Who is better off, the religious or the non-religious?
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07-12-2016, 05:32 PM
RE: Who is better off, the religious or the non-religious?
(07-12-2016 04:20 PM)Vosur Wrote:  Just looking at the list of countries, it's pretty obvious that the major contributing factor to unhappiness is the fact that many highly religious countries happen to be located in Africa and the Middle East, areas of the world that have been plagued by civil and foreign wars, dictators, war lords, massacres, famines and poverty for a long time. Every single country in the bottom ten list, for instance, is either a dirt poor nation in Africa or a war-torn country in the Middle East. To compare them to wealthy first-world nations and suggest that the reason people are happier there is because they're not religious rather than because their standard of living is infinitely higher is naive at best and dishonest at worst.

Well clearly there's a correlation.

Is there causation? It's not beyond imagining that shedding religion could help produce more prosperous, more peaceful societies, while embracing and promoting it could lead to war-torn impoverished hellholes.

How would one establish a causal connection?
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07-12-2016, 08:27 PM
RE: Who is better off, the religious or the non-religious?
(07-12-2016 05:32 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Well clearly there's a correlation.

Is there causation? It's not beyond imagining that shedding religion could help produce more prosperous, more peaceful societies, while embracing and promoting it could lead to war-torn impoverished hellholes.

How would one establish a causal connection?

Pretty much what Vosur posted and it doesnt yield any ground for a causation between happiness and religiousity.

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07-12-2016, 11:05 PM
RE: Who is better off, the religious or the non-religious?
(07-12-2016 03:52 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  This is a thread about happiness and religiousness around the globe as a way of assessing what countries are better off, the most or least religious ones?

These are some stats I pulled for another post elsewhere that I thought would be interesting here too.

Happiest countries on Earth according to the World Happiness Report Update 2016 from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the UN. (http://www.cnn.com/2...nited-nations/)

Top ten:
1) Denmark
2) Switzerland
3) Iceland
4) Norway
5) Finland
6) Canada
7) Netherlands
8) New Zealand
9) Australia
10) Sweden

Bottom ten:
1) Burundi
2) Syria
3) Togo
4) Afghanistan
5) Benin
6) Rwanda
7) Guinea
8) Liberia
9) Tanzania
10) Madagascar

Now let's compare the most and least religious countries and then find the rank of religiousness for the previously mentioned 20. (sources: http://www.worldatla...-the-world.html and http://www.worldatla...the-world.html)

Least religious:
1) China (7% religious, 83rd happiness)
2) Japan (13% religious, 53rd happiness)
3) Estonia (16% religious, 72nd happiness)
4) Sweden (19% religious, 10th happiness)
5) Denmark (19% religious, 1st happiness)
6) Czech Republic (23% religious, 27th happiness)
7) Hong Kong (24% religious, 75th happiness)
8) Netherlands (24% religious, 7th happiness)
9) United Kingdom (30% religious, 23rd happiness)
10) Vietnam (34% religious, 96th ranking happiness)

Average happiness ranking: 44.7
Max: 96th
Min: 1st

Most religious
1) Niger (100% religious, 103rd happiness)
2) Sri Lanka (99% religious, 117th happiness)
3) Malawi (99% religious, 132nd religious)
4) Indonesia (99% religious, 70th happiness)
5) Yemen (99% religious, 147th happiness)
6) Thailand (94% religious, 33rd happiness)
7) Armenia (93% religious, 121st happiness)
8) Bangladesh (93% religious, 110th happiness)
9) Georgia (93% religious, 126th happiness)
10) Morocco (93% religious, 90th happiness)

Average happiness ranking: 104.9
Max: 147th
Min: 33rd

And then a measure of importance of religion by country for the ten happiest countries. I am using this wikipedia site: https://en.wikipedia...on_by_country).The percentages I am quoting are those who say that religion is important in their lives:
Top ten:
1) Denmark 19%
2) Switzerland 41%
3) Iceland NA?
4) Norway 21%
5) Finland 28%
6) Canada 42%
7) Netherlands 33%
8) New Zealand 33%
9) Australia 32%
10) Sweden 17%

Avg: 29.6%
Max: 42%
Min: 17%

and the bottom ten:
1) Burundi 98%
2) Syria 89%
3) Togo 80%
4) Afghanistan 97%
5) Benin 93%
6) Rwanda 95%
7) Guinea 97%
8) Liberia 94%
9) Tanzania 89%
10) Madagascar 93%

Avg: 92.5%
Max: 98%
Min: 80%



Obviously there are other factors that go into happiness and religiousness too, but if we just look at the data I have pulled thus far we can make some interesting observations:
1) Happiest countries are less religious
2) The happiest countries consider religion to be less important in their lives
3) The unhappiest countries are more religious
4) The unhappiest countries consider religion to be more important in their lives than the happiest countries do





I thought this was very interesting to see, and probably not super surprising to most of us on here but it seems to boil down that the least religious are the happiest. It would be cool to add more data on top of this. Such as how free these countries are, what the death rate is, what the intentional homicide rate is, what the rate of violent crime rate is, and what the GDP and other big economic factors are. But I don't have the time at the moment to compile all of that.

This is kinda off topic but...
I don't think the stats from Vietnam and China are accurate. I lived in China and Vietnam for some time. I only have personal observations, but I think most of the population in those countries are religious. It's rare to find a house without an altar of some sort there. People worshiping ancestors, earth gods, kitchen gods, and any other gods you can think of. Constant praying to ancestors, constant offerings, and incense burning.
Maybe when the survey was conducted, people were asked if they believed in the Christian god? Then perhaps the 7% and the 34% is accurate?
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07-12-2016, 11:49 PM
RE: Who is better off, the religious or the non-religious?
(07-12-2016 11:05 PM)xieulong Wrote:  This is kinda off topic but...
I don't think the stats from Vietnam and China are accurate. I lived in China and Vietnam for some time. I only have personal observations, but I think most of the population in those countries are religious. It's rare to find a house without an altar of some sort there. People worshiping ancestors, earth gods, kitchen gods, and any other gods you can think of. Constant praying to ancestors, constant offerings, and incense burning.
Maybe when the survey was conducted, people were asked if they believed in the Christian god? Then perhaps the 7% and the 34% is accurate?

Well I don't know much about China, but maybe it's kinda like Japan? Japanese people pray and things like that, because religion is deeply ingrained into their culture, but most Japanese people do not consider themselves religious if you ask them directly. It's a matter of preserving traditions, I think.
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08-12-2016, 12:58 AM
RE: Who is better off, the religious or the non-religious?
(07-12-2016 11:49 PM)AnaBunny Wrote:  
(07-12-2016 11:05 PM)xieulong Wrote:  This is kinda off topic but...
I don't think the stats from Vietnam and China are accurate. I lived in China and Vietnam for some time. I only have personal observations, but I think most of the population in those countries are religious. It's rare to find a house without an altar of some sort there. People worshiping ancestors, earth gods, kitchen gods, and any other gods you can think of. Constant praying to ancestors, constant offerings, and incense burning.
Maybe when the survey was conducted, people were asked if they believed in the Christian god? Then perhaps the 7% and the 34% is accurate?

Well I don't know much about China, but maybe it's kinda like Japan? Japanese people pray and things like that, because religion is deeply ingrained into their culture, but most Japanese people do not consider themselves religious if you ask them directly. It's a matter of preserving traditions, I think.

That could be one of the reasons.
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08-12-2016, 01:29 AM
RE: Who is better off, the religious or the non-religious?
(07-12-2016 11:05 PM)xieulong Wrote:  This is kinda off topic but...
I don't think the stats from Vietnam and China are accurate. I lived in China and Vietnam for some time. I only have personal observations, but I think most of the population in those countries are religious. It's rare to find a house without an altar of some sort there. People worshiping ancestors, earth gods, kitchen gods, and any other gods you can think of. Constant praying to ancestors, constant offerings, and incense burning.
Maybe when the survey was conducted, people were asked if they believed in the Christian god? Then perhaps the 7% and the 34% is accurate?
I don't think the problem is that the stats are inaccurate, it's that many people think that the term "non-religious" is synonymous with the word "atheist" even though that term also encompasses people who believe in god(s) but do not associate themselves with any particular religion (e.g. deism and pantheism).

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08-12-2016, 01:33 AM
RE: Who is better off, the religious or the non-religious?



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08-12-2016, 01:53 AM
RE: Who is better off, the religious or the non-religious?
On the surface of it all, non religious would appear to be less stressful compared to some religions who have an automatic court date as soon as they die.

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08-12-2016, 02:10 AM
RE: Who is better off, the religious or the non-religious?
Someone mentioned that maybe unhappiness causes religion. I think that's pretty true. Zimbabwe (and SA) have always been kinda religious, but once Zim went to shit the religiousity rocketed. People grab at straws to cling onto. IMO, because life was so hopeless for so many people, they felt that the only thing left was to pray to God to stop torturing them. Oddly enough it doesn't make people angry with God Dodgy but they start talking about how God is testing them and so on. Never seems to occur to them to ask why the fuck God isn't testing Donald Trump for example.

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08-12-2016, 02:54 PM
RE: Who is better off, the religious or the non-religious?
[attachment=3615]

I haven't delved too deep into any interpretation of this, but all of the data I pulled I got off of wikipedia and I deleted any countries I didn't have complete data for (not ideal but I did this PCA quickly). That resulted in some countries that I'd like to have seen on here become omitted (Cuba, Syria, North Korea, to name a few). Note: The PCA uses a correlation matrix since the data is all of different types.

If a piece of data is a rank, remember that this means that the higher the number the worse it is (so a high GDP ranking means it has a worse GDP ranking than a country with a rank closer to 1). But for the rates, the lower the number the worse it is (suicide and violent crime rates). And the response to the religion question is a percentage (I omitted the opposite response to that question so as to reduce the "double dipping" of the data).

In general, the countries you probably wouldn't want to live in plot to the left and down. These countries have poor GDP rankings and high suicide rates. These are also the countries that tend to favor religion.

The opposite direction is occupied by countries with less religiousness and better GDP rankings (some have elevated suicide rates, like China/Hong Kong and the UK relative to some of the other countries).

I can't go through country by country at the moment and I may go back through this and add in more data (and remove the different suicide categories since they load in the same direction and to the same degree) and add back in countries with incomplete data (I should be able to do the PCA with incomplete if I can figure out how to code for it in R).

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