Friday, November 26, 2010

Religion Half of World Thinks religious beliefs promote intolerance, exacerbate ethnic divisions and impede social progress

Tags: Religion Force Good or Bad, Half of World Thinks religious beliefs promote intolerance, exacerbate ethnic divisions and impede social progress

Note the huge difference in religiosity between the United States and neighbor Canada. Amazing! Even Catholic countries are lower than the USA. Also interesting is that Turkey, a Muslim country is less religious than the USA.

Former Prime Minister Blair who is a conservative Catholic is not a typical British where only 29 percent believe religion has been good for the world. I think the statistics correlate well with the rate of ignorance of history and poverty. Sophisticated Belgium which is half Catholic if I recall correctly, has about the lowest as well as France.

In Pope dominated society of Italy, I was surprised that it was as low as 50 percent. I know that men there have sexually harassed essentially all the women and girls there so religion has put no restraint and still reflects the male dominated society.

Those who read accurate historical accounts, neither the Catholic or Protestant churches act like Christ, but more like thugs. Imagine both sides killing those with other religions with abandon and six Popes in a roll taking bribes, having parties, burning at the stake anyone who said earth was not at the center of the earth except Galileo who was a long time friend of the Pope.

Religions were mostly created to control people by the leaders even at the small village stage. Brain study shows that those who have less prefrontal control of emotions, especially many highly religious persons, tend to commit crimes such as we have seen in our current Supreme Court.

Jim Kawakami, Nov 26, 2010,

The world is deeply divided on the question of whether religion is a force for good, a survey by Ipsos Reid suggests.

Is religion a force for good?


% who agree

Saudi Arabia






United States












Great Britain










Source: Ipsos Reid

The pollster found that 48 per cent of the more than 18,000 people it reached online in 23 countries agreed that "religion provides the common values and ethical foundations that diverse societies need to thrive in the 21st century."

A bare majority — 52 per cent — thought otherwise. They agreed with the sentiment that "religious beliefs promote intolerance, exacerbate ethnic divisions and impede social progress."

There was wide regional variation in the results. Respondents in Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, where there are large Moslem populations, overwhelmingly said they believed religion was a force for good, while respondents in European countries tended to disagree with that.

About two-thirds of Americans polled thought religion was a force for good, but only 36 per cent of Canadians thought the same.

The survey was commissioned as a backdrop to a much-anticipated debate on religion Friday night in Toronto between former British prime minister Tony Blair and writer Christopher Hitchens.

Be it resolved

The two men will debate the question of whether religion is a force for good in the world.

Taking the "No" side is Hitchens, author of God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.pastedGraphic.pdfFormer British Prime Minister Tony Blair and author Christopher Hitchens meet ahead of their debate on religion in Toronto Friday. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

The avowed atheist has written that organized religion is "violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children."

Hitchens, who is battling terminal esophageal cancer, added that if "religious instruction were not allowed until the child had attained the age of reason, we would be living in a quite different world."

Blair will argue the opposite side. He converted to Roman Catholicism after leaving 10 Downing Street in 2007.

Blair has spoken often about the role of faith in his life since leaving office and has formed the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which promotes "respect and understanding" among the world's major religions.

He will argue an understanding of faith is necessary in a world of globalization and rapid social change.

"Religious faith has a major part to play in shaping the values which guide the modern world, and can and should be a force for progress," he said earlier.

Debate sold out

The moderator of the debate said it's not about the existence of God.

“We have asked Mr. Blair and Mr. Hitchens to wrestle with the more immediate question facing developed and developing nations: is religion a force for peace or conflict in the modern world?” said Rudyard Griffiths, co-organizer of the Munk Debates.

The debate, at Roy Thomson Hall, quickly sold out. A live video stream of the debate can be watched online for $4.99.

The Munk Debates are a series created through the Aurea Foundation, a Canadian charity established by businessman and philanthropist Peter Munk.

Notes on the poll: Ipsos Reid said its online panel included respondents aged 18-64 in Canada and the United States and 16-64 in all other countries. The respondents were polled between Sept. 7 and 23. About 1,000 were polled in each of Canada and the United States.

With files from The Canadian Press


  1. Atheist Christopher Hitchens seemed to get the best of it in a debate over religion with former British prime minister and Roman Catholic convert Tony Blair.

    The two men disputed religion in Toronto Friday night at the Munk Debates before a sold-out crowd of 2,600 — scalpers outside were asking as much as $500 a ticket — as thousands more watched online.
    Blair argued for the proposition that religion is a force for good, while Hitchens was against it.
    Preliminary results on the Munk website said 68 per cent of the votes backed Hitchens and 32 per cent Blair. ...

    Blair conceded that "horrific acts of evil" have been committed in the name of religion, but said people like Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, who opposed religion, had been evil, too. "I agree in a world without religion, that the religious fanatics may be gone, but I ask you: Would fanaticism be gone?"
    Blair pointed to the Northern Ireland peace process as an example of different religions working for peace.
    Hitchens replied that 400 years of religious warfare in Ireland entailed "people killing each other's children depending on what kind of Christian they were."
    "To terrify children with the image of hell … to consider women an inferior creation. Is that good for the world?" Hitchens said. ...

  2. Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII [Paperback]
    John Cornwell (Author) Review
    This devastating account of the ecclesiastical career of Eugenio Pacelli (1876-1958), who became Pope Pius XII in 1939, is all the more powerful because British historian John Cornwell maintains throughout a measured though strongly critical tone.

    After World War II, murmurs of Pacelli's callous indifference to the plight of Europe's Jews began to be heard. A noted commentator on Catholic issues, Cornwell began research for this book believing that "if his full story were told, Pius XII's pontificate would be exonerated."

    Instead, he emerged from the Vatican archives in a state of "moral shock," concluding that Pacelli displayed anti-Semitic tendencies early on and that his drive to promote papal absolutism inexorably led him to collaboration with fascist leaders.

    Cornwell convincingly depicts Cardinal Secretary of State Pacelli pursuing Vatican diplomatic goals that crippled Germany's large Catholic political party, which might otherwise have stymied Hitler's worst excesses.

    The author's condemnation has special force because he portrays the admittedly eccentric Pacelli not as a monster but as a symptom of a historic wrong turn in the Catholic Church. He meticulously builds his case for the painful conclusion that "Pacelli's failure to respond to the enormity of the Holocaust was more than a personal failure, it was a failure of the papal office itself and the prevailing culture of Catholicism." --Wendy Smith --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

    From Library Journal Relying on exclusive access to Vatican and Jesuit archives, an award-winning Roman Catholic journalist argues that through a 1933 Concordat with Hitler, Pope Pius XII facilitated the dictator's rise and, ultimately, the Holocaust.
    Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.