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Hell and Crime Rates

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From the University of Oregon:

EUGENE, Ore. -- (June 18, 2012) -- Religions are thought to serve as bulwarks against unethical behaviors. However, when it comes to predicting criminal behavior, the specific religious beliefs one holds is the determining factor, says a University of Oregon psychologist.

The study, appearing in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, found that criminal activity is lower in societies where people's religious beliefs contain a strong punitive component than in places where religious beliefs are more benevolent. A country where many more people believe in heaven than in hell, for example, is likely to have a much higher crime rate than one where these beliefs are about equal. The finding surfaced from a comprehensive analysis of 26 years of data involving 143,197 people in 67 countries.

Update:  As commenter d.n.nola points out, the U.O. press release originally had an error.  It has been corrected on the U.O. site, and we have also made the correction here.

1 Comment

"The study . . . found that criminal activity is higher in societies where people's religious beliefs contain a strong punitive component . . . ."

I believe you meant "lower".

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