rather profound given that it's like a 75 times difference in the ratio. I'd also like to see overall earning potential vs. faith, as this would also probably lend credence to this statistic. We already know that as intelligence goes up, religious faith drops.

      December 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • Bob

      @Jake, you said: pete – where on earth do you get that Bob believes he should be worshipped? He neither says nor implies such.

      I would love to be worshipped. You can pray to me but all prayers must be accompanied by $20. And even then I may or may not listen to them.

      December 20, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Bob, you do not understand correlation,
      The religion that someone puts on a survey to the total population of us prisons.
      Nor can you correlate the teaches of the bible to anything you say against an individual Christian. Let’s remember it is you who refuses to read any book and it is you that will only accept beliefs that you come up by yourself and use no other source. It is you that puts up a version of Christianity that is only suitable for a 6-year old and you would seek knowledge beyond that point. Constantly changing ground with every post.

      Grow up Bob stop arguing for argument's sake. If you see through everything eventually you will explain everything away, even explanation you have made in the past.

      To jog your memory
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/07/why-religion-breeds-happiness-friends/#comment-188210

      December 20, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/14/my-take-are-the-ten-commandments-still-relevant/#comment-192707

      December 20, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • Bob

      @Mike not me Oh the mexican lemons thing. Where you think you have me in some idiotic statement, but never actually link to what I wrote. Let's see what the public thinks...

      Read the following statement...

      If no such causal link exists, then what you have is a correlation. Correlations can be used to prove anything. For example, the importing of mexican lemons has increased since 1950. The number of fatal accidents has been decreasing per capita in the US since 1950. Therefore, mexican lemons save lives.

      Now, here's the question. Do you think that I hold the position that mexican lemons reduce car crashes OR do you think I'm using this as example to show why correlations are dangerous and not valid?

      I'm sorry you're incapable of reading and understanding Mike, but that's not my problem.

      December 20, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Again you either just don't get it or you are trying to constantly avoid the subject.

      You said "My arguments are based on logic, which is based on how the universe acts. It's not subjective and not based on someone else's perceptions." (2 post up from the link)
      But then go on to use an example of Mexican lemons production... whether you believe it or not, you cannot even make the reference to Mexican lemon production in anything you state because this violates your, now grasp this, false belief that everything you ever stated or believe comes from "how the universe acts" and that you would never ever consider something that is subjective and not based on someone else perceptions (except your own perception of universe which again makes your original statement invalid.) So again I will state for your edification, grow up, realize the ridiculousness of your "My arguments are based on logic, which is based on how the universe acts". Realize that you do not know it all, including "how the universe acts", come to the knowledge that you do know subjective things, like where Mexico is, and the history of the French revolution, not based on your own but what has been past down from you. And realize that you have already been doing such a thing so far in your life so it's not a bad thing.
      Then if you still care, read, read a book for once in your life, to try to understand the point of view of people older and smarter than you, so then you can make an informed and not-selfish decision.

      December 20, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • Jake

      Bob – Suggestion: give up on trying to get Mike to understand. Never gonna happen. Might as well be talking to a rock.

      December 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Pete

      Yes! A true atheist cannot commit a crime, or act in an evil manner. If a person claiming to be an atheist does perform an evil act, then that person is not a true atheist.

      Hope this clears things up!

      Cheers!

      December 20, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
    • Something

      Mike, not me,

      You said, "...you do know subjective things, like where Mexico is, and the history of the French revolution,..."

      Those are not 'subjective' things – they are 'objective'.

      subjective = a matter of opinion or perception
      objective = a matter of fact

      Where Mexico is located = objective
      If Mexico is 'nice' to visit = subjective

      "...try to understand the point of view of people older and smarter than you..."

      Age, that you are claiming for bonus points here, is not any assurance of wisdom, knowledge or edification.

      December 20, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
    • Thomas R

      Going by the Pew Research Center 16% may have no religion, but just 1.6% of Americans identify as atheist. American Religious Identification Survey says 10% do not believe in God, but only .9% identify as atheist. I'm going to guess that the prison study is going by identification rather than questioning beliefs in God so using the Pew Research Survey's figures, as they give more detail than ARIS, the following is what the prison groups are at relative to society.

      Catholic roughly 163.9% of their general population representation.
      Protestant 68.24% (I think there's likely a massive difference by denomination, but this prison study is non-specific on Protestants)
      Muslim 1212%
      American Indian – NA (Not in ARIS or PRC)
      Nation – NA
      Rasta NA
      Jewish 104.29%
      Church of Christ NA
      Pentecostal NA, for now but I think there are sources on this.
      Moorish NA, but I think Moorish is primarily a prison religion.
      Buddhist 168.57%
      Jehovah Witness 127.142857%
      Adventist NA, but possibly I could figure it out with work.
      Orthodox 83.67
      Mormon 23.47%
      Atheist 13%
      Hindu 39.75%

      For the following I decided to use my World Almanac

      Sikh, I had trouble figuring but something like 25% of their representation in general society.
      Bahai are roughly 12% of what they represent in general society.

      So if you're in a religiously Sikh or Mormon town you ought to be alright, but if you can find a Bahai town that beats atheism for low crime:) (I smile because I'm Catholic so take the study itself with a grain of salt)

      December 21, 2010 at 12:04 am |
    • Mike, not me

      ah word play got to love it

      So tell me, do you believe that the French Revolution based on what others have written or where you personally there?

      Is Mexico's borders an agreement of perception or do you really believe that Mexico was setup as an "act of the universe"?

      December 21, 2010 at 9:08 am |
    • Bob

      @Jake Bob – Suggestion: give up on trying to get Mike to understand. Never gonna happen. Might as well be talking to a rock.

      I suppose. I just don't know how anyone over 14 doesn't understand the difference. You'd have to be mentally retarded.

      December 21, 2010 at 9:57 am |
    • Bob

      @Mike not me,
      > So tell me, do you believe that the French Revolution based on what others have written or where you personally there?

      It's based on what is written, by many different people. It's based on the mass graves that were written about. It's based on the weaponry that can be shown to be produced by that era. In short, we have anthropological evidence and we have archaeology evidence. Plus whatever evidence I missed because I'm not an expert in the field.

      What do we have for the bible? Just the bible.

      December 21, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • Nonimus

      I think a more appropriate correlation for those in prison has to do with income levels, i.e. a higher proportion of lower income people end up in jail, for various reason such as need, living conditions / environment, and capability of mounting a legal defense.
      In addition, as stated below, religiosity has an inverse correlation to income.
      Therefore, the less religious generally have higher incomes and higher income people less likely to get imprisoned.

      "Among nations as a whole, and on a personal basis, levels of religiosity and creationism tend to decline as income levels rise(Pew 2002; Norris and Inglehart 2004; Gallup 2005b 2006a, b)..."Zuckerman
      ... from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism {Sorry for the secondary (or tertiary) source.}

      December 21, 2010 at 11:00 am |
    • Bob

      > I think a more appropriate correlation for those in prison has to do with income levels, i.e. a higher proportion of lower income people end up in jail, for various reason such as need, living conditions / environment, and capability of mounting a legal defense.

      Agreed. I was seeking to dispel the "Jesus makes you good" nonsense that is spewed by Christians. 🙂

      December 21, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • Mike, not me

      The Bible

      It's based on what is written, by many different people. Check

      It's based on the weaponry that can be shown to be produced by that era.. Check other crucifictions at that time taken place

      In short, we have anthropological evidence and we have archaeology evidence... Check

      Then why don't you believe those writtings, because they have been assembled in one book?

      "I was seeking to dispel the "Jesus makes you good" nonsense that is spewed by Christians. "
      I appreciate this, but I would be concern that you do not grasp the true message of the good news and you are falsely replacing Christian actions as if it was Christian doctorine.

      December 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • Something

      Mike, not me,

      There is a place called Greece. Check.

      Evidence has been found of warfare between ancient city-states. Check

      Evidence has been found that people in those days traveled across the seas. Check

      So, therefore the "Odyssey" is true, along with Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, sirens, nymphs, cyclops and all the rest?

      December 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
    • Bob

      @Mike not Me

      >The Bible
      Yes, the bible

      > It's based on what is written, by many different people. Check
      It's a single source is the salient point which you miss. That is to say, several letters that are seperate provide more credibility then a single source where an author "summarized" their statements together.

      > It's based on the weaponry that can be shown to be produced by that era.. Check other crucifictions at that time taken place.
      That's not what I said. I said that we can verify the number of of weapons produced scales up during the time of the french revolution. I'm not saying "there are rifles then, so it must have happened." I'm talking the number of weapons, matching the era and confirming writings.

      > In short, we have anthropological evidence and we have archaeology evidence... Check
      Given you didn't understand what I wrote, not sure how you added the "check".

      Then why don't you believe those writtings, because they have been assembled in one book?
      > Exactly. Nothing confirms the bible. It's still one item, standing alone.

      > "I was seeking to dispel the "Jesus makes you good" nonsense that is spewed by Christians. "
      I appreciate this, but I would be concern that you do not grasp the true message of the good news and you are falsely replacing Christian actions as if it was Christian doctorine.

      I have nothing to say about christian doctrine. I do have plenty to say about how people apply it. I coudl care less what you believe or how you believe it. But when you seek to change my life based on what you believe, we have a problem. that's all.

      December 21, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
    • Bob

      @Something or Someone...

      That's what we call a coup de grace.

      December 21, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
    • CMoses

      What about education level and income levels for these cities? What about balancing the percentage of crimes committed by Catholics against the number of people in this country who are Catholic? Small wonder more crimes are committed in this country by people who call themselves religious since there are so many more religious people in this country than atheists.

      December 22, 2010 at 9:21 am |
    • cbolton

      You fail to take into account other factors such as education, poverty, educational and employment opportunities, race, urban vs. suburban, etc...

      You liberal elisitis who are usually apologists for the poor need to figure out where you stand.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
  20. Ned

    Take those same cities, and compare those run by blue state progressive liberal democrats, to those run by any OTHER political type. Bet you find that the Godless liberals provide a richer ground for crime of their subjects!

    December 20, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • Jake

      Well, since you are making the charge, why don't YOU provide the data to back it up. Until then, you are just making a baseless, vitriolic claim with no support. Hint: I BET that if YOU tried to find the data to back up your claim, you would actually find that the data points the other way.

      December 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    • civilioutside

      Well, a few minutes on Google tells us...

      6 of the 10 cities are located in Red States. 1 is located in a Blue state. The remaining 3 are in Purple States (meaning roughly even division).

      Mayors: 6 of the 10 cities have Democratic Mayors at present, but at least one of them is less than a year into his term following a long string of Republican Mayors.

      Little Rock: Mark Stodola (D)
      Charlotte: Anthony Foxx (D). Elected only this year after 3 straight Republican administrations
      Birmingham: William A. Bell (D) continues a long string of 6 straight Democratic mayors
      Portland: (Sam Adams (D) after 4 previous Democratic administrations.
      Jacksonville: John Peyton (R) following 2 previous Republican Mayors
      Indianapolis: Greg Ballard (R). 3 of the previous 4 Mayors were also Republicans
      Wichita: Carl Brewer (D)
      Oklahoma City: Mick Cornett (R). Previous 3 Mayors also Republican
      Greensboro: Keith Holliday (D)
      Colorado Springs: Lionel Rivera (R)

      So I would say that the data suggests there's no correlation between godless liberals and criminal environment (or at least no greater correlation than between holy conservatives and criminal environment).

      December 20, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
    • ScottK

      @Ned – Oh how the religious right wishes what you say to be true, it would confirm all the a$$umptions they make about how you can't have morality without God. Too bad the numbers show otherwise as Civil points out. When you have a society that relies on religion to be their moral guide I believe you end up increasing crime because its the religion that gives criminals a "Get out of Jail Free" card by telling them regardless of what crimes you have committed, just convert and be saved. Its OK if you have done terrible things, they will wash you clean in the blood of christ. They also provide an excuse for why the individual committed the crime in the first place, the influence of the devil of course. By taking away any personal responsibility I believe religion has increased the odds of bad behavior from its members.

      December 20, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
    • Something

      Mike, not me,

      You said, "...you do know subjective things, like where Mexico is, and the history of the French revolution,..."

      Those are not 'subjective' things - they are 'objective'.

      subjective = a matter of opinion or perception
      objective = a matter of fact

      Where Mexico is located = objective
      If Mexico is 'nice' to visit = subjective

      "...try to understand the point of view of people older and smarter than you..."

      Age, that you are claiming for bonus points here, is not any assurance of wisdom, knowledge or edification.

      December 20, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
    • Something

      ...sorry, wrong spot...

      December 20, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
    • TJ

      You should try to do some research, the amount of godless people in jail, are well, less than 1%. Nothing like following blindly, makes everything you say sound like your talking out the wrong orifice!

      December 21, 2010 at 6:34 am |
    • Roy

      It used to be every discussion is pulled into the discussion of what your religion is and end up in a blame/flame war, then it's whether you have a religion or not. Now it's whether you're a liberal or conservative / democrat or republican.

      December 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
    • ricked

      this study is seriously flawed Oregon is the most non religious state in the country,followed surprisingly by Idaho,Have lived in both states. Portland Or. leads the way. We may be godless liberals;in fact we are; but where are the nut bag cities like Omaha Ne.roughly the same size city population with twice the murders and violent crime.

      December 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.