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Old 09-28-2011, 03:03 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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The prison thing is a bit misleading. The prison stats concerned "self-described atheists", not belief or disbelief in God, as I recall. The "10-15%" figure, for general population, concerned people's beliefs or disbeliefs. The percent of people who call themselves "atheists" is much lower than 10%. The census seems to indicate about 1.7% of American adults identify as atheist or agnostic. ARIS indicates 12% don't believe in God, but just 1.6% identify as atheist or agnostic. Atheists specific was .7% of the population.

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So even going by one of the atheist sources I find it's more like self-described atheists represent .2% of the prison population and .7% of the US population. So atheists in prison represent just 28.457% of what they do in general life. Self-described Mormons represent about .4% of prison and 1.4% of general Americans so are equally underrepresented. And the "holysmokes" source doesn't get into specifics about mainline Protestant denominations.

Being a self-described atheist I think is likely a bit of a "luxury good." Easier to do if you have money and education. People with money and education are less likely to need to steal, for example. They also are less likely to go to prison for drug possession as they have better lawyers. Other groups of similar educational/income backgrounds (Episcopalians, Quakers, Zoroastrians, etc) are likely also comparatively rare in prison.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:28 AM
 
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Two words: underground religion.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nimchimpsky View Post
Two words: underground religion.
And, who would have suspected? There's an actual historical precedent! The Marranos were Jews who practiced the religion secretly in Spain, when the Inquisition made it unwise to do so openly.

I'm sure there are quite a few other times and places around the world--over and above even Christianity in ancient Rome--where one religion or another has been officially outlawed, but was still practiced secretly.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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North Korea.
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Old 10-04-2011, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
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Christianity was an illegal religion until the early 4th Century. By then, Christianity was the religion of about 25% of the Roman Empire. Making it illegal does mean it stops growing. Drugs are illegal in this country, but that doesn't seem to have stopped its use.
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Old 10-05-2011, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
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Originally Posted by Prairieparson View Post
Drugs are illegal in this country, but that doesn't seem to have stopped its use.
I was watching the new Ken Burns documentary, "Prohibition," last night. It was pointed out that alcohol consumption in the United States actually increased after it was made illegal. (Pete Hamill commented that if you want more people to brush their teeth, declare it an illegal act).
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Old 10-05-2011, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
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Originally Posted by TechieGeek View Post
I'm not suggesting such a thing - but, I can't help but wonder...

The human mind has a tendency to be spiritual or religious- would those feelings be transferred to things like worshiping brands, etc...?

Would morals and ethics change or would people gradually, over generations of forgotten religion practices, become hedonists?

would crime rates increase or decrease?

How would it effect empathy?
There would still be believers. The main difference is that they would be afraid to admit it. I have friends who left the former Soviet Union back in 1990. Where they lived, groups of people would tear sections of the Bible out of the binding and circulate a handful of pages between them, since nobody dared have a complete Bible laying around their house.
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