Does God Make Society Better?


Out of fake gods and bad gods and demi-gods
and would-be gods. Out of the whole pantheon, which god makes societies better? Hey guys, Julia here for DNews Recently the idea that belief in one “big
god” lead to the rise of complex societies held sway in research circles. But that’s
being challenged by new research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society
B.[1] So this is a story of different types of religion,
there’s more monotheistic religions with a “Moralizing High God” or one supreme
being that hands out morality and punishment, and religions that have “Broad Supernatural
Punishment”, which can be loosely polytheistic, meaning many gods and includes things like
ancestral spirits and concepts like karma. Previous research showed that belief in a
“Moralizing High God (MHG)” allowed societies to become more politically sophisticated. This research seems to refute that. It showed
that religions with multiple deities or spirits or karma type punishments lead to more complex
societies, but religions with one “head honcho” did not. But how does a belief in any kind of religion
build complex societies? Well thinking you’re gonna be punished if you do something wrong,
even if no one is looking, is a pretty good deterrent or it might make us more likely
to cooperate. One study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed
that people become less hostile in a threatening situation when they’re reminded of their
religious beliefs. This is especially important when life gets tough. [2] Another study published in the Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences found that those who live in harsh environments
tend to believe in “big Gods”. They think these beliefs drive people to be more pro-social
when conditions make it hard to survive. Cooperation, even if it’s costly to the individual, could
enable a group to thrive in times of stress.[3] But it seemed like an age old tale of correlation
not causation. Some studies show it’s the other way around, as societies get more complex
they’re more likely to have one central guy in the sky. One study published in the journal
Current Biology found that as a society became more affluent, it triggered more moralizing
types of religions. [4] Which gets us back to the most recent research.
So, the team of researchers of various Australian institutions looked at 96 Asian Pacific cultures,
because these Austronesian cultures are well documented and less influenced by main single
deity religions like Christianity and Islam. They found that belief in a head honcho deity
did not drive or sustain the evolution of political complexity, but rather it tends
to come along for the ride. The research also suggests that it’s belief in broad supernatural
entities like ancestral spirits or karma actually smoothed the way for cultures to become complex.
And that makes sense, just look at history, there’s plenty of examples of cultures without
High Moralizing Gods, like the Greeks and Romans and Mayans, who built incredibly sophisticated
societies. Maybe because of the cooperative motives I
mentioned earlier or maybe not so nobly, the supernatural gives more weight to your claim
to authority and power. If you say you’re in contact with these gods, or that these
gods are your ancestors, people are gonna believe you and maybe follow you. So this research is still in it’s early
stage and clearly needs more study. And it’s not like you have to be religious to have
a complex cooperative society anyway. Other studies show that “Some of the most cooperative
modern societies are also the most secular”.[5] But how does this new research make you feel
about the role of religion in society? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t
forget to hit those like and subscribe buttons and keep coming back for new episodes every
day of the week.

100 thoughts on “Does God Make Society Better?

  1. Does God make society better is not the same question as does RELIGION make society better… Whether or not the existence of God is real does not determine how humans treat each other. God can very well exist within the corruption of those who follow "him" (i use that term loosely). That doesn't mean God or Gods are responsible for how humans treat each other in society. Free-will (with or without God) remains a factor regardless. People with religious beliefs are not more prone to do more good than others. That's a common misconception. I think we have enough evidence to back that up. i.e. Waco, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Eric Rudolph, etc. the list goes on of tragic events and psychopaths that were inspired by their religion. Slavery itself was defended by the word of God. And even with the idea of being watched 24/7, people with religious beliefs still continue to sin behind closed doors. Especially those who are raised in strict households, taught to fear God, and are constantly under pressure and stress to be 'perfect' and 'holy'. To me, in my opinion, I don't consider that making society better. I think it fabricates society. It APPEARS as though everything is good and peachy. If you ever played 'Bioshock' it's a good representation of how religion often smothers over reality. Very accurate to how we live today. People appear to be God-fearing and holy… but when no one is looking? Ha, that's another story.

  2. You gotta love how when religion is brought up and how it can make a society better or not, the atheist have to come out and call all religious people stupid. Just look in the comments the negative comments towards religion its so baffling, does religion bring cultures together? Maybe not, but truly your negativity towards something i wish to believe in is not bringing anyone together either.

  3. There are many stable forms of society. Religious/atheistic, capitalistic/socialist, etc. When we get all fundamentalist about our ideas we're really just saying, "i'm right, you're wrong and I'm not changing my mind." We can think we're completely correct and the other person is an imbecile and still put ones self in their shoes and entertain their ideas as if they were our own.

    Lets try and practice some intellectual integrity, none of us have all the answers.

  4. If you want to end war…. the separation of church and state helped…. but we only got half way there.  We need to separate the state as well. 
          "War is a racket. It always has been.  It is possible the oldest, easily the most profitable, surly the most viscous.  It is the only one international in scope.  It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives" (Smedley Butler))
        Keep bombing Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Sudan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine ect.

  5. Religion used to play a role in society, it helped explain the seemingly unexplainable, and made life a little less scary. But today I really don't see a need for religion, if anything, religion is now holding us back from really blooming as a global society. It's no secret that religion played a role in stunting science in it's early years, and even today large debates still occur about whether evolution is real or not! (See the Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate). In addition their are still groups who continue to stunt our social growth as a society by continuing the tradition of racism or looking down on non traditional relationship, usually based on religious beliefs. I understand that some people still need divinity to help them sleep better at night, (cause lets be honest, we are a tiny insignificant dot on a tiny insignificant dot when it comes to universal scale). However it should not be to a point where you have become blinded by your beliefs and fail to see the truth in front of you.

  6. Aren't we all a little atheistic? You believe in your deity(s) and its man made beliefs that tag along with it, but you also reject every other thousands of man made religions & deities. I would say it's geographical, it all depends on what part of the earth you were born on. Nonetheless, whether or not your parents decide to brainwash you with it. Just like i was, RELIGION ITSELF MADE ME AN ATHEIST. Anyone with average reading comprehension skills can understand that the bible is full of bull, that was my first step in realizing i was an atheist all along, from birth. I questioned my religion, my church, and including my very own deity. I am a skeptic, i question everything and anything.    

  7. The scriptures of the yavanas, or meat-eaters, are not eternal scriptures. They have been fashioned recently, and sometimes they contradict one another. The scriptures of the yavanas are three: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran. Their compilation has a history; they are not eternal like the Vedic knowledge. Therefore although they have their arguments and reasonings, they are not very sound and transcendental. As such, modern people advanced in science and philosophy deem these scriptures unacceptable.

    The Christian religion has a history of two thousand years, and the Muhammadan religion also has a history, but if one were to trace back Vedic religion, he would not find its historical beginning. Therefore it is called eternal religion.

  8. 'Fake god'?  Bit of a loaded term, don't you think?  Unless they were referring specifically to intentionally made-up deities that aren't meant to be taken seriously (like the flying spaghetti monster, or from works intended as entertainment) or something, what did they mean when they referred to 'fake gods'?

  9. If the christian god is all about love and forgiveness, why do they fear god?  "I'm a god fearin' man", I've heard people say.  Why?  I'm just curious.

  10. The Image of Buddha while the phrase 'central god' is not how buddhists view him. He was a teacher, never a deity.

  11. "It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
    – Carl Sagan

  12. Why is it only your videos that I can't watch because the unskippable advertisements pause eternally one second before they end? Specifically Allstate ads. There are multiple DNews and TestTube videos that I've been trying to watch today, but Allstate is doing it's best to keep me from doing so.

  13. Religion is a haven for some, something to give them hope.
    For others, religion is a tool to influence and control people.
    Religion is not inherently bad, it's just a singular agreement shared by many, or few.

    Science could be considered a religion in a way. People will aggressively defend it's merits, and people will branch off into different sects due to disagreements with scientific procedures or pursuits or interpretations of data.

    Perhaps the internet itself could be considered a religion, with Google being the 'god' you regularly 'pray' to for advice and information on many of lifes questions, like 'how many calories are in a cubic lightyear of cheddar jack fancy shredded cheese?" The answer being "3.5×10^54 Calories"

  14. I don't believe in any god but I do agree the idea that all humans need to believe in something or someone. The problem I have with religion is when it influences law making.

  15. Personally I highly doubt people will ever stop believing in some form of a higher force for a long time. Some people have a "God spot" in their brain and others don't. No matter how much evidence against a higher force you would give to a person with a "God spot" they would still believe in some higher power. They are almost incapable of not believing. I have my own beliefs. I don't follow any one religion in particular and no matter how hard I try I can't become atheist. I will always believe in something.

  16. no. religion just separates us further as a people. We need to come together and find love within ourselves. 1love

  17. The most common misconception is that most wars are caused by religion, when, in fact, in the past 3500 years, out of 73 major wars, only 40% had anything to do with Religion and only the Holy Wars were completely about religion.

  18. God and religion is a good thing, it teaches what's good and what's bad. You can't say for sure that if your religion said "no killing" that's you wouldn't be doing it right now

  19. After reading the comments I find it amusing to note that no matter what your beliefs you can still make narrow minded comments and have an oversimplified worldview. Tribalism ho!

  20. With me personally I believe there is a God. If there is no God and this all happened by chance and we are all worthless. Then why would people spend their lives searching for a purpose if there isn't one to find?

  21. If gods were meant to make us better than explain the war? I wish people just accepted what people believe in but NOOOOOO people have to fight over it.

  22. God is love. God is everything. Okay so what are we? Every time I hear those words I feel small and useless. This is why I hate religion.

  23. I'm a christian and some people say my religion placebo, bu are not all ideas placebo? I mean, all ideas can make you feel bad or better, from religion to atheist marxism.

    The point is tha result and model of those ideas. Christianity helps me be abetter person, but I don't say that other ideas can't make you a better person, but atheists say religion make us bad… even when the bloody socialist atheists killed by far more than all religious wars together.

  24. Bloody atheist marxists killed by far more than all religious wars together, but in less than a century.

    Of course. They didn't kill because of atheism, but they did kill more than religious people without any supernatural belief.

  25. The West is by far the most complex society.

    Greek philosophers were deists or even theists, like Plato.

    Therefore, there is no evidence polytheistic societies are more advanced.

  26. The most secular societies, like Western Europe and Japan, are demographically dying and there is no way to recuperate all that population in without changing all their culture or their culture simply dyind off.

    They are also very individualistic, not cooperative at all.

    That's the reason they need very very BIG states to do what individuals must do but don't care.

  27. I prefer to believe in a "sky daddy" (favorite atheist appeal to ridicule fallacy) than to believe that humans are just souless flesh and therefore you can kill them because moral is relative, as most atheist states did in the name of their ideas (China, URSS, Camboya, Vietnam)… and they killed by far more in the modern scientific century than all religious historical wars in thausands of years.

    Atheists believe morals are not objective, but subjective ideas. Therefore, they are relative and killing may not be bad after all.

    No surprise they talk aboit "suppressing religion" as if that were in their power, and if they had the power, they would kill as theis states did… even more than rleigious fanatics.

    Also, they believe marxist states are religions too… How a convenient definition! Too bad they didn't have the supernatural to conside them religions.

  28. And here we see hundreds of atheists desperately trying to prove their point, like a bunch of children claiming to know everything.

  29. Though people's responses to religion may be bad, that doesn't necessarily mean the religion itself is bad as well. A basic summary of Christianity is that God saw flaws in the Old Testament and sent Jesus to fix it. So basically the Old Testament is moot when understanding Christian morals. And trust me, if everyone strived to follow the idea of "what would Jesus do" whether they were religious or not, our society would be much more cooperative and progressive. Reminder that it's said that Jesus treated women, criminals, and people of other religions as equals when that was completely unheard of at the time. He probably wouldn't treat homosexuals any differently, or any lower status group for that matter. Christianity at its core is really just that simple. However, I'm assuming that it lost this meaning whenever others began to manipulate it for their own benefit until any religious improvements from before had disappeared. Just because corrupt Christians began the Crusades doesn't mean that that's what Christianity actually stands for. This goes for other religions as well. I think I remember learning that Islam had actually been fairly progressive in gender equality at the time of its creation.

  30. Wishy-washy DNews as always… Make up your mind and stop sitting on the fence. You're just pissing on both sides.

  31. why do u guys complain if all of us are just shit? We eat,We poop ,and sleep?We do the same thing. I do beleive in god. But i wonder, how you atheist think? Do u really want to be dead and be nothing? Atleast have some hope. Idk atleast worship a peanut? For gods sake….*grabs popcorn

  32. Seriously? Look at history. When, under what circumstances and by whom science came to be what it is now.
    You do not have to study primitive societies in polynesia or whatever. Why the rudimetary europe somehow in the course of years somehow overtaken the advanced China with compasses, gunpowder, the advanced culture, paper money and so on. if you know just a little about the subject, you are able to tell, that Dnews are full of shit.

  33. Religion has proven itself to be a cause of mass destruction in the societies it pervades – Hindus killing Sikhs, Christians killing Jews, Muslims killing everyone else… You can really see the hatred and lack of empathy take hold in the hearts of those who take their religion seriously.

  34. Was Mexico considered I the study? I'm plenty sure that we have a high Catholicism rate and we are in the top of dangerous cities

  35. I personally believe that both science and religion make society better. They both have the potential to be taken too far, which they often are – so they can both be bad for society also.

  36. I don't think that this research accounts for much, but do find it interesting in how it relates to human nature and how our "default" way of thinking works at a larger scale. We might think of ourselves as individuals – but it's like our "instincts" if you'd call them that, enable us as a group to work like one functioning body. It's like society itself has it's way of balancing itself out.

    That all depends on whether our not this research is anywhere close to the actual truth.

  37. "god" has nothing to do with what's right or wrong, those are natural human emotions. it does seem that some people do use religion as an excuse to do bad just because there is someone who will be forgive them.

  38. i might get alot of hate replies for speaking my mind. But please if you have nothing nice to say dont say it…But Quite simply, in exodus 20 it states The Ten Commandments
    20 And God spoke all these words:
    2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
    3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

    And yknow earth is just temporary. We all will pass away. The "society"
    passes perfection in heaven.

    Romans Chapter 10
    9 That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.

  39. Did anyone else notice the Swastica on the statue of Buddah's Chest? 
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxKrHj4DK_w&t=131

  40. There is a God and he's name is Jesus
    It seems strange to me that you can believe in a big bang.But you don't believe in God? just as a painting requires a painter so does the universe it requires a creator.

  41. No-one understood the actual meaning of the video… people are commenting : Religion=POOP – God doesnt exist – I am atheist and my morale is fine… but the video is a question of knowledge rather than a questions whose source believes in something and builds the matter on it. When the title says God, they mean the figure or our perception of the concept of God and that means they refer to the existence of the concept of God, not God itself.

    Shitbags 🙂

  42. Religion in itself is a good thing. It teaches morality and spreads hope. It gives people who've lost all a reason to continue and encourages people to help one another. Many of the largest and most successful charity organizations are religion based.
    Atheism can be said to kill hope and destroy all reason to live. Though it tends to be better associated with learning and education, it also tends to breed people who believe they are above everyone else because they put more faith in science than others.
    Contrary to common belief, there isn't a problem with religion, just the people who act incorrectly, then falsely name religion as their cause.
    While both religion and atheism have their benefits, it ultimately comes down to the people. (This is coming from a Christian)

  43. I dont need a god to be good as since we all have one trip. So if we are nice and work together. We can make it a fun trip!

  44. Well, my opinion is that religion was very important in the course of history and the establishment of a coherent and morally good society. However on this day it is my opinion that religion is not very necessary especially for highly developed countries. I personally live in the Netherlands, and the majority of the population is atheist. While crime is very low and people are having respect for one another no matter what. Additionally (religious) people often think that atheists don't have morals because they cannot be punished on a spiritual level, however I find this incorrect and very disrespectful. I am an atheist myself but I do believe in morals and because I don't think about myself constantly that I will be punished because I would do a certain thing, I am even more focussed on other people their opinion and their value for who they are. 

  45. When I do something wrong, I feel bad because I am a decent human being, not because I fear punishment.  It’s so pathetic when people say morals and ethics come from religion.  These are people I would definitely not trust to have power.

  46. It's about time everyone wakes up, and sees the emperor has no cloths on. I am sorry this young lady will have to go to hell now…blasphemy you know.

  47. religion is obsolete and needs to be thrown away. its harmful and shouldnt be tolerated. 

    secular, fuck yeah. Atheism, science and logic are here to save the day.

  48. Dear DNews: 

    I love your channel and fully support you, so it disappointed me to see that your picture representation of "Jesus" showed him as a white man with fine, wavy, light-colored hair which is historically and ethnically inaccurate. Also, when discussing monotheism, can you please include more kinds of monotheistic religions such as Islam and Judaism (especially in the pictures) instead of basing everything off Christianity? 

    Thank you!

  49. Honestly I've known a lot of theists and a lot of atheists but I've never known in one belief to drive good actions, only the nature of trying to improve on what we did wrong in the past has led us to becoming moral, many religions caused the opposite of morality, same with science. It is people not a belief or search for answers that gives us collective morality.

  50. As this video is uploaded, a swam of athiest leave their nest to attack the beliefs of religous people's religion in the comment section, one by one. If the religous fight back they are surrounded and swarmed by the flock of atheists until they are forced to leave.

  51. No God makes society better. No wars over faith, no petty arguments and no flying sky daddy that gets mad too often.

  52. 0:57 I notice she speaks of "Religion" which is loaded with indoctrination's and "Religious" rules. As most know Christianity is NOT a religion. It's about a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Christian "Religions" would be one's indoctrinated usually with fear of some sort fo doing wrong. (I'm not naming any specific Religions to avoid offending others who don't fully understand) Many like this woman confuses belief OF a god rather than belief IN God. On a true relationship basis. Jesus is not there waiting to punish you if you do wrong. God only will allow certain things to correct you as any loving Father would for a Child. Correction in the sense of waking you to our sin. Which is human nature to DO what pleases us and often others above ourselves. This is not edifying and God knows where you could be at and where you are heading. He has some much love for us and often we don't get the true nature of GOD'S agape love. Which in turn keeps us from becoming the Christian GOD knows we could be. This is how a true & obedient, discerning heart leads many to become Pastors, Deacons, etc. To be able to heal the sick, cast out evil. Receive many blessings and walk the Christian life. We have a common enemy known as satan.“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) This is why it's IMPORTANT to read your Bible Daily. Also to keep a close relationship with GOD. When the Holy Spirit saids "DO this today. You say nah I can tomorrow". You don't see what GOD sees going on that the Devil has planned for you. This is how we get snared, trapped by satan and his demons. THIS is why Obedience, wisdom and discernment is vital! Our Human Nature, our humanistic thinking, and are own rational is thinking (Our Mind) is the Devil's battleground. There are no other "Paths" to God only a direct Christian Relationship. (Direct Connection per se) Not through ourselves or our ways as those ways lead to destruction. (Hell) Amen

  53. love the doctor who reference. I am a Mormon, and we had an almost perfect utopia, before Deseret became Utah.

  54. I LOVE God…

    He's my favorite fictional character in the fairytale book that my parents read to me as a child.

  55. No religions do nothelp socity. They cause divisions, torture, and hatred. Look at all religion hiding pedofiles, genital mutilation on both male and females.

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