Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My State Declared Least Religious, Among Our Other Excellent Attributes!

The latest Pew Poll reports that New Hampshire, my state, is tied with Vermont for the least religious state in the Union. Only 54% of New Hampshirites have certainty that God exists. Compare that to the most religious state, Mississippi, where 91% are certain there is a God.

On the question of the importance of religion in ones life, only 36% of New Hampshire residents feel it’s important. On the other end of the spectrum, 82% of Missippians rate religion important. Here’s an extract of the whole report: http://vyoma108.blogspot.com/2008/06/religion-in-america-massachusetts-among.html

That’s a very significant difference in the number of believers. I would imagine that many Christians would think that given the disparity between these two states Mississippi would have certain positive characteristics that are reflective of a God fearing populace. Certainly, with their claims of a higher morality they might suspect that NH is a den of iniquity, a veritable Sodom and Gomorrah compared to the heavily Jesus freaked state of Mississippi.

But not surprisingly the complete opposite is true. Let’s examine the facts:

While New Hampshire had the 4th lowest violent crime rate in the country, Mississippi is the 21st highest in violent crime. http://www.morganquitno.com/dang06.htm

When it comes to poverty NH is ranked as the state with the least number of people below the poverty level. Mississippi has the second highest number of people in poverty in the country. http://www.census.gov/statab/ranks/rank34.html

The average calculated IQ of the populace of the state of NH is 104.2, the second highest IQ of all states (Massachusetts was first with 104.3). Compare this to Mississippi’s IQ of 94.2 … the LOWEST IQ average of any State in the Union!!! http://www.people.vcu.edu/~mamcdani/Publications/McDaniel%20(2006)%20Estimating%20state%20IQ.pdf

Divorce rate for NH is 3.3 per 1,000 people, below the national average of 3.6. For Mississippi it’s 4.5 per 1,000 people, 36% higher than NH and higher than the national average. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0923080.html

Teen pregnancy in NH is second lowest in the country. Mississippi, ranked third highest. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2006/09/12/USTPstats.pdf

So what does this all mean? Well, the differences are certainly intriguing, and should cause the religiously infected to rethink their misconceptions about the impact religion has on the quality of life, morality, family values, et al.

To be fair, there could be any number of factors other than/in addition to religiosity that could influence these results. Thus, as thinking people, and adherents to the scientific method, we cannot simply assume a direct correlation exists between high religiosity and higher crime, higher poverty, lower intelligence levels, etc., etc. Not with certainty.

But I’ll tell you this; given the circumstantial evidence, if I were going on a canoe trip in the back country; wanted an intelligent conversation with a random person; wanted my children to receive a good education; or expected to feel safe walking the streets or in my home, Mississippi wouldn’t be among my top 47 choices. I’d pick a state where the vast majority of people don’t believe in angels and devils, or talk in tongues, or handle snakes, or symbolically consume their Man-god, or walk around praising the Lard, or wave their hands and fall down in spasms of hyper-religious ecstasy every Sunday. In other, words the less religious the better.

I am going to suggest NH change its state motto from “Live Free or Die”, to “Land of the Godless, and Loving it.”


The Ranting Student said...

Amen brother!
Godless states are the only place to be.
I live in California though... don't know where we rank.

DromedaryHump said...


Tha National ave of "absolute certainy God exists" is 71%. California scores at 62% , so its lower than the National ave., (Vs Mississippi at 91%, and New Hampshire at 54%).

On "importance of religion in ones life", the Nat average is 56%. California scores 48%, lower than the national ave. (VS Miss. 82%, and NH at 36%).

So while you live in a less religiously whacked out state than the National average, you got some work to do to reach NH's level of Godlessness.

Dog bless ya!!

Anonymous said...

NH vs. MS
Uh, how many blacks are there in NH?

DromedaryHump said...

Very few minorities in NH. Among the lowest in the country.

Blacks are proprotionately more religious than whites.

Thus, my premise is reinforced: if Blacks are a larger percentage of the population in MS, AND they are proportionatly more religious than whites, then presuming religion breeds ethical behavior, shouldn't that have the effect of lowering the negative statistics MS exhibts, VS a very unreligious state like NH?

So your point is what? What are you implying, and where does my logic fall short?


wORDSMITH said...

Your 'fact' that blacks are more religious than whites is simply not true. What is true about blacks is a lesser degree of education, a higher crime rate, a missing father in the household, and lower income (for various reasons). Those facts do much more to explain the differences in NH vs MS than does a Christian belief.

DromedaryHump said...

Happy to have you comment... but don't accuse me of posting fallacious info.

"... the church is central in the black community, with blacks having a higher rate of church membership than whites (76 percent compared to 69 percent in 1983, according to Gallup, 1984 :55),"


There are many other sites / studies with similar info.

I agree that educationand poverty play a major role in the frequency of the negative stats. One however cannot dismiss the religiosity of the African American community, being substantially higher than whites, and the fact that given that reality it is counter to the concept of religion having an ipa ct on kmorality and ethics.

Infact, If you pick any number of the most religious states, even those with low black populations, they will ALL have higher rates of negative stats than NH, VT which have the lowest religiosity.


DromedaryHump said...


"Blacks, who are overwhelmingly Christian, are also more likely than whites to have any religion: Just 3 percent of blacks say they have no religion, compared to 13 percent of whites. ("No religion" includes people who describe their religion as atheist or agnostic.)"


DromedaryHump said...

and anothyer:

"Despite the country's religious multiformity, however, black Americans are the most consistently religious--and religiously active--ethnic group in the country. More than 90 percent of black Americans surveyed reported having a religious affiliation, and more than six in 10 said they were members of historically black Protestant churches. Moreover, black Protestants are among the most religiously involved Americans--85 percent say religion is very important in their lives, and more than half say they attend worship services at least once a week. "


DromedaryHump said...


BTW... i assume you did read THIS paragraph in my original posting:

"To be fair, there could be any number of factors other than/in addition to religiosity that could influence these results. Thus, as thinking people, and adherents to the scientific method, we cannot simply assume a direct correlation exists between high religiosity and higher crime, higher poverty, lower intelligence levels, etc., etc. Not with certainty."

Thus, I am not blind to and am very aware of the various other factors.

Feel free to offer an apology for accusing me of posting false info vis-a-vis Black Vs. white religiosity. ;)


wordsmith said...

My original intent in commenting was to point out that the greater goodness of NH vs MS lies much greater in ethnicity than in Godlessness.

Regardless of your reliance on 'facts' established by Gallup polls, ABC News, and Time magazine; I will remain with my beliefs based on 60 years of observations of the black community.

DromedaryHump said...

Indeed, it may well be other factors...i said as muchin my original post. I have no quarrel with you. Religion may be the least of the factors... it factors in somewhere, however.

But, If you reject corroborating data, provided by various independent sources, and prefer to accept your own anecdotal evidence re Black religiosity, then you are either a theist who rejects fact in favor of blind "belief", or simply someone who refuses to be proven wrong, thus rejects evidence.

If the later its a dishonest trait. If the former... I fully understand why you'd feel the stat threatening.

Have a good super bowl.

DromedaryHump said...

PS: I didnt start "observing" the black community until I was in my mid teens. So I guess that gives me only about 45 years of personal experience and observation.

But I'll discount my anecdotal perspective and assumptions for objective data anyday. Its what thinking people do. Its why we accept the earth is round, and not flat as our casual observations and personal experiences infer.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, Christians get most abortions. Varies a little from year to year but about 60-65% of abortions are gotten by those claiming Christian affiliation. Catholics gat about 25% plus of abortions. Evangelicals get about 18% according to abortion.org. That's almost half of abortions are gotten by the groups that make the biggest fuss about abortion. Go figure. Now I'm waiting for the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.