New Study’s Findings Are Changing Thoughts On Secularism
Historically, religion was seen as a positive force in a country. The thought process was that religion built communities and instilled a work ethic that helped a nation prosper. A new study by the University of Bristol is challenging this view.
The study does not mean religion causes an economic downturn. Instead, for nations to make money, secularism is a prerequisite. The study looked at sociological and economic factors for the last 30 years in a wide range of countries. The most significant effect of secularism was increased tolerance within a nation. Increased understanding led to substantial gains in money generated. For example, states that had fewer restrictions on abortion and birth control allowed more women into the workforce, increasing productivity.
This correlates with previous reports that the most religious countries are generally the worst off economically. This also dispels the previous assumption that wealth leads to secularization. Tolerance again plays a factor. The more understanding within a society the higher a chance for fair distribution of income which increases the infrastructure of a nation.
Researchers were quick to point out the relationship is not directly causal. There needs to be more work on done if there could be other factors that could influence a country’s ability to increase their GDP. No religious organizations have responded to the study so far.