In the context of forgiveness, I have previously written that A soft view of hell makes hard people. Those who do not believe that people will stand before a just judge are far more likely to be bitter about wrongs done to them. Now a Huffington Post article reviews a study that shows that those who do not believe in hell are more likely to commit crimes.
Religions are thought to serve as bulwarks against unethical behaviors. However, when it comes to predicting criminal behavior, the specific religious beliefs one holds is the determining factor, says a University of Oregon psychologist.
The study, appearing in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, found that criminal activity is lower in societies where people’s religious beliefs contain a strong punitive component than in places where religious beliefs are more benevolent. A country where many more people believe in heaven than in hell, for example, is likely to have a much higher crime rate than one where these beliefs are about equal. The finding surfaced from a comprehensive analysis of 26 years of data involving 143,197 people in 67 countries.
Read the rest here.