Friday, June 25, 2010
Who is David Barton?
David Barton is…
- an American evangelical minister
- a Republican political activist
- one of Time magazine’s 25 Most Influential Evangelicals
- "a major voice in the debate over church-state separation."
- the author of America: To Pray or Not to Pray
- an idiot
In his book, America: To Pray or Not to Pray, Barton makes the claim that the removal of mandatory prayer from schools in 1962 has destroyed America. This is utter bullshit. The statistics and graphs he uses are deceptive and present only a narrow snapshot of the data. When we look at MORE of the data, it becomes clear that the real cause for spikes in the graph is not prayer, but WAR. We will also have a look at Canada. You see, in 1982 Canada also stopped forcing children to pray in school. What happened? Stay tuned.
Why do I care about this?
Before I get into the data, I want to tell you why I’m writing this. It’s because I care about what’s true. David Barton is influencing people with his misinformation. Good people like Robin @ Heart of Wisdom Blog, Carol Brooks @ inplainsite.org (follow these links to see Barton’s deceptive graphs and statistics), and many others believe this man’s twisted lies. And belief leads to action, so then we have people who are fighting to save the world by trying to forcing children to recite prayers again, and it’s all based on a lie.
On to the data…
First Question: Could you guess the year forced prayer was taken out of schools based only on this graph? Of course not.
There are 3 green spikes of war I’d like you to note:
- WW1 1917-1919
- WW2 1939-1945
- Vietnam 1965-1975
Now see if you notice those dates below in the Divorce Rates Graph.
That’s right. They match up pretty much exactly. Eliminating forced prayer doesn’t increase divorce rates, WAR does. Furthermore, in most cases religion has been shown to actually INCREASE divorce rates.
Now we look at STDs. Specifically Gonorrhea, because that’s the only graph I could find with this many data points. Again notice the spikes surround the WARS.
Canada stopped forcing children to pray in schools in 1982. Why didn’t they receive a spike in Gonorrhea like the United States did? Because WAR caused the spike, not lack of forced prayer.
There are more graphs and more data, but I think I’ve made my point. David Barton, please stop spreading your lies.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
8"and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." – Mark 10:8-9
I’m sure we’ve all heard this scripture. Given that religious people get the benefit of prayer, angels, and miracles, one would assume that they would have lower divorce rates. After all they have an all powerful god looking after them.
Yet what we find is the opposite when we examine the data.
(collected by the Barna Research Group)
Variation in divorce rates by religion:
Average religious divorce rates vs. nonreligious:
(based on the above data)
More detail and graphed:
Kudos to Catholics and Lutherans for not exceeding the baseline divorce rate. Congratulations, your religion isn’t tearing your family apart… but it isn’t helping either. All that prayer and divine moral teachings had no effect on strength of your marriage? That isn’t saying much for religion.
Ron Barrier, Spokesperson for American Atheists remarked on these findings with some rather caustic comments against organized religion. He said:
"These findings confirm what I have been saying these last five years. Since Atheist ethics are of a higher caliber than religious morals, it stands to reason that our families would be dedicated more to each other than to some invisible monitor in the sky. With Atheism, women and men are equally responsible for a healthy marriage. There is no room in Atheist ethics for the type of 'submissive' nonsense preached by Baptists and other Christian and/or Jewish groups. Atheists reject, and rightly so, the primitive patriarchal attitudes so prevalent in many religions with respect to marriage."
StopTheReligiousRight.org had some scathing comments as well:
"We hear an awful lot from conservatives in the Bible Belt and on the TV about how we all should be living. Certainly a culture that teaches the conservative religious values of the Christian right must have clean living written all over it. And lots of ripe fruit from their morally superior lives abounding."
"It doesn't. Far from it. People that talk the loudest may be the ones walking the slowest. Joining its history of Biblically correct bigotry and discrimination, it is an area with the highest divorce, murder, STD/HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, single parent homes, infant mortality, and obesity rates in the nation. As a region, the Bible Belt has the poorest health care systems and the lowest rates of high school graduation."
U.S. Census Bureau data has confirmed the the Barna Group’s research pointing out that the ‘Bible Belt’ has the highest divorce rates in the country (after Nevada of course).
Lets not forget about the Muslims – 31%
An article in InFocus News says the Muslim divorce rate is at 31%.
“According to a study conducted by Dr. Ilyas Ba-Yunus, a sociology professor at State University of New York, the overall divorce rate among Muslims in North America is at an astounding 31%” - http://www.infocusnews.net/content/view/986/135/
If religion were real and prayer worked, this number would be lower than our control group (atheists/agnostics).
Hinduism must be the one true religion – 5%
Finally! Results you would expect from a religion. The Hindu divorce rate is only 5%! Holy Cow that’s low! (pun intended) :D
“The study, titled the US Religious Landscape Survey, released on Monday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, also found that Hindus also have the lowest divorce rate of any group --only 5 percent have been divorced.” - http://www.hindujagruti.org/news/4133.html
Hinduism must be the one true religion! Based on this data, I don’t see any other religion that can claim such a thing. If this religion were real and prayer worked, their divorce rate would be lower than our control group… and it is. Wow… maybe I’m on to something. :P
Factor in the Muslim and Hindu divorce rates to the average and you get
|Average religious divorce rate (with Muslim & Hindu added):||23.4%|
|Average nonreligious divorce rate:||21%|
Religious still cant beat nonreligious, and no one can beat the Hindus.
Monday, March 1, 2010
The very fact that religious differences can separate us from our family and friends is why I don't like it. Even as a non-believer, I still go to church for the music and the people. I still have all the same religious friends. But my strongly christian girlfriend struggles with my non-belief sometimes and it nearly ended our relationship.
While religion can seem innocent and make the average person happy as long as they remain in their bubble, in the bigger picture it is still contributing to worldwide religiousness which contains at least two scoops of crazy. And maybe your children or children's children will bite into some of that crazy. Because of this, I can't see the belief in any religion as a good thing for humanity as a whole. We should study religion only as mythologies. Take the good moral teachings from them, and just be... people.
Religion can be beautiful and romantic or sick and twisted depending on how you look at it. I can see both, but I cant accept the good with the bad. Religion must be sacrificed for a better humanity.
I was just giving some thought to the similarities between belief in Jesus and belief in Santa. Consider the following quote:
"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." - Edward Gibbon
Now lets apply that to Santa: "The Santa myth is regarded by common children as true, by wise children as false, and by their parents as useful."
Jesus and Santa's Similarities
- Both employ 'carrot and stick' reward/punishment motivation (heaven/hell, toys/coal) to encourage morality as well as submissiveness to authorities.
- Both were real people with historical and mythological versions of their lives.
- Both have magical powers.
- Both give you free gifts (toys, fruits & nuts, miracles, eternal life) which guilts us into wanting to give back according to the social rule of reciprocity.
- Both receive lots of one way messages (prayers, letters to the north pole).
- Both have mythological armies of helpers (angels, elves).
- Both can bring us joy.
- Neither mythology can be proved or disproved without a doubt, however given the proper scrutiny, both can be seen for what they are: very unlikely.
What does this mean?
Jesus is the grown person's Santa. If we can all grow out of Santa, why cant we all grow out of religion? We all know the mythological Santa is fiction, but we still appreciate the idea of Santa. We still love the movies. We take with us all the good things that Santa preaches. Why cant we do this with our religions? Why does it have to feel so horrible to consider your religion is fiction? Why cant we take all the good teachings, reject the bad, and grow from there? Imagine how much better everyone would get along if we all took the good morals and teachings from our religions but allowed ourselves to grow out of the belief like we grew out of Santa. Imagine never again having to argue or fight over religion. No more evangelists trying to convince you that they have the RIGHT religion. No more 'gods chosen people' or fighting over 'holy' lands. The world needs to progress toward this.