Friday, April 19, 2013

An end to violence?

The JW's seem to have a knack for dropping by when no one is home. When my wife and I both worked, it wasn't as surprising that they could stop by during the day and get no answer. But my wife is home during the day now, and on the rare day that she runs out to the store for a minute, she returns home to find an issue of 'Awake!' stuffed in the door.

The cover of this addition reads 'Will violence ever end?' Even before I open the cover, I already know that what I'm about to read will be a roller coaster of irrational claims and inaccuracies. So without further ado, lets here what the JW's have to say...

The first thing the Watchtower folks do is to blame music, video games, movies, the news, and the internet. Sure, the news does seem to select sensationalized stories above everything else. But is the blame really as the followers of Jehovah would have us believe? Here in the United states, we are quite lucky for the amazing variety of media and entertainment that we have available to us. But we are not alone in that luck. Most other industrialized nations have the very same selection that we have available. So how does violence stack up between here and there?

Gun deaths per 100,00 (industrialized nations)

United States = 2.97
Switzerland = 0.77
Canada = 0.51
Finland = 0.45
Sweden = 0.41
Netherlands = 0.33
Germany = 0.19
England = 0.07
France = 0.06
Japan = 0.01

 Rape per 100,00 (industrialized nations)
Australia = 91.9

Sweden = 58.6
United States = 28.6
England = 27.7
France = 16.2
Finland = 12.4
Germany = 8.9
Netherlands = 8.8
Switzerland = 8.7
Italy = 7.6
Canada = 1.4
Japan = 1.1

Robbery per 100,00 (industrialized nations)

Belgium = 1,762
France = 181
England = 137
United States = 133
Sweden = 103
Canada = 96
Netherlands = 84
Switzerland = 66
Germany = 60
Norway = 37
Japan = 4

Assault per 100,00 (industrialized nations)

Scotland = 1,487
Sweden = 972
England = 730
Germany = 630
Finland = 615
Netherlands = 352
France = 310
United States = 262
Canada = 170
Switzerland = 117
Italy = 110
Japan = 44

Crime Ratio

Venezuela = 85.70
Guatemala = 84.87
Kenya = 74.30
Pakistan = 61.52
Nigeria = 60.62
Iraq = 56.25
Iran = 56.15
United States = 53.44
France = 51.13
Italy = 49.46
England = 39.78
Netherlands = 37.53
Canada = 34.98
Sweden = 31.81
Germany = 23.86
Japan = 13.11

Looking at those stats we can see that the stats for industrialized nations are all over the place. These countries all have access to the same music, games, movies, and websites. If these factors are the driving factors of violence that the JW's are claiming them to be then we should expect the states to be high and consistent across the board. Yet we see some of these countries  with high stats, and others with low stats. I these sources of entertainment are the cause of violence the crime rates for the United States shouldn't be so consistently high, while those for Japan are so consistently low.

Then if we look at the overall crime ratios, we find that the places that are less industrialized, and have less access to media sources, are actually more violent than the countries with easy access to music, movies, and games. The truth is actually the opposite of what the Watchtower folks would have up believe. If video games cause violence, why is it that those that have poor access to games are much more violent? Likewise, how is it that the homeland of video games (Japan) looks to be one of the safest places on Earth? So if we look at the facts, it's easy to see that claiming that music, games, movies, and the internet to be the cause of violence is a less than poorly supported claim.

Awake! then goes on to claim that false religion is another cause of violence. They also share a story of a man who claims that the Bible saved him from his violent life. So is there any actual truth to back up the implied claim that Christians are less violent? Not even close. I'll ignore the past horrors of the Crusades, Inquisition, and Hitler's Nazi movement (Catholic/Christian) and instead just look to today. So , how can we see how violent, or non-violent Christians are today? Let's take a look at prison stats...

1997 Prison Population Study

Christians = 79.4% (JW = 0.9%)
Atheists = 0.2%

2012 Prison Population Study

Christians = 66.3% (no breakdown of how many are JW)
No religious preference = 10.6% (no breakdown of how many are atheist)

From looking at these stats, there is certainly nothing that suggests that Christianity (or JW) makes one a less violent person. If anything, it suggests that Christianity does nothing to deter one from violence. Then we see that there are 4.5 times as many JW's in prison as there are atheists. If one
wants to try and draw any conclusion from these stats then it would be the rejection of religion, rather than the adoption of Christianity that makes one less violent.

So, the next time you here claims about video games or lack of religion being the causes or violence, you will know better. Violence is not a punishment from the divine. Furthermore, religion is not the magic bullet that some want you to believe. So be good for the sake of being good, and stay informed at all costs.

- Brain Hulk

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