Fifteen....(crash)....no, Ten! Ten Commandments, for all to Obey.
Here's some long, boring reading from one of those pointy headed academic sources that no one in DC has ever heard of:
In the United States many conservative theists consider evolutionary science a leading contributor to social dysfunction because it is amoral or worse, and because it inspires disbelief in a moral creator.
The original full title for the creationist Discovery Institute was the Discovery Institute for the Renewal of Science and Culture (a title still applied to a division), and the instituteâ€™s mission challenges â€œmaterialism on specifically scientific groundsâ€ with the intent of reversing â€œsome of materialismâ€™s destructive cultural consequences.â€ The strategy for achieving these goals is the â€œwedgeâ€ strategy to insert intelligent design creationism into mainstream academe and subsequently destroy Darwinian science.
The Discovery Institute and the less conservative, even more lavishly funded pro-theistic Templeton Foundation fund research into the existence and positive societal influence of a creator. In 2000 the Discovery Institute held a neocreationist seminar for members of Congress. Politically and socially powerful conservatives have deliberately worked to elevate popular concerns over a field of scientific and industrial research to such a level that it qualifies as a major societal fear factor. The current House majority leader T. Delay contends that high crime rates and tragedies like the Columbine assault will continue as long schools teach children â€œthat they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized [sic] out of some primordial soup of mudâ€ Todayâ€™s leaders of the worldâ€™s largest Christian denomination, the Catholic Church, share a dim view of the social impact of evolution. In his inauguration speech, Benedict XVI lauded the benefits of belief in a creator and contended, â€œwe are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.â€ A leading church cleric and theologian (Schonborn) proclaimed that â€œthe overwhelming evidence for purpose and designâ€ refutes the mindless creation of Darwinian natural selection
In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies. The most theistic prosperous democracy, the U.S., is exceptional, but not in the manner Franklin predicted. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly. The view of the U.S. as a â€œshining city on the hillâ€ to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic measures of societal health. Youth suicide is an exception to the general trend because there is not a significant relationship between it and religious or secular factors. No democracy is known to have combined strong religiosity and popular denial of evolution with high rates of societal health. Higher rates of non-theism and acceptance of human evolution usually correlate with lower rates of dysfunction, and the least theistic nations are usually the least dysfunctional. None of the strongly secularized, pro-evolution democracies is experiencing high levels of measurable dysfunction.
"Societal Health" is a fancy way of saying peace, prosperity and opportunity for all. Very simply, this study gives strong evidence to what a lot of secular and liberally minded believers have said since the first stone tablet of 'divine' instruction smashed down upon the head of the first rational critic: religion is a drain, a cancer, a leaden weight, upon society. It doesn't help, it hurts. Whatever "good" is done is the name religion, a lot more bad happens. This is only one study, but I think a look at history shows: religion is used more often to oppress and control than it is to uplift and succor.
There are a lot of good, believing folks out there who hate Bush. Who hate war, injustice, racism, cronyism and all the other sins this administration has made fashionable. But thanks to a incredibly well funded machine consisting of the SCLM, frightened politicians and their hypocritical brethren and a couple of billionaire fanatics, religious fundamentalism is gaining strength in certain quarters of our society, and around the world. In the end, the only ones who will benefit are those who greatly resemble the Saudi "royal" family: those who reap rewards of profit, control and distraction of the masses by getting in bed with fanatics and "holy" men. Those same people, as anyone who's ever met a member of the Republican or Saudi upper classes can tell you, who defy and mock openly the very religious tenets that form the basis of the social forms which give them power over the rest of the "little" people.
Religion blinds. It causes believers to do all sorts of absurd mental leaps and twists and generally deadens the ability to think critically. It causes people, often the old and the poor, to give what little they have to people who don't really need it, and who demand it for no real reason other than greed. Religion offers a false hope to the fact of life so many are made to fear beyond reason- that in the end, we die alone. Death ends life, and nothing more. There is no reason to fear it, even as there is reason to feel guilty and shame for unjust actions we have committed in life. (Un)fortunately, none of us will suffer for what we have done beyond the grave.
I spent 8 years in a top notch grad program at a Divninty school, and I've been up and down all manner of religious text, gloss, tablet, and scroll. There is simply no reason to believe that one must believe in a higher power to be a "moral" person. Right and wrong, when you get down to it, are a simple, individualistic kinds of thing. Each of us knows what is right and wrong in our own lives, what differs is the thickness of the layer that separates us from perceiving the truth and acting upon it. Religion adds to that layering, in a way that helps only those who are best able to manipulate the well meaning, fearful and ignorant. You don't need religion to do good, know truth, or die content.
If there's one political point to the study above, it's this: religious progressives and liberals- GET OFF YOUR ASS NOW! You don't want me in your church, any more than you want to be the victims of the next Inquisition. As you will be, if you let the fundies have their way. As they will, if you persist in your silence. I can site you "chapter and verse" historical examples of what happens to religious moderates after the fundamentalists take power. As they will, if you continue to allow them to direct the religious "vision" for this country. This is not my problem. It's yours.
Your god(s) demand you do something. I'm sure there's a text or book that will prove my wholly undivine injunction, but your belief should be enough to motivate you. If you don't think I'm right, than I don't think you really believe. All divinities are posited as "good." Do you think religion is being used in this country will produce a "good" effect? This group of academics proves that's not true. What are you going to do about it? Don't try to tell me it's my problem: last time I checked, unbelievers like me were no more than 10% of the population.