A quote of a quote of the original study, regarding religious belief in developed, democratic countries…
“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, (venereal disease), teen pregnancy, and abortion,” while “none of the strongly secularized, pro-evolution democracies is experiencing high levels of measurable dysfunction.”
First off, I hate that they dropped “pro-evolution” in there. Religion and Evolution are not opposites.
Secondly, is this an increase-in-preachers-causes-increase-in-criminals sort of false correlation? (or, if you prefer, decrease-in-pirates-causes-increase-in-global-warming) Perhaps is there selective data being reviewed? Dunno.
As the author of the article mentions, all of these issues are more likely to happen with the economically disadvantaged and countries with stronger belief in a higher power tend to have fewer social programs (at least, fewer governmental social programs).
My instinct is to resist the blow to religion. In a country where there are few social programs and a harsher form of poverty, I would hypothesize a tendency to look towards satisfaction in the afterlife when satisfaction in present life seems unattainable. Thus, poverty and its accompanying ills beget religion, rather than the other way around.
And Britain is “post-Christian”? Who knew?