Why There are no Atheists in Prison

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Glacier
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Why There are no Atheists in Prison

Post by Glacier »

I'm sure you've hear similar claims made on Castanet before. Claims that atheists are under-represented in prison. Atheists love to say that it's because religion is evil or some such nonsense, but when we dig a little deeper into the actual data, we find that the truth is not so cut and dry. For example, the most reliable information collected is self-reported to chaplains in federal prisons. It's quite conceivable that atheists would be less likely to discuss their religious convictions than the religious, but I think the data is the best we have, so let's run with it.

Here's an interesting read that attempts to quantify the claim. The one thing they didn't mention is that atheists tend to be white and relatively affluent, so just on that alone they should be under-represented in prison. Mormons and Pentecostals are also quite white, and look at them also hugging the top of the chart.

atheistinprison.png
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youjustcomplain
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Re: Why There are no Atheists in Prison

Post by youjustcomplain »

It's a complicated issue. No question.

I don't believe the claim, by atheists, is that we're better people than the religious. I believe the claim from the religious is that atheists have no morals. The counter to that claim is that if atheists have no morals, that you'd expect them to have a much higher representation in prisons, and yet, when you look at the numbers, you see a disproportional number of religious people.

Good topic though. Always interesting.
Nomaster
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Re: Why There are no Atheists in Prison

Post by Nomaster »

I recently read an article that said most of the prison population is religious while there are very few atheists in prison. Please tell if this is true for the United States.
Caroline, 44, Philadelphia

Paraphrasing the articles last paragraph.
The article went on to conclude that, "Yes, Caroline, Atheists are underrepresented in the Federal Prison System in The U.S."

The full paragraph.
"Anyway, you’re right about religiosity in prison Caroline: Atheists are underrepresented. But not all religious groups are equally over-represented. That’s an interesting finding, but it’s a limited one because we don’t know what percentage of inmates change their faith while in prison and why — without those stats, understanding religiosity in prison is a bit of a guessing game."

The Pew Research Center
About half of Americans (53%) say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral, while 45% say belief in God is necessary to have good values, according to a 2014 survey. In other wealthy countries, smaller shares tend to say that a belief in God is essential for good morals, including just 15% in France. But in many other parts of the world, nearly everyone says that a person must believe in God to be moral, including 99% in Indonesia and Ghana and 98% in Pakistan.

I'll take living in modern, secular France or Norway, etc over more religious states anyway!
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Nasturtium
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Re: Why There are no Atheists in Prison

Post by Nasturtium »

Religion is, in practice, hope.
When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose

Bob Dylan - Like Rolling Stone
We leak as rivers
Nomaster
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Re: Why There are no Atheists in Prison

Post by Nomaster »

Religion is comparable to childhood neurosis. -Freud

Freud adds the explanation that the adoption of religion is a reversion to childish patterns of thought in response to feelings of helplessness and guilt. We feel a need for security and forgiveness, and so invent a source of security and forgiveness: God. Religion is thus seen as a childish delusion.

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