While browsing today, I came up across this Gallup survey done in February on the importance of religion in different countries all over the world:
The countries where people give a lot of importance to religion are: Egypt, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Congo, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Senegal, Djibouti, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. Notice that most of them are countries where a lot of people are poor (and some people are extremely rich.)
Countries where people generally do not give a lot of importance to religion are: Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, Japan, France, Mongolia, Belarus.
Apart from Mongolia (?!?), these countries can be separated into two groups:
- ex-USSR countries like Estonia, the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan and Belarus where religion was suppressed by the state and
- countries like Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Hong Kong, Japan and France.
Now, I don’t want to jump to conclusions but it seems to me thatÂ Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Hong Kong, Japan and France are countries which are rich, fairly democratic and which have a good (and, for some of them, excellent) education system. Does this imply that educated people tend to give less importance to religion? And, more interestingly, does this mean that atheists (those without a belief in any God) generally have a high level of education? Yes, it would seem.
And what about Mauritius? People give a lot of importance to religion in our country (especially if they need to be elected and/or they have problems.) And the Minister of Education said our education system has failed to deliver. Is there a correlation between the two?
By the way, I’m an atheist.
A new member in the club :P
I believe we use our intelligence more effectively, by concentrating in more exact science?
Web Design Bureau of Mauritius says
I don’t think that there is a correlation between education, money and religion. One of the major factors, especially in Mauritius, is upbringing and culture. In some cultures, religion plays an important role in people lives and in some none of this has any importance. All in all, it is the capacity of each and everyone in evaluating if religion is an important element of their everyday life.
As far as I understand, in most cultures, religion is central. But surveys show that rich countries where the level of education is high have a lower proportion of their population who believe religion is important.
My observation is that those who publicly say they are atheists are, in general, full of confidence. And to be confident en ce bas monde, one needs to be somewhat intelligent. So I would tend to say that atheists are generally intelligent.
As a corollary, this would imply that people who are not intelligent tend to be theists (among a lot of intelligent theists, don’t worry.)
Am I right or am I wrong?
The reason why “Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Hong Kong, Japan and France” give less importance to religion is not because of education level. Just come to the UK for e.g. and you will find many “ZEP” areas, mainly in the North. I am sure France is the same. The real reason is capitalism: in a capitalist society, life is fast, and people tend to become more individualistic … they do not want to devote time to spirituality and religion. The correlation is: high level of education = more individualistic and materialistic life + job, career focus = less time for religion.
The same pattern applies in Mauritius. Most graduates are so career focus and want to gather material wealth: house, car, holidays … which becomes even harder following the neo-con policity (loans, debts … ). hence they devote less time to religion.
Well known theists: Newton, Einstein, Euler, Blaise Pascal, Schroedinger, Darwin(he was agnostic), Gauss
Well known atheists: Feynman, Dawkins, Nietzsche,
You can complete the list :P
Web Design Bureau of Mauritius says
I have noticed that a lot of people are sensitive religion and this is why most of my family members and friends know that I am an atheist but saying it or being it is not a way for me to show superiority of any sort.
In fact, I’m a firm believer that being open minded about religion shows intelligence, it shows that one is intelligent enough to understand that other people are more inspired by their beliefs or have a more down to Earth view of life.
The level of education does not enter the equation, instruction does not make intelligence in any way.
I am not too sure that people are less religious in developed countries because of capitalism. Rather I would say that people are more confident and have more facilities there and do not really need a superior being at their side at all time. Of course, I may be wrong. I have noticed that even in Mauritius, people tend to pray a lot when they have problems and less if they don’t. So, in a country where people have all their needs and a lot of their wants catered for, why would they pray? Interestingly, the survey also shows that people in the USA are very devout and this seems to be in contradiction with the level of development there. This can be explained by the fact that a lot of the people there do not have access to basic facilities like free education or free hospitals hence, maybe, increasing their need for some spiritual support…
True. Intelligence has nothing to do with education. I was somewhat oversimplistic in my post.
Sanjiv Brigemohane says
I’ll say that its a question of comprehension and the way one looks at life.
Europeans, Americans live the present .., their attitude towards what is GOD is GOD is Energy all around us.., e.g Energy = GOD. energy in the form of life, light, air , universe and these people learn to live the present monent.In fact many churches have been converted into restaurants there.
Whereas people of the East being attached to a different perception about GOD meaning GOD is a form for e.g Hindus or GOD is non-form (e.g Buddhist or muslims) , these people are attached to cultures and rituals of their ancestors whereby religion was created .People of these region live life for tomorrow i.e praying for a better tomorrow compared to living the present moment only.
Einstein finally stated GOD exists E=mc2…again it depends what one means about what is GOD.
It is said GOD can exists without religion but not the other side.
So then where does intelligence and education comes in……….
Did Einstein discovered who is the substance of intelligence.Energy???
Religion is just a belief within a group of the society… It was never meant to divide the countries… But some people use it in the wrong way and turning people against their owns… Religion is a tradition followed from ages through our ancestors…. It is all in the mind of the person and the way of a person thinks… But no religion has taught any person to do wrong… Look at any sacred book in any religion: it has only taught to love and share… :)
I conclude people pray to get rich. :P
Am not really convinced that being an atheist generally makes u have a high level of education as you said:
“And, more interestingly, does this mean that atheists (those without a belief in any God) generally have a high level of education? Yes, it would seem.”
My arguments is as follows:
0.2% of the world population is Jewish, yet
70 % of the Medicine Nobel price winners are Jews.
50% of the Chemistry & Physics Nobel price winners are Jews.
and almost all of these Jewish people was not an atheist…
Am i right or Wrong??
I didn’t read all the comments but I did read the article.
The issues are not related to religion but to human behaviour.
I’d like leaders and followers (not twitter followers but citizens..yeah, citizens would be a better word) to have a lack of empathy, and a purely logical state. Add an inflated ego to those. This “mixture” will deal in facts and strive to achieve set objectives and tackle any other issue in their way. Call me nuts but I believe that such a “breed” of humans bring Earth to a golden age.
And to answer your question – “Is Mauritius like Sweden or Bangladesh?”
– Bangladesh for obvious reasons (one of them being racism with a religious component used as prejudice)
I think so too. Mauritius is closer to Bangladesh than to Sweden ;-)
I don’t know a lot about Jews and whether they are atheists or not. Are you sure about the statistics you mention?
@ bruno.. lol nice reply!
I believe probably you are doing some selective reading. Just as one might thnk sweden is a rich country with higher education rate just because marijuana is more or less legal there :).
Secondly, i tend to believe that educated people tend to be less likely to fall in for racial stuffs, hence they are bound to think logically… they try to differentiate apply their logic when it comes to what they can believe in and not believe in blindly…
This in no way means that becoming atheist makes you more intelligent.
But, being educated tends to take up your time and don’t leave you with a lot of time to attend to religious groupings, AND being educated tends to make people feel somewhat more “superior” than others since they have more knowledge about what is going on around them. This side effect of being educated tend to make some people.. free themselves from their belief in god or religion [note that those 2 things are different].
Secondly… what this analysis of two types of countries seems to show me is that… Education tend to make a country richer while lack of education tend to make a country poorer. :)
it all depends on your interpretation :).
Nicely said Selven :-)
Yes, the most obvious interpretation is that having a good education system is the best way to (ultimately) become a rich country. And to those who say that we need a lot of money to make a good education system, I would say that this is not true. What you need instead are (i) good teachers and (ii) a good “career guidance” system so that students study what they will most probably excel in a few years later.
Mauritius has always been a country where people study what is trendy (or, more precisely, the fields where people feel jobs are easier to get) as opposed to a field where they might have contributed a lot for the advancement of all.
I suppose there are a lot of very unhappy doctors, ACCA accountants and programmers in Mauritius…
And, of course, being unhappy, I suppose they pray a lot :-)
“Secondly, i tend to believe that educated people tend to be less likely to fall in for racial stuffs, hence they are bound to think logicallyâ€¦ they try to differentiate apply their logic when it comes to what they can believe in and not believe in blindlyâ€¦”
Ok, say they think in a logical way and need to choose between what they stand for and power, what do think they’ll do? Most of them will never stand for what they stand for even if it’s for the good of society or the Nation as a whole and opt for power.
The best example right now can be the folks at Fox News. These guys (Hannity for e.g.) are educated but have ulterior motives which make them act stupid.
OK, this is really in the religious or Mauritian context but still, it depicts my point.
Another example would be the anti-gay movements which exist in Mauritius. They are just religious congregations. Say, someone (a progressive Minister – we all know there is none but still) decides to put forward a motion to approve same sex marriage. What would the educated people who are part of these congregation do?
You already know the answer.
You should know that it is very unfortunate that religious congregations (people) are driven by fear that they will lose their religious beliefs if someone who is not related to them does something which their religious beliefs cannot condone. And the worst part of this unfortunate thing is – these nuts rule the country.
And if you want to show where Mauritius stands in terms of religious beliefs etc, let’s apply the use of Ronald Stamper’s Semiotic Framework before a National referendum (about anything.) You’ll find how conflicted Mauritians are by the various controversies you’ll identify during fact finding.
Someone once said “Religion is the opium of the masses”. And it cannot be more true now than ever.
As it has been said further up god = emc2. I call it the “SYSTEM” with a very simple rule:
1. Do an action/make a decision
2. reap the consequence
3. If you don’t like 2 go to 1
4. If you like 2 go to 1
I think in one of the Matrix movies someone said something along this line:
– Life is made of choices
– You make a choice and you reap the consequence
– If you don’t like the consequence you make another choice and reap another consequence
I personally believe that one of the main reason people in Mauritius tend to be fanatic or hold on to their religion/community is due to proselytism. When you go to someone and tell him that his current religion is not the right one and that you have to believe in a specific person/book to go to heaven you’re implying that the “SYSTEM” performed something wrong when it assigned you to a specific country/community/religion.
The other day I saw a report on TV5 about some people in Ageria, a mostly islamic country, who have converted to pretestant christianity following undercover work done by evangelists and religious TV channels. As long as these people were believing in a “god”, be it through their own religious books or other means, why on earth do you have to convert them and create mistrust/animosity between neighbours?
@Avinash: That’s the problem in today’s world… People pray out of selfishness which completely changes the meaning of prayers… But they could never find the real reason for their miseries… when in fact most of the time they are the cause of their own unhappiness.
What about praying to thank what we have acquired till now? :)
Ahh i completely forgot to add..
I totally believe in god.
Sometimes i believe in religion, sometimes i believe in god being an entity englobing the whole particles around us including us… sometimes it believe god is a superior form of evolved particles or being.. other times i believe i am god.. but even then :p i am happy where i am and seems to be living a life where i don’t have extreme needs which can’t be satisfied :D
one thing to notice among others is the so called educated countries have poor lifestyle.. barely any social life! contrary to the other group..
religion has its place in society. but as you know “too much of Anything is bad” – Yudz :)
and some people tend to give TOO MUCH importance to religion while others TOO LESS!
i think a balanced view of religion is fair enough. what about countries with a balanced religious belief?
I’ve lived in France for some years and I can tell you that people there really know what socialisation means compared to us, Mauritius… One reason may be because, well, everything is open until late there (especially in the major towns) and another might be because most 20+ don’t live with their parents anymore…
[Incidentally, I feel that all 20+ people should really spend some time abroad (at least 3 years — not the 1 year Masters thing that so many Mauritians do — it’s not sufficient.)]
I also don’t like this concept of conversion at all because it seems to me that it’s totally contradictory with what believers say: there is only one God.
Don’t count on it :-)
I’ve been an atheist for 25 years now. Since I was 10 in fact.
@Avinash: I do respect ur decision of being an atheist, you might have some valid reason behind it… Don’t worry i was not trying to influence you :P
@Selven: Who knows? maybe u are an incarnation of god??? :P Mais ki tne fr coumsa de bon pour l’humanitÃ©? ;) LOL
@Yudz: U are right, some people are too religious thinking that everything will happen as per their by just doing prayers… It’s all about God helps those who help themselves… And let not religion be the cause of racial discrimination… U can say it’s just a school of thought… And we all should respect the different beliefs… :)
As a side note about conversion. The 21 year old chap who was recently arrested for import of dangerous weapons is a converted guy. Notice how people who form part of a religion from birth, be it islam, christianity, hinduism etc., are more tolerant and open minded than those who have converted? Which makes me repeat and which Avinash rightly said. Converting someone to your religion implies that you don’t accept the fact there’s only one god and that there are different ways to appreciate it (I didn’t say him or her). Its like going to London, you can take the Air Mauritius flight, the British Airways flight. You can take a direct route, you can take staged routes. Ultimately its not the destination that counts, its the trip, the experience and everybody element is pre-configured to experience a route by the “SYSTEM”.
“everybody element is pre-configured to experience a route by the â€œSYSTEMâ€.”
Destiny? How about calling this by what it means – tales from a time traveling cyborg.
I read about a study that gathered data about lots of countries, concluding that countries which believed in God (whoever he/she/it might be) indeed had a very low level in education…and later I found out that these countries didn’t have a proper education system. The fact was simple…poor education = poor level of education. This had nothing to do with that someone called God. In fact they were using “Believing in God” as an excuse for the poor education level.
Now that I think of it :-
“does this mean that atheists (those without a belief in any God) generally have a high level of education? Yes, it would seem.”
I think I don’t agree on this statement.
Poor level of eduction is directly related to poor education.
As a side note :-
I read a book, it had nothing to do with computer science, nor “how to make an ipod and fool millions of people into using it stupidly”, it was just a book that showed me the responsibilities of a human being towards his parents, towards society. There were so many good things about how you can achieve success by accepting others, sacrifice and hard work.
Now I asked someone to read that book, and that person told me he didn’t believe in God…well me neither. If only I had replaced the Gods in that book by fictional characters and changed it’s name, I’m sure he would have read it and thanked me for it…
Surprisingly, that person considered himself as an atheist, an OPEN MINDED PERSON and even an intelligent person.
I was about to say something in the same line as Kevin above: whether a country is rich or poor depends on the level of education of its people, not on how religious they are. Level of education directly affects a country and its economy, coz if people are not educated, they cant take the country forward.
I think believing in God or not, being religious or not, is a matter of choice.
And i’ve also noticed, like someone rightly pointed out above, that people who do not believe in God call themselves open-minded, and the next minute, they are slating people who do! They have a sort of superiority complex because they believe in themselves rather than on a being they’ve never seen or felt.
Yashvin’s blog contains a very interesting thread on that.
According to your sense of logic, ‘si le ciel est couvert, la pluie va necessairement tomber’.
Modern Capitalism has resulted from belief in Protestant Ethics.
Kurt Avish says
Not wanting to be too controversial, but in my personal opinion, being too religious is like being too ignorant of the actual real world.
Facts and scientific reasoning make a person more confident and intelligent than belief and legends.
The meanings of the words religion and education have changed a lot. Previously they used to be closely linked but nowadays they are presented as rivals (science vs religion). If today we speak of religion, we start visualising stuffs like churches/fasting/temples/candles/etc… But is this religion? And is education limited to academia only?
And i don’t quite agree with comment#32 as there exists religions that blend well with scientific findings/evolution/big-bang stuffs.And some religions even accept atheism (buddhism?)! In Hinduism for e.g. you can say that Ram or Krishna didn’t ever exist and still call yourself a Hindu!
It is important for one to critically evaluate the education/religion being given to him, and not to blindly follow the rules/beliefs imposed. But not all religions are open to critics or questioning, unfortunately.
Mauritian? Swedish? Bangladeshi? Religious? Educated? Atheist? Its of no importance. What is important is whether you are a good human being or not! Teachers and religious leaders should focus on inculcating good moral values in their followers/students to make this world a better place to live…
I agree. The important thing is to be a good person.
Shrikaant said: “And i donâ€™t quite agree with comment#32 as there exists religions that blend well with scientific findings/evolution/big-bang stuffs.”
Thats in line with my take on the issue! I’m actually reading a book on stephen hawking’s life, which does contain quite a lot of details on the big bang theory. When i think about the tremendous amount of energy involved in the Universe taking birth, i cant help thinking about another book, where scientists called that Energy…God!
Science and religion need not be at odds, gents!
Reshmi Goff says
Just thought I would throw in my 2 cents…
I wanted to say: belief in God is completely different to belief in religion. It owuld appear to me that the population in Mauritius is much more concerned in its belief in religion than its belief in God. Also, God can be many different things to different people. Some of us choose to believe that we can shift all responsibility on someone else’s back and others just like me believe in the higher order of things that we all actually have what one may describe as godlike qualities. Source of many blurry arguments with the husband:) We’ve actually concluded that most people who claim to be atheists just don’t believe in the conventional concept that there is a supreme being to which we are all accountable. But in fact would rather stick to the more realistic approach that we believe in our own humanity and are held accountable to our own conscience.
In Mauritius, everything is institutionalise and in many countries around the world, including France the culture of shifting blame is still very present.
I was looking at your question: does this mean that educated people give less importance to religion. Notice how you said religion… And I will go back to my original point : religion and God are completely different concepts… A religion is dependant on the concept of a god, while the concept of a god can exist on its own.
To be honest I believe that it’s the trappings of religion that holds a lot of the countries that you mentionned back. Belief in God does not exclude a higher mind, it’s limiting yourself to to a set of rules set by people to exercise control that would be the actual problem…
All religions were created to exercise some form of control. Some of them good, some of them bad or completely ignorant… Through history we haev seen how religion has been used to cripple nations and people. This continues today and we can see how politicians still use religion as a trump card. It’s the case here in Mauritius and in the US, as well as in the UK.
Religion was used as an excuse not to let people attend university or have a certain type of jobs even today. I mean, you will never see a catholic prime minister in the UK… ( Except for Tony Blair who waited till he was no longer the PM to convert to catholicism). The problem as we see is not the belief in God but the blind imposition of religion and the rules that governing bodies have used to cripple nations.
Mauritius’ tie will come one day when people with an open mind will make their own decisions, it will take time… Maybe our real issue lies with the fact that people feel they are superior because they belong to a particular religion. I have seen it many times, whereby people felt superior because of a set of beliefs that they didn’t choose and was imposed on them, and which they assumed made them a better person.
By the way, I believe that one should strive to better onself regardless of whether or not a religion is preaching it. We need to realise that we are accountable to ourselves and our children. The rest is details.
Nauzeer salim says
Check the last and final revealation, the Quran, it will simplify your journey and reassure you.
I wonder what book(s) might have the same kind of effects on atheists like me…
– The Art of War by a Chinese author written a couple of thousand years ago. I haven’t read it but have heard quite some buzz about it.
– The Monk who sold his Ferrari
– The Art of Computer Programming (Would like to read it :-) )
– The God Delusion
Great selection, Raj! The Art of War is a mythical book. I read a few pages some years ago… I’m not too sure about “The Monk…” though. Seems like a typical “management” book to me. As for TAOCP, I have gone through the first three volumes a number of times. I’m always in awe by the typesetting and the broadness of the book but, unfortunately, I don’t understand everything… As for “The God Delusion”, I’ve never heard of it. I’ll try to find it. Thanks
God Delusion is by Richard Dawkins. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_Delusion
By the way, would you know if any company in Mauritius imports eBook readers? I’m thinking about the Sony PRS 700 or http://www.bookeen.com/ebook/ebook-reading-device.aspx
I could buy it online but I’m sure I;ll be charged a very high duty at the customs :-(
KHORSHED ALAM says
one of my friends live in Mauritius……… he have no contract number . i live in Bangladesh . do u know any Bangladeshi in Mauritius…………. if u know u will sent me a mail ………. my mail ,()
Unfortunately, I don’t personally know any Bangladeshi here even though there are a lot of them right now in Mauritius…
A A says
I was Agnostic for the past 7 years..I am now a Deist. I will be happy if you write an article on religious beliefs here…
@A A. Any reason for the conversion? A major event in your life or something?
A related blog about god: http://goldentheory.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-golden-theory.html