In attempting to give his fellow intellectual elites the leading edge in secular semantic swordplay, Associate Professor of Sociology, Phil Zuckerman, offered up these pithy precepts for the daring debaters of a godless gospel. After all, in academia, it’s always about reinforcing the progressive party line and hardly ever about advancing knowledge and challenging assumptions.
All good atheists should take note of the following:
- Don’t insist that science can answer everything
- Don’t condemn all aspects of religion
- Don’t condemn the Bible in toto
- Learn to understand and appreciate cultural religion
- Don’t critique God as nasty, wicked, or immoral
- Don’t focus on the existence of God, but rather work to create a just world
- Don’t argue about morality in the abstract
- Start procreating big time because religious people are out-breeding us
Zuckerman is the author of Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment, a book based on a year’s research conducted in Sweden and Denmark where the author interviewed people about their contentment quotient. Needless to say, Doctor Phil believes that Scandinavia is a progressive paradise of happily non-religious folk living the godless good life.
But how do sociologists calculate happiness? What measurements can accurately correlate to a country’s overall level of contentment? Well, the sociological crowd has developed what they call the Human Development Index as a way of determining if a country is full of happy campers. Such statistics as life expectancy, literacy, per-capita income, educational advancement, access to healthcare, infant mortality rates, etc. are their chosen tools used to tally up the happy at heart. And let us not leave out those supposed barometers of a well-balanced societal psyche, gender equality and gay rights.
But do these indicators really measure contentment? The assumption, of course, is that if the majority of people living in a specific country are financially well off, have access to affordable healthcare, have higher education opportunities, can take expensive vacations each year, and will dutifully support gay rights and womanhood’s ascendency, well gee whiz, they must be living on Cloud 9. But is that really so?
Secular nations may be high up on those Human Development indicators, but there’s another telltale sign that just may have more to do with a country’s overall sense of contentment than the sociologists who are pushing secularism care to admit.
According to an article written by Zuckerman for the Council for Secular Humanism, secular countries seem to be having a problem with high rates of suicide in comparison to those religious bastions of backwardness.
A country’s suicide rate stands out as the one indicator of societal health in which religious nations fare much better than secular nations. According to the 2003 World Health Organization’s report on international male suicide rates the nations with the lowest rates of suicide were all highly religious, characterized by extremely high levels of theism (usually of the Muslim and Catholic varieties). Of the ten nations with the highest male suicide rates, five were distinctly irreligious nations ranked among the top twenty-five nations listed earlier.
All those Human Development indicators can certainly lay the foundation for a richly rewarding life. Living in abject poverty surrounded by a cruel and oppressive cultural clime does have a way of stifling one’s happiness aspirations. But obviously, a sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment, and the quality of our personal relationships, are also key factors here in the search for the good life. And there is research aplenty out there that indicates there is so much more to the happiness hunt then setting up a secular state chock full of progressive talking points.
Whatever the reasons for the spirit of happy or sad in any society, can we really rely on the research of an academic crusader whose eyes are on the progressive prize? Can we take seriously the social scientist who spouts off his sacred propaganda pig latin at every opportunity while cherry picking his facts?
Everyone knows that any academic research daring to double cross the party line would find itself, along with its author, tossed on the burning pyres of progressive orthodoxy. So when it comes to their so-called sociological studies, we’ve all figured out that the fix is in.