Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Does Religion Make You Stupid, Fat, Poor, and Sick?

Religion may be bad for your health, butt, mind and wallet!

Recently in MOBILE, Alabama Republican gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne  stated publicly:

    "I believe that the Bible is the word of God. That’s my faith. I believe the Bible is true. Every word of it,"

Byrne’s main competition, Republican candidate Tim James of Greenville, Alabama said, "I believe in the literal interpretation, that the holy Bible is the inspired word of God. Period," Even the Democratic contenders all claim personal belief in the Bible, if not in the literal words therein.

And, that’s exactly what the good people of Alabama want to hear.  Along with almost all of the other southern states, the people of Alabama are mostly good Bible-thumping citizens. In fact, any gubernatorial candidate who hopes to be elected to the top job in any state in the Old South doesn’t stand a chance unless he or she can prove they can thump the Bible with the best of them. And, that would be the Good Book - the Christian Bible, King James version preferably.

Some words in the Bible taken literally are pretty draconian.  For example:

Exodus 35:2 commands a person be put to death for working on the Sabbeth;

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 commands that a stubborn child be put to death;

Deuteronomy 22:13-21 commands a new wife to be stoned to death if not a virgin;

Leviticus 21:16-23 forbids handicapped people from church;

I Timothy 2:9 forbids women with braided hair, gold or pearls in church;

Jeremiah 10:2-8 forbids Christmas trees at Christmas;

Leviticus forbids eating pork, shellfish or rabbit - but allows us all the locusts we want!

If the Bible were actually taken and acted upon seriously and literally,  and considering some of the above, there would not be enough people left to vote a governor into office!  But that doesn't stop people from saying they believe every literal word in the Bible.  In reality, thankfully, they ignore many of the Bible's commands - and it's a good thing they do too or a whole lot of us would be in very serious trouble.  But even so, religion might not be all that wonderful.  Oh sure, it is a comfort and solace for many people, but is it good for society as a whole?  Statistics say maybe not.

Mississippi for example tops the charts in the US with 82% religiosity. Maybe no real correlation can be proven, but Mississippi also happens to be #1 in obesity  #1 in poverty levels, #2 in illiteracy, and #2 in overall bad health levels.

And Alabama,  #2 in religiosity, is #1 in obesity, #7  in poverty, #8  in illiteracy and #6 in bad health.

Then there's Louisiana at #4 in religiosity, is tied for #7 in obesity, is #1 in poverty, #7 in illiteracy and #1 in bad health.

On the other hand Vermont, which is #50 in religiosity, is tied for next to last in obesity, is 4th from last in poverty, is #50 in illiteracy and #50 in bad health.

And Massachusetts,  #46 in religiosity, is last in obesity, #46  in poverty,#49  in illiteracy and #47 in bad health.

Hmmmm - - is there something going on here?  Do these statistics mean anything?

These are merely statistics, but to me they represent a state of mind - a state of mind which seems to closely correlate with expense and detriment for our country and grief for our society.  You may check these statistics (and many others as well) for yourself by referring to this excellent web site:  THE STATEMASTER.

Often a graphical view can be very illustrative - so I have prepared a few charts and present them below.  I have always suspected this, but the actual statistics were a real eye-opener for me. These charts show  curves driven by data from all 50 states, with the highest in religiosity on the left.  Click on the charts to expand:

It is perhaps also noteworthy that surveys show the BEST states to live in by lifestyle are ALL outside the south.  In fact, the highest southern state by rank is Florida which comes in at a dismal 37th out of 50, even if it is the famous 'Sunshine State'.  ALL other southern states fall below that!  Not coincidentally, Mississippi comes in "DFL" ('Dead Freaking Last')!

Whoo Boy!

I'm now thinking about moving to Vermont or New Hampshire!

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