I think that People who are deeply invloved with religion from being a young child to adulthood are deffinently more likley to commit a sexual crime. Many very devote religous families are very strick on their children possibly “denying” their children life experiences that other children with looser up bringings get to experience. For example inner city kids will get offered drug on a street corner and will know what drugs look like and do, as to were a suburbun kid may never know what drugs do and what their street names and affects are, thus making them nieve to drugs. I beleive the same affect works for sex and sexual experiences with children and sheltered up bringings. Children who are given the option to obstain or participate in sex as they become “ready” gives them the oppourtunity to fail or to make a choice, which i beleive will make them develop a stronger mental character. Many “sheltered religious children are strictly raised that sex is bad until marrage, and that participating in any way, even kissing in some practices is a Sin and damnation is your punishment. Then these children become adults and are sent out into the world unexperienced and confused on sex, and sexual encounters. Then when they now have contol over what they do sexualy, without someone looking over their shoulders its easier to understand how they could lose control and commit a sexual crime, reguardless if its they don’t know what they do or if they are aggresivly frustrated.
My first impression of this journal article is that the title is really a great tease for getting people to read the report. The wording appeals to humans’ often mistaken tendency to stereotype. The article clearly shows no proof that religiosity causes pedophilia. In fact, the insinuation seems a bit obscene to me.
There are many types of research. In psychology two things have to be satisfied in order to make causal conclusions and that is random assignment and control; neither of which was available for this study. These people cannot argue that religiosity causes child abuse, nor that atheism ‘protects’ children. That is erroneous in form and is poor science through and through. They are taking information from an idiographic realm and are trying to put that into a nomothetic forum where they are making conclusions that applies to the general public. This simply will not hold. A lot of the information in this journal comes from self-report, which, most psychologists would agree couldn’t be used to make generalizations about anything at all.
At the very best it can only be said that in the case of the offenders, most of them tended to be religious. This does not in any way indicate that religiosity made them offend and the implication that it is so is quite frankly offensive to me. It is most certainly just as possible that the fact that they were religious made them offend much less than they would have if they had not been religious at all. We just don’t know. It is even possible the sex offenders tend to come from areas that have long traditions for religious followings. This still does not mean that ‘belief’ made anyone offend.
That being said, I am happy to speculate on the findings. Please, keep in mind that this is just personal speculation and opinion and that I in no way have evidence to support me, nor agree with any of the faulty findings of the atheism study. Still, I think this is a more honest approach than supporting my personal opinions with research that does not measure up.
I shall start by questioning Eric Schwitzgebel’s claim that “academic moral philosophy has no great positive effect on moral character. It is the context in which he makes his claim that is puzzling to me (after the discussion of the article). He says that academia cannot provide us with morals? And if academia fails, he would hope that religion can? But only some religions? And what does that have to do with child abuse? Huh? Ok, so I will start from back to front….
I cannot think of one single religion that finds child abuse anything but completely despicable and highly immoral (except, arguably, religions that support ‘child-brides and grooms’). Historically religion has always provided a moral framework for human kind. Some sociologists (and psychologists) will argue that religion was ‘invented’ by humans a means of survival. The moral framework protected us, each other, and gave us reason and understanding in a very big and lonely world. I hardly find that anything in religion encourages child-molestation; a concept largely considered a universal sin. I am puzzled…
I am not so sure that academia is not a good place to start with morals. In a society such as America, for instance, where we like to toy with the silly idea that we are a secular society, we will have to find our morals in a world free of religion. Where, lest we learn from our parents (who are awfully busy working and do not have much time for raising children), will we learn morals if we do not learn them from the academic world? One thing that moral philosophy teaches is to think critically and logically about dilemmas in our lives. While we may not be given the answers as to how we solve those specifically, we are given tools to help us entertain the various aspects of problems. We learn to look at both sides of the coin. Some days we find that only one side holds value, on others we find the equal and greater value by looking at both sides.
It seems to me that we can learn morals, even in a society that is secular. In order for that to happen, however, we have to set up a forum for contemplating morals. That is exactly what moral philosophy does. I got lost on that one too…
As for sex-crimes: According to the US census bureau, 90% of the US populations believe that there is a God. Isn’t it perfectly possible that the majority of offenders happen to be religious just because the majority of Americans are believers? It just seems like (wow!) some claim, all right, to assume that 90% of the population could very well be predisposed to molest because they believe in some higher power and only 10 % of the population is safe for our children to be around (at least when it comes to molestation).
As for showing the connection between religiosity and crime it reminds me of a scenario popular in Social Psychology.
We know that where there is a lot of crime there are also a lot of churches. Does this mean that the presence of churches causes crime? Or does it mean that crime makes people go to church? Neither, of course. All it means is that where there are a lot of people there are many churches because the need for more locations is present. And where there are many people there tend to be much more crime (a consequence of packing may people into small areas. The smaller the living space, the higher the crime rate). While we can make it seem as if there is a relationship, the truth is that there is none!
It is a far-fetched claim that religions may not successfully help people define morals. Many religions are very similar in form. In fact, the three Abrahamic religions share the same God and some of the same prophets (messages). Even the eastern religions with their delightful dualism share many of their practices with the more typically western religions. Many societies are theocratic and have successfully been so for thousands of years. I wonder if the author is somehow biased to think that religious people are a bit gullible when if comes to morals? They are not capable of making good decisions?
I am not sure exactly where I am going with this. I guess I am not sure where he was really going. I am confused by the posting, because on one hand it seems ‘open minded’, on the other it seems to imply that religion is the cause of all that is rotten in the world. And while that may or may not be true, it would be easier to respond to if that was said directly. Religion = No good? Is that the essence of the Blog?
One thing I can say for sure is that I am not easily offended, but something about the article and the posting really got my eyebrows seriously furrowed (Oh dear…and that is SO not a pretty sight…lol…..) The whole affair just seems so biased to me. And bias in philosophy, well that can’t be a good thing, can it?
First of all, I am skeptical of this study. Its sample size is relatively large, but not big enough for me to base definitive statements on. 111 people is hardly representative of the population of adult inmates. Nor does the study specify how these criminals were selected for the study. Although religion cannot be randomly assigned, surely the sex offendors used for this study can. And, on the contrary, I feel religion inhibits sexual urges (the religions common in America, like Christianity for example). Supressed sexual urges would lead to more acts to release those urges, for example, rape. Also, where was this study taken? Perhaps there are simply a higher proportion of sex offenders in this prison than the rest in the U.S., which would throw off the entire survey results, making them unreliable. Although the fact that (in this study) Athiests are less likely to commit sexual crimes than non-athiests, I still don’t trust the results of this study, whose descriptions are ambiguous.