Saturday, October 01, 2005

What is the price of bliss?

Checked up on news links to the Gregory Paul article on the correlation between social dysfunction and religiosity I mentioned recently. Several in Europe but, thus far, only a single one from the US media. The opinion piece in the LA Times is favourable and says, among other things:

My prediction is that right-wing evangelicals will do their best to discredit Paul's substantive findings. But when they fail, they'll just shrug: So what if highly religious societies have more murders and disease than less religious societies? Remember the trials of Job? God likes to test the faithful.

However, I think the author, Rosa Brooks, is probably wrong in her expectation. The general lack of interest among the US media suggests to me another strategy that will be pursued – ignore the article into non-existence. The people in the US are overloaded by round-the-clock media. Unless something very unusual happens, this article will, in effect, never see the light of day among the other fast-growing media stories. Over the last few years, in particular, this has happened with other articles and reports all too numerous to count. The televangelists will keep on shouting “Atheists have no morals”, “Society is falling apart due to sex, drugs and humanism”, “We need a Theocracy” and so on. And the truth?

Teddy Roosevelt, an early US unilateralist, had a saying ‘Speak softly but carry a big stick’. That’s a pretty good description of truth. It speaks softly, its voice not as loud as the shrill call of the electrified preachers nor of the politicos that work hand-in-hand with them, but we ignore it at our own peril. God might test the faithful but truth punishes the ignorant.


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