Monday, March 23, 2015

Billy Graham: Repeat Prisoner

Q: I've just been released from prison for about the fifth time. Every time, I've said I'd change and not fall back into my old ways, but I always do. What's wrong with me? I know you'll probably say I need God, and maybe I do, but what difference would that make? — M.R.
Change can be hard, even if doing so is in our best interest. It sounds to me that MR does need to make some life changes. Though that is impossible to say with certainty how serious these changes need to be without knowing what he's  been repeatedly jailed for.  Does he need God? If he's writing Billy Graham for advice, my guess is that he probably already believes to some degree. But will God help with his problem? Statistics would suggest that God wouldn't be a help at all...
A: Yes, you do need God, because without him you have little hope of ever changing your life. You've tried without success to stay out of trouble on your own, so why do you think the future will be any different?
It never ceases to amaze me how quick Billy is to openly belittle people and underestimate their own abilities. It's quite sad really.
What difference will God make? First, he'll give you a new purpose in life. Right now, your life revolves around one person: you. But when we come to Christ, we're no longer the most important person in the world to us. Christ is. 
So Christians in jail should be a rarity if that is the case. But that's not the case. In the USA, Christians actually make up the majority of the prison population (over 50% of prisoners, in fact).  And what about atheists? According to Billy we must be filling prisons with our evil ways. Yet we find that only 0.07% of the prison population are non-believers.

It's even more interesting when you look at the general population vs the prison population. When you compare the percentage of atheists in the general population to the percentage of atheists serving time, the ratio is almost 10 to 1. This means that there is a wide disparity between the two populations. A disparity that shows that the overall atheist population percentage is just about ten times the prison population percentage. So we are well under represented in prison.

For comparison's sake, most Christian groups showed a ratio close to or exactly 1:1. Meaning that their law-breaking population mirrors the ratio of the general population.

Now some have told me that the Christian numbers are only high because these people found faith while in prison. But that argument fails when you look at the recidivism rate in the USA. The Five year recidivism rate for various offenses was recently found to be as follows:

Property Offenders = 82%
Drug Offenders = 77%
Public Order Offenders = 74%
Violent Offenders = 71%

So if these 'prison converted Christians' found Christ, it still doesn't help the religious claim of moral superiority, since the majority wind up right back in jail again. So God didn't do anything to make them any better people after all.

The truth is that religion doesn't automatically make you an any better or more moral person. That comes down to the individual. And if the stats are telling us anything, lack of faith stacks up pretty favorably in the lawful department.

-Brain Hulk

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