An article, “Belief in Hell, According to International Data, Is Associated With Reduced Crime,” on the Science Daily website reports on the findings of University of Oregon psychologist, Azim F. Shariff. After analyzing 26 years of data involving 143,197 people in 67 countries, he reported, “The key finding is that, controlling for each other, a nation’s rate of belief in hell predicts lower crime rates, but the nation’s rate of belief in heaven predicts higher crime rates, and these are strong effects.”
Shariff found more reinforcement of this idea. Last year, he reported that undergraduate students were more likely to cheat if “they believe in a forgiving God than a punishing God.” He warns; however, that these readers of these findings should keep in mind that more research is needed.
It appears that the cultural and religious influences are a major factor in the incidence of crime.
- Divergent Effects of Beliefs in Heaven and Hell on Crime Rates (artofthestem.com)
- Belief in hell is associated with lower crime rates (andrewgelman.com)