Apparently if you believe in hell, you’re less likely to commit a crime, according to a study published by two U.S. professors, who say that countries with a belief in hell have lower crime rates than those who have a greater belief in heaven.
Newser reports that the researchers searched for mentions of heaven, hell, and God in surveys taken by more than 143,000 participants in 67 countries from the years 1981 until 2007,
The Daily Mail notes that the two researchers found, “Rates of belief in heaven and hell had significant, unique, and opposing effects on crime rates. Belief in hell predicted lower crime rates…whereas belief in heaven predicted higher crime rates.
Professor Azim Shariff, professor of psychology and director of the University of Oregon’s Culture and Morality Lab, stated:
“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.”
According to Newser, he wrote an article, which asserted that undergraduate students who believed in a forgiving God were more likely to cheat than those who believed in a punishing God. Prof Shariff explained that, “There is less of a divine deterrent.” Another article published in 2003 by Harvard researchers found that developed countries tended to perform better economically if the population believed in hell more so than heaven.
Professor Shariff went on to say that:
“I think it’s an important clue about the differential effects of supernatural punishment and supernatural benevolence. The finding is consistent with controlled research we’ve done in the lab, but here shows a powerful “real world” effect on something that really affects people – crime.”
Do you think believing in hell is more of a deterrent to crime than believing in heaven?