The positive impact of religion

I come across the common but lazy trope that religion is bad and holding back society all the time. The thinking seems to go that if there were no religion, everyone would be some sort of enlightened humanist — let’s ignore the fact that the enlightenment was borne out of the Protestant Reformation.

I’d argue that most religions somewhere on the scale of beneficial to benign to slightly malicious. If you look at some of the major non-religious belief systems of recent history, nationalism, communism and fascism, it’s hard to have such a rosy view.

Hence you can reasonably ague, even if you are, like me, not religious, that religion serves as a sort of vaccine against far worse ideologies.

Here’s a curious study showing that: the introduction of Islamic law in Nigeria is improving the lives of children. People invest more in their children, likewise children see it as their duty to care for the elderly.