Tuesday, February 03, 2009

John Dickson: Faith no more does little good for society

John Dickson is in today's SMH:

It hardly takes a statistician to tell us that a huge proportion of non-government welfare and aid in this country is organised through agencies with a religious heart, such as World Vision, Salvation Army, Mission Australia, Anglicare and Caritas. Then there is the evidence that the religious are more likely to become teachers, nurses and doctors. The recent Religion And Occupation study by the Christian Research Association says about 25 per cent of people in these "nurturing professions" are regular worshippers of one kind or another - much higher than the national average of 17 per cent. Religious people do not have a monopoly on doing good. Many unbelievers do a great many good things for the poor and marginalised, and there are several excellent welfare and aid agencies with no religious foundation.

Nevertheless, do-gooding remains a particular preoccupation of the faithful. Whether trying to earn their way to heaven or (more likely) trying to embody the love they think God has for the world, believers tend to give more money away, run more soup kitchens, collect more aid for those in poor countries and gravitate more toward "people professions" than those without religion.

You can read the rest of the article here.

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