Tag: belief

Is the Devil a Great Cop? Belief in Hell Associated With Low National Crime Rates

By Sophie Bushwick | June 25, 2012 12:44 pm

hell
An illustration of hell from the 12th-century encyclopedia
Hortus Deliciarum

Religion takes a two-pronged approach to encouraging good behavior: breaking the rules warrants supernatural punishment, while positive actions can earn a blissful afterlife. To most effectively promote a moral lifestyle, however, religious leaders may want to scrap the heavenly reassurance and preach more fire and brimstone: While belief in hell is strongly associated with lower crime rates, belief in heaven is actually tied to more crime.

For 67 countries and more than 143,000 participants, psychologists compared three decades of data about belief in heaven, hell, and God to information about the rates of ten different crimes, including homicide and robbery. They found that religious beliefs were better predictors for five of the ten crimes than either poverty or income inequality.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Crime & Punishment
MORE ABOUT: belief, crime, heaven, hell, religion
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