A 2010 Psychology Today article resurfaced on the popular news site reddit.com, exploring the correlation between social and economic security and atheism.
The correlation between a lack of religion and an abundance of social security has been known to researchers for decades:
In sub-Saharan Africa there is almost no atheism (Zuckerman, 2007). Belief in God declines in more developed countries and is concentrated in Europe in countries such as Sweden (64% nonbelievers), Denmark (48%), France (44%) and Germany (42%). In contrast, the incidence of atheism in most sub-Saharan countries is below 1%.
Author Nigel Barber continues:
It seems that people turn to religion as a salve for the difficulties and uncertainties of their lives. In social democracies, there is less fear and uncertainty about the future because social welfare programs provide a safety net and better health care means that fewer people can expect to die young. People who are less vulnerable to the hostile forces of nature feel more in control of their lives and less in need of religion.
Perhaps the reason for the correlation is obvious to many readers, but the importance of statistical evidence must not be understated.
Answer by Clairwil at 7:14 PM on Jan. 31, 2012
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