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qpawn
15-06-2006, 07:44 PM
Is there any place for an atheist in Australia anymore? Or, for that matter, is there any place for anyone who is not a bible-hugging Christian?

First, it was the Lord's prayer being reintroduced into Parliament. If someone is fulfilling his or her civic duties as a poltical representative then there is no need to be marginalised by religious dogma. Then, there was that guy on the "fair pay" commission . He says that God will counsel him on whatever my wage should be set at. Then in the next breath he says that his religious beliefs are his own business. Well, excuse me sunshine. If your bible is going to decide MY pay then your religious beliefs have become my business and concern whether you like it or not. That is all disconderting enough. But this week the marginalisation of atheists/non- Christians reached a new abyss. Now we are going to have chaplains in government schools?? There is so much wrong with that idea that I don't know where to start. For starters what rights do non-believing kids and THEIR TAX-PAYING PARENTS have any more? I have been around a lot of religious people and can say, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that some of these chaplains/religious people will prosletyse to a dangerous degree. Believe you me, there will be religious loonies forcing their bible-bashing crap down the throats of your kids. There is also the argument that why should religious people get counselling/pastoral help while people with other beliefs are not catered for?

I am an atheist and I feel, frankly, like a nigger in this country. I don't use the word 'nigger' lightly but it's the only word with the punch required. The sooner Howard, the looney toon Hillsong Church , and that guy on the pay commission all go to hell the better. It's unbelievable what has happened to this country over ten years of Howard's Australia. We have gone backwards about 50 years. I am a proud naturalised Australian. I love this country. But I absolutely hate the current religious dogma and intrusion that has infected this nation like a cancer.

ElevatorEscapee
15-06-2006, 08:01 PM
I used to be an athiest once... but then I realized that disbelief of something that cannot be disproven was equally as silly as stringent belief in something that cannot be proven.

Both viewpoints are actually a demonstration of faith, (where faith is wholehearted belief in something that cannot be proven or disproven).

As an Australian, I am appalled that the "Lord's Prayer" is still said before parliament commences.

Surely freedom of religious worship should dictate that there should be a separation of secular and religious ideals!

Furthermore, I fear that the very politicians who mouth the "Lord's Prayer" prior to bickering with one another, do not genuinely believe in the words they are praying. :(

What politician really wishes "Thy Kingdom Come"? After all, if the "Lord's Kingdom came", there would be a hell of a lot of politicians out of their current jobs! :)

Just my two penneth worth! ;)

Axiom
15-06-2006, 09:55 PM
i used to be agnostic, but got sick of sitting on the fence, so decided to commit to atheism.....i mean someone has got to balance ,the insanity, of belief in the unproved!

ElevatorEscapee
15-06-2006, 10:44 PM
i used to be agnostic, but got sick of sitting on the fence, so decided to commit to atheism.....i mean someone has got to balance ,the insanity, of belief in the unproved!

Do you have a tattoo proving you are an athiest? :lol:

Axiom
15-06-2006, 10:59 PM
Do you have a tattoo proving you are an athiest? :lol: as my coach would have said " first prove you are an atheist!"
..as in "show me your tattoo to prove you are siberian tiger", my coach said you must respond to this question with "first ,i MUST prove I AM SIBERIAN TIGER!".....this advice was usful in encountering the chess thugs on the streets of krasno

Basil
15-06-2006, 11:23 PM
Hi Q

antichrist
15-06-2006, 11:23 PM
When all those church services were taking place for that Port Philip massacre I felt like puking. There was no place for an atheist then. We have a lot to thank the Simpsons for in promoting a reaction to religion. The latest craze I hate is all those crosses along the road where someone has died. Their God didn't help them aye.

Basil
15-06-2006, 11:26 PM
Hi Q

I read your post twice. I understand your malcontent. Not quite sure I followed your argument though.

As far as I could determine, it runs like this:

I am an atheist
Some people in power believe in God
Those people are making references to God which make me uneasy
Australia has gone backwards by 50 years

Would you please reclarify how you are affected? I didn't quite get it.

antichrist
15-06-2006, 11:32 PM
And how come I am the only who hates Macavity's "and god bless ..." - I think you are pi..weak for not complaining about his one.

what an insult to modern thinking people

antichrist
15-06-2006, 11:42 PM
KB probably feels the same - everyone else is prepared to just stomp his precious invertebrates into the ground - or throw them against a brick wall or poison them

Rincewind
15-06-2006, 11:44 PM
Hi Q

I read your post twice. I understand your malcontent. Not quite sure I followed your argument though.

As far as I could determine, it runs like this:

I am an atheist
Some people in power believe in God
Those people are making references to God which make me uneasy
Australia has gone backwards by 50 years

Would you please reclarify how you are affected? I didn't quite get it.

I guess his argument is basically church and state should be separate. This is the underlying premise of a secular society. (You know? The things that makes us better than the Taliban.) Anyway, if they are introducing prayers in parliament and chaplains in state schools then this is a move in the wrong direction. Like from secular towards state religion.

I know these ideas might be a bit foreign to an (adopted) Queenslander but welcome to the 20th century.

BTW I'm an athiest not because I have faith in the non-existence of god but rather I don't have faith in anything idea for which there is no reason to believe. If atheism is a religion then so is a lack of belief in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

antichrist
15-06-2006, 11:55 PM
What I hate are those religious processions down the main street, even if the Hari Krishnas do it. I give one and all a good dose of booing and tell them to keep their superstitious behind church walls. And to pay their rates as well.

antichrist
15-06-2006, 11:56 PM
furthermore, I hate when you share a room with GAreth he begins reading the Bible aloud at 3am and you have comp that morning

Basil
15-06-2006, 11:56 PM
I guess his argument is basically church and state should be separate.

I guess his argument is that too. I believe church and state should be separate also! But that's not the point he made. Not like you to miss the point, Baz.

I'll accept the unwarranted and misguided shot against with good grace.

Axiom
15-06-2006, 11:59 PM
I'm an athiest not because I have faith in the non-existence of god but rather I don't have faith in anything idea for which there is no reason to believe. If atheism is a religion then so is a lack of belief in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: , exactly, axiomatic.

antichrist
15-06-2006, 11:59 PM
they should be separated because there is nothing worse than a religious politician or a political preacher

Basil
16-06-2006, 12:03 AM
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: , exactly, axiomatic.
Ax, I have shares in the Sydney Harbour Bridge which I am willing to sell to only you, at a knock down price. PM if interested.

Axiom
16-06-2006, 12:23 AM
imagine dealing with the world, fully believing in the existence of santa..eg."oh, yes you can have my bike, because santa is getting me one!"

now imagine dealing with the world,fully believing in the existence of god...eg. "WW3.4 OR 5 IS OK because we will be "saved in the rapture"!

do not underestimate the insidious betrayal of humanity that lies within the god-belief phenomenon

the theists will argue that it is the human abusers of religion that are to blame , but i say the problem lies,instead, at the very heart of the falsehood itself.

.......belief without reason is dangerous indeed....as is reason without scrutiny.. scrutiny without justice, justice without humanity .

Dozy
16-06-2006, 08:45 AM
I'm a little more tolerant than I used to be but I think we should categorise religion with homosexuality -- I don't mind what you believe so long as you keep it behind closed doors and between consenting adults. I have zero tolerance for evangelists in either field.

The old Jesuit boast "give me a child till he's five and anybody can have him after that" is still as frightening as ever, but it doesn't apply only to RC kids. Any group who think they have a pipeline to the one true god will indoctrinate their kids. This Hillsong mob are a worry, but they're only an up-market, money-oriented version of so many other so-called "charismatic" sects.

(I could tell you a funny story about that, AC, but it's not suitable for the BB.)

My own beliefs are anything but mainstream and I suppose I should own up. If you need to know you can find my thoughts on "The Mystical Maze" on Tomorrowland. It's not intended to be an expose but, like the rest of Tomorrowland, tells a few off-beat stories about some of my experiences in the psychic field. The direct link is http://users.tpg.com.au/adslpu7j/esp/frmsetesp.html.

Am I whacky? Probably. I certainly can't offer anything other than anecdotal evidence for my ideas, but that's enough for me.

qpawn
16-06-2006, 09:00 AM
I think that I articulated my desire clearly enough for church and state to have a gulf between them. If a tax-paying parent wants to give his or her chlild an education that involves religion then there are plenty of religious schools that offer it.

I meant it when I said that the idea of chaplains in schools had so much wrong with it that I couldn't convey every concern. Another concern, for anyone with a different religious persuasion, is that a CHAPLAIN is being talked about. AS an atheist I am not concerned; but if someone wears rosary beads they might be. This is a bizarre policy idea by the federal government. It is sad that control of the senate is only producing such regressive silliness.

Desmond
16-06-2006, 10:12 AM
The same people (ie your parents) who told you about Santa probably told you about Jesus too ... :hmm:

Rincewind
16-06-2006, 10:22 AM
I guess his argument is that too. I believe church and state should be separate also! But that's not the point he made. Not like you to miss the point, Baz.

I think he took certain premises to be generally understood by the reader. Of course, he didn't figure on the obtuse Howzer.


I'll accept the unwarranted and misguided shot against with good grace.

Only unwarranted and misguided in your opinion. In my opinion, it ripped through your defenses and blew apart your Command Post. But it is differences of opinion which keep things interesting.

Rincewind
16-06-2006, 10:23 AM
The same people (ie your parents) who told you about Santa probably told you about Jesus too ... :hmm:

Nowadays is is television that is the mostly likely promulgator of both myths.

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 02:33 PM
Is there any place for an atheist in Australia anymore?

Anymore? There never was.


Or, for that matter, is there any place for anyone who is not a bible-hugging Christian?

Perhaps Indonesia, or out in the bush. Cronulla would also seem to be a good choice. :D


First, it was the Lord's prayer being reintroduced into Parliament. If someone is fulfilling his or her civic duties as a poltical representative then there is no need to be marginalised by religious dogma.

If God does not exist, as you believe, then why admonish the pollies for saying the Lord's prayer? It should merely amount to a waste of time in your book. Why are you so against pollies wasting their time?


Then, there was that guy on the "fair pay" commission . He says that God will counsel him on whatever my wage should be set at. Then in the next breath he says that his religious beliefs are his own business. Well, excuse me sunshine. If your bible is going to decide MY pay then your religious beliefs have become my business and concern whether you like it or not.

This is starting to sound like an Industrial Relations issue and not a religious one.


That is all disconderting enough. But this week the marginalisation of atheists/non- Christians reached a new abyss. Now we are going to have chaplains in government schools?? There is so much wrong with that idea that I don't know where to start. For starters what rights do non-believing kids and THEIR TAX-PAYING PARENTS have any more?

Ever hear of home schooling?

Besides, chaplains have been correlated with lower rates of suicide in high schools based on US research. Would you prefer the higher rates of suicide without them?


I have been around a lot of religious people and can say, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that some of these chaplains/religious people will prosletyse to a dangerous degree. Believe you me, there will be religious loonies forcing their bible-bashing crap down the throats of your kids. There is also the argument that why should religious people get counselling/pastoral help while people with other beliefs are not catered for?

Dangerous? Get real, the only dangerous people are athiests like yourself. At least the religions I disagree with concede that there actually is a God. Only a fool would think otherwise.


I am an atheist and I feel, frankly, like a nigger in this country. I don't use the word 'nigger' lightly but it's the only word with the punch required.

When in Rome, do as the Romans. Then you won't be a pariah anymore, and won't have to feel like an outsider.


The sooner Howard, the looney toon Hillsong Church , and that guy on the pay commission all go to hell the better.

An odd statement because if you don't believe in God, how can you believe in Hell?


It's unbelievable what has happened to this country over ten years of Howard's Australia. We have gone backwards about 50 years.

Sometimes when you're going in the wrong direction you have to backtrack.


I am a proud naturalised Australian.

Like Howard Duggan and myself. Where are you originally from by the way?


I love this country. But I absolutely hate the current religious dogma and intrusion that has infected this nation like a cancer.

Is someone holding a gun to your head and forcing you to live here? Perhaps Muslim Sudan would be a better fit, or radical Hindu India, or Pacifist Buddist Nepal?

Have you ever considered that maybe Australia, the US, Canada, England, and other nations are first world nations because they are predominatly Christian? There aren't too many non-Christian industrialised countries apart from Japan and Korea. Even Singapore is considered predominatly Christian.

But regardless I think your views aren't religious based at all and are rather politically driven. In this regard I find them worthwhile and have replied accordingly.

Also, I won't tell you what religion I subscribe to because I have no axe to grind with you or anyone else. I have merely tried to turn a light on for you.

Have I succeeded?

qpawn
16-06-2006, 02:55 PM
I am from Liverpool in the UK.

I am not sure how much offence I should take at your statements that I should go elsewhere on this planet if I don't like Australia's religious [?] culture. I will say that such statements remind of me of when Poppy King won the young Australian of the year award and said that she was unhappy with Australia in many ways. She got targeted by dickhead shock jocks like Mike Gibson . There were even death threats sent to her. Jingoism, rather than patriotism , is a very dangerous thing. And when jingoism is augmented by an overlap of church and state, that is an even more dangerous concern.

If you care to know, your post only reinforced my convinction that the union of church and state is one of the most dangerous directions for this country.

Kevin Bonham
16-06-2006, 03:08 PM
I used to be an athiest once... but then I realized that disbelief of something that cannot be disproven was equally as silly as stringent belief in something that cannot be proven.

Atheism is not necessarily the view that God definitely does not exist but can also be the provisional view that God doesn't exist, as held by someone who does not claim to be sure. A person who thinks God is unlikely to exist is an atheist even if they're not certain. It is perfectly sensible to disbelieve in things that cannot be disproven if you have reason to believe they are unlikely. Something being prepostrously complex but leaving no fully convincing evidence of its existence is such a reason.


If God does not exist, as you believe, then why admonish the pollies for saying the Lord's prayer? It should merely amount to a waste of time in your book. Why are you so against pollies wasting their time?

Religious belief is a major factor in the willingness of politicians to implement illiberal moral laws. The reinforcement of one specific view of religion and not others, before parliamentary sittings, is therefore a matter of concern.


Besides, chaplains have been correlated with lower rates of suicide in high schools based on US research. Would you prefer the higher rates of suicide without them?

Correlation is not causation. Can you prove that chaplains caused the lower rates of suicide, rather than, for instance, both being a product of an underlying factor?


Dangerous? Get real, the only dangerous people are athiests like yourself. At least the religions I disagree with concede that there actually is a God. Only a fool would think otherwise.

Many who do not believe in God generally make far less a fool of themselves on this BB than you do from time to time (including this one). This kind of argument-by-insult that you are employing here will get you nowhere.


Have you ever considered that maybe Australia, the US, Canada, England, and other nations are first world nations because they are predominatly Christian? There aren't too many non-Christian industrialised countries apart from Japan and Korea. Even Singapore is considered predominatly Christian.

A spurious argument. The first world nations being predominantly Christian is an accident of history, since they were predominantly Christian without making significant economic progress for very many centuries. Some have suggested that specific Christian beliefs (eg those of Calvinism) contributed to the rise of the West, but those specific beliefs are not common to all of Christianity, and similar tendencies appear in other faiths. The causes of industrialisation in the West are complex. And do check out the views of the US Founding Fathers, good Christians one and all (not).


Is someone holding a gun to your head and forcing you to live here? Perhaps Muslim Sudan would be a better fit, or radical Hindu India, or Pacifist Buddist Nepal?

Saying "you should live somewhere else" ignores the possibility that unacceptable religiosity is a more or less global political problem. But even if it wasn't, I take it you are personally offering to pay for qpawn's travel to these other countries, the resolution of all visa issues for him to live there and the cost of him being completely trained in their languages? :P

I agree with the general thrust of qpawn's initial post although I am not familiar with the chaplain proposal. I think there is too much political religiosity in this country and the Constitution needs a revamp to provide for absolute separation of church and state. However to put things in perspective, things are clearly nowhere near as bad here as in the USA, where close to 40% of the population claim to be literalist creationists and most voters say they would never vote for an atheist for US President. I certainly don't feel like an outcast for being an atheist in this country (where religious belief is typically loosely held by those professing it anyway) but I do feel that the religious right are greedy illiberals who are imposing upon the rest of us far more than they are entitled to.

Oh, and the current name of the Liberal Party should be banned for false advertising. Something like the Reactionary Illiberal Christian When We Feel Like It Party would be a far more appropriate descriptor. I just wish the wets would have the ticker to break away into something vaguely worth voting for.

Desmond
16-06-2006, 03:28 PM
Hi Kevin
Thanks for your response to AO's tirade. I was procrastinating as to whether I could be bothered doing similiar and whether there would be any point. In any event, you beat me to the punch and your responses are probably along the same lines as what I would have done. In fact, probably much more articulate and much less profane than mine might have been.
Cheers

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 03:29 PM
I am from Liverpool in the UK.

I am not sure how much offence I should take at your statements that I should go elsewhere on this planet if I don't like Australia's religious [?] culture.
It was just a suggestion. You need to borrow someone's Ritalin.


If you care to know, your post only reinforced my convinction that the union of church and state is one of the most dangerous directions for this country.
Oh, you've wounded me now Qpawn. Whatever will I do? :P

qpawn
16-06-2006, 03:32 PM
Kevin makes some quite good points.

Yes. The Liberal party is not behaving in the "liberal" traditions of John Stuart Mill . Its "Liberal" appellation has almost become ironic. I am not offended by Macavity signing off with "God bless" after every post since that doesn't affect my rights as an individual. However, some head of the Pay Commission deciding my wages on, at least in part, religious grounds does directly affect me.

Kevin is correct that the overlap of church and state is not as extreme as that of the US. But I really worry that we are heading that way; it seems to be Howard's express intent to do so. He has never articulated any limit to the overlap of church/state or any of its consequences.

Of course there has always been an influential religious voter base in Australia, especially from the Catholic schools. I am stating a fact there; I am not targeting Catholic schools or the religion. But a new level of influence has surely been reached since the last election, especially the advent of the Hillsong church.

It is very disappointing to be arguing over the benefits of separating church and state in 2006.

Desmond
16-06-2006, 03:32 PM
Oh, you've wounded me now Qpawn. Whatever will I do? :P

Whatever you decide, you can always blame God

Garvinator
16-06-2006, 03:35 PM
Whatever you decide, you can always blame God
or that it was all part of God's plan ;) :whistle:

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 03:57 PM
Religious belief is a major factor in the willingness of politicians to implement illiberal moral laws. The reinforcement of one specific view of religion and not others, before parliamentary sittings, is therefore a matter of concern.
No its not. Not to an athiest who doesn't believe in God. If God does not exists then the moral beliefs of politicians who believe in God can not find their origin or foundation in God, and hence find their origins elsewhere.


Correlation is not causation. Can you prove that chaplains caused the lower rates of suicide, rather than, for instance, both being a product of an underlying factor?
No, I can't. But I can't prove that tabacco smoke causes cancer either, yet there does seem to be a correlation.


Many who do not believe in God generally make far less a fool of themselves on this BB than you do from time to time (including this one). This kind of argument-by-insult that you are employing here will get you nowhere.
Insults are the last refuge of a fool.


A spurious argument. The first world nations being predominantly Christian is an accident of history, since they were predominantly Christian without making significant economic progress for very many centuries. Some have suggested that specific Christian beliefs (eg those of Calvinism) contributed to the rise of the West, but those specific beliefs are not common to all of Christianity, and similar tendencies appear in other faiths. The causes of industrialisation in the West are complex. And do check out the views of the US Founding Fathers, good Christians one and all (not).
It wasn't an argument at all, merely an interesting observation.


Saying "you should live somewhere else" ignores the possibility that unacceptable religiosity is a more or less global political problem.
I didn't say that. Please show me were I used the exact words you used quotation marks to emphasize.

Can't find them? Didn't think so. Again I merely suggested that he may be happier elsewhere.


But even if it wasn't, I take it you are personally offering to pay for qpawn's travel to these other countries, the resolution of all visa issues for him to live there and the cost of him being completely trained in their languages? :P
Actually, you are far too presumptuous here. I think Axiom can fund his own quest to find the perfect country and he can pay his own way to that country.


Oh, and the current name of the Liberal Party should be banned for false advertising. Something like the Reactionary Illiberal Christian When We Feel Like It Party would be a far more appropriate descriptor. I just wish the wets would have the ticker to break away into something vaguely worth voting for.

I agree to a point. The word 'Liberal' is a bit misleading and the 'Conservative Party" would be a better tag. I am also far from convinced that your allegations of Christian bias within this party differentiate it substantially from the Labour party which also has heavy Christian leanings. In essence though I don't think that is a bad thing for either party as I am not an athiest.

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 04:06 PM
or that it was all part of God's plan ;) :whistle:

Perhaps it was part of God's plan that the QUGS tournaments got 'unrated'. :D

I was actually a bit disappointed by this as I would have shot up over 200 points.

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 04:09 PM
or that it was all part of God's plan ;) :whistle:

Nobody has said anything about my new avator yet!

Explanation:

Ken Masters is on vacation and Akuma is filling in for him (for a short time). After all that dragon punching Ken definietly needed a vacation!

Rincewind
16-06-2006, 04:15 PM
No its not. Not to an athiest who doesn't believe in God. If God does not exists then the moral beliefs of politicians who believe in God can not find their origin or foundation in God, and hence find their origins elsewhere.

They find their origins in an irrational religious teachings. The issue is such moral code are taken to have some basis for enforceability which they do not. An example would be the denial of women to abortion. This is a common law in christian countries and causes a great deal of public health issues in these countries. Were Australia to continue on on non-secular course would could again see abortion outlawed here.


No, I can't. But I can't prove that tabacco smoke causes cancer either, yet there does seem to be a correlation.

I would argue there are far more studies suggesting a causal link from smoking to lung cancer, then there is chaplains to suicide reduction.


Insults are the last refuge of a fool.

Is that a rhetorical argument? :)


It wasn't an argument at all, merely an interesting observation.

Well if you are going to include such "interesting observations" in your posts people are going to presume you are trying to make a point.


I didn't say that. Please show me were I used the exact words you used quotation marks to emphasize.

Can't find them? Didn't think so. Again I merely suggested that he may be happier elsewhere.

It is clear to me from Kevin's sentence that the use of quotation marks was not a direct quote but simply grammatical correctness. The quote boxes are quite sufficient for verbatim quoting.


Actually, you are far too presumptuous here. I think Axiom can fund his own quest to find the perfect country and he can pay his own way to that country.

I don't see why Axiom needs to move at all. He was arguing that the country was regressing and longed for it to become progressive again. As a citizen he is quite within his rights to argue his point and be told to sod off by illiberals.


...I am not an athiest.

And probably not a buddhist, muslim or jew neither, I'd wager.

Kevin Bonham
16-06-2006, 04:45 PM
No its not. Not to an athiest who doesn't believe in God. If God does not exists then the moral beliefs of politicians who believe in God can not find their origin or foundation in God, and hence find their origins elsewhere.

Something does not need to exist for the actions of people who believe it does and make their moral decisions on that basis to have an impact. It is highly unlikely Christian moralists would act as they do if they believed that there was no God.


No, I can't. But I can't prove that tabacco smoke causes cancer either, yet there does seem to be a correlation.

The scientific community is overwhelmingly satisfied that that causal link has been proven. In the case you give there is no such consensus.


Insults are the last refuge of a fool.

This is coming from someone who insulted all atheists by stating, with reference to belief in God, that "Only a fool would think otherwise." Although in your case it seems more like insults were the first refuge. :hmm:


It wasn't an argument at all, merely an interesting observation.

Same difference.


Please show me were I used the exact words you used quotation marks to emphasize.

While I have taken many posters to task for genuine cases of false quotation in the past (especially where the material allegedly quoted is from a different thread) in this case there was no risk of confusion for an exact quote.


Actually, you are far too presumptuous here. I think Axiom can fund his own quest to find the perfect country and he can pay his own way to that country.

Actually this is a common political-philosophical discussion and it is your position that is incorrect. It is frequently argued that by choosing to remain in a country rather than leave it, a person consents to that country's laws and any possibly unjust aspects of them (a common popular example being of the form "If you don't like our laws, just leave!") However this argument is only valid if the person can in fact freely choose to live effectively in another country. The costs of relocation, legal barriers to it and the fact that a person would need to be reeducated to make up for not having a childhood in that country to learn its language, are all conclusive objections to the argument, which should therefore never be used. Because of these things, a person is strongly entitled to remain ... and complain! Deal with it. :P


The word 'Liberal' is a bit misleading and the 'Conservative Party" would be a better tag.

A genuine conservative would be deeply insulted by comparison with Howard's party. Genuine conservatives support gradual and careful progressive change where justified but do not support reactionary turnings-back of the clock.


I am also far from convinced that your allegations of Christian bias within this party differentiate it substantially from the Labour party which also has heavy Christian leanings.

I agree that the Labor party also displays excessive Christian bias but it was far less actively Christian-biased during its previous tenure in office and I would again expect it to be not as religious as the Liberal Party if it ever gains office again.


In essence though I don't think that is a bad thing for either party as I am not an athiest.

Not a sufficient reason as some Christians are strongly opposed to political religiosity even by their fellow Christians. You may even find some who hold that view on this board.

Basil
16-06-2006, 07:58 PM
I think he took certain premises to be generally understood by the reader. Of course, he didn't figure on the obtuse Howzer.

Given that I agreed with Qpawn, but merely asked for clarification of his reasoning, your original post and subsequent defences are ridiculous.

Rincewind
16-06-2006, 08:13 PM
Given that I agreed with Qpawn, but merely asked for clarification of his reasoning, your original post and subsequent defences are ridiculous.

I think your paraphrasing of his argument was ridiculous.

Basil
16-06-2006, 08:20 PM
I think your paraphrasing of his argument was ridiculous.

No, Barry. Naughty. You got my meaning wrong. You posted this:


I know these ideas might be a bit foreign to an (adopted) Queenslander but welcome to the 20th century.

This has nothing to do with my paraphrasing.

If you keep this up, I'll have to spank you like I have done previously - and we all know your answer to my punishment will result in your lying low for a while :)

Rincewind
16-06-2006, 09:04 PM
This has nothing to do with my paraphrasing.

I disagree.


If you keep this up, I'll have to spank you like I have done previously - and we all know your answer to my punishment will result in your lying low for a while :)

Or I could just ban you as a spammer. :D

Cat
16-06-2006, 10:08 PM
The scientific community is overwhelmingly satisfied that that causal link has been proven. In the case you give there is no such consensus.




It's true that the link with smoking is overwhelmingly established, however there's also a substantial and growing body of evidence to suggest that religious belief and church organisations make a significant and positive contribution to health outcomes.

Desmond
16-06-2006, 10:16 PM
It's true that the link with smoking is overwhelmingly established, however there's also a substantial and growing body of evidence to suggest that religious belief and church organisations make a significant and positive contribution to health outcomes.

Well, after centuries of rape, pillage and destruction of culture etc, they might be seen as having some catching up to do.

Cat
16-06-2006, 10:29 PM
[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]"Religious belief is a major factor in the willingness of politicians to implement illiberal moral laws. The reinforcement of one specific view of religion and not others, before parliamentary sittings, is therefore a matter of concern. "

Oh come off it. The most illiberal regimes in the world banned and outlawed religion. There is no evidence that religiosity contributes to illiberalism and there's plenty of research to show that beaurocracy expands in a religious vacuum.

"Correlation is not causation. Can you prove that chaplains caused the lower rates of suicide, rather than, for instance, both being a product of an underlying factor?" KB

Yes.

"The first world nations being predominantly Christian is an accident of history, since they were predominantly Christian without making significant economic progress for very many centuries. Some have suggested that specific Christian beliefs (eg those of Calvinism) contributed to the rise of the West, but those specific beliefs are not common to all of Christianity, and similar tendencies appear in other faiths. The causes of industrialisation in the West are complex. And do check out the views of the US Founding Fathers, good Christians one and all (not)."

Rubbish! Most historians accept the concept of social evolution, it's not accidental at all. There are specific reasons why Western societies progressed and so much of it is a product of Christian heritage. I know you know very little history, so stop posturing.

"Saying "you should live somewhere else" ignores the possibility that unacceptable religiosity is a more or less global political problem. But even if it wasn't, I take it you are personally offering to pay for qpawn's travel to these other countries, the resolution of all visa issues for him to live there and the cost of him being completely trained in their languages? :P "

Religiosity is not a global political problem, this statement is nonsense.

"I agree with the general thrust of qpawn's initial post although I am not familiar with the chaplain proposal. I think there is too much political religiosity in this country and the Constitution needs a revamp to provide for absolute separation of church and state. "

Ghandi said anyone who believes religion and politics don't mix understand neither. Our Christian heritage is cemented in to our constitution, the 2 are inseparable. Christainity is so seminal in our culture none of us can possibly concieve of what it's like not to think as Christians.

Cat
16-06-2006, 10:31 PM
Well, after centuries of rape, pillage and destruction of culture etc, they might be seen as having some catching up to do.

I suggest you read Simon Scharma

Kevin Bonham
16-06-2006, 10:41 PM
It's true that the link with smoking is overwhelmingly established, however there's also a substantial and growing body of evidence to suggest that religious belief and church organisations make a significant and positive contribution to health outcomes.

When it comes to religious belief I have seen reports that debunk many of the studies. For instance, studies that show corellations between church attendance and good health can often be debunked by pointing out that those who do not go to church often do not do so because their health does not permit it. Another tack is that if people who do not believe tend to have bad health, it could be because a life of bad health turned them off believing there's a God - the causality can run in the reverse direction.

I suggest you post references to some of the studies you think are valid and I will see what I can find that challenges them.

Desmond
16-06-2006, 10:50 PM
Well, after centuries of rape, pillage and destruction of culture etc, they might be seen as having some catching up to do.

Sorry Cat, seems I misunderstood your post.

Kevin Bonham
16-06-2006, 10:55 PM
Oh come off it. The most illiberal regimes in the world banned and outlawed religion.

A very dubious statement when it comes to illiberalism of the type I am talking about here - moral illiberalism. What are your examples and what moral illiberalism are you referring to?


There is no evidence that religiosity contributes to illiberalism

This is just direct from lalaland. Are you seriously trying to tell me that no politician has ever (i) used religion as a tool to justify illiberalism (ii) listened to lobbying from illiberal groups constructed via religious communities?


and there's plenty of research to show that beaurocracy expands in a religious vacuum.

Not the issue unless that bureaucracy is illiberal. Of course I question your "evidence" since if it refers to Marxist societies, the bureaucracy derives from the demands of administration of Marxism and not from the lack of religion. In evidence of this it is perfectly possible for Christians to support Marxist-style administrations, and some do.


Yes.

Then do so.


Rubbish! Most historians accept the concept of social evolution, it's not accidental at all. There are specific reasons why Western societies progressed and so much of it is a product of Christian heritage. I know you know very little history, so stop posturing.

Until you back that with evidence you are the one posturing. I have studied the relevant sociohistorical arguments in some depth. You may think you've studied a lot of history but it has been shown again and again in these debates that you lack the understanding of argumentative and scientific method to prove your points using it in the way you think you can.


Religiosity is not a global political problem, this statement is nonsense.

It is since religion is prevalent in the vast majority of nations and separation of it from the state is the exception rather than the rule.


Ghandi said anyone who believes religion and politics don't mix understand neither.

I say anyone who gets assassinated is in no position to lecture on the latter.


Our Christian heritage is cemented in to our constitution, the 2 are inseparable.

Nonsense, our constitution explicitly objects to the construction of a state religion, and a preamble adding mention of God was rejected by the people. What you are referring to as Christian heritage is aspects of political heritage that have often co-existed with Christianity but are not dependent on it.


Christainity is so seminal in our culture none of us can possibly concieve of what it's like not to think as Christians.

This statement is too ludicrous to respond to unless you back it with some attempt at evidence.

Cat
16-06-2006, 10:56 PM
When it comes to religious belief I have seen reports that debunk many of the studies. For instance, studies that show corellations between church attendance and good health can often be debunked by pointing out that those who do not go to church often do not do so because their health does not permit it. Another tack is that if people who do not believe tend to have bad health, it could be because a life of bad health turned them off believing there's a God - the causality can run in the reverse direction.

I suggest you post references to some of the studies you think are valid and I will see what I can find that challenges them.

I'm not going to reference the studies for you KB, but you can go to Medscape, which is a pretty good medical site for this kind of information.

I think you must distinguish between studies conducted by religious groups, of which there are many and of course conducted not necessarily for the correct reasons, and mainstream medical literature which really has no axe to grind.

Some of these studies have been quite detailed and there are important points of interest.

1. Religious belief enhances social cohesion. In particular levels of trust are higher in socieities where people believe in a god. Trust is a very important social ingredient and lack of trust within societies leads to worsening outcomes.

2. Churches provides structures which assist in the delivery of health and other provisions. In the USA Church groups were important links between health providers and socially disadvantaged individuals. Social structure is so important for the delivery of care to the poor that regions without these institutions fair much worse.

Trust and social structures are very important for societies. I'm not saying that churches and religion are the only ways to deliver these things to a society, but that secular states have not easily found suitable replacements. Perhaps in their haste to progress they've neglected these issues, but until alternatives are developed, religion remains the best device.

Cat
16-06-2006, 11:16 PM
"[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]A very dubious statement when it comes to illiberalism of the type I am talking about here - moral illiberalism. What are your examples and what moral illiberalism are you referring to?"

Anything that is the antithesis to plurality.


"This is just direct from lalaland. Are you seriously trying to tell me that no politician has ever (i) used religion as a tool to justify illiberalism (ii) listened to lobbying from illiberal groups constructed via religious communities?"

Politicians will use any device they can to justify anything, that's not to say that illiberalism correlates with religiosity in any society. Illiberalism flourished in Eastern Europe in a religious vacuum, just ask Kafka.



"Not the issue unless that bureaucracy is illiberal."

Of course bureaucracy is illiberal, that's it's nature.

"Of course I question your "evidence" since if it refers to Marxist societies, the bureaucracy derives from the demands of administration of Marxism and not from the lack of religion. In evidence of this it is perfectly possible for Christians to support Marxist-style administrations, and some do."

It's hard to think of an example of any political system completely freed from it's religious heritage which hasn't become totalitarian.


"Nonsense, our constitution explicitly objects to the construction of a state religion, and a preamble adding mention of God was rejected by the people. What you are referring to as Christian heritage is aspects of political heritage that have often co-existed with Christianity but are not dependent on it."

The fact it explicitly leaves out the word God is insignficant. Our entire legal and political system is derived from Judeo-Christian orthodoxies. From Socrates, Plato onwards there is a continuity which underpins our values, beliefs and understanding today. God is incidental.

Kevin Bonham
16-06-2006, 11:29 PM
I'm not going to reference the studies for you KB, but you can go to Medscape, which is a pretty good medical site for this kind of information.

I would prefer you to cite some or at least link to a set of relevant links.


I think you must distinguish between studies conducted by religious groups, of which there are many and of course conducted not necessarily for the correct reasons, and mainstream medical literature which really has no axe to grind.

Having no axe to grind does not make a study immune from error. Sometimes neutral sources produce bad science leading to sensational findings. The vested interest sometimes at play here is that an increase in public attention for an unusual finding makes their institution appear more relevant.


1. Religious belief enhances social cohesion. In particular levels of trust are higher in socieities where people believe in a god. Trust is a very important social ingredient and lack of trust within societies leads to worsening outcomes.

Again you have to explain to me why the causation leads one way rather than the other - eg in societies where there is existing mistrust people would be more likely to distrust both religious views and figures.


2. Churches provides structures which assist in the delivery of health and other provisions. In the USA Church groups were important links between health providers and socially disadvantaged individuals. Social structure is so important for the delivery of care to the poor that regions without these institutions fair much worse.

I have no real objection to this point, but this would actually serve as a counter-point to attempts to argue a link between religious belief and good health for the believer. The suggestion would be that if people live in religious communities they would be more likely to have access to these services irrespective of their own belief. Unless, of course, the religious only helped their own.

Of course again there is a reverse causation risk. Health would presumably be poorer in communities that were poorly spatially organised. However it would also be difficult to form and maintain religious organisations in such communities. This is why I want direct links to specific research - to see whether such points have been addressed and overcome.

Probably we are addressing slightly different issues here. I am interested in the claim often made by Christians to the effect that atheism is actually bad for the health of the person holding it. I see no evidence at all that this is the case.

Kevin Bonham
16-06-2006, 11:42 PM
Cat, while you not just quoting huge chunks of text is appreciated, you can use [ QUOTE] and [/ QUOTE] (but remove the spaces) through text to make it look better.


Anything that is the antithesis to plurality.

No examples and too broad. For instance economic illiberalism (if extreme enough) is an antithesis to plurality but was not at stake in my discussion.


Politicians will use any device they can to justify anything,

But the device of using religion to justify illiberalism would not work without sufficiently widespread belief that religion does justify illiberalism - confirming my point that religiosity is a problem.


Of course bureaucracy is illiberal, that's it's nature.

That depends on whether it deals with an issue in which illiberalism is a problem. Again, in my discussion of religiosity I was concerned with moral illiberalism, which bureaucracies generally have little to do with. Censorship bureaucracy is one exception, but that generally takes its orders strongly from the pollies anyway.


It's hard to think of an example of any political system completely freed from it's religious heritage which hasn't become totalitarian.

That's inverse causation again, because complete and sudden freedom from religious heritage typically occurs as part of a violent revolution against many aspects of the existing State, and violent revolutions are typically extreme and illiberal towards opposition by nature. A gradual move away from religious influence is not going to produce that result.


The fact it explicitly leaves out the word God is insignficant. Our entire legal and political system is derived from Judeo-Christian orthodoxies.

Again I question the causation. Just because these orthodoxies have existed in Judeo-Christian societies does not mean they are products of that religion or incapable of existing outside it. Perhaps you could mention specific major institutions within that system that you believe to be essentially tied up with Judeo-Christian religion.


From Socrates, Plato onwards there is a continuity which underpins our values, beliefs and understanding today. God is incidental.

If it goes right back to the Ancient Greeks it is certainly not essentially Judeo-Christian!

Rincewind
16-06-2006, 11:47 PM
If it goes right back to the Ancient Greeks it is certainly not essentially Judeo-Christian!

You are forgetting David's unorthodox views on this topic.

Axiom
17-06-2006, 12:46 AM
cat- (1)would you advocate that religious beliefs be kept in the home?..or is there a mandate to "spread the word"?
(2)any " good side effects from religion" say much more about ppl than it does about the religion, there are no direct causal links
(3)why believe in god,just because someone told you to? or just that it seems so comfortable? or..?

Desmond
17-06-2006, 08:38 AM
(3)why believe in god,just because someone told you to? or just that it seems so comfortable? or..?
And this is the whole point. When you start to think about where the origin of the concept of gods began, many people will become atheists. I like to call it the "when man created god" factor.

Arrogant-One
17-06-2006, 01:46 PM
I am impressed with both Rincewind's and Kevin's commentary on this thread.

While I disagree with most of your points, at least the two of you were minded to debate the issues and not resort with the venom that I have seen all to often on BB by certain users.

Arrogant-One
17-06-2006, 01:50 PM
Or I could just ban you as a spammer. :D
Rincewind, your own post incriminates you and shows that you have been neglectful in your duties as an admin for the past 3-4 months by not banning Howzie when his spam first started to plague my beloved BB.

Arrogant-One
17-06-2006, 01:52 PM
It's true that the link with smoking is overwhelmingly established, however there's also a substantial and growing body of evidence to suggest that religious belief and church organisations make a significant and positive contribution to health outcomes.
I am really starting to like you Cat. First you saw a dentist at my advice and now you look smashing. And now you are contributing to a debate with logic and statistical/empirical evidence.

Good Job! :clap:

Desmond
17-06-2006, 01:54 PM
Cat, your old avatar was one of the funniest I've seen and the new one doesn't stack up.

Arrogant-One
17-06-2006, 01:57 PM
Ghandi said anyone who believes religion and politics don't mix understand neither. Our Christian heritage is cemented in to our constitution, the 2 are inseparable. Christainity is so seminal in our culture none of us can possibly concieve of what it's like not to think as Christians.
This is the only point I would have to somewhat disagree with Cat.

There are far too many people in Australia who are happy to reside in a Christian country (Axiom among them), but who denounce Christianity whilst accepting the benefits and privileges of living in a Christian land.

For instance, the greater economic development resultant from Australia's Christian-Judeo heritage.

In some respect this is tantamount to biting the hand that feeds you.

Desmond
17-06-2006, 02:06 PM
This is the only point I would have to somewhat disagree with Cat.

There are far too many people in Australia who are happy to reside in a Christian country (Axiom among them), but who denounce Christianity whilst accepting the benefits and privileges of living in a Christian land.

For instance, the greater economic development resultant from Australia's Christian-Judeao heritage.

In some respect this is tantamount to biting the hand that feeds you.

Please clarify what you mean by "Christian country". You may want to consult statistics on the matter before planting your other foot firmly in your mouth.

As has already been mentioned, there is no direct causal link between religious views and current national economic standings. The arabs were much more learned and enlightened than Anglo-Saxons until the latter burnt down the former's university etc.

Christianity has overlooked and caused more dark deeds than anyone could claim to imagine. It will be a sad day when we praise something for the good it has (supposedly) caused and forget the bad.

Arrogant-One
17-06-2006, 02:07 PM
Until you back that with evidence you are the one posturing. I have studied the relevant sociohistorical arguments in some depth. You may think you've studied a lot of history but it has been shown again and again in these debates that you lack the understanding of argumentative and scientific method to prove your points using it in the way you think you can.
Doesn't the circumstantial evidence already back Cat's argument up Kevin? As I mentioned before apart from Japan and Korea, there are no first world countries which are not predominatly Christian.


I say anyone who gets assassinated is in no position to lecture on the latter.
So, does that mean you think that any politician who gets assasinated doesn't know very much about politics? I guess we'll need to add JFK and Lincoln and that Aussie PM from the 60's who 'drowned' after the CIA held his head under water too long to this list of 'people who knew nothing about politics'.

Good argument Kevin!

Nonsense, our constitution explicitly objects to the construction of a state religion, and a preamble adding mention of God was rejected by the people. What you are referring to as Christian heritage is aspects of political heritage that have often co-existed with Christianity but are not dependent on it.
Is that why when new Australian citizens are sworn in they have a choice of using the God oath or the non-God oath. When I was sworn in everyone choose the God oath.

Arrogant-One
17-06-2006, 02:14 PM
Please clarify what you mean by "Christian country". You may want to consult statistics on the matter before planting your other foot firmly in your mouth.

Anyone can see that Christianity is the major religion in Australia Boris. As such Australia is a Christian country.

That said I found it a bit funny when everyone was outraged by the comments of the NSW woman MP who forecasted that Australia would become predominatly Muslim within 50 years unless some action was taken now to prevent that outcome.

Kevin Bonham
17-06-2006, 02:47 PM
Doesn't the circumstantial evidence already back Cat's argument up Kevin? As I mentioned before apart from Japan and Korea, there are no first world countries which are not predominatly Christian.

I have already addressed this. Conjunctions are not "circumstantial evidence", they are simply historical conjunctions, unless causation can be demonstrated.


So, does that mean you think that any politician who gets assasinated doesn't know very much about politics? I guess we'll need to add JFK and Lincoln and that Aussie PM from the 60's who 'drowned' after the CIA held his head under water too long to this list of 'people who knew nothing about politics'.

JFK was lucky to get elected in the first place and is completely overrated as a President because of the circumstances of his death, the reality being that he had little time to acheive very much. And it's news to me that accidental drowning counts as assassination, unless you're one of those who holds the peculiar belief that the CIA did it. Oh dear, I see you are. :rolleyes: In any case Harold Holt was hardly a great PM (despite a resounding election win on the back of pro-Yank populism that ensured Australian conscripts would continue to die for nothing in Vietnam) and probably would soon have been rolled as leader had he not perished.


Good argument Kevin!

Well, I was being flippant (hoping Cat would see my message first and burst into some silly load of blather before anyone else had a go) but this overrating of Gandhi as a source of universal wisdom never ceases to amaze me. Just because his methods were historically effective in a given situation does not make him an authority on all political situations in all times or mean that his quotes should be employed out of their regional and historical context.


Is that why when new Australian citizens are sworn in they have a choice of using the God oath or the non-God oath. When I was sworn in everyone choose the God oath.

That's their business, but people should have the choice.


There are far too many people in Australia who are happy to reside in a Christian country (Axiom among them), but who denounce Christianity whilst accepting the benefits and privileges of living in a Christian land.

For instance, the greater economic development resultant from Australia's Christian-Judeao heritage.

In some respect this is tantamount to biting the hand that feeds you.

As explained before this is not a Christian country - religious belief is far from universal and frequently only nominally held. Our politicians are generally far more religious than we are. Furthermore the "greater economic development" owes a very great amount to people from non-Judeo-Christian backgrounds.

Arrogant-One
17-06-2006, 02:52 PM
Well, I was being flippant (hoping Cat would see my message first and burst into some silly load of blather before anyone else had a go) but this overrating of Gandhi as a source of universal wisdom never ceases to amaze me. Just because his methods were historically effective in a given situation does not make him an authority on all political situations in all times or mean that his quotes should be employed out of their regional and historical context.

Its strange but we appear to have found common ground in at least in one respect. I concur with the above quoted text fully and without reservation!

Cat
18-06-2006, 09:43 PM
Cat, your old avatar was one of the funniest I've seen and the new one doesn't stack up.

Ok Boris, I'll work on it, I was trying to keep AO happy.

Cat
18-06-2006, 09:48 PM
"I would prefer you to cite some or at least link to a set of relevant links.
Sorry but the quote tabs aren't working on my computer for some reason. KB, there's a huge body of research out there and to offer you a single link would be disingenuous. Look through medscape, you'd find plenty.

Having no axe to grind does not make a study immune from error. Sometimes neutral sources produce bad science leading to sensational findings. The vested interest sometimes at play here is that an increase in public attention for an unusual finding makes their institution appear more relevant.
True, but as I say the body of research is substantial. I would say mine is the mainstream opinion within my profession

Bill Gletsos
18-06-2006, 09:55 PM
Sorry but the quote tabs aren't working on my computer for some reason. You do realise dont you that you can manually enter the {quote} and the {/quote} tabs (note in reality those braces { and } are [ and ]).

antichrist
18-06-2006, 09:57 PM
You do realise dont you that you can manually enter the {quote} and the {/quote} tabs (note in reality those braces { and } are [ and ]).

and I can offer further advice on quoting if you like.

Desmond
18-06-2006, 09:58 PM
Sorry but the quote tabs aren't working on my computer for some reason.
What browser do you use?

qpawn
19-06-2006, 12:09 PM
I am an atheist on inductive rather than deductive grounds.

It is rather like the argument that if 700 white birds have flown past it is unlikely that there will be a black bird flying past. People have been around for a long time; yet there is at best a mere hodge-podge of circumstantial, subjective, unverified evidence that God , whatever that is, exists. Of course I can never prove that God does not exist. But that's a bit like the joke in philosophy classes about being unable to disprove that there si an invisible dinosaur in the room.

Whether someone, such as John Howard, agrees or disagrees with the above reasoning, I am entitled to think how I want to without being marginalised or intruded upon by religious people.

Desmond
19-06-2006, 01:49 PM
You also cannot prove that the room even exists.

But the point is that arguments between bullievers and athiests are not about evidence. The former usually understand the CONCEPT of evidence enough to realize that they have no leg to stand on if the argument is waged on these grounds.

Oh wait, I forgot... they do have evidence ... it says so in the bable (oops I mean bible) :rolleyes:

qpawn
19-06-2006, 02:03 PM
When a believer pulls out their bible here is what to do:

pull out a good anatomy reference! Anything by the late J.Z.Young is good. Slowly flick through the pages and point to rats, horses, rabbits...hmm... where is god?

Kevin Bonham
19-06-2006, 02:26 PM
KB, there's a huge body of research out there and to offer you a single link would be disingenuous.

Then offer me five. Or ten or twenty. I don't care how many.


But that's a bit like the joke in philosophy classes about being unable to disprove that there si an invisible dinosaur in the room.

The beast was originally a rhinoceros. Wittgenstein and Russell had an argument about it with Russell asking Wittgenstein to admit that there was definitely not a rhinoceros in the room and Wittgenstein refusing to do so.

Rincewind
19-06-2006, 02:30 PM
The beast was originally a rhinoceros. Wittgenstein and Russell had an argument about it with Russell asking Wittgenstein to admit that there was definitely not a rhinoceros in the room and Wittgenstein refusing to do so.

That doesn't mean there wasn't a dinosaur though. Perhaps a small one, hiding behind the invisible rhinoseros. ;)

qpawn
19-06-2006, 03:57 PM
Something with huge teeth has ripped my sofa in half...:D

Axiom
19-06-2006, 07:13 PM
Something with huge teeth has ripped my sofa in half...:D
and i thought they were mice!.....i just rang the pest control ppl, and told them in no uncertain terms that, my house is plagued by invisible dinosaurs...he said they were very expensive to erradicate!

Cat
19-06-2006, 10:00 PM
[QUOTE=Axiom cat- (1)would you advocate that religious beliefs be kept in the home?..or is there a mandate to "spread the word"?]

I like this question. I believe it's in all our interests to protect our institutions and play our part in managing their change, no matter how we feel directly about their message. Only by engaging and being involved can one influence it's evolution. If good people sit back, fools rush into the vacuum.

[ (2)any " good side effects from religion" say much more about ppl than it does about the religion, there are no direct causal links.]

People create religion which is an entirely human phenomenon. Religion says more about humanity than it does about any one individual.

[(3)why believe in god,just because someone told you to? or just that it seems so comfortable? or..? ]

It's biological, a product of a complex language system.

Cat
19-06-2006, 10:03 PM
What browser do you use?

internet explorer

Rincewind
19-06-2006, 10:05 PM
I like this question. I believe it's in all our interests to protect our institutions and play our part in managing their change, no matter how we feel directly about their message. Only by engaging and being involved can one influence it's evolution. If good people sit back, fools rush into the vacuum.

A bit like this BB. :)


People create religion which is an entirely human phenomenon. Religion says more about humanity than it does about any one individual.

Not sure about it being entirely human. Do you mean exclusively human or inclusively human? Either way I'm not convinced.


It's biological, a product of a complex language system.

Perhaps but I would contend not a requirement of one.

Cat
19-06-2006, 10:10 PM
Then offer me five. Or ten or twenty. I don't care how many.



Ok, why don't you trying reading Robert Winston's new book, 'The History of God' - I haven't read it myself but I've heard his description - it'll give you a good overview.

Alternatively, Rachel Kohn has just interviewed Michael Burleigh (who is an acknowledged expert on the history of political religion), on the Spirit of Things, again will give you a good perspective. After that I could send you some papers, but try those first.

Cat
19-06-2006, 10:18 PM
A bit like this BB. :)



Not sure about it being entirely human. Do you mean exclusively human or inclusively human? Either way I'm not convinced.

Exclusively and uniquely human. Other species may potentially manufacture their own kind of religion, but our religions reflect our human characteristics. Cats like myself may eventually evolve to a point where they construct a religion, but it would be a feline form.


Perhaps but I would contend not a requirement of one.

I would say religious belief of some kind or other is an almost inevitiable consequence of increasingly complex communication.

Kevin Bonham
19-06-2006, 11:26 PM
Ok, why don't you trying reading Robert Winston's new book, 'The History of God' - I haven't read it myself but I've heard his description - it'll give you a good overview.

Alternatively, Rachel Kohn has just interviewed Michael Burleigh (who is an acknowledged expert on the history of political religion), on the Spirit of Things, again will give you a good perspective. After that I could send you some papers, but try those first.

Neither of those sound remotely relevant to the points you are discussing (re impacts of religious belief on health) and I would prefer you to refer me to rigorous sources on those matters, preferably available at least in summary form online.

I have better things to do than read books on someone's say-so, though if you provide me with an outline of their argument that sounds especially interesting or relevant I will consider it.

Kevin Bonham
19-06-2006, 11:28 PM
Cats like myself may eventually evolve to a point where they construct a religion, but it would be a feline form.

You're not a cat. You post more like some kind of yappy-dog.


I would say religious belief of some kind or other is an almost inevitiable consequence of increasingly complex communication.

Actually I suspect that increasingly complex communication will eventually make religion less tenable.

Arrogant-One
19-06-2006, 11:53 PM
Ok Boris, I'll work on it, I was trying to keep AO happy.

You did keep me happy. But your new one is also good. :)

Cat
20-06-2006, 07:58 PM
Neither of those sound remotely relevant to the points you are discussing (re impacts of religious belief on health) and I would prefer you to refer me to rigorous sources on those matters, preferably available at least in summary form online.

I have better things to do than read books on someone's say-so, though if you provide me with an outline of their argument that sounds especially interesting or relevant I will consider it.

As I understand it, Winston's book describes the biological basis to the origin of God or the Gods. You need to understand the biology before you can treat the disease.

Burleigh describes the connection between religion and politics, that modern political ideologies are religions without Gods, or maybe not the conventional kinds of Gods anyway.

If you don't want to read books on my say so, why do you keep bugging me for information?

Kevin Bonham
21-06-2006, 01:35 PM
As I understand it, Winston's book describes the biological basis to the origin of God or the Gods. You need to understand the biology before you can treat the disease.

There is no disease because you are arguing that religion is beneficial for health.


Burleigh describes the connection between religion and politics, that modern political ideologies are religions without Gods, or maybe not the conventional kinds of Gods anyway.

In some cases that view is not without merit.


If you don't want to read books on my say so, why do you keep bugging me for information?

If you give me links to stuff I can look at without having to pay money or plough through hours of irrelevant material then that can easily advance the discussion.

Also I'd prefer you to link to evidence available online where possible for this reason: in discussions of this sort, your concept of relevance has a short attention span. I often find that when I ask for evidence to support one of your hobby-horses, two or three posts later you have switched to another one.

Cat
22-06-2006, 09:06 PM
Talk about spoon feeding, I hope I don't breach any copyright laws;

African American Church Participation and Health Care Practices


Kaytura Felix Aaron, MD; David Levine, MD, ScD; Helen R. Burstin, MD, MPH
J Gen Intern Med 18(11):908-913, 2003. 2003 Blackwell Publishing

Posted 12/19/2003
Abstract and Introduction
Abstract
Background: While religious involvement is associated with improvements in health, little is known about the relationship between church participation and health care practices.
Objectives: To determine 1) the prevalence of church participation; 2) whether church participation influences positive health care practices; and 3) whether gender, age, insurance status, and levels of comorbidity modified these relationships.
Design: A cross-sectional analysis using survey data from 2196 residents of a low-income, African-American neighborhood.
Measurements: Our independent variable measured the frequency of church attendance. Dependent variables were: 1) Pap smear; 2) mammogram; and 3) dental visit- all taking place within 2 years; 4) blood pressure measurement within 1 year, 5) having a regular source of care, and 6) no perceived delays in care in the previous year. We controlled for socioeconomic factors and the number of comorbid conditions and also tested for interactions.
Results: Thirty-seven percent of community members went to church at least monthly. Church attendance was associated with increased likelihood of positive health care practices by 20% to 80%. In multivariate analyses, church attendance was related to dental visits (odds ratio [OR], 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3 to 1.9) and blood pressure measurements (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.2 to 2.1). Insurance status and number of comorbid conditions modified the relationship between church attendance and Pap smear, with increased practices noted for the uninsured (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.2 to 4.1) and for women with 2 or more comorbid conditions (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1 to 3.5).
Conclusion: Church attendance is an important correlate of positive health care practices, especially for the most vulnerable subgroups, the uninsured and chronically ill. Community- and faith-based organizations present additional opportunities to improve the health of low-income and minority populations.

Introduction
The African-American church often occupies a central place in the lives of African Americans.[1] Public health practitioners, researchers, and policy makers recognize this role and are increasingly using the church to access African Americans for health improvement efforts.[1,2] Moreover, there is growing evidence that religious involvement, in addition to providing greater access to health intervention, exerts positive and diverse health benefits for African Americans.[1-11]

Research on religious involvement or religiosity describes three types of involvement.[1,2,12] Organizational religious involvement refers to formal or public participation of individuals in religious congregations. These include church attendance and prayer meetings. Non-organizational involvement refers to a person's private devotional acts and includes Bible reading and prayer. Subjective religious involvement describes a person's self-perception or self-presentation as religious. Spirituality, a related concept, refers to a basic or inherent quality in all humans that involves a "belief in something greater than the self and a faith that positively affirms life."[13] A growing body of literature attempts to operationalize these concepts and clarify the relationship between spirituality and religiosity.[13]

Religious participation reduces the mortality risks[5,8,10,14,15] and improves health status[6,7] and quality of life for African Americans.[6,7,13-16] A longitudinal study of white and black Americans showed that those who attended church weekly had reduced mortality risk as compared to those who attended church less frequently, even after controlling for demographic characteristics, health conditions, social connections, and health practices.[8] Another, large, 9-year, prospective study that used a nationally representative sample showed similar results.[5] The magnitude of the protective effect of religious attendance on survival is comparable to that of such commonly recommended personal health habits, such as physical activity and reduced alcohol consumption.[10] With respect to health status, Steffen et al.[7] showed that religious involvement was importantly related to ambulatory blood pressure levels for black, but not white, Americans. Higher levels of religiousness were associated with lower awake and sleep blood pressure, independent of social support. This study confirmed earlier findings by Livingston et al.[6] that showed that religious affiliation was associated with lower blood pressure in African Americans. Religiousness is also related to several improvements in quality-of-life indicators; these include a more optimistic life orientation,[16] greater perceived social support,[16] improved life satisfaction,[17] improved adjustment to chronic diseases,[16] and higher resilience to stress and lower levels of anxiety.[16]

Research into pathways that may underpin the religiousness-health relationship is underway. The pathways include: 1) improved health behaviors and lifestyle[3,4,11,18]; 2) better religious coping strategies and resources[9,15,16]; 3) enhanced social resources[5]; 4) improved psychological resources such as self-esteem, personal efficacy, and self-worth[18,19]; and 5) positive emotions and beliefs.[17] Several studies have demonstrated that religious participation is related to health behaviors, especially for women. For example, Strawbridge's prospective study[10] showed that religious involvement was associated with improving and maintaining health behaviors related to tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and physical activity over a 30-year period, with women showing larger gains than men. Another study of both black and white men and women revealed that religious and civic group participation predicted good smoking, alcohol, and physical activity behaviors for African-American women only.[4] While the studies of both Strawbridge and Gallant are longitudinal, these studies used small samples of African Americans and primarily assessed lifestyle behaviors and not patients' health system-related behaviors; these health care practices have received little attention.

The poorer health outcomes for African Americans have been partially attributed to low rates of recommended health services. For African Americans, we know little about the relationship between religious involvement and health care practices. A notable exception is a 1993 study by Kang and Bloom[20] that demonstrated a positive effect on cancer screening. Confirming such a relationship would increase our understanding of the effect of church participation on health care. If church participation improves cancer screening, does it also improve other health care practices, such as blood pressure measurement or dental services? Furthermore, are the positive effects limited to specific groups of African Americans, such as women, those without health insurance, the chronically ill, and the elderly? It is possible that church participation helps to compensate for other risk factors, such as lack of insurance, poor health status, or older age. The role of religious involvement in improving health care practices is important for African Americans, as health practitioners and policy makers work on reducing health care disparities.

This study explored the relationship between church participation and health care practices in a large, African-American, low-income community. We determined 1) the prevalence of church participation; 2) whether church participation influenced positive health care practices; and 3) how church participation interacted with gender, age, insurance status, and levels of comorbidity.


Methods
Data Source
Data were collected during a neighborhood survey to identify and recruit adults with high blood pressure to participate in a community-based trial to improve high blood pressure care and control in an inner-city African-American community. All adults 18 years of age and older were eligible for the survey. The survey used a stratified sampling method that divided the neighborhood into 3 districts. Surveyors canvassed the neighborhood during daytime, evening, and weekend hours to enter functioning households. Almost half of the households that were eligible to be interviewed were accessed by interviewers. Non-entry into households was primarily due to these households being vacant and or condemned. Of the households that were accessed, 80% of the adults completed the interviews. See Bone et al.[21] for more details of the neighborhood survey.

The survey included sociodemographic information and a general health interview. The sociodemographic information included age, gender, educational attainment, employment status, marital status, and church attendance. The general health interview survey assessed perceived health status, morbidity, health care utilization, and health insurance.

Variables
We constructed the independent variable, frequency of church attendance, from responses to the following two questions: 1) "do you ever attend church or religious services" and 2) "if attend, how often do [you] attend church or religious services?" The response categories were high attendance, that is attending church "every week of the month"; moderate attendance represented "twice a month" or "once a month attendance"; and low attendance. Low attendance included those who attended church "a few times a year,""never attended church," or "used to attend church" but were not currently doing so.

Our dependent variables included the following 6 health care practices: 1) a Pap smear within 2 years; 2) a mammogram within 2 years; 3) a dental visit within 2 years; 4) a blood pressure measurement within 1 year; 5) a regular source of care; and 6) no perceived delays in care in the previous year. Respondents who responded "no" to the question "during the past year, were there times you thought you should go to the doctor and didn't" were considered to have no perceived delays in care.

Analysis
For each outcome, we conducted bivariate analysis with the independent variable using a χ2 test of independence. We then conducted multivariate logistic regression, controlling for demographic variables, number of comorbid conditions, insurance status, and regular source of care. We did not control for regular source of care when it was the dependent variable. We also assessed whether church attendance had different effects on health care practices in different risk groups. Therefore, we tested sequentially for interactions between church attendance and age, gender, comorbid conditions, and insurance status. The level of significance used was P < .05.

Conflict of Interest
There is no potential conflict of interest. There are no financial and personal relationships between the authors and others that might bias this work. The authors accept full responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. The Institutional Review Board approved the study.


Results
Two thousand, one hundred ninety-six adults completed the survey. Those surveyed had a mean age of 44 years; 37% were male, 45% had a high school education or less, 21% were married, 37% had part- or full-time employment, and 25% had two or more chronic conditions. Three quarters or more reported having health insurance or a regular source of care.

About 37% of the respondents reported that they attended church at least once a month. Of the 818 respondents who attended church at least monthly or regularly, 462 attended weekly and 356 attended once or twice a month. The low attendees were those who attended less than once a month (N = 1,378) and included those who attended church a few times or less (42%) a year and those who either never or no longer attended church (58%). Compared to those who did not attend church regularly, those who did were older, more likely to be female, married, employed, and to have health insurance.

In unadjusted analyses (Table 1), church attendance is associated with increased reporting of all of the health care practices. Church attendance increased these practices by 20% to 80%. For example, respondents who attended church regularly were more likely to have a dental visit (OR, 1.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4 to 2.0), blood pressure measurement (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 0.9 to 2.4), or a regular source of care (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.2 to 2.1) than those who did not attend church regularly. Also, while there was a tendency for church attendance to increase the likelihood of Pap tests and mammograms, these increases did not meet statistical significance.

For some practices, the effect of church attendance persisted in multivariate analyses. Regular church attendance increased the likelihood of dental visits (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.3 to 1.9) and blood pressure measurement (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.2 to 2.1). However, the effect of church participation on having a mammogram (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 0.9 to 2.2) and a regular source of care (OR, 1.2; 95% CI, 0.9 to 1.7) were not statistically significant.

Significant interactions were found for the effect of church participation by subgroup status. There was a significant interaction between church attendance and insurance status for Pap smear. As displayed in Figure 1, church attendance more than doubled the likelihood of having a Pap smear in women who were uninsured (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.2 to 4.1), but had no effect on those women with insurance (OR, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.7 to 1.4). For uninsured women, the relationship between church attendance (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.2 to 4.1) and Pap smear was as important as that between having a regular source of care (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.4 to 4.5) and Pap smear. Similarly, level of comorbidity modified the relationship between church attendance and Pap smear. Church status nearly doubled the likelihood (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1 to 3.5) of having a Pap smear for women with 2 or more chronic conditions, but had no effect on those with fewer than 2 conditions. For the sicker subgroup of women, while the effect of church status (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1 to 3.5) and insurance (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.1 to 4.7) on Pap smear receipt were similar, having a regular source of care (OR, 7.3; 95% CI, 2.3 to 22.2) had a much more powerful effect. As displayed in Figure 2, there was also a significant interaction between church attendance and level of comorbidity for no perceived delays in seeking care. Church attendance was associated with increased rates of having no perceived delays in seeking care for the sicker subgroup (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.2 to 2.5); there was no association for the less sick subgroup. There was no interaction between church attendance and age and gender (Figs. 3 and 4).




Figure 1. Odds ratio and confidence intervals for the effect of church attendance and insurance status on Pap smear. *P = .004, fully adjusted models.


Figure 2. Odds ratio and confidence intervals for the effect of church attendance and level of comorbidity on no delays in care. *P = .027, fully adjusted models.


Figure 3. Odds ratio and confidence intervals for the effect of church attendance by gender on dental visits. *P </= .005, fully adjusted models.


Figure 4. Odds ratio and confidence intervals for the effect of church attendance by age on blood pressure measurement. *P = .20, # P = .003, fully adjusted models.
As expected, insurance status and having a regular source of care were the most powerful predictors of positive health care practices. As Table 1 shows, among sociodemographic variables, church attendance was equivalent to or more important than other traditional sociodemographic variables. For example, church attendance (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.2 to 2.4) had a stronger effect than educational achievement (OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.0 to 1.6) on blood pressure measurement.


Discussion
In an African-American, low-income community, about one third of the residents attend church regularly. Church attendance was associated with multiple positive health care practices. Those who attended church were 20% to 80% more likely to report practices such as mammogram, blood pressure measurements, and dental visits than their counterparts who did not attend church. Even after sociodemographic characteristics were taken into account, church attendance continued to be associated with modest and large increases in some practices. Moreover, even when there was no important overall benefit, church attendance was very important for some subpopulations. For high-risk groups, such as the uninsured or the chronically ill, church status was importantly associated to whether a respondent received a Pap smear or experienced no delays in care. The effect of church attendance was equivalent to or more important than most traditional sociodemographic and economic variables, except for insurance status or a regular source of care.

Consistent with the findings from earlier studies,[4,10,20] this study showed a positive association between religious involvement and health and health care. Kang's cross-sectional study[23] demonstrated a positive relationship between social integration (a composite measure that included church affiliation) and 2 of 6 cancer prevention services in approximately 600 African-American women. The use of a composite measure and different study outcomes may explain the differences between the study of Kang[20] and our own. Our study suggests that religious involvement confers survival benefits to participants by improving health care practices.

This study is also unique in that it explores the relationship between church participation and a diverse group of health care practices in a mixed-gender African-American population. While the prevalence of church participation was lower than the previously reported national average of 52%,[22] church participation increased the likelihood of positive health care practices. In addition, the strength of the relationships varied among the practices and for at-risk subpopulations. We hypothesized that church participation would effect greater benefit for the more vulnerable subpopulations. Our study did not show the gender-specific effect of that prior work [4,10,11] on church attendance supports. This absence may be due to differences in populations and outcomes. For example, Strawbridge's[11] study of church attendance used a community sample that was 8% African American and did not include subgroup analyses for African Americans. In addition, the studies of both Gallant[4] and Strawbridge[11] assessed personal health habits and not health care practices.

For this low-income community, church participation increased the likelihood of a wide array of health care practices. These practices are diverse in several respects- some of the practices (Pap smear, blood pressure, and mammogram) are nationally recommended procedures, some (regular source of care and no delays in care) capture the nature of relationships that patients have with the health system, and others (blood pressure measurement and mammograms) are delivered in traditional fee-based or insurance-based health systems, as well as in community or lay settings such as health fairs or churches at no cost to the patient. If attending religious services does affect health care practices, what are the potential reasons for this association? Church attendance may exert its positive effects through a number of pathways. First, church attendance may provide social support that facilitates and reinforces positive health-seeking behaviors. A large body of literature points to the African-American church providing social support for its members.[23,24] Religious adherents may be more likely to adopt healthy practices because of the church's emphasis on respect for the body.[25] In addition, the church may provide access to services serving as a site of service delivery (direct access) or providing information on available services (indirect access). Church attendance may increase attendees' self-efficacy about their health promotion.[9,26-28]

Our study has several limitations. The high household vacancy rate in this community suggests that residents with unstable housing, the homeless, or near homeless were underrepresented in our study. A comparison of nonparticipants and participants, however, revealed that there were no differences in sociodemographic characteristics and self-reported high blood pressure. Second, we cannot draw conclusions about causality from this cross-sectional study. We also cannot comment on the long-term effects of church participation. Third, our study looked at organizational religiosity and did not address nonorganization and subjective religiosity and spirituality. We therefore cannot comment on the relationship between the other types of religiosity and spirituality and these health care practices. There is an ongoing debate as to whether spirituality mediates the effect of organizational religiosity on health.[13] People may be highly spiritual yet have no church affiliation. In addition, some consider religious participation a barrier to spirituality. Finally, while we have information on the frequency of attendance, we have no information about the nature of the experiences and are limited in our ability to explain these associations.

This study suggests that attendance at church may improve the health status of urban African Americans by increasing the likelihood of preventive health practices. Importantly, this benefit is particularly observed among those most in need- the uninsured and chronically ill. Our study has several important policy implications. First, public health programs that aim to reach low-income residents may be strengthened through collaboration with churches. The church may extend the reach of these programs to church attendees. These programs could also build on the church's traditional commitment to reach out to nonattendees,[3,23] the community outside its congregation, by using lay health workers in these partnerships. This model could help extend the health benefits seen within the church to noncongregants. Faith-based and community initiatives at the federal and state level may facilitate these partnerships. Second, these partnerships are not limited to service delivery but increasingly, community-based organizations, including churches, and local leaders are involved in participatory research efforts to improve community health and health care. In addition, this study demonstrates that the African-American church may contribute informally to the health care safety net in low-income communities. The church's role in supporting the safety net may become more prominent as the number of uninsured Americans increases and term limits for welfare recipients expire. Third, in addition to assessing patients' spirituality, clinicians may use church status to identify low-income persons who are at risk for not maintaining preventive health care practices and are in need of preventive services. For this high-risk group, clinicians could use every clinical encounter to assess status of preventive services and provide such services.[29] Finally, while the church represents an important though informal partner in the health care safety net, it should not be the sole strategy. Because churches do not reach a substantial segment of low-income communities, additional community-based strategies, including the use of community health outreach workers, need to be employed in public programs aimed at reaching low-income communities.

While faith- and community-based strategies are getting more attention from policy makers, further research on the effect of faith- and other community-based strategies is needed to understand how to improve health and health care practices among patients who are often locked out of the traditional health care system. Additional research is needed to clarify the role of the church in Latino or rural communities and the relationship among other aspects of religiosity and spirituality and health.

Presented in part at the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy Annual Research Meeting, Atlanta, Ga, June 2001.


Tables
Table 1. The Effect of Church Attendance and Other Covariates on Health Care Practices, Fully Adjusted Models


Odds Ratio, 95% CI
Independent
Variables Pap Mammogram Dental Blood
Pressure Regular Source
of Care No Delays
in Care
Church attendance 1.2 (0.9 to 1.9) 1.4 (0.9 to 2.2) 1.5 (1.3 to 1.8) 1.6 (1.2 to 2.1) 1.2 (0.9 to 1.7) 1.1 (0.9 to 1.4)
Age, >/=65 0.4 (0.2 to 0.6) 0.6 (0.4 to 1.1) 0.6 (0.4 to 0.8) 1.0 (0.7 to 1.8) 1.0 (0.6 to 1.9) 1.9 (1.4 to 2.6)
Female - - 1.4 (1.1 to 1.7) 1.0 (0.7 to 1.8) 2.5 (1.8 to 3.4) 0.8 (0.6 to 0.9)
Completed
high school 1.5 (1.1 to 2.0) 1.1 (0.7 to 1.8) 1.7 (1.4 to 2.0) 1.2 (1.0 to 1.7) 1.1 (0.8 to 1.4) 1.1 (0.9 to 1.4)
Married 1.4 (1.0 to 2.1) 0.9 (0.5 to 1.6) 1.0 (0.8 to 1.2) 0.8 (0.6 to 1.1) 0.9 (0.6 to 1.2) 0.9 (0.7 to 1.0)
Employed full
or part time 1.1 (0.8 to 1.6) 0.8 (0.4 to 1.6) 1.5 (1.2 to 1.8) 0.9 (0.7 to 1.2) 0.8 (0.6 to 1.0) 1.1 (0.9 to 1.4)
Two or more
comorbidities 0.9 (0.7 to 1.3) 1.6 (1.0 to 2.7) 1.0 (0.8 to 1.2) 1.0 (0.8 to 1.2) 1.5 (1.0 to 2.3) 0.7 (0.6 to 1.0)
Has insurance 2.4 (1.7 to 3.4) 2.0 (1.3 to 3.8) 2.0 (1.6 to 2.5) 2.0 (1.4 to 2.6) 11.2 (8.0 to 15.5) 1.4 (1.1 to 1.8)
Has a regular source of care 3.0 (1.8 to 4.9) 4.9 (1.0 to 13.1) 1.9 (1.4 to 2.7) 1.9 (1.4 to 2.7) - 1.3 (1.0 to 1.8)

CI, confidence interval.



References
Chatters LM, Levin JS, Ellison CG. Public health and health education in faith communities. Health Educ Behav. 1998;25: 689-99.
Chatters LM. Religion and health: public health research and practice. Annu Rev Public Health. 2000;21: 335-67.
Campbell MK, Motsinger BM, Ingram A, et al. The North Carolina Black Churches United for Better Health Project: intervention and process evaluation. Health Educ Behav. 2000;27: 241-53.
Gallant MP, Dorn GP. Gender and race differences in the predictors of daily health practices among older adults. Health Educ Res. 2001;16: 21-31.
Hummer RA, Rogers RG, Nam CB, Ellison CG. Religious involvement and U.S. adult mortality. Demography. 1999;36: 273-85.
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Steffen PR, Hinderliter AL, Blumenthal JA, Sherwood A. Religious coping, ethnicity, and ambulatory blood pressure. Psychosom Med. 2001;63: 523-30.
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Strawbridge WJ, Shema SJ, Cohen RD, Roberts RE, Kaplan GA. Religiosity buffers effects of some stressors on depression but exacerbates others. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 1998;53: 118S-126S.
Strawbridge WJ, Cohen RD, Shema SJ. Comparative strength of association between religious attendance and survival. Int J Psychiatry Med. 2000;30: 299-308.
Strawbridge WJ, Shema SJ, Cohen RD, Kaplan GA. Religious attendance increases survival by improving and maintaining good health behaviors, mental health, and social relationships. Ann Behav Med. 2001;23: 68-74.
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Helm HM, Hays JC, Flint EP, Koenig HG, Blazer DG. Does private religious activity prolong survival? A six-year follow-up study of 3,851 older adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2000;55: M400-M405.
Koenig HG. An 83-year-old woman with chronic illness and strong religious beliefs. JAMA. 2002;288: 487-93.
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Bourjolly JN. Differences in religiousness among black and white women with breast cancer. Soc Work Health Care. 1998;28: 21-39.
Levin JS, Chatters LM. Religion, health, and psychological well-being in older adults: findings from three national surveys. J Aging Health. 1998;10: 504-31.
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Bone LR, Hill MN, Stallings R, et al. Community health survey in an urban African-American neighborhood: distribution and correlates of elevated blood pressure. Ethn Dis. 2000;10: 87-95.
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Funding Information

This is a substudy of a randomized clinical trial that was funded by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, grant number HL511-01. Work supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Disclaimer

The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors. No official endorsement by any agency of the federal government is intended or should be inferred.

Arrogant-One
23-06-2006, 12:55 PM
Religious participation reduces the mortality risks[5,8,10,14,15] and improves health status[6,7] and quality of life for African Americans.[6,7,13-16]
I don't think you needed to go any further than this to prove your point Cat, but I take my hat off to you for educating Anti-Christ and Rincewind. :clap:

Lets hope you got over the line mate. :D

Kevin Bonham
23-06-2006, 07:02 PM
Thanks for posting that, Cat.

The study seems far, far better controlled than some I have seen. However I notice it skirts around the issue of causality and rightly so, since it doesn't actually demonstrate causality at all - just a correlation with some possible other causes eliminated.

This paragraph is the sort of thing I'm getting at:


Research into pathways that may underpin the religiousness-health relationship is underway. The pathways include: 1) improved health behaviors and lifestyle[3,4,11,18]; 2) better religious coping strategies and resources[9,15,16]; 3) enhanced social resources[5]; 4) improved psychological resources such as self-esteem, personal efficacy, and self-worth[18,19]; and 5) positive emotions and beliefs.[17]

I do think it would be very interesting to know which of these pathways (if any) were applicable.

However (1) is susceptible to reverse causation. People with an interest in "unhealthy" behaviours and lifestyles are probably less likely to find religion attractive in the first place. (3) (and probably (2) as well depending on what it means) is not only available to believers but also atheists in the same situation - oh yes some atheists do go to church. (4) and (5) could be underlying cause issues - those who have led untroubled lives have these qualities but are also more likely to have faith in social institutions and hence to believe the religions supported by them.

I'd be after something that would provide an answer to this question (although I guess there is no way of answering it since it would require an experiment) - suppose a person was given a hypothetical pill that would switch their religious belief on or off, would this affect their expected health prospects compared to not taking that pill? (Apart from the weight gain caused by the pill of course!)

Desmond
23-06-2006, 07:09 PM
I reckon they'd be better off taking a pill of vitamins one per day ;)

Rincewind
23-06-2006, 07:13 PM
The other thing about the study (and any one study, necessarily) is that you have to wonder as to its widespread applicability.

One thing that is for sure is that for millenia, religion has been used as a means to exert control over populations to further a particular political end. It would be interesting, for example, to do a historical study on the health benefits of religion on the women tried as witches throughout history. :)

Desmond
23-06-2006, 07:17 PM
It would be interesting, for example, to do a historical study on the health benefits of religion on the women tried as witches throughout history. :)
This example certainly proves health benefits to those of the "non-witch" persuation.

Rincewind
23-06-2006, 07:22 PM
This example certainly proves health benefits to those of the "non-witch" persuation.

That is not a lay-down misere. Many of the women who were tried as witches provided health services to the non-witch population. Some may even argue they were the precursors to Cat's noble profession. :p

Bill Gletsos
23-06-2006, 07:26 PM
That is not a lay-down misere. Many of the women who were tried as witches provided health services to the non-witch population. Some may even argue they were the precursors to Cat's noble profession. :pIn which case post http://www.chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=28239&postcount=42 fits perfectly. ;)

Desmond
23-06-2006, 10:18 PM
That is not a lay-down misere. Many of the women who were tried as witches provided health services to the non-witch population. Some may even argue they were the precursors to Cat's noble profession. :p
don't you mean pre-cursers?

Rincewind
23-06-2006, 10:23 PM
don't you mean pre-cursers?

You're obviously a sick man. You should see your local GP. ;)

Desmond
23-06-2006, 10:28 PM
You're obviously a sick man. You should see your local GP. ;)

Now now, don't be supporting Cat's argument by saying an athiest is sick :owned:

antichrist
23-06-2006, 11:13 PM
The other thing about the study (and any one study, necessarily) is that you have to wonder as to its widespread applicability.

One thing that is for sure is that for millenia, religion has been used as a means to exert control over populations to further a particular political end. It would be interesting, for example, to do a historical study on the health benefits of religion on the women tried as witches throughout history. :)

HD will hand over $50HCD right there folks.

Cat
24-06-2006, 02:34 PM
However (1) is susceptible to reverse causation. People with an interest in "unhealthy" behaviours and lifestyles are probably less likely to find religion attractive in the first place. (3) (and probably (2) as well depending on what it means) is not only available to believers but also atheists in the same situation - oh yes some atheists do go to church. (4) and (5) could be underlying cause issues - those who have led untroubled lives have these qualities but are also more likely to have faith in social institutions and hence to believe the religions supported by them.

I'd be after something that would provide an answer to this question (although I guess there is no way of answering it since it would require an experiment) - suppose a person was given a hypothetical pill that would switch their religious belief on or off, would this affect their expected health prospects compared to not taking that pill? (Apart from the weight gain caused by the pill of course!)

Healthy behaviours create healthy individuals that make for healthy societies. The interplays are complex and multi-faceted and feed back on themselves promote positive existences. In other words, motivating an individual to make healthy choices benefits us all (as well as the individual) and it is our collective responsibility to be promoting good and healthy habits. Unhealthy or bad behaviours (eg smoking and alcohol) create a social burden and a come at a price which we all will inevitably have to pay.

Kevin Bonham
24-06-2006, 04:48 PM
Healthy behaviours create healthy individuals that make for healthy societies. The interplays are complex and multi-faceted and feed back on themselves promote positive existences. In other words, motivating an individual to make healthy choices benefits us all (as well as the individual) and it is our collective responsibility to be promoting good and healthy habits. Unhealthy or bad behaviours (eg smoking and alcohol) create a social burden and a come at a price which we all will inevitably have to pay.

I fail to see any relevance of this almost puritanical sermon to the kind of question I am asking.

I would be interested to know whether you extend this opposition to "unhealthy or bad behaviours" to all behaviours involving health risks. For instance, given the injury risks involved in playing Australian Rules football, would you discourage people from being involved in it?

Cat
24-06-2006, 06:15 PM
I fail to see any relevance of this almost puritanical sermon to the kind of question I am asking.

I would be interested to know whether you extend this opposition to "unhealthy or bad behaviours" to all behaviours involving health risks. For instance, given the injury risks involved in playing Australian Rules football, would you discourage people from being involved in it?

KB, you just can't help making a prat of yourself, can you? I was trying to be so civil.

The problem is you have no insight into your level of ignorance. You really need to develop a more rhobust understanding of the issues before you adopt such strident posititions. Your bigotry clouds your ability to develop clear perspective. You posture yet you're nothing but a dilettante. Your arguments don't even get you into the arena.

Go away and read some books and don't come back until you've acquired some knowledge.

Kevin Bonham
24-06-2006, 06:21 PM
^^^

Unsubstantiated bluster. Quite pathetic really. :rolleyes:

antichrist
24-06-2006, 07:37 PM
KB, I am worried about you, do you have any friends on the BB? Is it because you are from Tassie?