Categorized | Society

Societal Health: the More Heathenly, the More Heavenly

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

~ John Lennon

In his 2005 study, “Atheism: Contemporary Rates and Patterns,” Phil Zuckerman concluded that nations with high organic atheism are more likely to have healthy societies.

The study used data from the 2004 Human Development Report (HDR) by the United Nations Development Program. The HDR ranked 177 countries using a Human Development Index:

The HDI – human development index – is a summary composite index that measures a country’s average achievements in three basic aspects of human development: health, knowledge, and a decent standard of living.

Health is measured by life expectancy at birth; knowledge is measured by a combination of the adult literacy rate and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrolment ratio; and standard of living by GDP per capita (PPP US$)

Simply put, the higher the HDI, the healthier the country.

Well, the 2009 HDR is out. And if these countries have relatively the same religious composition as they did in 2005, guess what? Zuckerman’s conclusions still stand.

Below are the highest and lowest ranked countries, each followed by two statistics:

  1. Rank in the Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists, Agnostics, and Nonbelievers list
  2. Percentage of Atheists, Agnostics, or Nonbelievers in God

Top 10

  1. Norway — 4th — 31-72%
  2. Australia —  25th — 24-25%
  3. Iceland — 28th — 16-23%
  4. Canada — 20th — 19-30%
  5. Ireland — not in the top 50 — 5%
  6. Netherlands — 14th — 39-44%
  7. Sweden — 1st — 46-85%
  8. France — 8th — 43-54%
  9. Switzerland — 23rd — 17-27%
  10. Japan — 5th — 64-65%

Bottom 100

105.  Philippines — N/A; largest Catholic Asian nation — <1%
111. Indonesia — N/A; largest Muslim nation — <1%

Bottom 10

173. Guinea-Bissau — N/A — <1%
174. Burundi — N/A — <1%
175. Chad — N/A — <1%
176. Congo — N/A — 2.7%
177. Burkina Faso — N/A — <1%
178. Mali — N/A — <1%
179. Central African Republic — N/A — 1.5%
180. Sierra Leone — N/A — <1%
181. Afghanistan — N/A — <1%
182. Nigeria — N/A — <1%

Still don’t get it? More heathens, more health — More superstitions, more sickness.

Next year marks the release of the HDR’s 20th anniversary edition, and I don’t see any indication that things are going to change. Socially unhealthy countries will stay superstitious and sick, making life a living Hell, while the healthy ones, the ones with more people who don’t believe in God, will get even closer to living in Heaven on Earth.

Imagine that.

Top 50 Countries
With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics

 
DISCLAIMER: The opinions in this post do not necessarily represent the position of the Filipino Freethinkers.

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