Visits to place of worship linked to lower levels of criminality

Jan 14, 2014 by Mike Addelman

People who regularly visit a place of worship are less likely to be involved in low level crime and delinquency, according to new research.

The project, led by University of Manchester PhD student Mark Littler, involved the analysis of new and in-depth qualitative interviews with young members of the UK's major faiths.

He said: "This research implies that the act of visiting a place of worship may trigger a significant reduction in the likelihood of involvement in certain types of criminal and .

"In line with existing American research, my results suggest that it is the act of mixing with fellow believers that is important, regardless of whether this is via formal worship, involvement in faith-based social activities or simply through spending time with family and friends who share your faith.

"The important thing is exposure to people who encourage pro-social behaviours, and can provide sanctions for their breach."

The study, which is the first time this type of analysis has been carried out in the UK, is to be published later this year. It was funded by the Bill Hill Charitable Trust.

The survey data comprised responses from 1,214 18 to 34-year-olds and was collected last July.

It gathered information on eight measures of delinquency: littering, skipping school/work, using , fare dodging, shoplifting, music piracy, property damage and violence against the person.

Though most measures showed some relationship, shoplifting, the use of illegal drugs and evidenced the most significant correlations.

More serious crimes were too rare for the data to be able to show a significant pattern.

He added: "These results suggest a more positive picture of Britain's religious life than the doom and gloom you might read about it in the newspapers.

"But they are not necessarily a blow to the proponents of atheism: religious practice is just one way of gaining exposure to the pro-social behavioural norms that are at the heart of this relationship; other, more secular, activities may equally serve a similar role."

Explore further: Watching R-rated movies lessens importance of faith for young people, study finds

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User comments : 8

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rockwolf1000
1 / 5 (1) Jan 15, 2014
Another load of crap. People who go to church etc., go there because they were told to. They were also told not to commit crimes. Therefore it follows that people who do what they are told go to church and don't commit crimes (sheep) and people who are less compliant don't go to church and do commit crimes (individuals). This does not prove that attending religious services somehow turns people into saints it just shows that some people are more easily controlled than others.
Whydening Gyre
1 / 5 (1) Jan 15, 2014
What if you don't go and also do not commit crimes?
rockwolf1000
1 / 5 (1) Jan 15, 2014
What if you don't go and also do not commit crimes?


Then you posses both morals and intelligence!
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Jan 15, 2014
What if you don't go and also do not commit crimes?


Then you posses both morals and intelligence!


Phew! Glad we got that cleared up - I was a little worried...:-)
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 15, 2014
What if you don't go and also do not commit crimes?
Sorry wg I meant to give you a 5. We also have to consider those who use their religion to commit crimes like Jim Bakker, a few hundred pedo priests, terrorists, the kkk, etc. or to encourage them like the priests and nuns in Rwanda during the genocide there.
kochevnik
5 / 5 (1) Jan 16, 2014
"Visits to place of worship linked to lower levels of criminality" Did this study group include the Yakuza and Italian mob?
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Jan 16, 2014
What if you don't go and also do not commit crimes?
Sorry wg I meant to give you a 5. We also have to consider those who use their religion to commit crimes like Jim Bakker, a few hundred pedo priests, terrorists, the kkk, etc. or to encourage them like the priests and nuns in Rwanda during the genocide there.

No prob, GO.
bmorrow492
not rated yet Feb 21, 2014
I am always amazed at the outpouring of hostility triggered by any mention of religon.

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