Sunday, June 1, 2008

Christians and Criminality

Ok, let’s get the stats out of the way first.

According to various surveys, Christians (Protestants, Catholics, AKA Jesus worshipers) represent between 78% and 83% of the US population. Do your own Google, you’ll see. The atheist population is estimated between 8% and 16%.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Christians represent 83.8% of all convicts in prison. While atheists make up only 0.21% of the prison population.

Thus, Christians make up a disproportionately larger number of convicts to the total Christian population of the US (84% to 80+%) while atheist convicts make up a disproportionately smaller number to the US atheist population (0.2% to 10%) … and dramatically so. Considering that Christians claim that without Jebus / God atheists can’t have morals or ethics, this is rather shocking.

This leads one to ask the obvious question:
If Christians are guided by the word of God; worship a man-god dubbed “the Prince of Peace”; claim to hold a higher moral standard than godless heathens, etc., etc. then how is it they represent such a disproportionately large percent of the criminal element, while atheists barely register as a blip on the evil doer meter?

Well, you know what the Xtians will say. They’ll drag out the ever popular “But those people aren’t REAL Christians” . Naturally that would include Ted Haggard, Warren Jeffs, Jim Bakker; the hundreds of convicted pedophile priests, ministers, and religious youth leaders, et al. Thus, all the Christians in prison aren’t REALLY Christians, because the REAL Christians say they aren't.

The other attempt at denial is the old : Well, they converted to Christianity while in prison and weren’t Christians when they were convicted.” Naturally there is zero proof or evidence of that. Indeed, while some will “find the Lord”/ become born again in jail, the majority of prison conversions tend to favor Islam as the preferred route, which is the fastest growing religion within prisons, just as it is in the rest of the world.

Finally, out of desperation, they’ll claim that those who called themselves Christian are really atheists. Evidently, these thousands upon thousands of supposed atheist prisoners have banded together to make Christians look bad … like that’s all they have to worry about in prison.

But the answer is more down to Earth and mundane than all that. I’ll proffer that Christians are typically less educated, come from a lower socio-economic background , are less rational, less intelligent, earn less income, and thus are more likely to be impoverished and turn to crime, than your average atheist. Further, Christians don’t have to worry about their personal actions or abiding by man’s laws since their dogma guarantee’s them salvation and forgiveness no matter how many they kill, what they steal, or who they rape. After all, this is just a temporary life on “Satan’s Earth”, the real reward is to follow, so why not play fast and loose with ethics and morality?

Ever wonder why so many mobsters, biker gangs, Aryan Nation / neo-Nazi groups, gang bangers, and Mafioso are Christians? When was the last time you heard of an atheist mob, hate group, or outlaw biker gang; or saw a hardcore gang banger with an atheist symbol tattooed on his forearm? Let me answer for you … NEVER.

I guess the only question left to answer is: Are they criminals because of Christianity, or are they Christians because they are criminals? Which ever it is, they sure cause a hell of a lot of misery and pain to society … those god fearing Christians.


Leo said...

I think you're absolutely correct that most people in prison are Christians because it correlates with them growing up in a culture that leads to less intelligent people. They aren't in jail because they're Christians, and they aren't Christians because they're in jail (usually; I don't believe most born-agains who found God in prison. Really, what else is there to do?) Both are caused by the same thing, I think. Bad environments.

I don't think most people in prison who claim to be Christians really gave much thought to it when committing the crimes though. I think most of them are Christians by label only. The default answer for even the worst street punk would probably not be outright atheism, especially if they think claiming to be religious will help them. Beyond being arrested for picketing an abortion clinic or something, I would say most fundamentalists (Christian, and in this country at least) wouldn't get sent to prison. They're nutty, but usually don't do the petty crimes or the huge crimes that most prisoners do. Many fundamentalists are loud and aggressive, but do so from a safe environment.

DromedaryHump said...


I entirely agree with your premise that the proponderance of xtian convicts are a result of them growing up "in a culture that leads to less intelligent people".
I was only being sardonic when I suggested that either xtianity causes criminality..or people become christians because they are criminals.

As our culture is predominantly Christian it is little surprise to me that we rank below most Western European countries( most of which are much less religous than the US), and Japan, in High School science and math scores. It's no coincidence that Christians push for Intel Design, and down play Evolution, and that 1/2 the country believes Evolution is wrong.

Education isn't valued by our culture as much as it is in many other civilized societies. Ever wonder why so many kids who are in the US spelling Bee are of Asian and Indian descent?

But thats only one side of the coin. Much of the the problem rests with the fact that people who lack education, and are on the low end of the socio-economic scale will embrace mysticism as a potential escape route. In the absense of any perceived potential to lift themselves from their lot, the promise of "Pie in the Sky When You Die Bye and Bye" that christianity dangles before them is very attractive. These people makeup the largest portion of the high crime demographic.

The point is... that their belief in Jesus, or their acceptence of christianity as their default religon, has zero impact on their behavior.. IN DIRECT CONTRADICTION to the "Theist's have ethics/morality while Atheist's don't" nonsense.

Further... the "god will forgive me" dogma clearly plays a role, since I have personally had a Xtian tell me they broke a law but its ok, because God will forgive them their sins. Then they break the law again!!(i'll post the "Howie in CD Chat" story in the future.).

You may very well be correct about the Fundies. I can find no data to support or contradict your premise.

Thanks for your thoughtful input.