A few of you good folks know that my father worked as a pastor, and has done so for decades.
Part of that, of course, involved rearing his children in the faith. I can remember endless days spent in church, learning the scriptures.
With this in mind, I'd always thought that some kind of spiritual training necessarily led to the development of a strong sense of ethics. Can secular societies develop ethics, or do they degenerate into Ayn Rand-style Objectivism, in which every man essentially looks out for himself, at the expense of others? The answer to this question has always seemed self-evident.
However, yesterday I ran across some startling statistics that shed considerable doubt on this idea. Raw statistics show that, among the prison population, atheism is quite rare--in fact, in a not-too-long ago published paper, less than 1% of the prison population self-identifies as "atheist".
What gives? It seems completely counter-intuitive to me.